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michael demeng transforms the common into the sacred

Michael deMeng is a mad alchemist. When the assemblage artist finds a discarded shoe or an empty sardine can he doesn’t see garbage, he sees a personal shrine. deMeng’s gift, transforming the common into the sacred, becomes clear when you study pieces like ‘Urning Rubber’, a mixed media reliquary meant to hold treasured objects, and ‘Hell Mask’, that boasts teeth made from a row of matchbook matches.

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Urning Rubber, mixed media urn


Guadalupe of the Heeling Sole, mixed media, 12″x 16″x4″


deMeng dementing doll parts


Using mostly cold joins, deMeng deconstructs and reassembles various elements, adding flourishes of drama and painted details, allowing the story to unfold until close inspection makes you feel as though you are inside the dark humor of a macabre comedy.


A Strange Case, mixed media assemblage


Daughters of Lilith {click image to see large}

He does copius amounts of research when he is working on a piece and he shares some of his insights and process on specific assemblages, like ‘Daughters of Lilith’, pictured above. Read the story behind ‘Daughters of Lilith’ here. deMeng also describes many of the components of this piece and how he came to use them.  Fascinating.


Hell Mask, mixed media


Heeling, mixed media

“These assemblages are metaphors for the evolutions and revolutions of existence: from life to death to rebirth, from new to old to renewed, from construction to destruction to reconstruction. These forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever-changing.” Michael deMeng

Michael’s new book Dusty Diablos: Folklore, Iconography, Assemblage, Ole! will be available next month and his 2007 Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art is still wildly popular. Next up for deMeng is a live 2-part Craftcast Masterclass beginning this Wednesday, February 17th, where he will demystify the process of creating an assemblage piece and teach you “how to stick it all together.”  You can also follow deMeng’s blog and become a fan on his  Facebook Fan Page.


Hipolite Rafael Chacon on deMeng:

“He characterizes his creative process as an arduous and hellish journey of self-reflection, but making art is also salutary, a cathartic release of internal demons. As in the ex-votos of Latin American altars, need and desire are balanced with belief and hope and deMeng’s works of art mediate between the ancestral past, the life of the living and an unknown future. In his shrines, color, pattern, texture, and repetition of form symbolize the cyclical nature of life and death. His process, evident in the work itself, embraces trial and error and reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and the possibility of endless regeneration.


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One Response to michael demeng transforms the common into the sacred

  1. It’s so great you are featuring Michael’s work especially some I haven’t yet seen. What a treat!!! I was lucky to see (and even hold!) some of Lilith’s daughters. That is a brilliant piece most definitely and so inspiring!!!

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