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Jay Shells brings Rap Quotes to Atlanta

Artist to celebrate the city's hip-hop culture with popular site-specific installations

Jason Shelowitz, known to the art world as Jay Shells, was sitting around one night, listening to slain Harlem rapper Big L, when he caught the feeling. He had a thought so grand in its simplicity that it would eventually take him around the country, with calls to travel the world.

The idea? Street signs with hip-hop lyrics printed on them, hung strategically in the places mentioned in the rhymes. For a culture that's hyperaware of location, 'hoods, and hangouts, and whose artists often validate themselves by shouting out their cities (see: Drake and his inexplicable thirst for people to call Toronto "the 6"), it's not surprising that Shells' idea has generated loads of attention and acclaim everywhere that he's touched down.

"The idea was to make the signs look like standard municipal street signs, so that they blend into the landscape," the New York City native explains. "If I wanted them to stand out I would have made them a wild color, but I didn't want them to be overly designed."

Part of the reasoning for that is because when Shells is actively hanging the signs in various locations across the cities he visits, it doesn't draw much attention. But once they are noticed — which typically comes after Shells has posted his work on social media — the signs are gone in a couple of hours, if that. After all, what hip-hop enthusiast wouldn't want a sign that read, "Back in Philly we be out in the park/a place called the Plateau is where everybody go ..." and that actually came from Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park hanging in the crib?

With that in mind, Shells doesn't exactly refer to what he's doing as regular "street art," since unlike graffiti for example, he says his work is removed rather quickly and he's not really vandalizing property. Instead, this project is his contribution to the culture he loves, propelled by the art and design skills he honed throughout the years.

Starting off in New York in March 2013, Shells, who has had art exhibitions all over the world for his work prior to beginning this project, has hung more than 75 signs all over the city. It's an arduous task that he says typically takes two full days to accomplish in any given town. So far, rappers including Busta Rhymes, Action Bronson, Kanye West, GZA, Slick Rick, and Black Thought have had their lyrics immortalized on Shells' signs.

He currently has 75 custom-designed signs in Los Angeles, where last year he did an exhibition to fund his travels, and another 22 signs in Philadelphia. This month, he's headed to Atlanta, commissioned by the producers of the A3C Hip Hop Festival. So don't be too upset if you miss "the start of somethin' good" on Headland and Delowe; maybe, as Cool Breeze says on Goodie Mob's "The Damm," the next stop is "gonna be Greenbriar Mall."

"These are significant places," explains Shells, who also works in paint, acrylic, and, more recently, pyrography. "Everywhere on earth is significant for someone, but the fact that an artist wrote a lyric to mention a place makes it significant not just for that person, but for people in that area, and I think that deserves recognition."

Shells says he's disappointed with the overall limiting of hip-hop's cultural relevance in a mainstream platform. While he's happy to see that Adam Yauch (aka MCA of the Beastie Boys) has a park named after him in Brooklyn, he points out that the petition to have a street in New York named for the Notorious B.I.G. has been met with negativity.

"Hip-hop is a huge cultural phenomenon — it's one of the biggest cultures on earth. It's also one of the most exploited and underappreciated," he says. "So I'm commemorating these emcees in my own way."

After Atlanta, Shells is heading to Houston, Chicago, and the Bay Area, saying that he needs at least 20 lyrical mentions to go to a new city. And as for the rhymes that he features on his signs, he isn't picky, the lyrics just have to mention a specific place — so no "ridin' dirty on 85, slow takin' it easy" looking for Shells' signage because you won't find it there.

At day's end, Shell is just about leaving an impression on people who appreciate good hip-hop and its cultural impact.

"People have been collecting regular street signs for decades," he says. "So I'm just leaving something out there for somebody."



More By This Writer

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"I'm a bleeding heart, and it's hard for it not to affect you," he says. "As you're trying to get over one incident, five more happen. It's the way of the world now. It's like before you can catch your breath, another thing happens. I haven't been able to catch my breath.?۝Hebru Brantley | Clay Pigeons opening reception. Free. 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, June 16. Chastain Arts Center Gallery, 135 West Wieuca Road, N.W. www.ocaatlanta.com/chastain.''    "
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Article

Friday June 2, 2017 09:32 pm EDT
Hebru Brantley gets topical with 'Clay Pigeons' | more...
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   Chad Hartigan used to hug his pillow a lot when he was 12. But one special day, he got bored and decided to take his pillow love a step further. He dressed it up, slow danced with it, then proceeded to hump it. It’s a moment that changed his life.
   
   “It’s an embarrassing true story that always got a reaction from people, so I thought maybe it would be a good scene in a movie,” he says. 
   
   And so begins Hartigan’s screenplay for his newest movie, Morris from America, which premiered at 2016’s Sundance Film Festival and plays Sat., April 9 at the Plaza as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. A coming-of-age tale about 13-year-old Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) who has an affinity for the Notorious B.I.G. and moves to Germany with his dad, Curtis Gentry (Craig Robinson), the film focuses on Morris’ adjustment to not only being in a new country but to falling for an older girl. It pulls a lot from Hartigan’s personal experiences growing up. 
   
   “As I went along crafting the story I came up with a way to both incorporate my stories but also take it away from being purely autobiographical and find a different way to tell the story,” says Hartigan, who attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and was roomies with director Aaron Katz. 
  
         This is arguably Hartigan’s most ambitious project to date. While his previous films, 2008’s Luke and Brie Are on a First Date and 2013's This Is Martin Bonner were very well-received, with the latter winning Best of Next Audience at 2013’s Sundance Film Festival, Morris from America marks the first time Hartigan is working with an actor that didn’t necessarily need to star in his film to gain experience. Robinson had his choice of roles but was immediately intrigued by the script and committed to filming in Dresden, Germany, where Hartigan did pre and post-production. 
   
   “He’d never really done anything like what I was asking him to do,” he says. “But in the end he showed up in Germany and never rehearsed, but he was so prepared and dedicated, and so good.” 
   
   This film will allow audiences to witness Robinson flexing his acting chops. The movie takes on an even more significant role considering the current state of race relations in America. Hartigan says he’d be lying if those issues didn’t weigh on him when he began writing the script in 2013, although he knew on an instinctual level that making the characters black would take the film into an entirely new, fresh direction. 
   
   “It all of a sudden became a movie I hadn’t seen before and I wanted to see,” he says. “But then I of course had second thoughts where I was wondering, ‘Am I the right person to tell the story?’ It’s all outside of my own personal perspective but that’s the job of the writer to make every person a real human being. If you can start off by making sure everyone feels like a real person then it’s no different from any other character you write.” 
   
   And although the main character Morris has an affinity for the rapper Biggie, don’t go trying Hartigan on the intricacies of the hip-hop cannon. Yes, when he was 13 Hartigan was bumping Warren G, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and even writing his own “terrible” gangsta raps (another aspect from his real life that shows up in the movie), but mostly, the music in the film is about creating an air of nostalgia. It makes the film relatable. 
   
   “It doesn’t matter how cool you are now or what sort of status you have as an adult, there’s a level playing field when you’re 12 or 13 where everyone is just a loser,” he says. “Everybody has that awkward period so it’s relatable in that way. Nostalgia is one of the most potent feelings people have especially when they’re consuming media — movies and music — the movie sort of plays into both of those things.” 
   
   While Morris from America is decidedly a feel-good film, Hartigan says it was important it remain authentic.
    
   “This movie takes place in a real world that includes bullying and racism and some serious stuff,” he says. “I hope that people feel the movie is set in a truthful world but has an optimistic viewpoint, and you can find the right attitude to go through those difficult things. That would be my ideal takeaway.” 
   
   Morris From America Sat., April 9, 7:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. atlantafilmfestival.com.
    
    READ MORE: "The Atlanta Film Fest Turns 40"
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   “It’s an embarrassing true story that always got a reaction from people, so I thought maybe it would be a good scene in a movie,” he says. 
   
   And so begins Hartigan’s screenplay for his newest movie, ''Morris from America,'' which premiered at 2016’s Sundance Film Festival and plays Sat., April 9 at the Plaza as part of the [/atlanta/atlanta-film-festival-turns-40/Content?oid=17095257|Atlanta Film Festival]. A coming-of-age tale about 13-year-old Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) who has an affinity for the Notorious B.I.G. and moves to Germany with his dad, Curtis Gentry (Craig Robinson), the film focuses on Morris’ adjustment to not only being in a new country but to falling for an older girl. It pulls a lot from Hartigan’s personal experiences growing up. 
   
