Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, November 27

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Las Hermanas Padilla, the Taco Bell of Theater Overheard Illustrated: "Using" »

Profile Mon Mar 05 2012

Final Fight Family: A Well-Oiled Creative Machine

My favorite thing about Chicago is the way that we take things into our own hands. When we see a gap, instead of waiting for it to be filled -- instead of writing letters or signing petitions -- we just fill it ourselves. Chicago is full of hard workers and go-getters. And this is the case with Final Fight Family, a multidisciplinary arts & entertainment company focusing on uniting artists in a collective community of forward thinking individuals. Formed by an ambitious but small group of youngins in 2007, FFF provides artists with opportunities to expand their careers via collaboration and collective projects.Then, they showcase the artist's work by organizing events, highlight their daily developments in the media, and seek new ventures for them, to "establish a movement of creators who use their unique visions and perspectives to shape the world around them."

One of the original family members, Jarvis Smith, recently reached out to me to let me know about the FFF documentary, YOUNG, which will be released on April 7. I was immediately intrigued, so I emailed him a few questions about the "family."

How did Final Fight Family begin? How has it evolved?

Final Fight Family (FFF) started in 2007 when I was finishing my senior year of high school with my friend and co-founder Hussain Ewidah. The motivation for creating the collective was to form a network that brought not only different artists, but also art mediums together as one entity to create, collaborate, and share ideas with one another. FFF then evolved in 2009 when we re-launched after a short hiatus, and added our first five artists (Que, Ichiro Hino, Felipe Maldonado, The Avantist, and Está Vivo). From here, we produced our first collaborative project, DEMO: Session from Music Garage in the fall of 2009. These endeavors lead us to add our next four members (Desiree Agngarayngay, Christine Pierce, Yuki Tasaka, and Jip Jop), and produce our first art showcase (The New Blood) in the summer 2010, which incorporated every member (even our newest member Asif Ahmed as he created the event poster).

How do you choose family members? How many people are involved with FFF now?

Currently, we have 12 members, and my partner (Hussain) and I actively seek the artists we want to join the collective ourselves. The main things we look for in potential members are character and vision. Since the entrance barriers for art are low, everyone has the ability/resources to produce art on a mass scale due to the Internet and advancements in technology. Therefore, we look for artists who have a strong passion/dedication for their work, a vision for where they want to go with their art and a plan on how they will go about achieving this goal. In addition, we look for artists who have an intriguing background, personality, and a story to tell with their art. These elements are important to us because this it what makes an artist unique, and standout amongst others who are creating the same type of art.

What were your goals when FFF was created and have they evolved? If so, how? What are your long-term goals?

FFF was created with the intent to form a united network of artists. The reason for this was that, personally, I never understood why art was separated from one another. Why is it "weird" from a rock artist to collaborate with a hip-hop artist? Why aren't filmmakers and illustrators coming together to share ideas, and collaborate? Why aren't poets and photographers teaming up to create works inspired by each other's art? All these questions kept running through my mind, and inspired me to do something about it in a positive way.

My goals started to evolve from this one, when my partner and I began to think about the long-term intent of the collective. Our long-term goal is to build a home for our network of creatives, where it's an atmosphere for not just artists, but other creatives (architects, computer programmers/engineers, fashion designers, etc.) to come together, and create, collaborate and share ideas with one another. In order to get to this point, we're taking what we're doing with FFF right now and turning it into a viable business. By making FFF a company, we plan to infuse this long-term goal/vision into everything that we do within our business.

How do you encourage collaboration within your family/group/cooperative? How do you delegate tasks?

I am fortunate enough to work with a bunch of motivated artists, and I do not need to push them hard to get them involved and collaborate. The New Blood event was the perfect example, as everyone was contributing input to the event from the lighting, décor, sound, line-up and theme. I feel we get these collaborative results because we're surround by truly passionate and talented artists, and their energy feeds off one person and goes to the next. When it comes to delegating tasks, we base them off strengths and experiences. At the same time, if someone wants to work in a position they have never tired before. We're more than welcome to give them that opportunity if they are sincere about doing that role.

What challenges has FFF encountered?

One of the biggest challenges we face is getting our own events produced on a consistent basis, as it takes a lot of time and resources to pull off. Many of our members have busy work and school schedules, and we have to set our events periodically around the seasons. However, things have changed, and we have created a better structure for our events. We plan on producing smaller/intimate shows, which will take place bi-monthly starting this summer and fall.

Why did you make YOUNG?
I was inspired and amazed at the collective I was able to build, and how far it's come from its launch in 2007. I wanted to capture this moment as it was happening at our young ages (our youngest member is 16, and our oldest is 27), and how our views were for our art at that time. This project is special because I know 10-20 years from now, this moment will be just as important to me then, as it is now.


For more information about Final Fight Family, visit their website -- while you're at it, check out YOUNG and keep tabs on this talented group.

GB store

Final Fight Family / March 5, 2012 1:24 PM

Thank you!

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15