Raised on Chicago’s south side, Zeph Farmby started writing graffiti as a teenager in the early 1990s. While attending Percy L. Julian High School, he took four years of advanced art classes; cramming in as much art exposure and education as he could. During his high school years, Zeph entered countless art competitions; always winning the top award. His passion was evident. Zeph started his freelance art career long before he knew it was his true calling. At 16, he was creating logos and murals for small local businesses and had picked up some independent studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. By the time high school was over, Zeph had a list of clients that would create envy in most entrepreneurs older than him.
During his studies at the American Academy of Art, Zeph enhanced his knowledge by deepening his understanding of art history and adding to his skill set with acrylic and oil paintings, graphic design, and Illustration. However, Zeph never turned his back on his original love for Hip-Hop and continued to practice his graffiti skills in more formal art environments. It was here that Zeph hoped he’d land in the field of his dreams: creating illustrations for mainstream magazines. Prior to graduating from The American Academy of Art in Chicago, Zeph was commissioned for large scale projects for companies in the area. He would continue to create illustrations for local magazines and graphic designs for t-shirts and other promotional materials. This would become a new phenomenon for Zeph.
He continues to have a long scorecard of A-list clients who commission him for illustration and design work. Today, you can see these pieces featured in major motion films and TV shows. But, it wasn’t all glitz and glam in the beginning. After graduating with a Degree in Fine and Commercial Arts, Zeph sold T-shirts to friends and inner city boutiques. Eventually, his designs, original paintings, and graffiti work made to large retail stores, hair salons, and shops. The B.E.T. television series, “Rap City The Basement,” was one of the first shows to broadcast his work nationwide.
Zeph’s company “I Amaze Eyez” provides an umbrella for Zeph’s various areas of expertise. World-renown art galleries seek Zeph’s multi-layered wit humor, accompanied by an underlined statement about greed, humanity and the ills of society. The message is usually anti-greed, anti-capitalism and/or anti-establishment.
Zeph’s creative works have been on display at Yale University and have been worn or used by artists like Kayne West, Jay Z, and Swizz Beatz. His artwork has also been featured in major publications including Complex Magazine, Hypebeast, XXL magazine and Vice.
Zeph was also the “2017-2018 Artist-in-Residence” at Artspace New Haven and has prepared artwork for 4 solo exhibitions, and has designed mural projects with international clients in Haiti and Japan.
Zeph’s art was also displayed during the “Black Creativity” Art Exhibit held at the Museum of Science And Industry in Chicago, IL. His original works are for sale and can be found in museums, art galleries and boutiques across the United States, Canada, France, and online. Today, between his busy travel schedule and demanding clients, Zeph enjoys mentoring and coaching young artists in his home town.
Zeph is currently working in the studio in the Greater New York City area and is represented by The Bishop Gallery.
Zeph Farmby’s latest collection of work,“Colored Me Bad,” was inspired by prejudice. This compilation of work features iconography based on the Black experience as it transcends trends, myths, societal mental conditioning, and conscious ignorance.
The collection reflects a desire to awaken the parts of our brain that have not been influenced by filters, built to brainwash us so that we may trigger a new way of thinking that drives omniscience. The art questions what society has projected on Black culture – then challenge us toward a new reality.
Eat The Rich (street sign)
Acrylic, oil paint, spray paint, Chinese ink on metal
Hello My Name Is, 2016
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
48” x 72”
Ali vs. Superman, 2018
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
38” x 96″