The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul: Jazz

The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul You Me NYCSaxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet have been playing rebellious and unapologetic Jazz for the past three decades.  Anyone familiar with this group is definitely aware of their high-flying improvisations that can launch at any given moment.  “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” is a perfect example of freeform at it’s best with each instrumental voice being defined with purpose.

For 20 of those years, piano player Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis have been a staple in the group.  Drummer Justin Faulkner has been with the band for about 10 years respectively.  I have to say that the band has reached another pinnacle tending to a collection of moods with motivating commitment.  Faulkner’s chops are crisp and smooth.  Calderazzo goes ahead and smokes the ivories and Revis’s bass line is fluent and on point.  Marsalis outdoes himself on this album, his phrasing is sharp and endless.  Each member of the quartet compliments each other the way an improv band should.

“Life Filtering from the Water Flowers” is Marsalis’ one and only composition on this album and it is of true Marsalis form.  This arrangement displays a cleverly organized instrumentation with very moving and contained sax riffs only Marsalis can phrase.  Calderazzo’s piano playing and Faulkner’s drumming help convey the message Marsalis is bringing across.   “Life Filtering from the Water Flowers”, compliments the album as a reflective tribute to his late mother Delores Marsalis.

“The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” is a definite must-have for all Jazz fans.  The creativity of the improvisation tangents in each song is truly an original compilation that cannot be duplicated.  This album is an enjoyable and innovative listen that features some engaging moments of Jazz Improvisation.  This album serves as a perfect example as to why the Brandfors Marsalis Quartet is held in such high regard for the past 30 years.

Help You Move Out

As I sip my coffee and eat my breakfast, there’s a kid in his mid to late 20s sitting next to me, totally beside himself letting out a random depressing sigh as he’s going through his phone.  I pretend not to notice, however, after a while, it was really starting to get to me.  Now I know when you sit at the counter in a city diner, you are at the mercy of anyone that sits next to you.  As I take another sip, I hear another sigh, as I take another a bite, I hear another sigh.  This is just too much.

“What’s the matter with you,” I asked as I dropped my fork on the plate.  “I got a phone call from my father earlier this morning that really bummed me out,”  he said, as he goes through his phone.  “Oh yeah, so what’s got you all bummed out,” I asked.  “My father lost his job, he called me to let me know that and that he’s not going to be able to pay for my apartment anymore,” said the kid.  “Pay for your apartment, how old are you,”, I asked.  “I’m 26,” said the kid.  “You’re 26 and your father is paying for your apartment, how old is your father,” I asked.  “He just turned 62,” said the kid.  At this point, I am rather aggravated and I  say “C’mon man, your father is probably looking to settle down anyway, where are you living”?  ” I have a one bedroom in Murray Hill,” he said.  “A one bedroom, really, man you have got to be shitting me, do you work,” I asked.  “Yeah at a coffee shop in Soho, that’s how I get by,” he said.  I started laughing looked down and read my paper.

“I am trying to be an actor,” he said.  “Oh yeah and for how long has this pipe dream been going on,” I asked as I continue to read my paper.  “Ever since I can remember,” he said.  “Where you from originally,” I asked.  “Why,” he asked.  “Because you are definitely not from around here.  You would’ve told me to fuck off as soon as I asked ‘What’s wrong with you’.  Besides, I wanna see if this is one of those I am going to move to New York City and become famous types of stories,” I said.  “I’m from Nebraska,” he said.  “Oh, it’s a midwest story, leaving the midwest to come to New York City, the city where dreams are made, whatever that means.  Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around,” I said.  I started to laugh, then I asked, “Are you any good”?  “You wanna see some of my clips, ” he asked.

Just then the server came over and dropped my bill next to my coffee.  I picked up the bill and looked it over.  I look at the server and asked her “Would you be interested in looking at this kid’s clips”?  “Clips,” she asked.  “Yeah, he’s an actor, trying to live the New York City dream, you know, move here from some small town in the midwest and become famous,” I said.   “Sure,” she responded.