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         This is arguably Hartigan’s most ambitious project to date. While his previous films, 2008’s ''Luke and Brie Are on a First Date'' and 2013's ''This Is Martin Bonner'' were very well-received, with the latter winning Best of Next Audience at 2013’s Sundance Film Festival, ''Morris from America'' marks the first time Hartigan is working with an actor that didn’t necessarily need to star in his film to gain experience. Robinson had his choice of roles but was immediately intrigued by the script and committed to filming in Dresden, Germany, where Hartigan did pre and post-production. 
   
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   “It all of a sudden became a movie I hadn’t seen before and I wanted to see,” he says. “But then I of course had second thoughts where I was wondering, ‘Am I the right person to tell the story?’ It’s all outside of my own personal perspective but that’s the job of the writer to make every person a real human being. If you can start off by making sure everyone feels like a real person then it’s no different from any other character you write.” 
   
   And although the main character Morris has an affinity for the rapper Biggie, don’t go trying Hartigan on the intricacies of the hip-hop cannon. Yes, when he was 13 Hartigan was bumping Warren G, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and even writing his own “terrible” gangsta raps (another aspect from his real life that shows up in the movie), but mostly, the music in the film is about creating an air of nostalgia. It makes the film relatable. 
   
   “It doesn’t matter how cool you are now or what sort of status you have as an adult, there’s a level playing field when you’re 12 or 13 where everyone is just a loser,” he says. “Everybody has that awkward period so it’s relatable in that way. Nostalgia is one of the most potent feelings people have especially when they’re consuming media — movies and music — the movie sort of plays into both of those things.” 
   
   While ''Morris from America'' is decidedly a feel-good film, Hartigan says it was important it remain authentic.
    
   “This movie takes place in a real world that includes bullying and racism and some serious stuff,” he says. “I hope that people feel the movie is set in a truthful world but has an optimistic viewpoint, and you can find the right attitude to go through those difficult things. That would be my ideal takeaway.” 
   
   Morris From America ''Sat., April 9, 7:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. [http://atlantafilmfestival.com/|atlantafilmfestival.com].''
''   '' 
   [http://clatl.com/atlanta/atlanta-film-festival-turns-40/Content?oid=17095257| __READ MORE: "The Atlanta Film Fest Turns 40"__]
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   Chad Hartigan used to hug his pillow a lot when he was 12. But one special day, he got bored and decided to take his pillow love a step further. He dressed it up, slow danced with it, then proceeded to hump it. It’s a moment that changed his life.
   
   “It’s an embarrassing true story that always got a reaction from people, so I thought maybe it would be a good scene in a movie,” he says. 
   
   And so begins Hartigan’s screenplay for his newest movie, Morris from America, which premiered at 2016’s Sundance Film Festival and plays Sat., April 9 at the Plaza as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. A coming-of-age tale about 13-year-old Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) who has an affinity for the Notorious B.I.G. and moves to Germany with his dad, Curtis Gentry (Craig Robinson), the film focuses on Morris’ adjustment to not only being in a new country but to falling for an older girl. It pulls a lot from Hartigan’s personal experiences growing up. 
   
   “As I went along crafting the story I came up with a way to both incorporate my stories but also take it away from being purely autobiographical and find a different way to tell the story,” says Hartigan, who attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and was roomies with director Aaron Katz. 
  
         This is arguably Hartigan’s most ambitious project to date. While his previous films, 2008’s Luke and Brie Are on a First Date and 2013's This Is Martin Bonner were very well-received, with the latter winning Best of Next Audience at 2013’s Sundance Film Festival, Morris from America marks the first time Hartigan is working with an actor that didn’t necessarily need to star in his film to gain experience. Robinson had his choice of roles but was immediately intrigued by the script and committed to filming in Dresden, Germany, where Hartigan did pre and post-production. 
   
   “He’d never really done anything like what I was asking him to do,” he says. “But in the end he showed up in Germany and never rehearsed, but he was so prepared and dedicated, and so good.” 
   
   This film will allow audiences to witness Robinson flexing his acting chops. The movie takes on an even more significant role considering the current state of race relations in America. Hartigan says he’d be lying if those issues didn’t weigh on him when he began writing the script in 2013, although he knew on an instinctual level that making the characters black would take the film into an entirely new, fresh direction. 
   
   “It all of a sudden became a movie I hadn’t seen before and I wanted to see,” he says. “But then I of course had second thoughts where I was wondering, ‘Am I the right person to tell the story?’ It’s all outside of my own personal perspective but that’s the job of the writer to make every person a real human being. If you can start off by making sure everyone feels like a real person then it’s no different from any other character you write.” 
   
   And although the main character Morris has an affinity for the rapper Biggie, don’t go trying Hartigan on the intricacies of the hip-hop cannon. Yes, when he was 13 Hartigan was bumping Warren G, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and even writing his own “terrible” gangsta raps (another aspect from his real life that shows up in the movie), but mostly, the music in the film is about creating an air of nostalgia. It makes the film relatable. 
   
   “It doesn’t matter how cool you are now or what sort of status you have as an adult, there’s a level playing field when you’re 12 or 13 where everyone is just a loser,” he says. “Everybody has that awkward period so it’s relatable in that way. Nostalgia is one of the most potent feelings people have especially when they’re consuming media — movies and music — the movie sort of plays into both of those things.” 
   
   While Morris from America is decidedly a feel-good film, Hartigan says it was important it remain authentic.
    
   “This movie takes place in a real world that includes bullying and racism and some serious stuff,” he says. “I hope that people feel the movie is set in a truthful world but has an optimistic viewpoint, and you can find the right attitude to go through those difficult things. That would be my ideal takeaway.” 
   
   Morris From America Sat., April 9, 7:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. atlantafilmfestival.com.
    
    READ MORE: "The Atlanta Film Fest Turns 40"
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Article

Wednesday April 6, 2016 12:14 pm EDT

image-1
Chad Hartigan used to hug his pillow a lot when he was 12. But one special day, he got bored and decided to take his pillow love a step further. He dressed it up, slow danced with it, then proceeded to hump it. It’s a moment that changed his life.

“It’s an embarrassing true story that always got a reaction from people, so I thought maybe it would be a good scene in a movie,”...

| more...
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  string(3592) "Art is in everything. It's the personal motto of Atlanta-based mixed media artist Monica Tookes. It's also the theme of an opening exhibition for her new gallery, Empty Spaces, which will feature the large-scale work of Mr. Paul and Arnold Butler.

"I've been pushing that concept for the past two years because art really is in everything," the Biloxi, Mississippi, native says. "It's in everything that we do."

Tookes, who operated Monica Tookes Gallery in Castleberry Hill for three years before its shuttering in 2008, goes on to explain how terrible it is arts programs typically get the ax first as school budgets evaporate. In fact, arts education is one of Tookes' primary passions, and something she wants to further explore with the opening of her newest gallery. This June, Tookes plans to introduce a program she's been developing for the past few years. Girls in the Gallery is a two-week leadership enrichment program at Empty Spaces that aims to connect young girls with female entrepreneurs working in creative fields.

"Girls who go through the program will have direct access to the program's featured women each day," Tookes says. She added that, for her teaching role, she will lead the program's 14 girls in a course specifically examining art's business side. "It's not only about teaching them how to be creative, but how to make money using their creative field of choice," she says. "We want to show them how to make a career and connect them to professional women who are already doing those things."

Tookes tapped students between the ages of 13 and 17 from Drew Charter School to participate in the inaugural program. She plans to expand the opportunity over time to other girls in the community, utilizing organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club to attract potential attendees.

"I'm a huge champion for young girls," Tookes says. "We just really want to help them see some of their interests differently."

Tookes will also resurrect her initiative 100 for 100, in which she creates 100 paintings in 100 days. The paintings sell for $100 each, with proceeds poised to fund two scholarships for Girls in the Gallery attendees.

"It's fun," Tookes says. "No one gets to see their painting before it's finished. You only choose a number, which represents one of the 100 days. You don't know what your painting will be until we unveil all 100 paintings at the same time."

Although Tookes was a pre-law major when starting at Spelman College, she eventually switched to art at the urging of her professors — a move that changed her life. To date, her bold, abstract works have been featured in exhibitions throughout the country, along with private collections including the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, American Red Cross, and the Pan African Film Festival.

