This week’s #FeaturedLocalFriday goes out to Minneapolis’ very own Jerry Graffunder -also known online as Sake.
To Jerry, art isn’t simply a medium of creative expression. It’s a way of demonstrating a sense of self, our genuine sentiment. “I try to push the boundaries of identity and expression in my artwork. Art is a way for me to explore personal sense of being and purpose and the identity of other people.” Art is transformative; it is an intimate glimpse into the psyche of another person. Expressing the emotion or feeling he receives from another work of art or a photograph in his own style is where Jerry draws inspiration.
Inspiring and encouraging others is the main purpose of art to Jerry, not monetary gain or the pursuit of fame. “To me there is no greater joy than to help someone else realize that they can bring to life beautiful and amazing things!” It’s clear this is reflected in Jerry’s featured work- he expresses this drawing of Prince as one of the few works he’s created that feels complete. Lots of people proclaim Prince as a sense of inspiration, so it’s natural that his passing brought swells of emotion to those who looked up to him- especially Minnesotans. Jerry’s tribute expresses the impact Prince had to Minnesota and shows art as source of inspiration and a showcase of emotion. The same inspiration Jerry seeks to instill in those who admire his art.
Seeing the talent of someone like Prince and comparing that to one’s own work might seem discouraging, especially to new artists. What’s important to Jerry is continuing to hone one’s craft day in, day out and maintaining the passion that motivated you to start. “Don’t ever stop working. You only stop learning and improving when you give up. Even if you’re drawing stick figures try to get a pen or pencil on paper everyday.”
Jerry expresses his support of Commune and our stance against tobacco companies- not smokers themselves. “I strongly support spreading awareness because very few organizations directly counter them. Someone needs to stand up to big tobacco’s strategy of trying to make a toxin attractive to youth."