What is art ? If you ask me, art is a way of expression, art is suppose to mentally stimulate you, art is suppose to draw awareness to inner conflict or the joy within. Now a days art is used to measure one’s popularity by likes and shares on social media. Art is now jaw dropping visual details and must be worthy of being in your smart phone’s camera roll as appose to the wall in your living room. So where did we go wrong in how we view art ? and how do we get back to the root of what art is suppose to be ? How do we take it back to what the icons of the Art industry originally established art to be (originality) ? I searched long and hard for those answers and believe that I found them in my talk with Urban Futurism canvas painter, Anthony Fearron. I had the privilege of talking with Anthony about his philosophy as an artist, how can we return art to it’s true core, and how his influences Jackson Pollack and Jean-Michel Basquiat helped influence his career.
Ladale The Fashionisto: Prior to your career as an artist, what were some of your earlier interest ?
Anthony Fearron: I was actually a DJ. I use to go by the name Madd Pronix. I played lot’s of dub step. Back in 2006, I introduced dub step music on my show. Not too many people know that. It was called Dub Step Live in America.
Ladale The Fashionisto: In your bio(http://www.saatchiart.com/account/profile/586083) you describe your style as Urban Futurism, Please explain to our readers the meaning behind it ?, and how did you come upon the discovery of this particular style ?
Anthony Fearron: People started looking at my stuff and realized that I am doing maps. Usually when i’m doing art, I have no idea where i’m going with it or where i’m heading. It’s kinda reminiscent of if I was a bird looking from above. It’s as if I was above my art and just looking down from below at my creation. What i’m saying to you in so many words is that everyone is consumed by electronics and all these other things, but no one is creating in becoming God like.
LTF: So would you say that you connect your art towards your Spirituality ? What’s the connection between the two ?
Anthony Fearron: Yes ! I connect it with my spirituality and humanity. My art helped me preserve my humanity.
LTF: That’s awesome ! I always claimed that an artist must be in unison with his/her art. What gravitated me to your art at Art Expo, was the emotion that exuded from it; such as rage, spirituality, and social awareness. Is art more so an emotional feeling for you ? or do you find the visual aspect of it the most captivating ?
Anthony Fearron: I’m just having an experience with the passion and information that I have stored inside me. There are so many things that I have inside of me that i’m just beginning to awake(like a sleeping giant). Those are the things that I want to get out of me. Not only to display on art but to challenge myself as a human being. I’m allowing myself to explore within.
LTF: I also read in your bio that in 2005, you was kind of at an emotional cross road, when did it click for you that you can channel all of those emotions that you was feeling at that particular time to your art ? and how have you evolved as an artist from 2005 to currently here in 2016 ?
Anthony Fearron: In 2005, I was just trying to find myself. I was on a journey to develop who I was and at that time I had no idea that journey would take me towards what i’m doing now. I just wanted to become better. In 2009 I went to Art Basel in Miami and I thought I had saw Basquiat. It was art on paper, and the person had copied Basquiat to the very exact detail. It broke my heart because Basquiat along with Jackson Pollack is one of my favorites. So when I saw that someone was able to copy his art and almost do it if not better than Basquiat himself, I became irate. That’s when I realized that I was going to do a style that no one can do. A style that can’t be mimic on a computer, a style that no one on this planet can do. It really clicked for me when I went to a friend’s house, and worked on something that I learned studying Picasso and from there I haven’t stopped since.
LTF: It’s very unfortunate because this is not only present in art but in Music as well. Now a days a person can copy someone else’s original sound or ideas and get credited for it. It’s truly unfortunate because there’s not much originality left in the world……
Anthony Fearron: Right! Due to the information that we are seeking, everything is on the computer, so now we have become so consumed with having access to information, that we are no longer in touch with our own originality and what’s around us to help us showcase our ability to rise like a Phoenix. That’s what Urban Futurism is all about. It’s all about tapping into what the creator has given us. I’m just getting stated Ladale, could you imagine what I could really do if I had the freedom. This is an exciting time for not only me but the art world as well. Also meeting Susan Fanning(Liaison) has prepped me for this moment as well because we have talked about this for years, but now I am truly ready.
LTF: As you can see, Art is transitioning to many different stages, from illustration art that could be done on Adobe Photo Illustrator. Do you feel that the internet has washed away the true core of what Art used to be due to access of programming that helps accelerate the process as appose to using a paint brush and a piece of paper ?
