This Local Artist Designed Chairs for Rock Legends

The recently retired Shorewood teacher repurposes and paints chairs in his basement workshop.

Last Fall, local artist Todd Fendos received a commission from Sharon Brock, widow of rock star Ed King, of Strawberry Alarm Clock. She wanted him to design six of his custom-painted chairs for her home. One in King’s likeness, and the rest resembling the musicians who influenced his career. 


 

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“As a self-taught artist, it’s an honor to have someone seek me out to build chairs for their dining room because they do stand out,” Fendos says. Fendos, who recently retired as a Shorewood teacher, uses his basement workshop to repurpose the chairs. What started as a DIY project making Curious George chairs for his kid’s bedroom years ago turned into a business opportunity thanks to positive feedback. 

Now, he and his wife scour local thrift shops, restaurant closings, yard sales and Facebook Marketplace to find his canvases – which may even be old church pews. Some of his other projects incorporate famous paintings, like those of Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo, or rock stars, like The Beatles and Freddie Mercury.  

The Beatles Yellow Submarine upcycled chairs; Photo courtesy of Todd Fendos

And King was not his first celebrity customer – that was Joe Walsh from the Eagles. He bought two American Gothic chairs for himself and a set of the Beatles chairs with a Yellow Submarine motif for Ringo Starr as a birthday present. “We were giddy,” Fendos says. 

Find Fendos’ chairs at toddfendos.com.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s August issue.

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Brianna Schubert is the Associate Digital Editor at Milwaukee Magazine.