international man of mystery has many personas in the art world. A fine artist, cartoonist and print-maker, his talents and subject matter cover a wide spectrum. “As a kid I wanted to paint like the Renaissance painters, clean and classical, but I am influenced by music and comics,” says Whipple, “I consider myself a contemporary Realist painter who is more into cartoon elements.” On one side of the gamut, we have calm still-life paintings featuring chopsticks and wasabe bowls. On the other side, we have drawings of sweaty, veined men with large alcoholic noses that remind me of a bad acid trip. His most fascinating work has both ends of the spectrum present at the same time. “I paint from the sub conscious – off the top of my head – with no preconceptions. I pull from different transgendered energies by transgressing masculine/feminine boundaries,” replies Whipple.I was once told art had to be moving; whether it moves you in good or bad way, it needs to invoke an emotion. Sri’s work does just that. He evoked or provoked the Salt Lake Arts Council enough for them to ban his work the Chimera exhibit at the Rio Grande Gallery in 2006. “I wasn’t offended by their banning of my work … I thought my stuff was pretty pedestrian,” remarks Sri, “I was flattered that my paintings could have such an effect.” Sri’s ability to capture the essence of something and present it in a beautiful non-threatening way or if he desires like a punch in the face makes him a perfect fit for SLUG Magazine.
SLUG has long been a fan of Mr. Whipple’s work; he designed our coloring-book contest and cover story for The Cramps (a gruesome pirate cover!) and he, along with artists Jason Jones and Xkot Toxic, presented SLUG readers with our first ever comic strips. “I have been part of the music scene longer than the art scene so it was natural to help out,” Whipple says. A humanitarian, Sri recently donated several pieces of his art to a fundraiser SLUG hosted for Valley Mental Heath last January. “I knew that it not only was for a good cause, but that people that I respected would be buying my work,” says Whipple.
Local bands have sought out Sri’s talents for years, asking him for artwork and designs for t-shirts and album covers. “I love working with friends,” says Whipple “ I want to put back into the music scene because I love music and what it has given me.” You may recognize Sri’s work on The Wolfs or Glacier album covers or a Vile Blue Shades T-shirt. Since Sri is such a diverse artist, his commissioned work is in high demand and can be found in many predominant art collector private collections. His work has been on display at the Kayo Gallery, Unknown Gallery, Circle Lounge, Utah Arts Festival Gallery and Aphelion Studio. His latest work is set to show at the James Anthony Gallery in June as art of a group show.