One of the early progressives in Atlanta's new art renaissance, Tookes' Castleberry Hill gallery was a springboard for local talent looking to showcase their work. After closing the gallery, she spent the next few years traveling and exploring different aspects of her own artistic interests. She couldn't let her visual art go completely, however, and decided to open a new gallery — this time in Kirkwood. Empty Spaces will provide Tookes the opportunity to combine two of her passions: helping to expose the talent of local artists and teaching young girls.

"As women, we are something else when we connect to each other," she says. "We're a powerful force when we have 10 of our girlfriends show up and say, 'We believe in you.' That's what I want to instill in young girls.""
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Although Tookes was a pre-law major when starting at Spelman College, she eventually switched to art at the urging of her professors — a move that changed her life. To date, her bold, abstract works have been featured in exhibitions throughout the country, along with private collections including the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, American Red Cross, and the Pan African Film Festival.

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"As women, we are something else when we connect to each other," she says. "We're a powerful force when we have 10 of our girlfriends show up and say, 'We believe in you.' That's what I want to instill in young girls.""
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  string(3924) "    Artist Monica Tookes opens a new Kirkwood gallery and learning space   2016-03-31T08:00:00+00:00 This one's for the girls   Jacinta Howard 1306412 2016-03-31T08:00:00+00:00  Art is in everything. It's the personal motto of Atlanta-based mixed media artist Monica Tookes. It's also the theme of an opening exhibition for her new gallery, Empty Spaces, which will feature the large-scale work of Mr. Paul and Arnold Butler.

"I've been pushing that concept for the past two years because art really is in everything," the Biloxi, Mississippi, native says. "It's in everything that we do."

Tookes, who operated Monica Tookes Gallery in Castleberry Hill for three years before its shuttering in 2008, goes on to explain how terrible it is arts programs typically get the ax first as school budgets evaporate. In fact, arts education is one of Tookes' primary passions, and something she wants to further explore with the opening of her newest gallery. This June, Tookes plans to introduce a program she's been developing for the past few years. Girls in the Gallery is a two-week leadership enrichment program at Empty Spaces that aims to connect young girls with female entrepreneurs working in creative fields.

"Girls who go through the program will have direct access to the program's featured women each day," Tookes says. She added that, for her teaching role, she will lead the program's 14 girls in a course specifically examining art's business side. "It's not only about teaching them how to be creative, but how to make money using their creative field of choice," she says. "We want to show them how to make a career and connect them to professional women who are already doing those things."

Tookes tapped students between the ages of 13 and 17 from Drew Charter School to participate in the inaugural program. She plans to expand the opportunity over time to other girls in the community, utilizing organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club to attract potential attendees.

"I'm a huge champion for young girls," Tookes says. "We just really want to help them see some of their interests differently."

Tookes will also resurrect her initiative 100 for 100, in which she creates 100 paintings in 100 days. The paintings sell for $100 each, with proceeds poised to fund two scholarships for Girls in the Gallery attendees.

"It's fun," Tookes says. "No one gets to see their painting before it's finished. You only choose a number, which represents one of the 100 days. You don't know what your painting will be until we unveil all 100 paintings at the same time."

Although Tookes was a pre-law major when starting at Spelman College, she eventually switched to art at the urging of her professors — a move that changed her life. To date, her bold, abstract works have been featured in exhibitions throughout the country, along with private collections including the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, American Red Cross, and the Pan African Film Festival.

One of the early progressives in Atlanta's new art renaissance, Tookes' Castleberry Hill gallery was a springboard for local talent looking to showcase their work. After closing the gallery, she spent the next few years traveling and exploring different aspects of her own artistic interests. She couldn't let her visual art go completely, however, and decided to open a new gallery — this time in Kirkwood. Empty Spaces will provide Tookes the opportunity to combine two of her passions: helping to expose the talent of local artists and teaching young girls.

"As women, we are something else when we connect to each other," she says. "We're a powerful force when we have 10 of our girlfriends show up and say, 'We believe in you.' That's what I want to instill in young girls."             13086842 17081755        http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/03/04a599_arts_tookes1_1_49.png                  This one's for the girls "
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Thursday March 31, 2016 04:00 am EDT
Artist Monica Tookes opens a new Kirkwood gallery and learning space | more...
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  string(4889) "Miya Bailey's upcoming art show, Before I'm Gone Vol. 1: The Art of Miya Bailey, is probably about to — as he laughs — piss his dedicated collectors "the fuck off."

The show, dedicated specifically to newbie art buyers, will feature approximately 30 original works by Bailey starting at $100 each. That's about $900 less than what some of his collectors paid last time they bought a piece from him. But the show prices are all part of Bailey's master plan — boosting Atlanta's collector scene.

"The art scene is dope and flourishing but we need to put more attention on the art collector," Bailey says, adding that he created the works for the show over the course of about two weeks, far less than the time he usually takes to produce a piece. "This show is specifically for people who have never bought art. It's like a stepping stone for them."

By now, we've all heard the story of Atlanta's burgeoning creative scene and the cool art renaissance that's happening in real time. Bailey is one of the cornerstones of the movement, not only serving the community with his own art and outreach projects such as Inspire Your City, but curating shows for others. People flock to Bailey's City of Ink tattoo and art gallery (which he co-founded) to be seen and be on the scene during its underground art shows. And since Bailey opened Notch 8 Gallery with Sharon Dennehy in South Atlanta last year, exhibition nights have swarmed with Atlanta's influencers and cool kids. So yes, the art scene is popping. What isn't hot yet is the city's base of collectors.

"I think the art collection scene is being undernourished," Bailey says.

So this entire year, the artist/curator will focus exclusively on art collectors. Specifically, his series of shows Before I'm Gone will feature three volumes — the first focusing on new buyers and the second focusing on seasoned collectors. The third volume will be a surprise, though he does allow it'll be "experimental" and still aimed at tapping into a base of excited art buyers. Bailey got the idea to focus on building Atlanta's art collecting scene last year, after opening Notch 8.

"I did a lot of shows but I hadn't seen that much art sold ever," he remembers with a laugh. "The work is selling like crazy at Notch 8. At City of Ink, they're coming to be seen and be social. At Notch 8, it doesn't matter the size of the crowd, they're there to see, study, and purchase."

But the thing is, the bulk of those purchases aren't coming from Atlanta buyers. People are flying in from other cities to cash in on Atlanta's scene, which features talented artists offering works at substantially lower prices than artists in, say, Los Angeles, London, or San Francisco. Because Atlanta's art scene is still so young, artists have to look elsewhere if they want to make any real money selling their work.

"We're selling a lot at Notch 8 but it's people coming to Atlanta to buy art," Bailey says. "Like 90 percent of the sales are coming from people outside of Atlanta. Last year, I sold close to 32 paintings and all of the sales came from someone outside of Atlanta."

Bailey, who has been at the forefront of the art renaissance, says now he's trying to link with other collectors to start a new social scene. As an avid art buyer himself, he wants to inform people about the importance of art investment. No, he's not about to start hosting seminars or tutorials on the subject, but says he'll use his own shows to promote organic conversations with people interested in collecting.

"Art collecting isn't a luxury, it's something that's needed," Bailey insists, launching into preacher mode. "You don't want to live in a boring ass house with white walls like a jail. Your home is a reflection of your personality."

And if you're living in Atlanta, Bailey says there's never been a better time to buy since the scene is bubbling with up-and-coming talent. In other words, the prices are cheap but they probably won't be for long.

"When you're seeing and hearing an artist's buzz, get them while you can afford it," he advises, mentioning that he purchased a couple of Paper Frank's pieces years ago for only a couple hundred bucks, and now his pieces sell in the thousands. "It can only take an artist a year to blow up and once they do, your purchase will increase in value like a stock bond. Look at someone who may've bought a Basquiat young."

Basically, people need to stop acting like they can't afford to buy art.

"Part of why I'm doing this show is because I don't want people to think they can never afford me," he says. "I'm tired of people saying, 'I can't afford to buy art.' It's like, 'You can't afford $100? I just saw you at the club last week!' And if you want a piece of art that you can't afford right now, save up for it until you can afford to buy it. We got to get people back on that.""
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The show, dedicated specifically to newbie art buyers, will feature approximately 30 original works by Bailey starting at $100 each. That's about $900 less than what some of his collectors paid last time they bought a piece from him. But the show prices are all part of Bailey's master plan — boosting Atlanta's collector scene.

"The art scene is dope and flourishing but we need to put more attention on the art collector," Bailey says, adding that he created the works for the show over the course of about two weeks, far less than the time he usually takes to produce a piece. "This show is specifically for people who have never bought art. It's like a stepping stone for them."

