1. Could you tell me a bit about you and how you got started with collage?
My name is Perris Mackey. Some know me by p_ThaNerd. I'm 30 years old and I am a Cleveland native. I started my artistic career back in 2011. I watched this documentary on Netflix called "Exit through the gift shop." It told a story of some well known street artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Mr. Brainwash, Invader, and a handful of others. These artists displayed their works in the streets and developed a huge following in the process. Each artist did this for fun but along the way they started gaining fans and people who loved and appreciated what they did. I was so infatuated with this that I had to get involved somehow and some way.
I started painting life size characters on pieces of cardboard and post them on light poles and abandoned buildings around my city. Although this is a form of vandalism, the city and its people enjoyed seeing them. So much that the city had a huge collection of my pieces down at the station that they had eventually taken down. I built a huge fan base for doing so and for that I've been featured on Fox 8 news and also featured in The Plain Dealer.
I started collaging in 2015 and have been doing so for the past 2 years. I created a large Batman piece just for fun. I posted it on Facebook and within the hour I had hundreds of likes. More likes than any of my previous artistic endeavors. I felt like I was on the right track with what I was doing so I pursued it and have been ever since. It took me 22 years to find my passion. Expressing myself through art was the best decision I've made to date besides marrying my wife lol.
2. What inspired you to use magazines and comics? And what inspired your pop culture subject matter?
I saw this artist on Instagram and her name is Sandra Chevrier. She does realism portraits. Mostly of women. She draws a mask over all of her subjects and the mask itself are scenes from various comic books. image2.JPG
The only difference between me and her is that she hand sketches and paints everything. I saw that and thought it was the dopest idea ever. So I created a piece of my own in my own style.
My grandmother used to work for a company called "George Klein News" in downtown Cleveland. It's been closed for years but It was a magazine distribution company. Other than magazines they also shipped out comic books, sports cards, books, and a handful of other products and collectibles. My grandmother retired from there after 35 years. She received a discount on all the products that came through the warehouse. So she would bring home those comic books, sports cards, posters, and several other items almost daily.
My mom and two aunts got to enjoy all the "Yo MTV raps" cards, MAD tv magazines , cabbage patch kids collectibles, Michael Jackson and Elvis posters, doorknob hangars with the witty quotes, archie, jugghead, Josie and the pussycats comics and other pop culture magazines.
My grandmother only had two grandkids. Me and my cousin Bryan. We loved sports and superheroes so with that being said my grandmother started to bring home sports cards and comic books. Mostly from the late 80s and 90s era. We had and actually still have so many sports cards from the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. We also had and still have all the comic book heroes such as Spider-Man, Batman, superman, xmen, justice league, new mutants, wolverine, the avengers, and etc. My grandmother knew that one day all these collectibles would have value. Me and my cousin would raid the attic and just open all the packages of cards in search of rookie cards. We had several books to store all these cards but most of these cards were just scattered everywhere. We never put the cards nor the comics in any type of protective covers. So we accumulated a large amount of damaged comic books and sports cards.
So coming back to the question of why comic books. This is the reason why I chose to use own. I have a large collection of comic books and even more that have lost value because we didn't understand the value of them when we were younger. Some have missing and folded pages. Some have water damage and some are ripped and worn. I've tried to sell some of my comic books but because of the condition I came to the conclusion that they would be worth more cut up than as is so therefore I created that first batman piece using all my damaged comic books. I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn't source all my colors from comic books so therefore I started using all my granny's old magazines to balance everything out and so that I wouldn't completely be destroying all my comic books lol.
I feel like my grandmother and my mother inspired my pop culture subject matter. My grandmother mainly because she is the one who provided me with the reading material and my mother for continuously buying me all the action figures and video games that kept my love for these characters locked in. I've always been a fan of superheroes. More so now than ever.
3. Could you list some bullet points of recent events you've exhibited at?
•Wizard World Cleveland Comic Con (2016/2017/2018)
•Stella's Art Gallery (Mentor)
•Geneva On The Lake (Every Sat with Northcoast Promotions)
•Rooms to Let (Popeye Gallery/Slavic Village)
•Oddmall: Emporium of the weird (John S Knight Center)
•Oddmall: Expedition Elsewhere (Canton Museum of Art)
•Ingenuity Fest (2016)
•Cleveland Bazaar (Fresh Eggs Design/78th St Studios)
•Third Friday's at 78th St Studios (Northcoast Promotions)
•e11even2 Galley (78th St Studios)
•The Beachland Rockin Flea
•Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest
•Walkabout Tremont (Northcoast Promotions)
4. Did you study art in school or are you self taught? If you went to school, could you tell me the school, degree, major and year of graduation?
I took an art class in high school. I wasn't really passionate about art at that point in time. I wanted to be a graphic designer when I graduated high school. I went to Lakeland for two years but I never finished. I got a full time job and never went back. I always wanted to but never got the confidence to return. For the most part I'm self taught. If I see something I try to learn as much as I can about it in order to recreate it or enhance it myself.
5. Can you tell me more about Immortal Nerd? How did it start? Who all is involved?
Immortal Nerd was originally Immortal Nerd Clothing Co. I created it back in 2010. I didn't have the LLC at that point in time. I basically just made shirts as a freelancer. I did art but I was never really selling it. I came up with Forever Nerd at first lol but it clashed with Forever 21 so I eventually dropped that idea. I knew that no one lives forever but I believed that if you made something great or did something great than essentially you would be remembered forever. Otherwise making you Immortal in a sense. So I just ran with Immortal.
Immortal Nerd is ran by my wife and I. Once I started making and selling my art I came to the conclusion that Immortal Nerd was more than a clothing co and that one day it would be so much more. My friend Maestro taught me some business practices and I learned how to create a website so that Immortal Nerd could flourish. I figured out how to make prints of my artwork and I signed up for my first art exhibition which was Wizard World Cleveland Comic Con. We had such a successful weekend other than some of my artwork being stolen. So we decided to drop the Clothing Co and we became known as Immortal Nerd.
Immortal Nerd is a visual art, design, and apparel company. We're aiming to be a group of artists all with their own form of artistry, not one artist alike, to work together to build a brand, share our art with the world, and financially support ourselves and our families in the process. Read More