How one painter creates to stay connected to the world
Published on October 05, 2022
For New York City-based painter Demit Omphroy, art has never been about making money or becoming famous. It’s been his way of communicating the things he’s experienced or felt throughout his life, and reaching others who can connect to those experiences.
“The inspiration that I take comes from everywhere,” he says. “It comes from family experience and external visual things that I see on a daily basis. Everything that I create is an extension of me.”
Many of Omphroy’s past life experiences have brought him to where he is now. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis his senior year of college, but it only pushed him harder towards achieving his goal of becoming a professional soccer player. And he succeeded. Omphroy became the first professional soccer player with multiple sclerosis.
Several years later, Omphroy’s passion shifted—from being on the pitch in front of the cameras to wanting to be behind the cameras. He became a creative director working with GoPro and Adidas, but then came another setback. When the pandemic hit, Omphroy was let go, went through a breakup, and he felt like he hit an all-time low.
Feeling like he had nothing to lose at this point, he reconnected with something he had always loved but was never able to go after. “Painting is something I always did at a young age, but never really felt like I had the courage to pursue fully," Omphroy says. "I realized that this was my outlet.”
That drive pushed Omphroy to create his proudest piece—even to this day—and set him off on his career as a painter. “I feel like it forced me to live with myself and really just fully be with me,” he says. “It was the moment that all this artwork started coming out.”
“Throughout my whole life, I’ve been trying to figure out how I could express myself—and I found a way through canvas”
Omphroy’s style is a modern take on expressionism. He’s often moved to paint bold, flowing figures that “could represent celebration, happiness, or the spiritual love in the air,” as he puts it.
The bright colors and figures have caught the eyes of notable brands and people. In the last few years, he’s done everything from collaborations with fashion brands like GAP to commissions from the Picasso family paying homage to Pablo Picasso.
On top of the commercial work and commissions, Omphroy also spends time on personal projects. With so much going on, not only does he need to streamline his collaboration process with his clients—he also needs a consistent and safe way to store and organize all of his content. He’s been using Dropbox for a decade to do just that.
“When I think about the amount of work that I've done in these past two years and the amount of work I will do in decades to come, being able to archive and keep everything in one place is so, so important,” he says. “It's invaluable for an artist because after I sell a piece, it’s the only thing I have left of my art.”
Omphroy’s goal is to continue growing as an artist. He says what sets him apart is his work ethic, which he attributes to his upbringing. “Wanting to continue to better myself has been something that’s always been inside of me,” he says. “So what drives me to continue painting, regardless of how technically good I am compared to someone else, is wanting to continue improving.”
His other driving force? How much art connects him to the larger world. “It's connected me to people that I haven't talked to since I was a kid playing soccer. It's connected me with companies and brands," he says. "Doing something that [fosters] this human connection is such a blessing. For me, that's what life is about.”