Interview with Blake Lee Ferguson


Blake Lee Ferguson, born December 1986, is a self-taught artist from Forest City, NC. He drew on everything he came in contact with from an early age, but graduated to paint and canvas around the age of 18. Blake pairs street art with an understanding and appreciation of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter to achieve something that is truly one of a kind. His penchant for bright backgrounds nod at abstract expressionism, while his bold and often greyscale "stencil style" figures show his love for street art.


Hi Blake, today MoW selected 5 your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you chose to create about these music artist ? What was the music behind the artworks ? What inspired you to create them ? 

I don't always select a musician (actor, historical, or pop culture icon) based on their works or reputation. Most often I find myself gravitating towards subjects with interesting features. In some cases I will select a subject that is somewhat "plain" and make them look more interesting. The "Deadly Rhythm", "Heart of Glass", "Unknown Pleasures" and "Bad Seed" were all for my first solo show (By The Throat, featured at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC). The Orange Peel is a music venue, so for the show I did 20 portraits of musicians from some of my favorites bands, and I tried to cover several genres/musicians that I thought people would connect with. "Burning Love" was a piece that I did for my gallery space at ZaPow in Asheville. I've always considered the eyes to be the most important part of a portrait, you can lose the identity if you get the eyes wrong, so I thought "why not add more eyes?"

Why is music important to you and your art? 

Music has always been a huge part of my life. Both of my parents were big music fans. I can remember riding around in my Dad's Chevy Nova listening to old Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard tapes. I discovered punk music around the age of 10 thanks to my older brother and have been an addict since. I work in an open office so my headphones are in all day long. Music was definitely my first love.

If you had to choose between the artworks presented today, which of your artwork would be your favorite ? and why ? 

"Burning Love" (the Elvis Piece) is the piece I consider to be my first "great piece". As an artist I am very self deprecating, the flaws always stand out to me more than any other portion of the work, but that piece was flawless to me. I still regret selling it, it's the only piece I've sold so far that I wish I could have in my house.

Can you tell MoW more about the techniques you used. How old is your technique? How did it start? How long does it take you to make an artwork ?

I use MANY techniques while creating the backgrounds of my paintings. I am a self taught artist so my style is really just an evolution and combination of the artists that inspire me. I've drawn my entire life but I started painting about 10 years ago. I was always amazed by the complexities of large "messy" paintings from artists like Jackson Pollock so he was the first artist I tried to imitate. I feel like over the last 10 years my work has grown by leaps and bounds, I believe it's still evolving today. Every new piece of art that inspires me sticks in my brain and is in some small fashion an inspiration on future pieces.

Do you have plans on creating new artworks insipired by music ? 

Music has always been a huge part of my life and will continue to be. Music will always inspire what I paint and who I paint.

Do you listen to music when you’re working ? If so, what kind of music ? 

It's rare that I don't have music playing. At work, in the car, in the studio, around the house while I'm helping my wife cook or fixing something there's always music on. With the large range of music I listen to I have to be selective while I'm painting. Obviously if I'm painting something with a lot of flow and beauty I won't put on a Converge album. I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop while doing my less chaotic backgrounds, artists such as MF Doom, Wu-Tang etc get a lot of plays. If I'm doing a piece with lots of movement and "messy" parts i'll listen to punk or hardcore. I actually named "Deadly Rhythm" after the Refused song because I had a breakthrough on the background during that song. I painted that entire background during 1 listen of their "The Shape of Punk to Come" album.

What is the song you liked the most lately? The album ? What was the last gig you went to ? 

I would equate picking a favorite song to a parent picking a favorite child, if that parent had thousands of children. The first song that comes to mind is Crosses "The Epilogue" because I heard it for the first time late last week and it's been stuck in my head since. 

Current favorite album is probably Ceremony's "Rohnert Park" even though it's several years old I've only recently grown to appreciate it for the sonic behemoth it truly is. The last show I saw was Jason Isbell at the Orange Peel a few weeks ago. His 2013 album "Southeastern" is one of my favorites from last year.

Are you a musician yourself ? If so can you tell MoW more about your music projects ? 

Between my day job, my wife, and my art I have very little time left in the day. I would love to be in a band, I was in bands during my teenage years, but I was never a very talented musician. I played drums and bass and sang a bit too.


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