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        News — Sergio Farfan

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        Sergio Farfan 'Anxiety Est. 03'

        Sergio Farfan 'Anxiety Est. 03'

        Stella Gallerie is very proud to present ‘Anxiety Est. 03,’ a collection of new paintings by Chicago-based multimedia artist Sergio Farfán.

        ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ (which occupies both Stella Gallerie in Miami and Public Studio in Tampa, and is presented in partnership with Chicago’s Vertical Gallery) features close to three dozen new canvases grappling with the seminal moment in Farfán’s life to date: his family’s abrupt relocation from their native Peru to the United States — a tectonic shift that set in motion his childhood anxiety, but also directly inspired his career as an artist. Farfán will be in attendance when ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ opens at Stella Gallerie on Thursday, Sept. 22, and will travel to Tampa for the Public Studio opening on Saturday, Sept. 24.

        ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ explores childhood trauma through the lens of Farfán’s signature cartoon-cubism approach, poignantly yet playfully bringing to life the emotions and experiences that reshaped his adolescence upon arriving in America in 2003. Farfán’s parents did not inform him about the family’s relocation plans: in fact, the animation-obsessed seven-year-old boarded their plane believing he was en route to a Disney World vacation. While the aircraft briefly touched down in Miami, the Farfáns continued on to Chicago, where Sergio struggled to adjust both to his new surroundings and to the absence of his extended Peruvian family — a struggle that manifested as crippling anxiety.

        “I remember being in Peru and not having any anxiety. I was a normal, happy kid,” Farfán says. “But flying from Peru to Florida and then from Florida to Chicago, my heart started racing and I was nauseous. I was shaking and sweating. It was not until my freshman year in high school that I was diagnosed with anxiety, and that led me to art therapy. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to deal with my anxiety and using art as a form of meditation.”

        Farfán credits art therapy — a technique that utilizes creative expression as a means to address a patient’s negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors — for giving him the tools necessary to bring a project like ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ to fruition.

        “Art therapy didn’t just teach me how to draw, but also to draw whatever I felt, and to put meaning into it,” he explains. “‘Anxiety Est. 03’ processes what I felt coming from Peru to the U.S. — what anxiety did to me, and how I dealt with it. Each painting tells stories about coming to America: what immigrants experience to come here, and what life is like when we get here.” 

        ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ represents the culmination of a long and winding creative process. Farfán originally conceived the series in 2017, one of four ongoing collections of paintings he launched that year; in preparation for this exhibit, he completed and reimagined works in progress since five years earlier, concurrently continuing the ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ series with brand-new pieces that delve deeper into his core thematic concerns and demonstrate his evolving mastery of color. For example, both “Color Esperanza” (on display in Tampa) and the ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ title painting (exhibiting in Miami) confront anxiety’s chokehold on Farfán’s psyche, but while the former is serene and contemplative, the latter delivers Picasso-inspired anarchy, complete with appearances by animation icons Tom and Jerry.

        “Back in 2017, I was in a very bad mindset. I was sharing very personal stuff in my paintings, and It now feels very immature. So I went back and painted over everything I don’t want people to know, because it’s all behind me now,” Farfán says. “It felt like I was collaborating with my younger self. In fact, it almost feels like we’re two different people, because we all change every day. But I still really like the paintings from back then, because they show a lot of character.”

        Vertical Gallery first displayed Farfán’s work in a 2016 holiday-themed pop-up exhibit, and included several of his canvases in its 2019 and 2020 anniversary shows. In late 2020, Vertical presented ‘Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup,’ a solo pop-up that explored the artist’s debt to his boyhood hero Andy Warhol while simultaneously embracing a more abstract approach that escaped Warhol’s shadow altogether — an approach that informed the dazzlingly colorful, mind-bending work presented in Farfán’s first full-fledged solo exhibit, 2021’s ‘Five Years.’

        Contact victor@stellagallerie.com for sales inquiries.

        Vertical Gallery turns the calendar to Sergio Farfán’s ‘Five Years’

        Vertical Gallery is very proud to present ‘Five Years,’ Chicago-based multimedia artist Sergio Farfán’s first solo exhibit.

        ‘Five Years,’ which runs from Nov. 6-24 at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location, caps off the first half-decade of Farfán’s professional career while introducing daring possibilities for the next phase of the artist’s evolution. The show features new canvases and sculptures as well as a unique video installation intercutting animations of Farfán’s original characters with clips from the classic cartoons, films and music videos that inspired his formative efforts.