By now, we've all heard the story of Atlanta's burgeoning creative scene and the cool art renaissance that's happening in real time. Bailey is one of the cornerstones of the movement, not only serving the community with his own art and outreach projects such as Inspire Your City, but curating shows for others. People flock to Bailey's City of Ink tattoo and art gallery (which he co-founded) to be seen and be on the scene during its underground art shows. And since Bailey opened [http://clatl.com/atlanta/notch-8-brings-art-to-south-atlanta/Content?oid=16000246|Notch 8 Gallery] with Sharon Dennehy in South Atlanta last year, exhibition nights have swarmed with Atlanta's influencers and cool kids. So yes, the art scene is popping. What isn't hot yet is the city's base of collectors.

"I think the art collection scene is being undernourished," Bailey says.

So this entire year, the artist/curator will focus exclusively on art collectors. Specifically, his series of shows ''Before I'm Gone'' will feature three volumes — the first focusing on new buyers and the second focusing on seasoned collectors. The third volume will be a surprise, though he does allow it'll be "experimental" and still aimed at tapping into a base of excited art buyers. Bailey got the idea to focus on building Atlanta's art collecting scene last year, after opening Notch 8.

"I did a lot of shows but I hadn't seen that much art sold ever," he remembers with a laugh. "The work is selling like crazy at Notch 8. At City of Ink, they're coming to be seen and be social. At Notch 8, it doesn't matter the size of the crowd, they're there to see, study, and purchase."

But the thing is, the bulk of those purchases aren't coming from Atlanta buyers. People are flying in from other cities to cash in on Atlanta's scene, which features talented artists offering works at substantially lower prices than artists in, say, Los Angeles, London, or San Francisco. Because Atlanta's art scene is still so young, artists have to look elsewhere if they want to make any real money selling their work.

"We're selling a lot [[at Notch 8] but it's people ''coming'' to Atlanta to buy art," Bailey says. "Like 90 percent of the sales are coming from people outside of Atlanta. Last year, I sold close to 32 paintings and all of the sales came from someone outside of Atlanta."

Bailey, who has been at the forefront of the art renaissance, says now he's trying to link with other collectors to start a new social scene. As an avid art buyer himself, he wants to inform people about the importance of art investment. No, he's not about to start hosting seminars or tutorials on the subject, but says he'll use his own shows to promote organic conversations with people interested in collecting.

"Art collecting isn't a luxury, it's something that's needed," Bailey insists, launching into preacher mode. "You don't want to live in a boring ass house with white walls like a jail. Your home is a reflection of your personality."

And if you're living in Atlanta, Bailey says there's never been a better time to buy since the scene is bubbling with up-and-coming talent. In other words, the prices are cheap but they probably won't be for long.

"When you're seeing and hearing an artist's buzz, get them while you can afford it," he advises, mentioning that he purchased a couple of Paper Frank's pieces years ago for only a couple hundred bucks, and now his pieces sell in the thousands. "It can only take an artist a year to blow up and once they do, your purchase will increase in value like a stock bond. Look at someone who may've bought a Basquiat young."

Basically, people need to stop acting like they can't afford to buy art.

"Part of why I'm doing this show is because I don't want people to think they can never afford me," he says. "I'm tired of people saying, 'I can't afford to buy art.' It's like, 'You can't afford $100? I just saw you at the club last week!' And if you want a piece of art that you can't afford right now, save up for it until you can afford to buy it. We got to get people back on that.""
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  string(5322) "    The painter/curator is raising the stakes in Atlanta's cool art renaissance   2016-03-15T08:00:00+00:00 Miya Bailey wants to make an art collector out of you ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Jacinta Howard 1306412 2016-03-15T08:00:00+00:00  Miya Bailey's upcoming art show, Before I'm Gone Vol. 1: The Art of Miya Bailey, is probably about to — as he laughs — piss his dedicated collectors "the fuck off."

The show, dedicated specifically to newbie art buyers, will feature approximately 30 original works by Bailey starting at $100 each. That's about $900 less than what some of his collectors paid last time they bought a piece from him. But the show prices are all part of Bailey's master plan — boosting Atlanta's collector scene.

"The art scene is dope and flourishing but we need to put more attention on the art collector," Bailey says, adding that he created the works for the show over the course of about two weeks, far less than the time he usually takes to produce a piece. "This show is specifically for people who have never bought art. It's like a stepping stone for them."

By now, we've all heard the story of Atlanta's burgeoning creative scene and the cool art renaissance that's happening in real time. Bailey is one of the cornerstones of the movement, not only serving the community with his own art and outreach projects such as Inspire Your City, but curating shows for others. People flock to Bailey's City of Ink tattoo and art gallery (which he co-founded) to be seen and be on the scene during its underground art shows. And since Bailey opened Notch 8 Gallery with Sharon Dennehy in South Atlanta last year, exhibition nights have swarmed with Atlanta's influencers and cool kids. So yes, the art scene is popping. What isn't hot yet is the city's base of collectors.

"I think the art collection scene is being undernourished," Bailey says.

So this entire year, the artist/curator will focus exclusively on art collectors. Specifically, his series of shows Before I'm Gone will feature three volumes — the first focusing on new buyers and the second focusing on seasoned collectors. The third volume will be a surprise, though he does allow it'll be "experimental" and still aimed at tapping into a base of excited art buyers. Bailey got the idea to focus on building Atlanta's art collecting scene last year, after opening Notch 8.

"I did a lot of shows but I hadn't seen that much art sold ever," he remembers with a laugh. "The work is selling like crazy at Notch 8. At City of Ink, they're coming to be seen and be social. At Notch 8, it doesn't matter the size of the crowd, they're there to see, study, and purchase."

But the thing is, the bulk of those purchases aren't coming from Atlanta buyers. People are flying in from other cities to cash in on Atlanta's scene, which features talented artists offering works at substantially lower prices than artists in, say, Los Angeles, London, or San Francisco. Because Atlanta's art scene is still so young, artists have to look elsewhere if they want to make any real money selling their work.

"We're selling a lot at Notch 8 but it's people coming to Atlanta to buy art," Bailey says. "Like 90 percent of the sales are coming from people outside of Atlanta. Last year, I sold close to 32 paintings and all of the sales came from someone outside of Atlanta."

Bailey, who has been at the forefront of the art renaissance, says now he's trying to link with other collectors to start a new social scene. As an avid art buyer himself, he wants to inform people about the importance of art investment. No, he's not about to start hosting seminars or tutorials on the subject, but says he'll use his own shows to promote organic conversations with people interested in collecting.

"Art collecting isn't a luxury, it's something that's needed," Bailey insists, launching into preacher mode. "You don't want to live in a boring ass house with white walls like a jail. Your home is a reflection of your personality."

And if you're living in Atlanta, Bailey says there's never been a better time to buy since the scene is bubbling with up-and-coming talent. In other words, the prices are cheap but they probably won't be for long.

"When you're seeing and hearing an artist's buzz, get them while you can afford it," he advises, mentioning that he purchased a couple of Paper Frank's pieces years ago for only a couple hundred bucks, and now his pieces sell in the thousands. "It can only take an artist a year to blow up and once they do, your purchase will increase in value like a stock bond. Look at someone who may've bought a Basquiat young."

Basically, people need to stop acting like they can't afford to buy art.

"Part of why I'm doing this show is because I don't want people to think they can never afford me," he says. "I'm tired of people saying, 'I can't afford to buy art.' It's like, 'You can't afford $100? I just saw you at the club last week!' And if you want a piece of art that you can't afford right now, save up for it until you can afford to buy it. We got to get people back on that."             13086682 17042692        http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/03/040d02_arts_miya1_1_46.png                  Miya Bailey wants to make an art collector out of you "
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Tuesday March 15, 2016 04:00 am EDT
The painter/curator is raising the stakes in Atlanta's cool art renaissance | more...
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  string(16434) "Much like Martin Luther King Jr., you can feel the influence of renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat all throughout Atlanta. It's there, on the giant Hebru Brantley-helmed mural on Edgewood, it's at Krog Street Tunnel, and in the urban galleries and tattoo shops that have come to define the city's progressive, civic-minded arts scene. Basquiat's untimely death, frantic work ethic, and ability to simply translate the sociopolitical concerns of the streets into fine art have led to his mythologization. The so-called "patron saint" is referenced by people who don't even know what his work looks like, but aim for credence in pop culture spaces. The "crown prince" and his influence on Atlanta, in some ways, intersects with King's. Atlanta, at its core, is hip-hop meets civil rights. Had the activist lived to see the artist's emergence, King might've owned a Basquiat.