Anthony Fearron: Exactly ! It’s just like music. Not everyone can be a musician and not everyone can be an artist. The computer is one experience but having your own personal experience with a painting is a totally different world. If I was to get on the computer and start joining the movement of digital illustration, it would be a totally different world because i’m not fooling around Ladale. I want to bring the art to the attention of humanity. It’s about waking us up. We all have to be deprogrammed because the world through my eyes, is not meant to be the way it is. Getting back to your question, the computer is an assistance but it’s no substitute for what one can do with his/her hands and his/her own imagination.
LTF: Being that you’re just now coming into your true being as an artist, what is the end goal for Anthony Fearron the artist ?and what is the message you hope to convey through your art ?
Anthony Fearron: My main goal is to be relatable to Basquiat and what he was in the art world as a person of color. That’s what i’m shooting for and I want to aim past that. Same for Anton Kandisky, he has a name and I want to shoot past that along with Susan Fanning. I’m shooting past the stars and just want to remind me people that if I can do it, you can do it too. Put your heart and spirit in your creativity and be open to sharing it with humanity.
LTF: Speaking of Basquiat, do you feel that you are an extension of him. Are you the strongest candidate to carry on his legacy ?
Anthony Fearron: Yes I am ! Not only of Jean Michel Basquait but also Jackson Pollack. These are the people that I really treasure and want to be mentioned along with. Basquiat is apart of my soul. I remember when I person told me that I look like Basquiat. This was in 1994, and I was like who the hell is Basquiat ? I was getting annoyed and when I found out who he was and I looked at myself, I was like okay I see it now. This was during a time in which I had no idea I was going to do art, it’s truly amazing how everything turned out.
LTF: Tell us about your concept on your American Flag painting ? Under the photo of the painting you sent me, it said “We Are the People” and we are committed to one another as a nation, why was this message so important to you ?
Anthony Fearron: It’s important because my wife begged me to do the American Flag haha. She said Anthony “you need to do it” and I was having conflict about it being a person of color and how America views us made it difficult to do. I had to let go of that conflict and realize that i’m part of something far more greater than who I am and so when I did this painting, it is showing the true blue and purity of how hard we worked to rise. This is just the beginning of this piece, when it’s complete it’s going to have the red, white, and blue in there. When I take the blue off, it’s going to have something in place that is symbolic of this election that I would love to unveil this November exclusively to Tuc Magazine. Currently this piece is used to showcase the purity of how I feel and how true I am to the republic.
LTF: A lot of times when i’m doing interviews, I love to get access to the thought process of the artist, photographer, or fashion designer while they are creating, do you create based off your emotion in that exact moment ? or do you prefer creating art with a message already established ?
Anthony Fearron: I always go into my canvas with a blank mindset. I’m having an experience in that exact moment based off the energy. I listen to my inner voice and I allow the creator(God) to guide me. I am at the creator’s mercy. I just go into a trance and once complete, I am at awe at what I achieved. I’m going on a voyage with my art.
LTF: How did you become in touch with your faith ? Did this connection with the creator come at a young age ? or has it manifested during your years on this off and your past experiences ?
Anthony Fearron: It started very young around the time that I saw my first Jackson Pollack ad in the Natural History Museum when I was 10 years old. I was so in tuned with his painting that all my classmates moved ahead of me in the line. My teacher had to come back to get me and pick me up above his shoulder because I couldn’t move. As I was walking through the museum I saw Michael Angelo’s sculpture of Mary holding Jesus. I was able to touch his marble foot and I became in tuned ever sense. That was the moment it all clicked. I caught on real early especially to Jackson Pollack’s painting that day being abstract. I didn’t even know I was doing abstract paintings until my dad told me and that was when I was 13 years old. My dad always encouraged me to do art and when he died 19 years ago, he would always say to me why don’ you do art ? and when I heard Adam Clayton Powell’s “What’s In Your Hand”, I put two and two together and I haven’t stopped since and I won’t stop..
LTF: Earlier in this conversation, we spoke about your past experience as a DJ, is there any similarities between Anthony Fearron aka Madd Pronix the DJ and Anthony Fearron the artist ?
Anthony Fearron: There are similarities because I am an “experimentalist” and I loved experimenting with sound. I remember when J Dilla had called me one night and he asked me what I was playing. He was fascinated by it because it was sound that he never heard before. If he was alive today, I probably wouldn’t be painting. My life would have taken a totally different course. I was actually featured on J Dilla’s last album Donuts so check that out.
LTF: How do you feel your art can resonate with the young generation of today ?