The kid goes through his phone, chooses the clips he wants us to see and puts his phone on the counter.  We gather around and start watching his reel.  I glance at his face and he is so proud of his work.  I look at the servers face and she is watching and showing no sign of any emotion or enthusiasm whatsoever.  After about 15 minutes the show was over.  I looked at the server and she looked at me.

“What do you think,” asked the kid.  “Can I bring you anything else,” the server asked me.  “Yeah, bring me this kid’s check,” I said.  The server walks off.  “So what do you think,” again asked the kid.  Before I could say anything the server came back and dropped the kid’s check next to me.  I handed a bill to her and asked, “Does this cover both”?  She smiles “Enough for you too,” I asked.  She smiles and nods, “Good, then keep the rest,” I said.  The server rushes off.  “Damn, she didn’t even tell me what she thought,” said the kid.  “She feels the same way I feel,” I said.  “How do you know,” he asked.  “She and I are born and raised New York, even better, born and raised Brooklyn.  We can read each other’s thoughts just by facial expressions,” I said.  “Really so what did she think,” he asked.  “You suck, I took care of your check so you can save your money and go back to Nebraska.  Go help out your father.  How long have you been trying to do this acting gig anyway,” I asked.  “I don’t suck and for your information, I’ve only been at this acting gig for 4 years.  What do you know and what does she know, she’s a waitress in a broken-down New York City Diner,” he angrily said.  “I know a hell of a lot and I know that you need to go out and get yourself a real job so you can keep that apartment and stop exploiting your old man, you fucking jerk off, ” I said as I gather the rest of my things.  “I don’t need to do any of that, I’ll just talk to my landlord and ask him for some help,” he said.  “The only help your landlord is going to give you is help moving out and if you show him your acting reel, he’ll throw you out you lemon,” I said.

At that moment the kid stormed out of the diner.  A few moments later the server came back.

“So what’s on your agenda today, ” she asked.  “I’ve just been inspired to write an article today,” I said.  “Great, what inspired you?  I hope it wasn’t that kid’s acting because he sucks, he’s terrible,” she said.  “Funny, I told him the same thing and  he told me that he doesn’t,” I said.  “Really,” she exclaimed.  We both had a good laugh and went about our day.

Shortstack: Breaking the Rules and Setting New Standards

They go by the slogan “Breaking The Rules and Setting New Standards.”  Starting out as a small fashion show straight to a mission, Shortstack is a nonprofit modeling agency for young teenage girls.  Their objective is to create opportunities for the teens, by encouraging them to embrace their inner and outer selves and helping to achieve their aspirations of becoming a model.  According to program directors, Patricia Budhan and Frannelys Frias “Shortstack is not just a modeling program, it’s also a self-esteem program. We want to help girls overcome their struggles.” This nonprofit program is a space for young girls to blossom into young women. It is also a sisterhood where anyone can reach out for advice or have a shoulder to lean on.

Throughout the program, the agency renders life lessons such as time management, networking, and how to communicate with others. Many have come out of this program finding their lifetime friend. Together the girls go through auditions, workshops, and segments, while simultaneously creating a bond with each other. Hal Eisenberg is the CEO of Windows of Opportunity Inc., which is also the parent umbrella that Shortstack 501©(3) is under.  Eisenberg, the Executive Director of Shortstack, Tracy Mangan Mignone, along with program directors Patricia Maria and Frannelys Frias steady the course of the curriculum.  Considering it takes about nine months to prepare the girls for the runway show, the Shortstack team works very hard to provide the models with their outfits, photo-shoots, sponsors, the production overall and the audience. 
As people hear the word about Shortstack, this leads to a conversation.  According to Tracy Mangan Mignone “We walked through Roosevelt Field mall and sent out packets giving people a chance to see their clothing on our runway.” As the years went by, it was easy for people to reach out and get their clothing line into the fashion show.

Conclusion

Shortstack is the vessel that advises a young girl on how to use the power of confidence to their advantage.  They want the best for these teens by showing them, they can be whatever they want to be in life.  They still continue their mission for many that were in the program.  Once a Shortstack always a Shortstack. We wish much-continued success with their mission in helping young girls build their confidence and self-esteem.

