By Kody Ford
Idle Class Editor
Tucked away in a benign subdivision on the outskirts of Fayetteville, AR, Eddie Love, front man for rockers A Good Fight, has created his own private oasis of creativity in his garage. The tall, disheveled 20-something greets me in the driveway. He’s wearing a vest, a blue oxford shirt, and dark denim. All splattered in paint. Needless to say, he’s out of place for the neighborhood, but he’s doing his best to make it home.
“My gorgeous & awesome girlfriend Tanisha Mize & myself hadn’t really made plans on moving from where we were,” said Love. “We were super busy and didn’t really look for anything, but a bad experience due to no fault of our own kind of tainted the house and we decided we should probably move. Plus I really wanted a garage for my studio instead of that tiny bedroom so it was kind of a no-brainer.”
While he’s been primarily known for his music, Edward Louis Love V (Yes, this is his real name. How freaking cool is that?) embraced the life of an artist around 11 years ago in the twilight of his time at Fayetteville High School. He began tagging signs around town, living the life of a graffiti outlaw. His tag was a bar code.
His friend Mike introduced him to the life and the world of art. After leaving FHS, Love enrolled at Northwest Arkansas Community College to study film, but soon realized the “paying for classes you don’t want to take” school structure wasn’t for him. He began sneaking into Mike’s art classes at the University of Arkansas including nude drawing. (The models, not the artists.) During a holiday break, an art professor at the UA gave Love a set of paint that had been discarded by a student from the previous semester. This is when things got serious.
“I started fucking painting everything,” Love said. “Mostly cardboard boxes because canvas is expensive. Later, I moved onto small canvas, but it didn’t really matter. I just kept painting shit.”
Eighties celebrity/artist Jean-Michel Basquiat influenced Love early on.
“He’s definitely my favorite painter,” said Love. “He’s also the one I get [compared] to the most, which kind of bugs me. Even though I can tell there’s a difference I think I definitely get lumped in, like I’m copying him, but I’m really not. I just related to his style. That’s just what I was into when I first started doing graffiti. I was drawn to it and that’s what I ended up doing.”
Love got his first studio in 2003 and spent his Saturdays scavenging Home Depot and Lowe’s for paints in the OOPS bin. He’s always tried to maintain a decent amount of space to create. His only artistic drought occurred when he’d moved to a new house and had his studio reduced to about the size of a bathroom. He only completed two paintings the entire year.
The artist describes his style as, “”Post-Modern Neanderthal,” a mixture of abstract expressionism meets outsider street art with pop art influence. Some of his favorite pieces include “Cliffhanger Leather Seahorse” and “Excelsior II,” which was only the painting he ever did that he drew in a Moleskin first.
“Excelsior means to aim higher still,” said Love. “Don’t settle, don’t give up. Don’t lose your hunger. Always keep trying to out do yourself.”
It’s a mantra Love lives by. Even though he’s living in a development on the edge of town, he still embraces the lifestyle of an artist.
“People that are artists just have to do it,” said Love. “You don’t have a choice. You can’t be satisfied in day-to-day life. For me at least.”
One of Love’s most creative periods was a year that he lived in a century-old farmhouse in Elkins, AR. He and his girlfriend had been invited by a friend to live rent-free. Shortly before the invitation, Love had been laid off from his job at a Sam’s Club call center after the company decided to outsource the jobs.
“I got a sweet severance package and unemployment,” said Love. “For a year, I did nothing but paint and go to band practice. Then it all came to an end and I had to move back to Fayetteville and get a job.”
Love is currently at work with his band mates on their third album. He’s managed to strike a balance between the two gigs.
“The music obviously has more substantial effect on what I do—you have to devote more time to it with practice and shows and sending your shit out to agents and labels,” he said. “That just takes a lot more time. It’s different working with other people. There’s got to be compromise as opposed to painting where it’s just me and I can do whatever the fuck I want.”
Recently, he started “The Girl Series,” which will be his first attempt to create a recognizable brand image for his art and studio The Scenery Media Center. His other creative inspiration comes from ripping pages out of magazines if there’s something he likes.
“I’m not directly copying, but if something looks cool taking that idea and turning it into “my thing,” said Love. “I’m using it as a jumping point to take it somewhere else.”
In Love’s opinion, the hardest part of being an artist is getting an agent.
“It’s so fucking hard to get representation,” said Love. “Not being in a big city is definitely a hindrance. I’ve sent stuff out to galleries, but they won’t consider you unless you have representation, but you can’t get that without [being seen in a gallery]. Same as with music. As far as professionalism goes, I finally have an actual portfolio.”
It’s a step in the right direction and something else he is learning to balance.
He added, “I’m going to keep doing the art part and, not just hope that it all works out, but do what I can to get on the path where the rest of it will take care of itself down the road.”
Eddie Love photo by Kody Ford. Artwork photos in gallery courtesy of Eddie Love.