There’s a story behind why the artist formerly known as Scott Summers goes by OG Weirdo. It starts out sad, but keep reading. It’s ultimately empowering.
A work-related accident in 2011 left him permanently light-sensitive.
“Any type of bright lights would make me ball up into a little ball and crawl into the shadows like a vampire,” he said. “I would have to wear these big shades that look like 3-D glasses with another pair underneath and a beanie covering the top so it would block out the bright lights from above.”
“Out in public, people would stare at me, and little kids would point and laugh and ask their parents why I had 3-D glasses on. Their parents would always call me weird or a weirdo. And I already felt weird because of what happened to me.”
New Art Births a New Identity
When Summers entered a piece of art in his first art show – “Let The Good Times Roll” skate deck show at the late Gallery Twenty-Two in Plaza Midwood – he was getting ready to sign his name and decided, he said, he “didn’t want to go by my government name.”
“I felt like that person died in that accident,” OG Weirdo said. “I looked in the mirror, and I felt different and weird. I thought about all the stuff people would say when they saw me. And I owned it.”
The native of Mt. Gilead, North Carolina has created an entire universe that all his paintings inhabit.
He calls it “Looneyville,” and said, “It’s a very colorful and cartoony place where bad things happen. I think that making those bad things colorful and … cartoony kind of makes it presentable and relatable. It’s really familiar to the eyes because it reminds you of your childhood.”
Until you notice the blood and mayhem.
Seeing the World Clearly
OG Weirdo may wear 3-D glasses. But they are definitely not rose-colored. “Death inspires me,” he said. “Specifically, bad things that happen to people. However, what happened to me inspired me most of all.”
A young Summers moved to Charlotte in 2000 to attend Northwest School of the Arts and hone his artistry.
“When I was a child, I had this obsession with drawing,” he said. “I would always cry because I couldn’t draw Black Bart Simpson like my older brother. I would practice in school every day so when I got home, I could show him I could draw better than him. I wasn’t doing schoolwork or nothing – just drawing Black Bart Simpson all day.”
“It eventually got to the point my teacher, Miss Whitley, pulled me to the side and told me art wasn’t going to get me anywhere and I should stop,” he remembered. “I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about because I was born to do this.”
See the Work Up Close
You can see OG Weirdo’s art on his Instagram page, but he said the only real way to appreciate it is to see it in person.
“It takes a really long time to create these pieces,” he said. “Some of them contain over 3,000 pieces of cut-up paper. Some of them I’ve been working on for three-plus years. To get the full effect of my work, you have to see it in real life.”
And you can at the upcoming LOCAL/STREET pop-up art exhibition at The Mint Museum Randolph March 26-28. “It’s going to be really legendary,” he said.
People often have strong reactions to OG Weirdo’s depictions of Looneyville. “Some people will show interest and some will feel uncomfortable and turn their heads really quick,” he said.
“It always surprises me when little kids can’t stop staring at my work. It makes me think they can see the world like I can.”
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