The American artist Jeff Faerber grew up in San José, California, and studied art at San José State University and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since leaving college he has settled in Brooklyn, in a studio and apartment which he shares with his partner and cats. His paintings have appeared regularly in exhibitions in New York and further afield.
His choice of painting subjects and style is best summed up in his own words:
‘I have always loved drawing, and started to paint when I was fifteen. I probably drew before I started talking – as I’m an introvert it was easier than dealing with people. I was raised in a religious environment that didn’t work for me. As a result, I am fascinated by what I consider to be the arbitrariness of world views and dogmas, and how even within a belief system there can be conflicting opinions. My paintings explore the values and spirituality that I believe should underlie religious beliefs. They delve into the sense of alienation that can result from trying to define their identity under the shadow of an excessively rigid religious doctrine.
I’m fascinated by the act of creation, whether in a set of beliefs or in a painting. In recreating the world – making a false world on a two-dimensional surface – I often find a more understandable truth than the real world. Metaphors simplify elusive ideas, so that the mind can wrap them around. Thus the intangible becomes tangible. I try to expand the scope of beauty by having it encompass and confront the abuses of so-called ‘civilized’ society – its decadence, its narrow-mindedness, its rape of the environment.
As one who has ‘fallen from grace’, I have a natural interest in the underdog, the discarded and unwanted. I often paint on or incorporate cardboard, trash, society’s forgotten, landfill-bound material. I react to what I feel is often an overly-sanitised, the saccharine façade that is projected on us by mass commercialisation. There is often beauty in despair, and I find hope in the muted colours of what is often considered unbeautiful.’
Jeff Faerber’s website, with many more examples of his work including New York cityscapes, portraits, and even the beginnings of a highly original Tarot, can be found here.