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks will be on view at the High Museum through May 29. To understand Basquiat's direct influence, we solicited words from 10 Atlanta-based artists whose work can be seen throughout the city in diverse spaces. They, like Atlanta, all have a Basquiat story.

 

---
FRESH TO DEATH

Fahamu Pecou, painter and academic whose large-scale portraiture dissects images of black masculinity in pop culture

"You don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it."

image-1
"No pun intended, but it's actually 'words,' the linguistic aspect of Basquiat, that speaks to me the most. Much of my work, like Basquiat's, is centered around or extended from words — both spoken and written. I consider Basquiat a hip-hop artist though he's claimed and recognized more broadly as a fine artist (that distinction would need a completely separate article). In fact, you don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it. Line, texture, form, tone, sound, color — these are the contexts for really, deeply investigating his works."

"I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."

"In 2014, I edited Art Papers magazine on the theme of intersections between hip-hop and fine art. Shantrelle Lewis, an independent curator out of Philadelphia, wrote an essay comparing JMB to the Yoruba deity Eshu — Eshu being the trickster and perpetual child, the wise and astute gatekeeper, the enigmatic and cunning communicator. Her piece gave me a new and different context through which to think about Basquiat and I have been flirting with doing a broader examination of his work in this vein. Currently, the High Museum is showing a piece called "Potato Study" which features three floating heads, which are read as potatoes. But elements in the work, the number 3, and the shape of the heads is also quite reminiscent of laterite or concrete heads used throughout the Ifa world as figurations of Eshu. I think that elements of African retentions, especially those he may have experienced through his Haitian heritage are often overlooked. I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."

"It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art."

"I think one of the best aspects is that we are still talking about him, still being introduced to his work and ideas and still being challenged by them. It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art. I can only hope that my own work will have the same impact!"

 

---
URGENCY AND SPONTANEITY

Jessica Scott-Felder, visual artist, performer and teacher whose work touches on ancestral and social narratives

"I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color."

image-2
"Basquiat uses line and color as a lyricist uses words. His paintings are freestyle in visual form, automatic and flowing. The timeless songs have great replay value, which is why I seem to find something new in his paintings even if I've seen them several times. In his painting "Scull" the vibrancy of color is what speaks to me first, then a lively crescendo of mark making and lastly the words. I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color.

"Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life."

"Basquiat channeled an urban energy — a sprawling vibrancy of cultures, experiences, and spaces in which he was fully immersed. Self-referential at times, he created work that documented his community and the community, in turn, was enriched by his work. As an artist, Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life — and to leave a lot of documentation around for the next generation of creatives."

 

---
FINE ART OR PRIMAL

FRKO, illustrator/multimedia artist whose work illustrates the merger of bold messaging and hip-hop culture

"Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me."

image-3
"Basquiat's work changed my life at a very early age. I visited the High Museum frequently with my mother as a child and upon discovering his work I assumed art was built on classical technique instead of elements and principles. Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me. Most of my friends are just into the vivid colors of his work but I've always been into the lines and space usage. [[I was also into the idea that] the content was his view on life and the times. Him being into jazz music and also being a musician showed in his work, which inspired me to do the same with hip-hop. The most important piece to me of his is "Head of a Fryer," which is a three-dimensional piece. This piece is important because I can tell it was for him and not just for a gallery showing. I think he used art to entertain himself and that is exactly what I strive for now."

"A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal.'"

"The public definitely looks over the fact that he had so much pride in his work. A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal' or being 'thrown together' but if you study his work as a whole, and then piece by piece, you can feel his emotions just through the line. Some of his work has a harsh tone, while some of it has a soft or minimal feel. The piece "Philistines" may be confused as being primal or childlike but if you look closer, it embodies every element of art, which makes it sound."

 

---
SAMO STYLE

Corey Davis, visual and tattoo artist whose work embodies the spirit of authenticity and the limitlessness of art as a social thought-provoker

"He's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand."

image-4
"I've always been a huge fan of Basquiat. He was the only majorly successful African-American visual artist I heard of while growing up, so he's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand. Recently, I created a series of paintings called SAMO, inspired by the work of Basquiat, where I re-worked some of his old paintings into a series of African masks in my own style. But since I was reproducing some of his previous work, I felt like 'SAMO' or 'same ole' would be an appropriate title. It's not uncommon for artists to draw inspiration from other pieces in art history, drawing influence from the masterpieces of the past. This is something Basquiat played with himself. His work speaks to me because he was so confident and carefree during his creative process. Although some of it might appear to be 'childlike' or 'primitive' every mark he made was very deliberate."

 

---
WORK ETHIC

Sean Fahie, visual artist/author/graphic designer and creative scene influencer whose work often closely examines the link between love and humanity

"For all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.'"

image-9
"I have to say, as much as I am a fan of his art, I was more a fan of his work ethic. When I used to live in my old apartment, at one point I didn't have cable or Internet for a bit and I would play the Julian Schnabel-directed movie of Basquiat on repeat as motivation — definitely at least once a day [[laughing]. Basquiat died with thousands of drawings and hundreds of paintings. He had an extensive collection of work that would surpass a lot of living artists' careers. I always found that to be interesting. Because, for all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.' He made time for what he loved. He was making art when he was dead broke, and making art when he made money. His jazz pieces always stood out to me, and when I studied art history in college, his 'Max Roach' piece with Dizzy Gillespie was definitely one that I was attracted to. I loved that his work wasn't confined to the ideas of what 'high brow' museum pieces were supposed to be at the time."

 

---
image-7

---
VISION AND VOICE

Michi Meko, a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws influence from rural Southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures

"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop."

image-5
"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop. That vision and voice have still remained fresh in today's art making. The work, although steeped in African, Creole, and street aesthetics, smashed with art history and sampled with jazz like early hip-hop records. The work has a deep patina and aesthetic quality as if it were ripped from the walls of an urban environment. The evidence of vandalism and cover-ups as mark making fall directly in line with abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism. The pushing of paint and testing the limits of materials answers what art can be, or is, from the voice grit like hip-hop."

"At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall."

"'Untitled (Cadmium)' (1984) is special because it was the very first Basquait work that I was able to see in person. When I was younger, my mother brought me to Atlanta to see Matisse. I am a fan of the flatness. At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall. I was already painting very loose because I was a fan of Rauschenberg and DeKooning. I had known of Basquait from my books, and this simple piece stole the Matisse experience away from me."

"He was the first to turn street culture into high art."

"There are so many different qualities about the work we could speak about. Whether it's the aesthetic qualities, or subject matter. I truly like the fact that he inserted himself into the canon of western art with a street language by remixing text and imagery. He was the first to turn street culture into high art. If you think about it, it's what's still happening today with what they call 'street art.'"

"He is our patron saint."

"I think most artists that care about abstractions and mark making have in some ways remixed his marks and scrawled text on an image as a painterly mark or graphic element. He is our patron saint."

 

---
page
HIGHS AND LOWS

Goldi Gold, illustrator whose hip-hop influences direct his visual narratives

"His work ethic inspired me tough."

image-8
"His work ethic when he created his pieces inspired me tough. He was constantly creating. And his expression of his artwork, from tagging on walls with some of his abstract creation with live colors, screamed of complex graffiti pieces mixed with tags in hip-hop. That 'Fallen Angel' piece, I feel a connection to. I know as artists, we're constantly trying to raise the bar with our creation. Too many highs and lows. Plenty of highs, but some days I feel like I'm crashing toward earth after a rough patch. That's why I'm feeling the 'Fallen Angel' piece."

"Even though he was inspired by other artists, the pieces still had his original touch. Honestly, the messages through the artwork [[speak to me] and showing black people with abstract crowns over their heads to show we're way more than how the public sees us."

 

---
FREEDOM FROM FORM

Fabian Williams, visual artist and designer whose work explores political and socially relevant contemporary themes

"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted."

image-11
"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted. I like to think I follow my own path as he did. I paint. I sing. I act. Whatever the idea calls for."

"You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted."

"I didn't study Basquiat at all. I actually spent years hating Basquiat's work. Coming from a controlled approach to all things art, as someone who prefers technical skill, he didn't appeal much to me at all. But after doing my research, and hanging with a few colleagues, I realized the significance of his work in the pop era. I felt the freedom to apply poetic license to what I am doing. You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted. Illustration in college, in a way, confined me. As an illustrator, we were taught to be a translator for someone else's vision or idea. I saw everything he did from his childlike approach to his pieces as freedom. Being a technical artist can be like jail. You put this pressure on yourself to be accurate."

