Farfán is a full-time artist and works out of his studio at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. Sergio Farfán blends the experiences from his hometown in Peru with the life he’s lived in Chicago to create works that focus on the struggles, dreams, and emotions that people go through in their life.
When did you first start getting involved with creativity?
I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember, even before I learned how to read and write. I remember as a kid drawing all my favorite cartoon characters, and it even got to a point where I started creating my own superheroes and villains. I was that kid who stayed out to play with his friends until his mom called him in because it was getting too late. I always liked to go outside because whenever I was home, I felt like an only child since my two big brothers were always out working or with their friends. I had to find a way to distract myself so I drew whatever was in my mind to keep busy. Although I didn’t like to be inside, that time was when most of my creativity flowed and I drew about what happened that day or what was happening around me.
Being originally from Peru, how did you find your way in Chicago?
I came to the United States at the age of seven and I didn’t even know how to speak the language, only Spanish. I spent a lot of my time in school by myself because I couldn’t communicate with my peers. That’s when I thought to use art as a way to communicate with the other kids to catch their attention. Finding my way in Chicago wasn’t so easy at first, but luckily it all worked out in time.
*One of my favorite things to do is to go into the meaning behind some of your pieces. First, let’s start with Reach For The Stars.
As I started this piece, I was actually listening to the song “Homecoming” by Kanye West and gave my interpretation of it into the piece. There’s a part where he states, “Reach for the stars so if you fall, you land on a cloud” and the Kans character is basically representing how I was feeling at that time that I was listening to the song. His face is scared and confused on whether or not he should take that risk, but even if he does, as West mentions, he’ll still land the clouds. I believe West says this because when you aim high and fail, you won’t completely fall down because the “clouds” are your friends and family who will support you and keep you from completely falling.
Second, When I Grow Up…
I based the painting on the idea of kids wanting to be their favorite superheroes when they grow up. Even now, we all wish we had some type of superpower to make our lives easier or fight off the bad guys in our lives. I specifically chose Batman as the main focus because I always wanted to be like him ever since I was little.
You did a squad series, where you combined a few of the biggest artists features into one piece. How did you go about selecting these artists and combining them into their respected pieces?
The reason why I chose each character is that I felt like each individual is an iconic figure in their communities. Jay-Z, Bowie, and 2Pac are legends in music, Walt Disney, Basquiat, Charles M. Schulz are inspirational artists and creators, and Mike Tyson simply because he’s Mike Tyson. I am thinking about expanding the Squad series and combining more iconic figures around the world into one piece to show my respect towards these icons and give my interpretation of them.
Kans is the official name you gave your characters. Talk to us about the meaning of Kans
The name for my characters came from astrological sign, Cancer, who is known to be very emotional and open to how they are feeling. The use of horns and halos above their heads represent how each one of us has a good and bad side. It’s like my own version of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other metaphor. This symbolizes how we can listen to whatever we want but, in the end, it’s up to us to choose what we want to do. We can choose to do the right thing, but we can also mess up and do something bad.
You’ve recently transitioned into clothing. What caused this transition? Have you always been interested in fashion?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. I started my first clothing brand, Fly95 Clothing, back in high school. I always thought fashion was another outlet in which I could express my art and a more affordable way for people to purchase a piece of my work. For example, what I’m doing now with Farfan Clothing, I’m adding a design from a previous work of art onto a shirt while also incorporating hand-finished touches like as if I were working on a canvas. Each shirt is done individually so that no two are alike and everyone can get their own version of the design.
I see you tend to do some work on Number Project. What’s your relationship with them?
Number Project is a company that supports all types of artists: musicians, painters, singers, culinary artists, etc. I started collaborating with them earlier this year as their featured artist at some of their events. I was introduced to Kevin, one of the co-founders of the company, by Patrick Hull, the owner of Vertical Gallery, and just kept on working with them ever since. I’ve gotten to know the crew very well and it’s always a pleasure to work with them.