Sergio Farfan Solo Exhibition
Stella Gallerie & Public Studio are very proud to present ‘Anxiety Est. 03,’ a collection of new paintings by
Chicago-based multimedia artist Sergio Farfán.
‘Anxiety Est. 03’ (which occupies both Stella Gallerie in Miami and Public Studio in Tampa, and
is presented in partnership with Chicago’s Vertical Gallery) features close to three dozen new
canvases grappling with the seminal moment in Farfán’s life to date: his family’s abrupt
relocation from their native Peru to the United States — a tectonic shift that set in motion his
childhood anxiety, but also directly inspired his career as an artist.
‘Anxiety Est. 03’ explores childhood trauma through the lens of Farfán’s signature cartoon-
cubism approach, poignantly yet playfully bringing to life the emotions and experiences that
reshaped his adolescence upon arriving in America in 2003. Farfán’s parents did not inform him
about the family’s relocation plans: in fact, the animation-obsessed seven-year-old boarded
their plane believing he was en route to a Disney World vacation. While the aircraft briefly
touched down in Miami, the Farfáns continued on to Chicago, where Sergio struggled to adjust
both to his new surroundings and to the absence of his extended Peruvian family — a struggle
that manifested as crippling anxiety.
“I remember being in Peru and not having any anxiety. I was a normal, happy kid,” Farfán says.
“But flying from Peru to Florida and then from Florida to Chicago, my heart started racing and I
was nauseous. I was shaking and sweating. It was not until my freshman year in high school that
I was diagnosed with anxiety, and that led me to art therapy. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to
deal with my anxiety disorder and using art as a form of meditation.”
Farfán credits art therapy — a technique that utilizes creative expression as a means to address
a patient’s negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors — for giving him the tools necessary to
bring a project like ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ to fruition.
“Art therapy didn’t just teach me how to draw, but also to draw whatever I felt, and to put
meaning into it,” he explains. “‘Anxiety Est. 03’ processes what I felt coming from Peru to the
U.S. — what anxiety did to me, and how I dealt with it. Each painting tells stories about coming
to America: what immigrants experience to come here, and what life is like when we get here.”
‘Anxiety Est. 03’ represents the culmination of a long and winding creative process. Farfán
originally conceived the series in 2017, one of four ongoing collections of paintings he launched
that year; in preparation for this exhibit, he completed and reimagined works in progress since
five years earlier, concurrently continuing the ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ series with brand-new pieces
that delve deeper into his core thematic concerns and demonstrate his evolving mastery of
color. For example, both “Color Esperanza” (on display in Tampa) and the ‘Anxiety Est. 03’ title
painting (exhibiting in Miami) confront anxiety’s chokehold on Farfán’s psyche, but while the
former is serene and contemplative, the latter delivers Picasso-inspired anarchy, complete with
appearances by animation icons Tom and Jerry.
“Back in 2017, I was in a very bad mindset. I was sharing very personal stuff in my paintings, and
It now feels very immature. So I went back and painted over everything I don’t want people to
know, because it’s all behind me now,” Farfán says. “It felt like I was collaborating with my
younger self. In fact, it almost feels like we’re two different people, because we all change
every day. But I still really like the paintings from back then, because they show a lot of character.”