His work straddles the realms of both fine art and pop art. Cartoonish yet deep, colorful yet sophisticated, his visually arresting pieces are both vibrant and, often, slightly disturbing. The work of Detroit native artist PHYBR has continued to garner more attention as his talent has continually grown and evolved.
Now residing in Toledo, the renowned painter and graffiti muralist has a new exhibit of work premiering at the Art Supply Depo. Given the eclectic variety of PHYBR’s work, the exhibition’s title seems fitting: “In Pieces.”
“It’s really representative of where I’m at currently, mentally and figuratively, as an artist. I’m thinking a lot more in-depth with my approach to the canvases and panels, or even walls. So it’s a whole different approach,” PHYBR said.
“I am an artist”
Born Ken Dushane III, PHYBR said he’s always had an inclination toward the arts since childhood, nurtured and encouraged by his family.
“I’ve always been attached to art; it wasn’t until I got to college and realized what I wanted to do. My passion was art. I am an artist. I realized that in college.”
Inspired by legendary artists like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, PHYBR began to develop his own aesthetic, merging elements of comic book and street art with bits of hot rod culture and more: “I think that’s where I fell in love with the illustrative style of it all, and the line work, is where I really got immersed in. And that’s where my fascination or even obsessiveness of it all comes in. Just in the details of the line work.”
The end results are pieces are as varied as his influences, with large outdoor murals as common as traditional canvas painting and even T-shirt design. PHYBR’s comic-styled aesthetic is prominent, even if his subject matter— skeletons and hideous, tentacled monsters are often featured— may occasionally seem a bit morbid.
Back to fundamentals
The works on display at “In Pieces,” PHYBR explains come from a period where he is taking a very back-to-fundamentals approach to his work, inspired by recent experiences as a teacher of beginning art students, as well as attending a number of mural festivals.
“Being exposed to artisans way better than me, that inspire me… I think that has really inspired me to really push myself. Not just on panels and canvases and walls, but on my approach to how I do it,” PHYBR said.
On Thursday, October 19, attendees of the exhibit’s artist’s reception (during the Art Loop) will be able to meet and talk with PHYBR himself. But no matter when the audience views the exhibit, he said he hopes they come away with a greater appreciation of how truly meaningful work can come in many forms.
“Fine art isn’t just limited to fine artists if that makes sense,” PHYBR said. “I studied fine art and graphic design and stuff like that in college, when I studied [for] my graphic design degree. But it’s funny how I’m utilizing all that, and using all the fine art techniques to highlight that. So I hope they can see that.”