-Joe Pitts (@headtowall)
On Friday night I ventured to the Port Richmond/Frankford/Juniata Park nexus of warehouse spaces in Philadelphia increasingly becoming popular as the destination for Philly creatives looking to make art, music or to organize events revolving around the two. If you're familiar with the Hamsterdam event series, you'll know the area I'm talking about. The Quite Hype team has a studio space in Port Richmond as do Grindhouse and Drowning Fish, so there is a clear resurgence of creative talent happening in this area as is all-too-common in underdeveloped metropolitan areas where the rent is cheaper and the presence of authority weakens the further removed you are from the city's central hub.
The event in question was the My Frame of Mind Art Party organized by musician, videographer, and graphic designer Marv Mack. The event was a collection of visual artists (photography, paint, and installation) and hip hop musicians with sounds provided by SYLO. These type of art show/music parties, while not traditional, are becoming increasingly popular in urban creative hubs like Philly and Atlanta. The energy in the room was palpable as creatives networked, shared, and buzzed with one another. The Philadelphia Art-Hip Hop community is loosely defined but all-too-familiar to those who've been around to see it grow from the currently hibernating Three for 3 show series to the annual Foxtail Fest. With the platform of the Cult Classic Good News blog, I find it essential that I provide editorial recaps of events like these as a way to document the growth of a scene that has yet to find its place in the mainstream although there is little doubt that individuals stemming from this community will go on to do great, perhaps even monumental things.
First let's talk about the art. The showstopper of the night was a collection of jewelry-adorned nooses and other chain creations by installation artist Jennifer Younge The imagery arouses reminders of the days when lynchings were sadly all too common. But the addition of glorified jewelry turns the devastation of historical American lynchings inwards challenging the viewer to question in what ways is modern life, popular culture and our actions (or lack thereof) keeping the lynching tradition alive?:
The photography on display was a collection of portrait pieces and street-art spectacles often with a conscious touch. Photographer Blaire Monroe provided a photo set revolving around the issue of colorism in the black community. Blaire explains, "these are all different shades of powerful black women and they're all absolutely stunning in their own ways. I wanted to celebrate that." Look out for a documentary she is working on with collaborator Shahida Muhammed on the subject of how color is portrayed in our society for the black community:
Ant Beale's hyper-sexualized collection of a beautiful female model garnered a lot of attention:
Photographer Phobymo also celebrated the female:
Photographer Young Drew had some stunning landscape portraits:
The performances were also a big part of the event. Featuring hip hop musicians Marv Mack, Ciroc Boy Auto, Matt Ford, Starks Vader, and Bri-Steves and a DJ set by SYLO, there was no lack of talent Friday night:
All in all the event was a success. There were even more artists featured Friday night that we weren't able to reach out to before publication. But no worries; look for more types of these events to become increasingly popular as the Philly art and hip hop communities continue to flourish into 2015.
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