Crème Sherry Brings a Big Personality to All Things Jazz | Chicago News – Google Alerts

Visit a jazz club in Chicago and there’s a fair chance you might spot a person in a dark corner sketching the musicians. After the show, she’ll give some artwork to the band and keep some for herself. She goes by the name Crème Sherry, and she brings a big personality to all things jazz.


Jay Shefsky: When the Chicago Jazz Orchestra plays the Green Mill, one fan listens but works on her canvas.

Sheri Smith, aka “Crème Sheri,” artist/jazz fan: It’s akin to automatic writing, because the sound comes through my head, goes into my arms and into my hands, and I’m there, and it just moves. My hand is moving, just like that.

Sometimes I only have a space that’s a little café table. Sometimes it’s brutally dark, that’s why I choose very, very, very bright colors, so I can see. I mean that shows you right then and there that I chose yellow, magenta, and blue etc., because when I make the mark I can tell what it is and where it is.

Shefsky: Sheri Smith recognizes that contemporary musicians, including Kurt Elling and Dee Alexander, are part of the continuing story of jazz.

Smith: I’m drawing history in the making and yes, it’s a scene, and for me a good part of the scene are the musicians, because when I come there early I’m watching them relate to each other.

They are not only amazing but for some reason when I draw they just make me crazy, and so I’m willing to sit there hour after hour, night after night, capturing the culture of the jazz musician.

Shefsky: Smith is the resident artist at Le Piano, a Rogers Park jazz club. She gets occasional gallery shows of her work, and her home is a personal museum.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of the Art Institute, then became an art teacher in Chicago Public Schools.

Smith: Seven years ago I retired from teaching art for 20 years and I took a seven-year nap and I woke up and my mantra was: If I was going to be the professional artist that I would’ve been, but I was…

Read the full article at