Artist Sherri DuPree-Bemis illustrated fun. featuring Janelle Monáe’s “We Are Young” for Buzzworthy’s Best New Artist “inspiration illustration” series.
Each of the 15 VMA categories carries its own prestige and distinction. But the VMA Best New Artist category is perhaps one of the night’s most anticipated categories. The Best New Artist category represents a diverse roster of some of the best and brightest new faces and names to enter the musical landscape and pop culture conversation over the past year. To celebrate the artistic influence of this year’s Best New Artist nominees on Buzzworthy, where we’re committed to celebrating pop music, pop culture, and, of course, music fans, I asked five different young artists to pay homage to the 2012 Best New Artist nominees with an “inspiration illustration,” to look at that musical artist and the impact of their art through another artist’s eyes. (Yes, we’re taking a break from animated GIFs for some real-deal art appreciation. We’re almost grown-ups!)
Each of this year’s Best New Artists have opened our minds (and, quite often, hearts) by writing a tribute to eternal youth (fun. and Janelle Monáe), writing an unforgettable (and unstoppably catchy) ode to first crushes (Carly Rae Jepsen), inciting boy band mania all over again (The Wanted and One Direction, of course), or by breathing new, poetic life into R&B (Frank Ocean). It may sound corny, but it’s true — how we as music fans experience music, videos, lyrics, and the visual images surrounding music creates a visceral, emotional bond that transcends music itself (I can’t remember the last time a song truly transported and swept me away like Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good” did the first time I heard it). Essentially, this is an artist-on-artist series. Hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing how five visual artists connected to and interpreted each of the 2012 MTV VMA Best New Artist nominees.
Earlier in the series, Brooklyn artist Jess Rotter took on 2012 VMA Best New Artist nominee Frank Ocean and “Swim Good”; Oakland artist Jon Stich captured Carly Rae Jepsen and her unstoppable, inescapable, always adorable “Call Me Maybe” crush anthem; and Jenny Hart turned The Wanted into a needlework of art. And today, musician/artist Sherri DuPree-Bemis of the band Eisley reimagines “We Are Young,” by fun., featuring Janelle Monáe, into a charmingly devilish, incredibly inky affair. Here’s what she had to say about drawing “We Are Young.”
Check out Sherri DuPree-Bemis’ 2012 VMA Best New Artist “inspiration illustration” of “We Are Young,” by fun., featuring Janelle Monáe, after the jump.
“The song is obviously about flawed people being able to get down and have a good time, and embrace youth and youthful energy. It’s about a kind of eternal moment. To me, a bunch of crazy, exuberant creatures having a sort of Halloween-esque party together, enjoying the thrill of the moment despite their numerous inadequacies, best expressed the vibe of fun.’s song. I wanted the picture to have an energetic feeling to it as well, given that the song is a teenage anthem of sorts.” — Sherri DuPree-Bemis
About the artist: Artist Sherri DuPree-Bemis is most well-known for her role as one of the leading ladies in indie pop outfit Eisley. The band is composed of siblings Sherri (vocals, guitar), Stacy (vocals, keyboards), Chauntelle (guitar), Weston DuPree (drums) and cousin Garron DuPree (bass). The band has just released a new EP, Deep Space, which follows Eisley’s critically acclaimed 2011 album The Valley — their incredibly candid and autobiographical full-length album debuted at No. 75 on the Billboard 200 Current Albums chart, No. 5 on Amazon MP3’s Top 10 Album Chart, and No. 3 on its New Albums chart. Eisley has toured with the likes of Coldplay, Snow Patrol, The Fray, Mutemath, and Say Anything; appeared on festival lineups for SXSW, Bumbershoot, and Bamboozle; and has performed on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” The 28-year-old, mostly pink-haired DuPree-Bemis is currently living in Tyler, Texas, with husband and Say Anything frontman Max Bemis and their two beloved boxers, Truly and Mary Jane. Sherri and Max are expecting their first child in February 2013. Sherri’s illustration weapons of choice are pen and ink. Additional artwork can be found at sherrisink.com and in select designs at eisley.merchnow.com. Follow her and the band on Twitter at @sdupreebemis and @eisley!
Don’t miss the 2012 MTV VMAs live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Photo credit: Fueled by Ramen; Illustration: Sherri DuPree-Bemis for MTV