With the goal of helping others, Davis Graham, a popular Chilliwack artist, is hosting his fourth annual Pencil Fingerz and Friends Art Show on Friday, Feb. 9.
Graham, or Pencil Fingerz as he’s known to some, began drawing at a very young age. At seven-years-old he was focusing on faces and detail, and by the time he reached high school, he was known as the kid who drew portraits. Drawn to hip-hop music, Graham spent a lot of time drawing his favourite musicians, and through the wonders of social media, was eventually contacted and hired by a production company.
“(Through) hooking up with that company I met a lot of hip-hop artists. I ended up doing album covers and merchandise and posters,” says Graham of his professional beginnings. “They (shared) my work and my notoriety grew through that.”
In addition to working for people like Eric Church, Yelawolf, and The Underachievers, Graham also won the city contract to install a visual art display on a blank cement wall in Five Corners this past fall: what resulted was a 10 by 30 metre mural depicting Chilliwack’s history and culture with beauty and vibrancy.
However, the building’s future is unknown, which means the mural may be temporary, but that’s not stopping Graham from making a lasting impression on Chilliwack’s art scene.
Beginning five years ago, Graham says he started the Pencil Fingerz and Friends Art Show to help give back to the community. The show, which exhibits work from Graham plus five other local artists, not only increases exposure for the artists, but also raises funds for the food bank.
“The way I see it, if you have the ability to help people, that’s what you should do,” says the 23-year-old artist. “And that’s what I’ve always done.”
This year’s Pencil Fingerz and Friends Art Show features Graham, Noelle Young, Leflurk, Cassidy Harms, Ashley Lorde, and Dani Ruschke, and will have something for just about everyone to enjoy.
“Noelle Young has a unique way of painting,” says Graham. “Leflurk has some pretty dark pen and ink work—he’s training to be a tattoo artist—and Cassidy Harms is showing pen work as well, but abstract portraits. It’s all really beautiful stuff.
“Dani Ruschke also does pen and ink, but with lots of colours and flowers. And Ashley Lord is an incredible pet artist,” adds Graham.
In choosing his own work and the artists in the show, Graham says he tried to incorporate a theme in this year’s show, which he’s never attempted before. “When you walk into this show, there’s going to be so much nature and flowers: it’s what I’ve been inspired by lately.”
But at the end of the day, Graham just hopes the show helps his peers see their art as more than a hobby. “I want to give them this opportunity because I have a wider reach,” says the young artist.
“And I want to encourage (other artists) to pursue this as a career because it is possible: I did it,” adds Graham. “Shows like this, they build a lot of confidence when people come in and want to buy your stuff.”
The Pencil Fingerz and Friends Art Show is on Friday, Feb. 9, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Admission is by donation: either cash or a non-perishable food item.