A native of Chicago, Desiree DeMars began exploring the arts in early childhood through drawing and dancing. In high school she received a scholarship to a Canadian wilderness studies program designed by an award winning nature photographer and environmental activist, which altered the course of her life. At the age of 18, she co-designed and built a self-sufficient homestead in Northern Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Superior.
She majored in Fine Arts/Biology at Northland College/The Sigrid Olson Institute of Environmental Studies in Ashland, WI in the early 70’s and began her own business in sign painting. This led to working in the advertising/design field in the Chicago area for 15 years, which included the art department at A.C. Nielsen Corporate Headquarters and the Conway-Milican Super Group for product creation and design.
She also worked in the field of event production for the film industry with Ambrosia Events Planning in Santa Monica, CA. Here she merged her skills as an artist with fundraising events to benefit children and environmental groups. Later, she enrolled in the fabric design program at the California School of Professional Fabric Design in Berkeley, CA.
She received a double BA in Fine Arts/Communications from Columbia College, graduating with honors, in Chicago, IL and trained at the Miller-Wagennar School of the Decorative Arts in faux and specialty finishes.
Desiree moved to Asheville 8 years ago and in 2011 became a member of the River Arts District and co-owned Sassafrass Studio with two fellow artists. She has exhibited work at the Wedge, Asheville Art Supply and Nourish & Flourish. She now resides in Leicester, NC with her husband and four-legged studio mascot, Rocky!
Her current work is primarily oil based encaustic painting (beeswax and tree resin) that is abstract and contemporary, influenced by the forms and brilliance of nature. She often combines cold wax, collage, metal leaf and other materials along with mono-printing techniques on a variety of rice papers.
Desiree is a member of the Encaustic Art Institute, the International Encaustic Artists and the Leicester Artists, participating in the Annual Leicester Studio Tour. She has whole-heartedly donated her work to several local fundraising organizations: Art Affair/Open Doors, Ladies Night Out/Artful Bra Challenge and Our VOICE Annual Survivors Art Show.
Her work has been exhibited at the Greenville Museum of Art, NC, the Front Gallery in Pack Square, Asheville, NC, Atelier Gallery, Charleston, SC and 310 ART Gallery, Asheville, NC, including digital representation through Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, IEA Wax Digital, Lincoln, CA and EAI, Cerrillos, NM. She was a participating artist in a state wide mural project called Dairyland Graphics funded by the Wisconsin Arts Board and supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Desiree currently has work exhibited in the UpDraft Gallery, Asheville, NC and the Encaustic Art Institute, Cerrillos, NM, in which a piece was jury selected for their Annual Encaustic/Wax Exhibition, which runs from October 5-November 3, 2013. ∞