Getting to Know ToniSteelz

Toni Steelz You Me NYCToniSteelz, Brooklyn born and raised, adult-contemporary hip-hop artist has been performing ever since she was a kid.  Considering she comes from a long line of performers in her family, performing comes naturally to her.  As busy as she is, she took a few moments out of her day to allow You Me NYC to get to know a little more about her.

A day for Toni starts with an early rise and a prayer.  Then she lets the dog out to take care of his business.  Next, she dedicates an hour or two to social media and emails.  Then breakfast, yoga to follow and then she takes a walk around the neighborhood to prepare for the day and kick off her creative flow.

Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Queen Latifah are her musical inspirations when it comes to creating her work.  Her process requires meditation, water, snacks, trees, a pen, paper and space.  Toni Collaborates with other artists as well and finds the process to be a bit more simple.  According to Toni, it’s easier to bounce ideas off of someone else.  She will definitely work with other artists in the future.

Toni loves her work, she loves to create, meet new people and adores her fans.  When her fans reach out she reaches back.  She can’t acknowledge all of her fans, but she does try her best.  She does, however, dislike the backhandedness and the judgments that come with the territory in this industry.  However, when asked if she ever thought about leaving the performing arts and starting a new career, she replied with an emphatic “No”.  Hence why she involves herself with other aspects of the industry such as acting, writing and producing.  She is also considering other genres, like, RnB/Soul and fake singing(jokingly) as well.

With all that is going on in her life, we asked if she ever has time for herself and her response, “I make time for myself”.  Unfortunately, she learned that the hard way, after she was hospitalized for dehydration.  Toni relaxes by going to theme parks, comedy shows, traveling, hanging out, enjoying a nice bowl of pasta(her favorite food), watching television(The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is her favorite show) and occasionally takes a “hit” of “weed”.

Toni Steelz You Me NYCConclusion

Be consistent, relentless, focused and always remember to have fun which is her advice to anyone trying to get into the game.  According to Steelz, “ToniSteelz” is the future and she plans on bringing her lady friends with her.  She sees herself creating and starring in films along with a few other business ventures.  Toni is traveling on a long road and she is excited to see where it brings her.  We at You Me NYC are delighted to be a part of that journey.

 

Check out ToniSteelz’s “Welcome to my Hood” and share with all you know.

Jamaica Avenue

I decided to shoot somewhere, I went all the time as a kid-The Ave.  Where I use to get the latest mix cd’s, clothes, sneakers or just walk around with my friends and people watch, capturing history. On a chilly Sunday, the streets were nowhere near as crowded as I remember and the Coliseum was closed.  It’s really only been a few years since I’ve been on that side but new buildings and businesses are going up quicker and quicker every day. I can’t even keep up with it, in my own neighborhood. But for the most part, it was actually just how I left it. As a New Yorker, to be able to go somewhere and it’s still the same, I can’t ask for anything else.

Piasha Barua College Student Petite Model and Activist

Piasha Barua You Me NYCWake-up, go to school, then to work on certain days, go to the gym, hang out with friends or come home to a cat and watch television, sounds like an ordinary day for a full-time working college student.  Now couple that day with modeling and an “Anti Skin Bleaching” campaign, you have full-time working college student,  petite model, and activist, Piasha Barua.

Piasha is a Queens-born native of Bangladeshi descent and before modeling, she was heavily involved with the “Queens Library Teen Radio Podcast” two days a week.  Working at the podcast taught her valuable skills on how to interview people.  As her skills progressed, she landed a gig to interview the author of “Black Girls Rock”, Beverly Bond.  It was her first interview and although she was extremely nervous Piahsa did an excellent job.  Ever since her first interview, Piasha’s team gave her more people to interview for the popular podcast.  Jaquae from “Love and Hip Hop”, Puma from “Black Ink Crew”, Julito McCullum from “Brotherly Love” and Angela Yee from “The Breakfast Club” are just a few of the celebrities Piasha interviewed.

