The streets is everywhere; in corporate America, and around the corner. It’s a dog eat dog world.
As someone who thrives most in creative spaces, I have somewhat of a zeal for all arts including music, photography, art and literature. I’m that person that will listen to people’s music, view and share their pictures, and read their latest story. There is something to be said about someone who will take their most inner feeling and emotions to put on display for the world to share. Not all experiences are positive due to criticism and discouragement, but I appreciate an artist who against all odds will continue to create art that is meaningful to them. Whoever is inspired, will be so.
I usually browse through my Facebook and Twitter to see what the people are talking about, and what people are sharing. Facebook is where the art of 23-year-old Wichita native George Frazier caught my attention. Some may classify George’s art as Urban art, an art that captures the experience of those who have a heart for the streets. In fact, when I spoke to George about sharing some of his art he said “Let me find something a bit more friendly; my art isn’t for everyone and I don’t want people to get offended.” I appreciated the consideration, but I was willing to share whatever piece he provided because I wanted to capture the authentic energy from his art, and from him as the artist. What people need to realize is that true art is rarely made to please the viewer; it is created as some form of outlet and expression. Art at times looses authenticity and spirit when it is done “on demand” for the motives and agendas of others. Therefore, I’m not one for watering down a message whatever that message may be. We came to an agreement, and he on the spot created a family portrait to share.
What impressed me most about his art was that it was honest, and each drawing held a story. Through his sketches you see the people you are afraid of, the old people you see walking down the streets in the hood; real people with real emotions. It doesn’t matter who likes it or not, it is real and honest which I can respect. As he talked about wanting to keep the street edge to his art, he expressed the following – “The streets is everywhere; in corporate America, and around the corner. It’s a dog eat dog world.”
In talking to George, I could sense that he bears the burden of the creative spirit; he possesses a roughness laced with sensitivity, honesty, and transparency even if that means he stands out. “I’ve always felt different from everyone. I’m 6’4″, 6’5″ covered in tattoos. People say I’m too weird. You just have to be around me to understand me; I’m just myself.” Almost every artist I know has this sense of aloneness, the sense that they are just different. That’s not always a bad thing, as this can be the very thing that drives creation. However, I do think it is always good to surround yourself with genuine people who believe in you, as creative people will absorb all energy including negative energy.
George says his inspiration comes from feeling isolated from the “normals,” heartbreak, homelessness, and even losing people close to him. His art is not only his true passion but it also keeps him grounded and out of trouble. When he feels pain, he takes it out with his pen and pad. “Every smile isn’t a happy face.”
In terms of experience and training, aside from taking art courses in school, George is mostly self-taught. Some of his first sketches were done with just an ink pen. When I saw the detail of some of his drawings, it was almost hard to believe. “I admit I really didn’t take my classes seriously but I wish I would have. I started using a pen, but now I’m experimenting with colors and pencils. But through everything I been through, I just fully embraced the gift that God gave me and now I’m taking it seriously.” I’d definitely be interested in seeing how much his art can grow with more refinement, training and practice. George has began to receive increased recognition for his work on social media as people are asking him to draw for them. He appreciates that, but drawing on demand isn’t something he always likes to do. He likes to keep things raw and meaningful. He does however reach out and offers to draw things for people. One recent project was the design of a book cover for Published Queen out of Wichita, KS.
After talking a while I asked George what was next. I told him to dream big in terms of his gift. “I want to be remembered and leave a legacy from my art and I want to be a mogul. If it brings me money so be it, but this really is my passion. I don’t care about the new pair of Jordans; I’m actually starting to invest in myself by investing in my art. I’ve spent so much at places like Hobby Lobby lately, it’s crazy. I’m just embracing it.” He talked about starting a clothing line with a few other artists as well.
Overall I enjoyed conversing with George, learning more about his art and him as a person as well. I say sky is the limit. If one stays true the themselves and their art, and God will always put the rest in line. I look forward to his continued development, work, and contribution to the world of creatives everywhere.