 

---
VOICE FOR THE OUTCASTS

EricNine Lopez, graphic designer/illustrator/painter whose work examines the intersection of popular urban culture and contemporary sociopolitical issues

"He was the voice for the outcasts."

image-6
"Basquiat was part of that young Manhattan, late-'70s, early '80s creative movement that so much talent came out of. That was around the time I was born, also around the time when hip-hop was being introduced to the rest of the world for the first time. I've always felt like Basquiat's work was one of the best reflections of that time period, not only with the bright colors and wildness of his technique, but because he was the voice for the outcasts. I think his art inspires the same as hip-hop music inspires a generation that otherwise may not believe you can break out of this twisted social/economic structure we live under. Me, being a minority born in New York, his work is extremely inspiring to me."

"His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique."

"If I had to pick one aspect of Basquiat's work that most influences me, I guess it would be the freedom in his drawings. He never tried to draw 'correct.' His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique. Looking at his work is like getting to see his visual thoughts, without reality's restrictions. That's the freedom I search for with my art.

"By far the most important lesson I've learned from his life experience is not to go so hard with the drugs."

 

---
ZERO FUCKS

image-10
D.L. Warfield, corporate creative designer/multimedia visual artist whose creative concepts merge the underlying sociopolitical dynamics of urban culture in public branding spaces

"The fact that is seems as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working."

"What moves me about Basquiat's work is the IDGAF energy it has. When I look at it, I can tell that there are conscious decisions being made as it relates to composition, color, scale, etc. But the fact that it seems as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working. I strive for that feeling in my work.""
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(17041) "Much like Martin Luther King Jr., you can feel the influence of renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat all throughout Atlanta. It's there, on the giant Hebru Brantley-helmed mural on Edgewood, it's at Krog Street Tunnel, and in the urban galleries and tattoo shops that have come to define the city's progressive, civic-minded arts scene. Basquiat's untimely death, frantic work ethic, and ability to simply translate the sociopolitical concerns of the streets into fine art have led to his mythologization. The so-called "patron saint" is referenced by people who don't even know what his work looks like, but aim for credence in pop culture spaces. The "crown prince" and his influence on Atlanta, in some ways, intersects with King's. Atlanta, at its core, is hip-hop meets civil rights. Had the activist lived to see the artist's emergence, King might've owned a Basquiat.

''[https://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Basquiat|Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks]'' will be on view at the High Museum through May 29. To understand Basquiat's direct influence, we solicited words from 10 Atlanta-based artists whose work can be seen throughout the city in diverse spaces. They, like Atlanta, all have a Basquiat story.

 

---
__FRESH TO DEATH__

[http://www.fahamupecouart.com/|Fahamu Pecou], painter and academic whose large-scale portraiture dissects images of black masculinity in pop culture

__"You don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it."__

[image-1]
"No pun intended, but it's actually 'words,' the linguistic aspect of Basquiat, that speaks to me the most. Much of my work, like Basquiat's, is centered around or extended from words — both spoken and written. I consider Basquiat a hip-hop artist though he's claimed and recognized more broadly as a fine artist (that distinction would need a completely separate article). In fact, you don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it. Line, texture, form, tone, sound, color — these are the contexts for really, deeply investigating his works."

__''"I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."''__

"In 2014, I edited ''Art Papers'' magazine on the theme of intersections between hip-hop and fine art. Shantrelle Lewis, an independent curator out of Philadelphia, wrote an essay comparing JMB to the Yoruba deity Eshu — Eshu being the trickster and perpetual child, the wise and astute gatekeeper, the enigmatic and cunning communicator. Her piece gave me a new and different context through which to think about Basquiat and I have been flirting with doing a broader examination of his work in this vein. Currently, the High Museum is showing a piece called "Potato Study" which features three floating heads, which are read as potatoes. But elements in the work, the number 3, and the shape of the heads is also quite reminiscent of laterite or concrete heads used throughout the Ifa world as figurations of Eshu. I think that elements of African retentions, especially those he may have experienced through his Haitian heritage are often overlooked. I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."

__''"It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art."''__

"I think one of the best aspects is that we are ''still'' talking about him, still being introduced to his work and ideas and still being challenged by them. It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art. I can only hope that my own work will have the same impact!"

 

---
__URGENCY AND SPONTANEITY__

[http://www.jessicascottfelder.com/|Jessica Scott-Felder], visual artist, performer and teacher whose work touches on ancestral and social narratives

__''"I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color."''__

[image-2]
"Basquiat uses line and color as a lyricist uses words. His paintings are freestyle in visual form, automatic and flowing. The timeless songs have great replay value, which is why I seem to find something new in his paintings even if I've seen them several times. In his painting "Scull" the vibrancy of color is what speaks to me first, then a lively crescendo of mark making and lastly the words. I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color.

__''"Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life."''__

"Basquiat channeled an urban energy — a sprawling vibrancy of cultures, experiences, and spaces in which he was fully immersed. Self-referential at times, he created work that documented his community and the community, in turn, was enriched by his work. As an artist, Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life — and to leave a lot of documentation around for the next generation of creatives."

 

---
__FINE ART OR PRIMAL__

[http://frko.bigcartel.com/|FRKO], illustrator/multimedia artist whose work illustrates the merger of bold messaging and hip-hop culture

__''"Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me."''__

[image-3]
"Basquiat's work changed my life at a very early age. I visited the High Museum frequently with my mother as a child and upon discovering his work I assumed art was built on classical technique instead of elements and principles. Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me. Most of my friends are just into the vivid colors of his work but I've always been into the lines and space usage. [[[[I was also into the idea that] the content was his view on life and the times. Him being into jazz music and also being a musician showed in his work, which inspired me to do the same with hip-hop. The most important piece to me of his is "Head of a Fryer," which is a three-dimensional piece. This piece is important because I can tell it was for him and not just for a gallery showing. I think he used art to entertain himself and that is exactly what I strive for now."

__''"A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal.'"''__

"The public definitely looks over the fact that he had so much pride in his work. A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal' or being 'thrown together' but if you study his work as a whole, and then piece by piece, you can feel his emotions just through the line. Some of his work has a harsh tone, while some of it has a soft or minimal feel. The piece "Philistines" may be confused as being primal or childlike but if you look closer, it embodies every element of art, which makes it sound."

 

---
__SAMO STYLE__

[http://www.iamcoreydavis.com/|Corey Davis], visual and tattoo artist whose work embodies the spirit of authenticity and the limitlessness of art as a social thought-provoker

__''"He's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand."''__

[image-4]
"I've always been a huge fan of Basquiat. He was the only majorly successful African-American visual artist I heard of while growing up, so he's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand. Recently, I created a series of paintings called ''SAMO'', inspired by the work of Basquiat, where I re-worked some of his old paintings into a series of African masks in my own style. But since I was reproducing some of his previous work, I felt like 'SAMO' or 'same ole' would be an appropriate title. It's not uncommon for artists to draw inspiration from other pieces in art history, drawing influence from the masterpieces of the past. This is something Basquiat played with himself. His work speaks to me because he was so confident and carefree during his creative process. Although some of it might appear to be 'childlike' or 'primitive' every mark he made was very deliberate."

 

---
__WORK ETHIC__

[https://seanfahie.carbonmade.com/|Sean Fahie], visual artist/author/graphic designer and creative scene influencer whose work often closely examines the link between love and humanity

__''"For all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.'"''__

[image-9]
"I have to say, as much as I am a fan of his art, I was more a fan of his work ethic. When I used to live in my old apartment, at one point I didn't have cable or Internet for a bit and I would play the Julian Schnabel-directed movie of ''Basquiat'' on repeat as motivation — definitely at least once a day [[[[laughing]. Basquiat died with thousands of drawings and hundreds of paintings. He had an extensive collection of work that would surpass a lot of living artists' careers. I always found that to be interesting. Because, for all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.' He made time for what he loved. He was making art when he was dead broke, and making art when he made money. His jazz pieces always stood out to me, and when I studied art history in college, his 'Max Roach' piece with Dizzy Gillespie was definitely one that I was attracted to. I loved that his work wasn't confined to the ideas of what 'high brow' museum pieces were supposed to be at the time."

