Artist Profile: Joseph Conrad-Ferm
It was an art elective that kept Yarmouth Port painter Joseph Conrad-Ferm from receiving his high school diploma. “I didn’t attend class,” he says. “From a very early age I remember wanting to paint, but the recurring theme in my head was ‘You’re not going to go anywhere, so why bother?’ I was a half credit short from graduating.”
He spent the next eight years further thwarting his ability to do what really mattered to him by staying drunk. “It pained me not to be able to paint,” he says, “but I was fulfilling an ‘I-can’t-succeed’ thing.” Then, after taking his last drink and going to rehab shortly before Christmas 2001, he completed a painting of a mountain lion in his mother’s basement.
It was right there, on a street called Journey’s End Road, that a sad and tortured journey ended and a better one began. “With the block gone, I opened up,” he says. “I felt like I was able to breathe.” Fast forward 20 years. Today, Conrad-Ferm’s work, all abstracts now, hangs in homes on five continents—everywhere from France to Brazil, Australia, and South Korea. He is represented in top-tier galleries from Nantucket to Palm Beach and New York, and he has been commissioned to do works by interior designers with rock-star status, including Joe Nahem and Christopher Coleman. His art has also been used in television shows and in magazines, including House Beautiful. It even appears on athletic apparel—leggings and shirts for cyclists who purchase their gear at Kapow Meggings. What is it that draws people to his creations?
Collector Danielle Pitts says it’s that the paintings, “strike up a conversation. They’re more than paintings on the wall. They become kind of another person in the room. There are works by artists that I love…
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