        Farfán is no stranger to Vertical audiences. The gallery first displayed his work in a 2016 holiday-themed pop-up exhibit, and included several canvases in its 2019 and 2020 anniversary shows. In late 2020, Vertical also presented ‘Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup,’ a solo pop-up that explored Farfán’s debt to his boyhood hero Andy Warhol while simultaneously embracing a more playful, abstract approach that escaped Warhol’s shadow altogether — an approach that informs the dazzlingly colorful, mind-bending work presented in ‘Five Years.’  

        “My five-year plan was always to do my art, be successful with it and have a solo show at Vertical Gallery. And it happened,” Farfán says. “Everything I did within those five years — experimenting with different styles and morphing them together — is in this show.”  

        Farfán was born in Peru. His family relocated to Chicago when he was seven years old; as a teen, he struggled with depression, but found refuge in art therapy — a technique that utilizes creative expression as a means to address a patient’s negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors. “Art therapy is where I started to learn how to put meaning into what I was drawing,” Farfán says. “It’s fine to be not fine. That’s what my work’s about: the fact that everyone goes through stuff. It’s up to you how you want to deal with it, and if you want to take the good route or the bad route.”

        In conjunction with ‘Five Years,’ Farfán and Vertical Gallery are publishing Comeuppance, a full-color monograph capturing images and recollections from the first five years of Farfán’s career. Comeuppance goes on sale Saturday, Nov. 6. 

        Sergio Farfán
        "5 Years"
        November 6 - 24, 2021
        Opening Day: Saturday, November 6th, noon-6pm
        Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago

        Vertical Gallery, Sergio Farfan Go ‘Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup’

        Vertical Gallery, Sergio Farfan Go ‘Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup’

        Line Dot and Vertical Gallery are very proud to present “Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup,” a solo exhibit spotlighting Chicago painter and sculptor Sergio Farfan.

        VIEW EXHIBITION IN 3D

        “Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup” — which runs Oct. 3-17 at Line Dot Editions, located at 1023 N. Western Ave. in Chicago — assembles 12 canvases and 30 hand-painted sculptures heralding a bold new chapter in Farfan’s creative evolution. The artist will be in attendance for the exhibit’s opening-day event, taking place at Line Dot on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; standard social distancing guidelines will be enforced.

        The pieces making up “Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup” directly address Farfan’s complex relationship with his hero Andy Warhol, acknowledging the pop art pioneer’s enormous influence on Farfan’s work while at the same time forging a distinctly original, deeply personal style that escapes Warhol’s shadow altogether. The “Kans” namechecked in the exhibit’s title are original characters created by Farfan; each of the 30 sculptures depicts a different Kan stuck headfirst in a can of Campbell’s Soup, the kitchen cupboard staple whose red-and-white label remains synonymous with Warhol nearly 60 years after the release of his landmark “Campbell’s Soup Cans” silkscreen series. The accompanying paintings tell the story of Farfan’s growing realization that he must abandon Warholian ideals and aesthetics in order to continue advancing his own career and craft.

        “A lot of people mimic their idols. They think that’s what they should be doing. But in reality, you have to follow your own path and your own heart. That’s the whole point of the show,” Farfan says.

        The autobiographical narrative driving “Looking for Dreams in a Kan of Soup” also explores Farfan’s sometimes tumultuous inner world. “The Kans are all based on me. Each is based on the personality I feel when I’m drawing that character,” he explains. “‘Kans’ come from Cancer, the horoscope sign — I’m a Cancer, and we’re known to be really emotional. The crazier the character is, the crazier my mind is. In high school, I went to art therapy, and that’s where I started to learn how to put meaning into what I was drawing. Everything I do, I want it to have meaning. I don’t want to paint something just because it looks cool.”

        Farfan was born in Peru, at age 7 relocating with his family to the U.S. A largely self-taught artist raised on a steady diet of cartoons (whose reality-bending characters and colors continue to exert a profound impact on his work), Farfan first achieved notoriety while in high school, claiming first-place honors in the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. From there he briefly studied graphic design at the American Academy of Art but gravitated to fine art after attending a gallery show headlined by his instructor and mentor Anthony Adcock.

        While Farfan followed a journey similar to many fledgling artists, painting murals across the Chicagoland area and presenting work in gallery group shows, he also built a reputation on the strength of live painting demonstrations at a series of public and private events, including performances featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and rapper Gucci Mane. He has participated in several exhibitions at both Line Dot and Vertical Gallery over the past couple years.