 

---
[image-7]

---
__VISION AND VOICE__

[http://www.michimeko.com/|Michi Meko], a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws influence from rural Southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures

__''"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop."''__

[image-5]
"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop. That vision and voice have still remained fresh in today's art making. The work, although steeped in African, Creole, and street aesthetics, smashed with art history and sampled with jazz like early hip-hop records. The work has a deep patina and aesthetic quality as if it were ripped from the walls of an urban environment. The evidence of vandalism and cover-ups as mark making fall directly in line with abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism. The pushing of paint and testing the limits of materials answers what art can be, or is, from the voice grit like hip-hop."

__''"At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall."''__

"'Untitled (Cadmium)' (1984) is special because it was the very first Basquait work that I was able to see in person. When I was younger, my mother brought me to Atlanta to see Matisse. I am a fan of the flatness. At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall. I was already painting very loose because I was a fan of Rauschenberg and DeKooning. I had known of Basquait from my books, and this simple piece stole the Matisse experience away from me."

__''"He was the first to turn street culture into high art."''__

"There are so many different qualities about the work we could speak about. Whether it's the aesthetic qualities, or subject matter. I truly like the fact that he inserted himself into the canon of western art with a street language by remixing text and imagery. He was the first to turn street culture into high art. If you think about it, it's what's still happening today with what they call 'street art.'"

__''"He is our patron saint."''__

"I think most artists that care about abstractions and mark making have in some ways remixed his marks and scrawled text on an image as a painterly mark or graphic element. He is our patron saint."

 

---
[page]
__HIGHS AND LOWS__

[https://twitter.com/goldigold|Goldi Gold], illustrator whose hip-hop influences direct his visual narratives

__''"His work ethic inspired me tough."''__

[image-8]
"His work ethic when he created his pieces inspired me tough. He was constantly creating. And his expression of his artwork, from tagging on walls with some of his abstract creation with live colors, screamed of complex graffiti pieces mixed with tags in hip-hop. That 'Fallen Angel' piece, I feel a connection to. I know as artists, we're constantly trying to raise the bar with our creation. Too many highs and lows. Plenty of highs, but some days I feel like I'm crashing toward earth after a rough patch. That's why I'm feeling the 'Fallen Angel' piece."

"Even though he was inspired by other artists, the pieces still had his original touch. Honestly, the messages through the artwork [[[[speak to me] and showing black people with abstract crowns over their heads to show we're way more than how the public sees us."

 

---
__FREEDOM FROM FORM__

[http://occasionalsuperstar.com/|Fabian Williams], visual artist and designer whose work explores political and socially relevant contemporary themes

__''"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted."''__

[image-11]
"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted. I like to think I follow my own path as he did. I paint. I sing. I act. Whatever the idea calls for."

__''"You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted."''__

"I didn't study Basquiat at all. I actually spent years hating Basquiat's work. Coming from a controlled approach to all things art, as someone who prefers technical skill, he didn't appeal much to me at all. But after doing my research, and hanging with a few colleagues, I realized the significance of his work in the pop era. I felt the freedom to apply poetic license to what I am doing. You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted. Illustration in college, in a way, confined me. As an illustrator, we were taught to be a translator for someone else's vision or idea. I saw everything he did from his childlike approach to his pieces as freedom. Being a technical artist can be like jail. You put this pressure on yourself to be accurate."

 

---
__VOICE FOR THE OUTCASTS__

[http://ericnine.com/|EricNine Lopez], graphic designer/illustrator/painter whose work examines the intersection of popular urban culture and contemporary sociopolitical issues

__''"He was the voice for the outcasts."''__

[image-6]
"Basquiat was part of that young Manhattan, late-'70s, early '80s creative movement that so much talent came out of. That was around the time I was born, also around the time when hip-hop was being introduced to the rest of the world for the first time. I've always felt like Basquiat's work was one of the best reflections of that time period, not only with the bright colors and wildness of his technique, but because he was the voice for the outcasts. I think his art inspires the same as hip-hop music inspires a generation that otherwise may not believe you can break out of this twisted social/economic structure we live under. Me, being a minority born in New York, his work is extremely inspiring to me."

__''"His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique."''__

"If I had to pick one aspect of Basquiat's work that most influences me, I guess it would be the freedom in his drawings. He never tried to draw 'correct.' His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique. Looking at his work is like getting to see his visual thoughts, without reality's restrictions. That's the freedom I search for with my art.

"By far the most important lesson I've learned from his life experience is not to go so hard with the drugs."

 

---
__ZERO FUCKS__

[image-10]
[http://www.dlwarfield.com/|D.L. Warfield], corporate creative designer/multimedia visual artist whose creative concepts merge the underlying sociopolitical dynamics of urban culture in public branding spaces

__''"The fact that is'' seems ''as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working."''__

"What moves me about Basquiat's work is the IDGAF energy it has. When I look at it, I can tell that there are conscious decisions being made as it relates to composition, color, scale, etc. But the fact that it ''seems'' as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working. I strive for that feeling in my work.""
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  string(16804) "    Ten Atlanta artists in constant conversation with their 'patron saint'   2016-03-01T09:00:00+00:00 Because of Basquiat ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Jacinta Howard 1306412 2016-03-01T09:00:00+00:00  Much like Martin Luther King Jr., you can feel the influence of renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat all throughout Atlanta. It's there, on the giant Hebru Brantley-helmed mural on Edgewood, it's at Krog Street Tunnel, and in the urban galleries and tattoo shops that have come to define the city's progressive, civic-minded arts scene. Basquiat's untimely death, frantic work ethic, and ability to simply translate the sociopolitical concerns of the streets into fine art have led to his mythologization. The so-called "patron saint" is referenced by people who don't even know what his work looks like, but aim for credence in pop culture spaces. The "crown prince" and his influence on Atlanta, in some ways, intersects with King's. Atlanta, at its core, is hip-hop meets civil rights. Had the activist lived to see the artist's emergence, King might've owned a Basquiat.

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks will be on view at the High Museum through May 29. To understand Basquiat's direct influence, we solicited words from 10 Atlanta-based artists whose work can be seen throughout the city in diverse spaces. They, like Atlanta, all have a Basquiat story.

 

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FRESH TO DEATH

Fahamu Pecou, painter and academic whose large-scale portraiture dissects images of black masculinity in pop culture

"You don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it."

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"No pun intended, but it's actually 'words,' the linguistic aspect of Basquiat, that speaks to me the most. Much of my work, like Basquiat's, is centered around or extended from words — both spoken and written. I consider Basquiat a hip-hop artist though he's claimed and recognized more broadly as a fine artist (that distinction would need a completely separate article). In fact, you don't look at a Basquiat work — you read it. Line, texture, form, tone, sound, color — these are the contexts for really, deeply investigating his works."

"I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."

"In 2014, I edited Art Papers magazine on the theme of intersections between hip-hop and fine art. Shantrelle Lewis, an independent curator out of Philadelphia, wrote an essay comparing JMB to the Yoruba deity Eshu — Eshu being the trickster and perpetual child, the wise and astute gatekeeper, the enigmatic and cunning communicator. Her piece gave me a new and different context through which to think about Basquiat and I have been flirting with doing a broader examination of his work in this vein. Currently, the High Museum is showing a piece called "Potato Study" which features three floating heads, which are read as potatoes. But elements in the work, the number 3, and the shape of the heads is also quite reminiscent of laterite or concrete heads used throughout the Ifa world as figurations of Eshu. I think that elements of African retentions, especially those he may have experienced through his Haitian heritage are often overlooked. I often feel that the comparisons to a 'childlike quality' or some type of 'primitivism' in his work betray the sophistication of his thoughts and ideas."

"It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art."

"I think one of the best aspects is that we are still talking about him, still being introduced to his work and ideas and still being challenged by them. It's pretty rare that even some 40 years after his death, he continues to deliver fresh ideas and ways to think about art. I can only hope that my own work will have the same impact!"

 

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URGENCY AND SPONTANEITY

Jessica Scott-Felder, visual artist, performer and teacher whose work touches on ancestral and social narratives

"I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color."

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"Basquiat uses line and color as a lyricist uses words. His paintings are freestyle in visual form, automatic and flowing. The timeless songs have great replay value, which is why I seem to find something new in his paintings even if I've seen them several times. In his painting "Scull" the vibrancy of color is what speaks to me first, then a lively crescendo of mark making and lastly the words. I see layers of urgency and spontaneity but also moments of calm and restraint in the larger spaces of color.

"Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life."

"Basquiat channeled an urban energy — a sprawling vibrancy of cultures, experiences, and spaces in which he was fully immersed. Self-referential at times, he created work that documented his community and the community, in turn, was enriched by his work. As an artist, Basquiat's work reminds me to be a prolifically active observer of life — and to leave a lot of documentation around for the next generation of creatives."

