WHAT WOULD CHER DO? INTERVIEW
What Would Cher Do? Created by artist Shari Elf
was born in Edmonds Washington and moved to Maui when she was 10. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a BFA but feels her professional education did not damage her creativity too much. Shari is an artist who currently resides in Morongo Valley in the cabin she bought 15 years ago. She has made her living selling her good and sturdy art from trash since 1994. She first sold her works at the flea markets of Los Angeles and now sells most of her works from her website,
. She is the cofounder of the Art Queen Gallery in Joshua Tree and the curator of the world famous Crochet Museum. In 2003 Shari was a proud presenter at the Ted Conference, and she is also honored to be the 2010 gift artist at the Santa Monica Museum Of Art. Other projects include her 2001 debut CD "I’m Forcing Goodness Upon You" and a new cd in the works with her band “the Kittens” a locally known band inspired by her ferral cat, Inky, who keeps her company while she is working.
Greatest inspirations or influence?
- Leonard Cohen, kids and their art, nature, my cat Inky,
- I'm inspired by a lot of things. I just keep my ears, eyes, and mind open and get inspired anywhere i am.
- I get inspired at the local beauty school where I go for a shampoo/blowdry every week.
- I get inspired by the locals in Yucca Valley when I go to vons or stater brothers and want to take pictures of them.
Most interesting response to your work so far?
- Maybe it was Cher liking my What Would Cher Do? t-shirt that Ron Zimmerman wore over to her house
- In 2001, just after my cd "i'm forcing goodness upon you" came out, I received an email from a guy who said he had lost his job, his girlfriend and was thinking of taking his life. He heard my cd and says it gave him a new outlook on life. He got a new job, new girlfriend and well, that made me happy, even if he was making all of that up.
I'm happy to be a featured artist in this year's High Desert Test Sites, a project started by Andrea Zittel, a world renowned artist who resides in Joshua Tree. I am planning a gospel revival, with a
Southern Baptist church choir, to be held at the crochet museum. I once made my boyfriend stop so we could go into a tent revival happening in a small town in Missouri. I wanted to hear the music because the people singing really have something to say.
Favorite websites, blogs, publications?
- I subscribe to a few fashion magazines for inspiration (W and Vogue i think) as I want to get back into designing clothes (above and beyond the t-shirts). I make clothes for myself and often get comments and compliments. They are usually made from recycled clothes which I find at thrift stores.
- punk kittens: http://www.rathergood.com/punk_kittens
- independent woman: http://www.rathergood.com/independent_woman
- the museum of bad art: http://www.museumofbadart.org
Fashion icons in your opinion?
- Cher, of course
- I don't follow mainstream news that much (I don't have a tv), but I like people who are willing to take a fashion risk
- I like to look at old ladies for inspiration, especially if they are wearing a hand crocheted sweater.
Anything else youd like to share?
I once had a boyfriend who told me "you're weird, Shari Elf, and you need to just own it and then other people will, too." This has led to the most success for me, when I not only own that I'm "weird" but when I really celebrate it. I'm grateful to be different. it's easy to fit in and be like everyone else, it takes more courage to be yourself.