Bullet Dematera’s artworks are a mix of realism to hyperrealism elements intermingled with pop art that creates a hint of surrealism into the blend. No matter the style, these elements are consistent in his art concepts: nature, human, and especially animals. These are the Earth’s core trifecta.
From the first cavemen drawings to today’s contemporary art, throughout history, animal portraits have been in the most forefront of art subject, next to its painter—man. The artist’s contribution to the ever-growing post-humanistic approach in today’s art scene is helpful in analyzing the reasons behind the animal presence and how it influences the psychological changes that are happening in our society.
Theriomorphism is the designation of animal characteristics to humans—which is the opposite of the more common concept of “anthropomorphism”. “Usually, my works focus on those three subjects aforementioned. I combine them in my composition and look for connections among my chosen elements. I want to somehow communicate my sense of the world and that all of God’s creation have an intrinsic value and are equally important,” shared the artist.
Bullet’s artistic transformations of his components and making them being “in-between” nature and culture, further supports our appetite for non-human reality that comes full circle with our use of zoological issues that also affects our metaphors, lingual expressions, and even technology.
The constant representation of animals in art may be a way for us humans to mirror and express our existential passions that give way to the idea of theriomorphic hybridization. More than relating to myth and ritual, taking on an animal appearance—may it be through a mask or an outfit, painting, and tattoo applications—man can assume a “hybrid” of his true self, and that may be the real impact of theriomorphism.
“I am lucky to inherit this talent for drawing even though I wasn’t able to take up formal art schooling. I came from a poor family in Bulacan—I have two siblings, my father was a farmer and my mother was a homemaker; aside from that, I had to stop going to school because I have a cleft palate that made me a victim of bullying.” said the artist.
“I started working at the age of sixteen and went through a lot of odd jobs like construction and factory work. The next chapter of my life started when I was fortunate enough to meet Ronald Ventura at the age of twenty when I applied to be his studio assistant. Through him, I was able to develop my artistic skills and connected me to Dr. Joel Mendez, who trusted me enough to become a solo artist. Aside from these two people whom I have the utmost respect and gratitude to, art has also taught me to wait and be hard-working—that a person doesn’t need to be impatient in a broader sense because as long as you are happy with what you are doing and thankful for all the little chances and blessings in life, everything will turn out beautifully.” sentimentally shared by Bullet.
“As an artist, I want to show that people like me and with my background still have the opportunities to be recognized in the world of art. I also want my work to inspire all of us to appreciate and take care all of God’s creations—human or animal, big or small,” he added.
If Dematera, for example, paints a man with characteristics of a lion, the audience may assume that this is a symbolism for bravery, having a wild heart, and the like. Therefore, subconsciously or consciously, Bullet is a direct replication and inspiration for his artwork and aptly so, as his name can also suggest that he has a bulletproof spirit.