I was so thrilled to be able to chat with local Appalachian folk artist, Gabriel Shaffer, about his process, how he got started, and what he loves most about this beautiful city. Making art is in his blood; he says growing up around his mother, big-time traditional southern folk artist Cher Shaffer, has been his biggest influence. Gabriel recalls going with her to “old school folk art shows” in the mid-70s, where he learned the lay of the land as they hung his mother’s art on the sides of barns and old buildings. He says he was also really into comic books as a boy; both this and his mother’s influence are hard to miss in his art, especially his more recent pieces. He did his first show in 2004, but got into “folk insider art” in 2005, and has been hugely successful since.
Gabriel’s passions are mixed media, drawing, and collage. He says his process is “all over the place;” he likes collage or cut out elements, but says that his style changes yearly. While you can see that his work varies from year to year, his art is definitely recognizable (it’s insane and completely amazing). Check it out on his website (www.gabrielshaffer.com) or at Horse and Hero downtown-- you can thank me later.
10 Reasons Asheville Makes Gabriel Shaffer Swoon:
Editor's note: Gabriel won WNC magazine's On the Verge emerging artist competition back in 2009. You can read that feature and see more of his work here.