Anthony Fearron: I had an art gallery in Jim Thorpe, PA for 2 and a half years and the young people would come in and just be so excited because they never saw nothing like what I was doing. I had young people buy my art and sometimes for less than what it was worth because I saw the joy through their eyes of how my art resonated with their soul. When I was in Osaka, Japan in 2010, I had a Japanese girl come up to me because she was so excited and her dad told me via a translator that they haven’t seen anything like what I had on display. I also had another Japnaese artist come up to me and tell me that i’m going to be one of the greatest. He gave me a booklet and I started crying because at that time in 2010, I felt I was no where near my potential. Now i’m at the point that I want to express myself on a level that hasn’t been seen in the art world.
LTF: How would you rate yourself as an artist compared to when you first stated ? Are you almost there ? or are you still far away from your true capabilities ?
Anthony Fearron: I’m still no where near I want to be. I’m astonished at the amazing feedback that I received from my earlier work. My earlier work has prepared me for the stuff that I am doing now.
LTF: The world is filled with so many influential minds especially in African American culture, from Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and even with the most recent passing of Muhammad Ali, have you ever thought about doing an art piece heavily inspired by those African American icons or any notable others.
Anthony Fearron: I would love to but more so in a collaborative effort. This type of project that is not about me. It’s about sharing and giving back to the world. The art is about the art. It’s not about race or religion. It’s about humanity so with a project such as what you mentioned, I would love to do it in a big collaboration ,because I’ll be bringing something to the table that other artists can’t and vice versa.
LTF: Outside of your American Flag, what other messages can our readers and current fans of your art expect from your upcoming projects ?
Anthony Fearron: I’m looking forward to working on a project called Birth of a Nation. I want to focus on the equality of our humanity. I’m also looking forward to working on a project inspired by those in the Labor force. Those people work so hard and I feel that they don’t get enough recognition. My labor force project will highlight our craftsmanship. Just think about it, when was the last time we all came together and built something ? I want to take us back to the republic. The Republic in my mind adds and multiplies. Democracy in my point of view, subtracts and divides. I want to add and I want it to multiply. We are the people!
LTF: Where do you think we went wrong as a nation ?
Anthony Fearron: We went wrong when we didn’t invest in humanity. We went wrong when we allowed people to come in our communities and not do things for themselves, we went wrong when we didn’t share ideas and information with one another, we went wrong not caring. I remember when I was a child, when someone bought a new car, we would stand out on the corner and wave to them, now when you get a new car, people try to rob and kill you for your car. When I was a kid we said yes mam and yes sir, and when we did something wrong we would beg our neighbors not to tell our parents. Now a days, kids are cussing their elders out. Everything changed and it’s done literately. It dates back to what I said earlier, Democracy subtracts and divides. A Republic multiplies. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re not doing right by your community then we have a problem.
LTF: There was a story in the local news in NYC that my journalist Holliie Kawall covered on HallaModa, in which a mural that he was apart of that featured so many influential figures was vandalized, Do you feel that art is not as respected as it once was ?
Anthony Fearron: Yes and it’s done deliberately. Personally I wouldn’t disrespect another person’s art because I disagree with it. No art piece should be disrespected especially when it takes love to do art. Hell, it takes love to breathe.
LTF: Art is a very popular occupation amongst us millennials including myself, whether it’s as a sculptor, graphic designer, painter, photographer, or fashion designer. Mostly due to the revenue it’s sure to generate, do you feel that today things are being done more with greed in mind rather than love for the craft itself ?
Anthony Fearron: Right ! I’m glad you said that. My work is done out of pure love. There’s no instant gratification for me. Like I tell young people, you got to put your dues in man. I been putting time in this business just like I did as a DJ.
LTF: What would you say to those artist that may say to you Anthony “I’ve been putting my time into my craft but I don’t feel as if my art is being respected ? What do you say to those artist that are struggling to get their work out there ?
Anthony Fearron: Best thing for them to do is to be patient. Patience is a virtue and try to connect with those that want to connect with them. Sometimes you have to give a little of yourself to get something some small in return. You have to discover what life is about and get an art director such as Susan Fanning who represented artist such as Anton Kandisky.
I was able to follow up with Susan on the role that she has played in Anthony’s career.
Susan Fanning: Anthony and I been planning on working together for the longest but it wasn’t our time until now when Anthony called me and told me that he was ready. Since then, we did Art Expo together for the first time and now we have plans to expand to Barcelona. Anthony and I are great friends and that’s what’s so special about this. So when he called me, I just said to him “let’s go and let’s run with it”.
LTF: Where can people that are interested in your art go to find and purchase it ?
Anthony Fearron: Anthonyfearronarts.com and they can also contact Susan Fanning by email SusanFanning@aol.com for business inquiries.
All photos courtesy of Susan Fanning