 

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FINE ART OR PRIMAL

FRKO, illustrator/multimedia artist whose work illustrates the merger of bold messaging and hip-hop culture

"Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me."

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"Basquiat's work changed my life at a very early age. I visited the High Museum frequently with my mother as a child and upon discovering his work I assumed art was built on classical technique instead of elements and principles. Basquiat's work was like a new sound of music that I couldn't explain but excited me. Most of my friends are just into the vivid colors of his work but I've always been into the lines and space usage. [[I was also into the idea that] the content was his view on life and the times. Him being into jazz music and also being a musician showed in his work, which inspired me to do the same with hip-hop. The most important piece to me of his is "Head of a Fryer," which is a three-dimensional piece. This piece is important because I can tell it was for him and not just for a gallery showing. I think he used art to entertain himself and that is exactly what I strive for now."

"A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal.'"

"The public definitely looks over the fact that he had so much pride in his work. A person uneducated in fine art might just see his work as 'primal' or being 'thrown together' but if you study his work as a whole, and then piece by piece, you can feel his emotions just through the line. Some of his work has a harsh tone, while some of it has a soft or minimal feel. The piece "Philistines" may be confused as being primal or childlike but if you look closer, it embodies every element of art, which makes it sound."

 

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SAMO STYLE

Corey Davis, visual and tattoo artist whose work embodies the spirit of authenticity and the limitlessness of art as a social thought-provoker

"He's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand."

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"I've always been a huge fan of Basquiat. He was the only majorly successful African-American visual artist I heard of while growing up, so he's always held a huge influence on my career as an artist — I even have his portrait tattooed on my right hand. Recently, I created a series of paintings called SAMO, inspired by the work of Basquiat, where I re-worked some of his old paintings into a series of African masks in my own style. But since I was reproducing some of his previous work, I felt like 'SAMO' or 'same ole' would be an appropriate title. It's not uncommon for artists to draw inspiration from other pieces in art history, drawing influence from the masterpieces of the past. This is something Basquiat played with himself. His work speaks to me because he was so confident and carefree during his creative process. Although some of it might appear to be 'childlike' or 'primitive' every mark he made was very deliberate."

 

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WORK ETHIC

Sean Fahie, visual artist/author/graphic designer and creative scene influencer whose work often closely examines the link between love and humanity

"For all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.'"

image-9
"I have to say, as much as I am a fan of his art, I was more a fan of his work ethic. When I used to live in my old apartment, at one point I didn't have cable or Internet for a bit and I would play the Julian Schnabel-directed movie of Basquiat on repeat as motivation — definitely at least once a day [[laughing]. Basquiat died with thousands of drawings and hundreds of paintings. He had an extensive collection of work that would surpass a lot of living artists' careers. I always found that to be interesting. Because, for all the partying and drugs and late nights, he always made time for his work. And to me that's what truly separates those who want it and those who are 'trying.' He made time for what he loved. He was making art when he was dead broke, and making art when he made money. His jazz pieces always stood out to me, and when I studied art history in college, his 'Max Roach' piece with Dizzy Gillespie was definitely one that I was attracted to. I loved that his work wasn't confined to the ideas of what 'high brow' museum pieces were supposed to be at the time."

 

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VISION AND VOICE

Michi Meko, a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws influence from rural Southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures

"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop."

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"The work for me speaks to not only an attitude but a specific vision and voice of the time period, like the records of early hip-hop. That vision and voice have still remained fresh in today's art making. The work, although steeped in African, Creole, and street aesthetics, smashed with art history and sampled with jazz like early hip-hop records. The work has a deep patina and aesthetic quality as if it were ripped from the walls of an urban environment. The evidence of vandalism and cover-ups as mark making fall directly in line with abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism. The pushing of paint and testing the limits of materials answers what art can be, or is, from the voice grit like hip-hop."

"At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall."

"'Untitled (Cadmium)' (1984) is special because it was the very first Basquait work that I was able to see in person. When I was younger, my mother brought me to Atlanta to see Matisse. I am a fan of the flatness. At the end of the exhibition, I turned the corner and there it was. I kinda just froze up. It vibrated and shook the wall. I was already painting very loose because I was a fan of Rauschenberg and DeKooning. I had known of Basquait from my books, and this simple piece stole the Matisse experience away from me."

"He was the first to turn street culture into high art."

"There are so many different qualities about the work we could speak about. Whether it's the aesthetic qualities, or subject matter. I truly like the fact that he inserted himself into the canon of western art with a street language by remixing text and imagery. He was the first to turn street culture into high art. If you think about it, it's what's still happening today with what they call 'street art.'"

"He is our patron saint."

"I think most artists that care about abstractions and mark making have in some ways remixed his marks and scrawled text on an image as a painterly mark or graphic element. He is our patron saint."

 

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HIGHS AND LOWS

Goldi Gold, illustrator whose hip-hop influences direct his visual narratives

"His work ethic inspired me tough."

image-8
"His work ethic when he created his pieces inspired me tough. He was constantly creating. And his expression of his artwork, from tagging on walls with some of his abstract creation with live colors, screamed of complex graffiti pieces mixed with tags in hip-hop. That 'Fallen Angel' piece, I feel a connection to. I know as artists, we're constantly trying to raise the bar with our creation. Too many highs and lows. Plenty of highs, but some days I feel like I'm crashing toward earth after a rough patch. That's why I'm feeling the 'Fallen Angel' piece."

"Even though he was inspired by other artists, the pieces still had his original touch. Honestly, the messages through the artwork [[speak to me] and showing black people with abstract crowns over their heads to show we're way more than how the public sees us."

 

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FREEDOM FROM FORM

Fabian Williams, visual artist and designer whose work explores political and socially relevant contemporary themes

"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted."

image-11
"The best aspect of Basquiat's work is his freedom. He was a graffiti artist. A drummer. Painter. Whatever he wanted. I like to think I follow my own path as he did. I paint. I sing. I act. Whatever the idea calls for."

"You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted."

"I didn't study Basquiat at all. I actually spent years hating Basquiat's work. Coming from a controlled approach to all things art, as someone who prefers technical skill, he didn't appeal much to me at all. But after doing my research, and hanging with a few colleagues, I realized the significance of his work in the pop era. I felt the freedom to apply poetic license to what I am doing. You could say he gave me the freedom to do what I wanted. Illustration in college, in a way, confined me. As an illustrator, we were taught to be a translator for someone else's vision or idea. I saw everything he did from his childlike approach to his pieces as freedom. Being a technical artist can be like jail. You put this pressure on yourself to be accurate."

 

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VOICE FOR THE OUTCASTS

EricNine Lopez, graphic designer/illustrator/painter whose work examines the intersection of popular urban culture and contemporary sociopolitical issues

"He was the voice for the outcasts."

image-6
"Basquiat was part of that young Manhattan, late-'70s, early '80s creative movement that so much talent came out of. That was around the time I was born, also around the time when hip-hop was being introduced to the rest of the world for the first time. I've always felt like Basquiat's work was one of the best reflections of that time period, not only with the bright colors and wildness of his technique, but because he was the voice for the outcasts. I think his art inspires the same as hip-hop music inspires a generation that otherwise may not believe you can break out of this twisted social/economic structure we live under. Me, being a minority born in New York, his work is extremely inspiring to me."

"His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique."

"If I had to pick one aspect of Basquiat's work that most influences me, I guess it would be the freedom in his drawings. He never tried to draw 'correct.' His art always seemed to be more emotionally driven, more about purpose than technique. Looking at his work is like getting to see his visual thoughts, without reality's restrictions. That's the freedom I search for with my art.

"By far the most important lesson I've learned from his life experience is not to go so hard with the drugs."

 

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ZERO FUCKS

image-10
D.L. Warfield, corporate creative designer/multimedia visual artist whose creative concepts merge the underlying sociopolitical dynamics of urban culture in public branding spaces

"The fact that is seems as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working."

"What moves me about Basquiat's work is the IDGAF energy it has. When I look at it, I can tell that there are conscious decisions being made as it relates to composition, color, scale, etc. But the fact that it seems as if he truly doesn't care about the viewer or consumer must have given him a sense of feeling free when he was working. I strive for that feeling in my work."       0,0,10      13086543 17011369        http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/02/0392a3_arts_basquiat1_1_45.png                  Because of Basquiat "
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Tuesday March 1, 2016 04:00 am EST
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