I Amaze Eyez.com is a portfolio of creative works by Chicago based Freelance Artist/ Designer Zeph Farmby. Using art as the platform to change lives and inspire others to achieve their dreams by pursuing their passions. I like to show an assortment of things that relate to my lifestyle, from everyday struggles to showing portraits of things that I enjoy. My art reveals the aspects of life from my perspective being metaphoric in showing subjects reflecting Hip-Hop and how I grew up.
So this whole site is about Zeph Farmby?
Z: Yes indeed. It’s about me and what I contribute to the world of hip-hop and and the platform to showcase my art collection.
People want to know about you. Tell them something good?
Z: People want to know about me huh? Well let’s see… I’m an Artist, Painter, Graphic Designer, Apparel Designer, Illustrator should I keep going? (laughter)
So why do people want to know that?
Z: Usually people are interested in finding out who I am as an artist/ designer. I’m an interesting guy! I think so anyway.
Do you know how to moon walk?
Z: Yup. I moon walk in my studio everyday. What’s with the weird questions?
How do you feel?
Z: I feel like that’s a weird question! But I’m OK for now. Today was a really productive day for me; got lots of assignments crossed off my “to do list”.
Where were you born?
Z: I was born in the hospital in room 3 (laughter)
Naw, for real, I was born on the West side of Chicago but raised on the South side .
Two sides of Chicago youll always hear about on the news how did you stay out of trouble?
Z: I didn’t. People (out of towners) say Chicago only has two sidesSouth and West. I had my fair share of trouble.
What was your ah hah moment when you realized you had this talent?
Z: I recognized this a long time ago. As far back as I can remember I’ve been drawing. Even back to first grade, I can recall coloring a cow blue. The teacher questioned my thinkingsaying, “Cows aren’t blue!” See, even then I was misunderstood!
Drawing has always been natural for me. As a kid, I enjoyed drawing everything I saw. I knew the talent was there, I just didn’t know how to channel it.
So you knew you had a talent, who guided you and helped you understand how to turn it into a money-making business?
Z: I’m gonna be honest with you, my sophomore year of high school I really wanted to play basketball. I tried out for the team. I didn’t make it. I asked my mom if I could transfer to a school in the suburbs because I knew I’d be the best on the team. She wouldn’t let me. So, I tried to drop out of school but moms wasn’t having that. One morning she woke me up and just spazzed on me!! She yelled so loud, either get my ass out of bed and go to school or get out of her house. So after I got dressed and went to school (laughter)…I refocused my energy toward drawing and began entering drawing competitions, etc.
I had to focus on art because I’d come to the realization that I wasn’t getting anywhere with playing ball!
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for the art that you create?
Z: Ha! Typical question for an artist right? Well, my inspiration comes from all sorts of things. I can hear a song or read a history book and get a spark. Once I get the spark, the energy just flows. You know the saying, “eat, sleep, and sh*t your career?” Well that’s me. Everyday, I eat, sleep and sh*t art!! (laughter) Seriously, I can be walking down the street and see a funny facial expression on someone, or notice the way someone is dressed, and I’ll get an idea for an illustration or painting.
Can you pinpoint your most bizarre inspiration? Did it result to your greatest piece of work?
Z: Bizarre inspiration? Well, I don’t I have a “greatest piece of work” in my collection yet. I’m pretty critical of myself. I often get tired of looking at a piece I’m working on and might not fall in love with it until after it’s finished or sold and no longer in my possession. Then I’ll look at hi-res photos of it and admire it.
Do you name your work?
Z: Yes. I try to name every piece
Whats your favorite piece?
Z: II have two. One that I created in HS in 1997 (I won an award for it too!!) It’s “Untitled”. The other one is “The R”…because that piece was accepted into the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry…BIG DAMN DEAL! I love that piece. I would never sell it!!
Not even for a million dollars?
Z: Well I’m not dumb!
So you have a theme for each art show?
Z: Yes. For example, one of my past show theme was “Back to my Roots”. I exhibited a series of paintings that related to my past.
So looking at your work is graffiti art your trade mark?
Z: Something like that. But I like to step out of the box…I don’t want to be put into a category.
What are your hobbies outside of art?
Z: Collecting shoes, vinyl toys, and books.
How many pairs of shoes would you say you have?
Z: (laughing) I haven’t counted. But I’ll tell you that within the last month I’ve bought 6 pair of very limited shoes.
I heard you were crazy until you got your hands on the Yeezys. Are you ever going to wear them?
Z: I wouldn’t say I was crazy but I tried my hardest to get a pair at an auction in Chicago and got out-bid. It’s a long story but I do have them. As for wearing them yea…Ima wear those!! (laughter)
What are you goals? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Z: RICH! In 5 years, I see myself and my company growing and having more employees including an assistant to help me with shows and graphic design projects.
I can see people chanting, I got a whole army trying to go buy some Zeph Farmby!
Z: Thats funny.
Who do you look up to?
Z: I wouldn’t use the words “look up to” but there are people who’s work inspire me to do better; Ernie Barnes, Sebastian Krueger (an artist I just became aware of)…I hope my portraits look as good as his one day. Also graffiti artists like Kofie, Futura, Jose Parla, and Kihende Wiley even Kanye West are inspirational.
Back to my question Why do you collect so many shoes was it that you had to share shoes when you were a kid or something?
Z: Nah… I never had to share shoes. I really didn’t start out being a collector. I started out just being me, and fashion and kicks have just always been apart of the culture. In my teenage years I had some dope kicks and from there they multiplied. But now I only buy limited editions and shoes that are highly sought after.
Whats your greatest accomplishment?
Z: Having one of my pieces selected to be showcased in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Next goal is to have a solo exhibit in a museum.
If you were a teen in Chi in the 80s what would your lifestyle be?
Z: I’m sure I’d be deeply rooted in Hip-Hop. Break dancing on cardboard boxes, bombing the train lines and probably rapping. Being a b-boy…I can picture myself walking down the street carrying a boom box, rocking an Adidas jump suit with a high top fade (like Kid-n-Play or Big Daddy Kane…his was dope. He had the stair steps with parts!) (laughter) I’d definitely have the Dookie rope around my neck. I’d probably be a pioneer in Chicago and a legend by now.
But I can go on and on about this for days…
Have any celebrities ever worn your clothing designs?
Z: Yea…Should I break out my list of names? I don’t name drop because I think that’s corny. But I’m sure you’ve seen my work on your favorite t.v. shows, music videos and movies.
Do any celebrities own pieces of your art?
Z: Yes, but is that important? It’s not about who buys the painting but more about the person who buys it appreciating what went into it. I won’t name any names, but you can find my work inside the New York Def Jam office.