“As a kid, I felt like Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book,’” artist Julius Ferguson says. “I felt like animals understood me more than people.”
So naturally, when he started painting four years ago, Ferguson chose to paint animals.
He interjects pieces of personal experiences within his detailed paintings. As both an artist and a storyteller, Ferguson creates to inspire others through a unique viewing/listening experience with his artwork.
Although he is commissioned for portraits and other projects, Ferguson sells many original pieces because of their underlying stories.
“You might not have went through the exact same things, but you have felt something like it,” he says. “So a lot of people really like the way that I talk about the artwork. It inspires them.”
Ferguson feels as if everything in this world is speaking to him, especially animals and nature, as long as he’s listening.
As one of the 2019-20 Brandon Fellows at Greenville Center for Creative Arts, he will produce three art collections by the end of the year. One speaks to finding peace.
The collection will feature animals with a bit of light hitting their faces, grabbing their attention away from the darkness around them.
“It’s going to be representing that this world that we live in can be dark. It can be lonely, and you can feel really depressed and get lost,” he says. Similar to a little voice in one’s head, the light helps wanderers find peace.
Not too long ago, Ferguson found his purpose and peace in the dark one night. “It was 3 o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “I woke up, and I was just frustrated and upset.”
Sitting on the edge of his bed talking to God, Ferguson felt like he was supposed to be doing something more with his life.
“I had this old canvas that was just sitting over there, and it was like it was glowing in the dark,” he says. “I woke up the next morning and just picked up a brush and started going with it.”
That day, he knew his purpose was to create with his hands and inspire hope. “I put a lot of my heart and my soul into each piece,” Ferguson says.
The self-taught artist is excited to grow his craft through the Brandon Fellowship alongside Nick Burns and Jaz Henderson. Ferguson has a permanent studio at Railside Studios in addition to his studio at GCCA for the fellowship.
“Instead of looking at it and judging it, I want you to listen to it,” he says of his artwork, “and open up your mind to a whole new world.”
See Julius Ferguson’s artwork on Instagram @juliusferg28.
Did you know?
For the first time in the history of GCCA’s Brandon Fellowship, all three Fellows this year are male.