Jules of the Desert

How ugly ads, good beer and neurology make an artist

Jules Demetrius, 35, agitprop maestro, poet-sledgehammer on the mic, is well-known to those in the know, whether it be from his live art and madcap MC-ships at the Priceless Inn's Blunt Club, or from his incendiary imagery of doped-up housewives, starving children, pedophile priests, and pissed-off Iraqis. A member of Phoenix's Alpha Monster artist collective, he's shown at Wet Paint and Mainstay. Does ads for Kontrive, and a bunch of others. Jurassic 5 owns his shit. As do De La Soul, MAD TV's Bobby Lee, and Barry Goldwater III. Currently, he's working on an invitation-only Alpha Monster show to go down in NYC this April.

Jars full of beer bottle caps: I want enough to make an entire suit out of them. I have enough right now for a jacket and pants, but I still need more for a vest. I'm gonna flatten them and put tiny holes top and bottom and loop 'em together. It's gonna be like a chain-mail suit, but bottle caps. That way, I can walk around in beer.

His passion for suds: I didn't discover beer until I was 24. I got hired by Nike to do graphic design and illustration. They found me in Los Angeles and moved me up to Oregon. That's where I got into beer, because all my brothers on the East Coast, they would drink Bud Light. You know what Bud Light and making love in a canoe have in common? They're both fucking close to water.

Jules Demetrius and a large painted man
Peter Scanlon
Jules Demetrius and a large painted man
He's got mail: Another case of these and Demetrius will have that three-piecer going.
Peter Scanlon
He's got mail: Another case of these and Demetrius will have that three-piecer going.
Demetrius always has a brush handy.
Peter Scanlon
Demetrius always has a brush handy.
Another fine young beer sacrificed to art
Peter Scanlon
Another fine young beer sacrificed to art
Quiet As a Bomb, by Jules Demetrius
Peter Scanlon
Quiet As a Bomb, by Jules Demetrius
Drunk on Diet Rice Wine, by Jules Demetrius
Peter Scanlon
Drunk on Diet Rice Wine, by Jules Demetrius

How New Times saved his life: When I moved to Arizona, my wife and I were flying by the seat of our pants. I opened up the New Times and found about 20 ads for various businesses that were real dogballs. Just clip-art crap. I took the same information from those ads, used images from old periodicals, put my Jules spin on that shit, and glued them right there in the New Times. I took it to each business and told them, "This is how your ad should look." Out of 20 businesses, 14 used the ad I made for them. And out of the 14, seven or eight came back for repeat business. No joke, that shit saved my life.

Seizures can be a good thing: I've always drawn, but I didn't start painting until after I first had seizures. Jacksonian epilepsy. Three years ago, out of nowhere. I've got these little polyps growing on my occipital lobe, and they just short-circuit me. Before this, I think I had done like three or four paintings. The seizures shook something loose, and I've done upwards of about 150 paintings in three years. And I only have two left, because the rest have sold. So thank God for seizures!

Why men should learn to cook: I get the best blowjobs because of my dinners. I'm not kiddin', blowjobzilla! You haven't lived until you've had my fried chicken. And I love making Italian. I'm the chef of the family. I feed all my friends. They know this is the place to come to. If you come in the morning, you'll get breakfast. If you come at noon, you're gonna get lunch, and so on. Just don't come around bedtime, because I'm a freak behind a closed door.

Why his studio door has "Room 237" on it: That's the name I put all my graphic work under. Room 237 is where all the fucked-up shit happened in The Shining.

No projectors: I lay out about 75 percent of all my stuff on the computer. But I don't use projectors. I put a grid on the canvas, and then I make a grid of the drawing. A half-inch square on the drawing to a three-inch square on the canvas. Then by hand, re-create it on the canvas. So even before I paint, I've already invested like 10 hours. Then another six hours just mixing the paint itself.

On social commentary: I always try to have some weight or validity to my work. I'm just tired of people walking around with blinders on. The majority of my work comes from CNN. I'll hear a sentence, or a word, or see a look, from Condoleezza Rice or that douche bag Rumsfeld, and it will inspire me. You can do cute characters and shit, but when I'm 60, I want someone to write a book on my ass. That ain't gonna happen if I have just pretty pictures.

For more Jules Demetrius, check www.101designgroup.com, or e-mail him at eyepaint@aol.com.

 
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