With a love for antique papers, the human face and a technique of layering art, one local artist is creating work that is gaining attention in the area.

Jeremy Fry, who graduated from State Fair Community College in 2004, said he began showing his work again recently due to the encouragement of the NoBro Art Walk and 7th Street Artist Co-op.

“I made art and created art but never really showed it,” he said. “So, I was a closet artist.”

He added that people knew he made art and would ask him to create portraits of their family, but it wasn’t what he really wanted to do artwise.

“Up until the art events, I didn’t make a lot of art,” he noted.

Thursday afternoon Fry was working on an art piece in his home studio that featured paint as well as faces from a vintage yearbook and a male figure clipped from an old National Geographic.

“I have always done pencil drawings,” he explained. “I’ve always been into the human face. So, I’ve always done portraiture type work. I did that for a long time … then I found myself liking

things that were antique. Antique papers, fabrics, antique photos—those types of things really inspire me.”

Because of this interest, he decided to “switch up” his art and create more abstract types of work.

“I’m a trash-to–treasure type of guy, so like old book pieces and things I incorporate in my paintings,” Fry said. “Now I’m doing a lot more of cutting items out and then adding to (the work).”

He enjoys layering with different textures and various types of paint such acrylic paint, spray paint and watercolor pencil.

“I mean, you name it, I love it,” he said. “It’s just kind of playing with something that’s visually appealing, I Iike giving new life to old objects.”

Fry has found he also enjoys telling abstract stories with his art.

“I like to sit back and listen to what other people are seeing when they look at my artwork,” he said. “Sometimes I just do something that’s visually appealing to me, whether it’s the color or the texture, and I sit back and let the people who are looking at my artwork decide what’s it’s about and how it speaks to them.”

For some of his layered, shadow box art, Fry’s inspiration for the human face comes from well-known artists Chuck Close and Robert Rauschenberg. He views his work as a “medley” and a combination of both artists.

“I take different elements and use foam core and create layers,” Fry explained. “To me, that’s how they all connect in some way or another, is the whole layering.

“When I’m looking at Robert Rauschenberg and how when you get close up, you start to notice little pieces that originally were something else,” he continued. “I think that’s super important to my artwork too.”

Fry said when he is working on an art piece and uses cutout vintage images or photos he is actually building “a relationship” with the images as he incorporates them into his work.

Exhibiting his work in shows again is proving profitable. Fry had two pieces juried into the Missouri State Fair Top 50 exhibit this year “Encumbrance,” and “The Last Ride,” and he has sold several prices while showing at NoBro art events. 

“I’ve really enjoyed it, to be back (exhibiting),” Fry said. “Art is something that I have always been passionate about. When I first graduated from high school art was my life … I felt like art gave me a voice and it was something I was really good at. And my art teacher was phenomenal, she was my inspiration, Cathy Miller in Marshall.”

He added that Miller saw his potential which set him on the path to creating art. Fry has now combined both loves, art and teaching—teaching as a day job and art as a passion. He is also excited about the art scene in Sedalia.

“We have a strong art community,” he said. “I feel like it’s going to continue to grow. I feel like we’re a fine arts community … we’re on the verge of just being something really awesome.”

For more information on Jeremy Fry’s artwork email him at artofjeremyfry@gmail.com.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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