Ferrari Sheppard “Music is inseparable from my creative process”
Ferrari Sheppard is taking the art world by storm. He recently contributed to the amfAR Gala and launched his first solo exhibition in London. To find out what makes Ferrari tick creatively, we talked to him about the influence music and jazz have on his art.
How important is music to your creative process as an artist?
For me, artistic expression is a monolith. Whether it's writing, painting or composing music, art is born from an urge to communicate the human experience. In this way, music is inseparable from my creative process. I've created music in past and I listen to music as I paint.
What genres of music and/or any specific musicians do you usually listen to while painting and creating?
It depends on my mood, but mostly I listen to jazz. Grant Green, Miles Davis, John and Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk, Mulatu Astatke, the list goes on. When I'm not listening to jazz, I'm listening to anything from Fela Kuti to Kendrick Lamar to Chopin. As I said before, it depends on my mood.
What is your relationship with Jazz and what influence or relation does it have to your work?
When I was a boy, I entered a phase of music discovery that caused me to spend hours digging through records at the local record shop. I experimented with Blues first, but I found l preferred the spirit of Jazz. I was drawn to the improvisational and loose aspects of the music. Big Band repulsed me because it felt too performative like black people were only playing it to please Whites. I preferred the departure--the jazz musician rebels who leaned towards Bebop.
When I look at my work, I see the influence of jazz through my approach to line and the unapologetic immediacy of my stroke. There is a certain confidence in my form.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations, both past and present?
I'm inspired by professional integrity and determination, both artistically and in other aspects of life. I admire people that strive towards excellence. I love Pablo Picasso's work ethic. I admire Jack Whitten's approach towards science and philosophy in relation to visual art. I'm a fan of Cy Twombly, De Kooning and Jacob Lawrence.
What are your ambitions for 2023 and beyond?
I'd like to continue to secure museum exhibitions and expand my studio abroad. I see myself continuing to create art.