Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Artist of the Week

Ferrari Sheppard

Where do you draw the line between the famous and the underground? What makes some one famous and another struggle? Who deserves attention and who is over-exposed? These are questions that Chicago artist and blogger Ferrari Sheppard is concerned about, and when not painting brilliantly vibrant and beautiful pictures he spends his time highlighting a few musicians and artist that may have been overlooked.

The name of his eclectic site is Stop Being Famous, and he has already featured several worthy young musicians. However, with all of this time and energy placed on promoting others Ferrari yet has to create a site to promote his own work. I found his work by chance while attending an concert at South Union Arts the day after a group art show. His images show life and its many varied emotions and situations. He takes traditional situations (mother and son, husband and wife) and adds a bit of the surreal or at least the unusual. He makes you look twice.

Recently, Ferrari was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your paintings?
Ferrari Sheppard (FS): The ideology of Kurt Cobain, meets the painting skills of Michelangelo, meets the street-smarts of Ice Burg Slim, meets the discipline of Malcolm X, combined to form the exquisite oil painter named Ferrari Elite Sheppard. There is a slight bit of confusion in all of my work. Looking at one of my paintings, is like watching film footage of Auschwitz while getting head.

OA: Do you work with a set color pallet? Do you use specific colors to evoke specific emotions in those who see your paintings?
FS: I am legally color blind. When I was in high school, one of my friends wanted to fight me because his girlfriend a Puerto Rican girl named, Maritza Burgos, wanted to fuck me. She looked okay, but I didn't want to fuck her. So, the idiot and I are fighting in an alley with six of our other other friends cheering us on when, suddenly, it was over- I had beat him.

I left him on the ground for dead. He wasn't dead, he was just laying there. One my friends was checking out the cuts and scraps on my face... I turned away to go home, and boom!!! baseball ball to the face. I later found out, after waking up from being in a coma , it was the guy I had a fight with who hit me. After that I was color blind.

I have no problem telling the difference between bright red from yellow, but I can't tell the difference between dark blue and red, or green and purple. I have to use the Value system.

OA: I first saw your work the day after a show at South Union Arts, which is a old church turned into a venue. Do you feel there are enough opportunities in Chicago for young artist to get their work shown? What are your thoughts on the gallery scene?
FS: There are opportunities are there but what does it matter, when you're starving, and you're showing your work to other starving motherfuckers?

The art scene?? Read this Email response I received from Fab Five Freddy about two months ago, if you want to know about the art scene. The first message was from me to Fab Five Freddy.

The email begins:

I ask your advice because i respect your hustle, I mean, it's gotten you this far, it must be strong. I sent you an email a couple of months ago asking your advice of getting work in galleries and going international, I never heard back. I understand it's not your responsibility to give advice to starving artist (emphasis on the word starving) but it would have been nice. I chalked your not responding up to one of three reasons:

1.) You could not give me advice on the art world because for every artist it's different and you wanted me to find my own way.
2.) it was a dumb question.
3.) it was a dumb question.

I don't know. Just thought I would bring it to you. +FERRARI.

His response:
guess the reason I didn't respond asap was partly because of being hectic and also because an answer of this type may take several pages.

I was deeply involved in the art world as you know at a point in time. In short, we had something new they got wind of and they came running to get it. Thats the very short answer along with the fact that I was passionate, knew who many of the biggest art world players were and made my moves accordingly.

Short of you being in NYC so you can take me to lunch in return for the long form answer, perhaps you set up on skype with a web cam and I can be more verbose and drop some jewels your way digitally?

End Email: I have nothing else to say about that other than,..hum... nevermind.

OA: Your site, Stop Being Famous, is essentially an Arts & Culture site focusing on music, art, & Fashion. How did the site come to be, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
FS: The site was initially created to make fools of successful artist, record companies, radio stations, web magazines, and galleries who have the ability and means to help struggling artist get exposer but don't. I wanted to be home for all things cool, and it is.
It's easy to say what I will or will not do now, while I'm not succesful, but I will say this: If at any point in my success, a young artist comes up to me asking for help, and if I think they remotely have chance of making it, I will help them. If I can not help, will make the reasons clear. If I make the reasons clear but the young artist continues to fuck with me, I will have to shoot him.

OA: I also read that you were in a band. Do you feel there is a connection between art and music?
FS: I started a band about three years ago called Odd Numbers. It was punk/grunge/ garage band. I played guitar and sang lead vocals. We broke up after the Drummer, Celeste Hall, I, broke up. I love playing music, but right now I have my plate full.

OA: What is next for Ferrari Sheppard?
FS: What's next is I become the Poppa-Bear to all the talent of the world and will discover the next artist or musician who will change the world. StopBeingFamous is the new Tonight Show, but without sensors. "Bring me your weak, bring me your hungry."

Bonus Questions:
Coffee? If yes, where is the best cup in Chicago?
FS: Coffee? no thanks. I had a habit of snorting cocaine. Coffee makes me feel like getting high.

OA: Do you have a favorite local bookstore? What do you like about it?
FS: I have a favorite porn star, two actually. Roxy Renalds and Gianna Michaels.

For more information on Ferrari Sheppard you can check out Stop Being Famous.

1 comment:

KinkyKathy said...

The line between the famous and the underground lies embeddded somewhere in my cleavage.