Photos by Lindy Soffer.
Founder and Art Director - SWAG
Born in Chicago Illinois, April 1962, in the pit of controversial events in American society, in the midst of world crisis during his early years that he would only understand fully later in life; changes in culture, ideology, racial fluxes, political upheavals. Growing up in a mix of love, conflict, mixed cultural richness, Jazz music, R&B rhythms and Rock which were at their height in the 60s and 70s. The city landscape growing up was a dense world of brick and steel, interrupted by staccato lights, billboards and symbol. “It was happening," this Chicago scene with all its various communities, a mass of knock down drawings, high commercial color, and practical concrete ‘sculpture’ like structures that became the stuff of later artistic experiment and development.
He credits his Father, Richard, a struggling writer and poet featured in various publications, for creative insight. He started early in drawing his environment, and took a particular interest in nature. His mother Patricia saw to that.
Being Black American, experiencing virtue in having ‘less’ in life, Derric took swifter artistic direction after a time at Columbia college, Chicago, quietly studying the abstract influences of DeKooning , Basquiat, Jacob Lawrence and Stuart Davis, painting canvases in semi cubist abstraction and some expressionist elements. Spending time in Europe in the early 80s on personal art and photographic learning trips were the seeds for continual focus.
His artistic experiences were more seriously realized in 1994, and later on, producing wood sculpture totems and figurines, both free standing and wall mounted. His work was heralded by collectors all over Chicago and other states through Oh Studio Chicago, Denton TX. University Gallery, Andre Guichard Gallery Chicago, Dusable Museum, Sphere gallery Chicago, Yello Gallery and numerous Chicago open studio shows at Mana Contemporary Chicago. His clients were intrigued by his use of hieroglyphic-like symbolisms, 'remapping' to capture American ideology, commercialism, and the changing human environment.
The sculptures recall humans inhabiting concrete structures, acting out their dramas, moving about in their ambient light atmospheres, day and night, ripe with controversy and question. He states, “Everything about it was fascinating, questionable, and at times exciting." Steel and concrete, brick and mortar landscape meant to be vibrant, thriving, yet its residents transformed its interiors into a theatre of 'cartoonish-ness’, scandal, and the subject of endless commentary.
Derric currently runs the SWAG art studio in the Pilsen community, Chicago, IL.
SOUTH WORX ARTISTS GROUP ( as of July 2017 ) formerly known as Cocomocha Studio, will continue to provide artistic inspiration to open, 'challenged' public spaces of different cultures, to encourage intelligence and dialog through cultural symbol and direct positive message. We want business corridors, neighborhoods to thrive and improve their appearance. We want to work with/ encourage select, dedicated young people in the process of community engagement and proper social commentary.