The road to notability for any artist is no cake walk. Shermâ€™s path sure had its potholes, but eventually someone was kind enough to lay down a plank to smooth out her ride. â€œSteve Grody liked my work enough to photograph it and put it in his book Graffiti LA Street Styles and Art. Heâ€™s been documenting LA graffiti for many years now. I managed to get in there somehow and that to me is a major accomplishment.â€ Though long before photographers were searching the streets for colorful influences, Sherm had a book of blank white pages awaiting a bold feminine, organic, social and political touch that would characterize her style.
â€œIt all started in 1994. Tagging with my friends led me to the next levels of graffiti; I eventually got to know VOX in 1998 and he put me down in his crew. Having the ability to draw and having an interest in art and culture also helped me to become more than just a graffiti writer,â€ says Sherm. Before then she didnâ€™t consider herself to be much more than a typical artist with a pen and a sketch book striving for her work to grow beyond swift eye glances. Until then she would blindly accept the â€œyou suck until further noticeâ€ comments of the world of graffiti.
At the age of 17, Sherm began putting her skills to the test. Pulling inspiration from flyers, personal life experiences and parties is how she shaped her initial style. Sherm admits to having experienced with more than art in her adolescence which surprisingly led to the adoption of her name. â€œWhen I was a teenager my friends and I were into doing drugs and we were loitering in front of someoneâ€™s house and having a discussion about the subject when â€œShermâ€ came up somehow. We were like â€˜so what is a Sherm?â€™ And someone said that itâ€™s a joint laced with PCP or some shit. My friend had already taken the name â€œShroomâ€ that same day. Actually, Shroom was the name I really wanted, but I settled for Sherm instead. Itâ€™s a stupid story, I know.â€
Casual cruises on the city bus eventually turned into plane rides to Germany, Mexico and a bunch of states within the U.S. Her work is good enough to be showcased on murals overseas as well as brick walls across cities such as Phoenix, Oakland and St. Louis just to name a few. â€œI was invited to paint at the LA vs. WAR event in Los Angeles recently. We were asked to paint something pro-peace or anti-war related. I actually had a difficult time coming up with something – I looked at political posters from the 1960â€™s and so forth, and then I finally decided to combine elements from what I researched.â€
Before her individual age of artistic-ness, Sherm and her mother moved from the Philippines to the United States in 1983. Close to 10 years after she was born in 1977, the family settled in southern California. Her parents were already established career musicians, her father an artist as well. â€œMy dad drew naked ladies sometimes,â€ says Sherm. â€œI also remember him having a very nice and fluid penmanship so thatâ€™s where my artistic abilities come from. He would buy me books with lots of pictures in them and I would end up writing my name and drawing stick figures on the blank pages.â€ Her stick figures evolved into developing different artistic tags to now paintings works that vary from classic graffiti to wild aquariums and political art that require a bit of deep thought.
Sherm didnâ€™t study at art school, instead relying on books, research and prime examples to complete her pieces. Rarely does she work with a creative team. Television and whatever she feels like drawing or painting at the moment is what is spills on to an available surface. Although, according to her old friendâ€™s druggy â€œShermâ€ reference, her artistic style is a combination of more than just that. â€œThere are so many things I want to learn how to do still. I want to learn how to paint with oils, and learn the proper, timesaving techniques of using different art materials. If my hands are still in good shape I would like to learn how to tattoo eventually as well.â€
These days Sherm spends her time working as a designer fabricating designs through web work and various applications. She says that her expansion of skills is due largely in part to the World Wide Web, but just because she is versatile, it doesnâ€™t mean that she is excluded from criticism.
â€œThere are challenges – men are more likely to harass or harm you thatâ€™s for sure. All I gotta say is you have to work twice as hard and do something that will set you apart from everyone else. Have thick skin and be in it for the long haul or else no one will even notice you existed. Be prepared for guys to have this pre-conceived notion of who you are as a female writer. And lastly, be ready to accept the infamous phrase: â€œyou suck until further noticeâ€
It is evident that the notification of approval has been posted clearly for Sherm to see. Though she has continuously been given a temporary stamp she will continue working harder to assure that her works donâ€™t begin to slip beneath the category of â€œgood for a girl.â€
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