When asked why she chose to concentrate on modeling and if she received any adversity from her family and friends about her decision, her family was surprised yet embracing regarding her decision.  Piasha’s family is very conservative and no one in her family has ever been able to do this. Piasha chose to pursue modeling because it’s one of the ways she can promote the “Anti Skin Bleaching” campaign.

Piasha Barua You Me NYC

Skin bleaching creams are sold all throughout South Asian countries including Bangladesh where her family is from.  According to Piasha, being fair skin is a common beauty trend which displays a “higher class”.  “I want to be a part of that change, where having a dark complexion, is acceptable and beautiful and be a role model for others,” says Piasha.   It’s not just about walking and showing off, it’s about walking with power and purpose.   She wants to set an example to young South Asian girls and all girls of color, that they don’t need to bleach their skin to feel beautiful and to embrace the beauty that comes from within themselves.

When asked what she likes and dislikes about the modeling industry, Piasha loves the diversity amongst the models in the industry.  However, there are certain high-end shows that still portray a certain physical type.  She believes that models should be seen in a different way.  Every model seen has a pretty face, with one unique feature.  According to Piasha, models should be allowed to showcase, their own individual traits so people can start to recognize their own unique features, along with how their traits were made for them.

In addition to modeling, Piasha also works with the non-profit organization “Purposely Pretty” which teaches young girls how to identify their purpose in life.  The objective is not about a pretty face, it’s more than that.  It’s all about self-love, overcoming doubt, conflict resolution, money management, recognizing relationships and the impact of social media.  “Purposely Pretty” provides mentors to young girls to look up to and learn how their mentors have become strong successful women.  Piasha is the social media manager of “Purposely Pretty”, which is one of the most important roles in the organization considering how influential social media is today.  Diamond Craig, the program director of “Purposely Pretty” gave the position to her and she is proud and honored to be working with such an amazing organization.

Conclusion

Piasha Barua You Me NYCWith all that being said, we asked how Piasha balances school, work and her social life.  Her schedule is a balanced one, with work twice a week and school four days a week.  When she actually has a moment, she likes to hang out with her friends, usually over a plate of Chicken Alfredo, that’s her favorite dish.  However, when she has a moment alone, Piasha likes to watch a lot of “Disney-Pixar” movies along with a plethora of cartoons that she can watch all day.  However, right now she is binge-watching “The Real Day Time” show on “YouTube”.  They put a lot of emphasis on “Girl Chats” and the show’s theme is purple which happens to be Piasha’s favorite color.

When asked if there are any other career paths she might be entertaining down the road, Piasha has a genuine interest in companies, brands or organizations that have a purpose and be part of a great movement.  Considering that she is a young adult, she is discovering new things about herself and what she is capable of doing.  She has a passion for television, film, and pop culture as well as an eagerness to learn about marketing and advertising on multi-media platforms.  Either way, whichever direction she chooses, we at You Me NYC are absolutely positive it’s going to be the right choice.

 

 

 

NBCUniversal Returns As Presenting Partner For MvVO Art Ad Art Show: New York’s New Annual Art Event

After the phenomenal success of AD ART SHOW 2018 at Sotheby’s, NBCUniversal is returning as presenting partner for AD ART SHOW 2019—MvVO ART’s new annual addition to the art scene in New York City.

“I’m thrilled to announce that NBCUniversal is continuing as presenting partner for AD ART SHOW. Their generosity enables MvVO Art to bring AD ART SHOW to the streets of NYC through an ad buy onLinkNYC and continue to provide artists advertising opportunities to gain more exposure and recognition in the Art world in celebration of creativity in the industry,” said Maria van Vlodrop, Founder & CEO of MvVO ART.

AD ART SHOW is a selling exhibition and features artworks created by the artists following in the footsteps of Warhol, Magritte, Haring and the many other famous artists with roots in advertising, design and commercial Art.

“Creativity is such a vital part of our lives, and at the heart of everything, we do at NBCUniversal. We’re so proud to celebrate these talented artists as presenting partners of the AD ART SHOW. Whether we’re talking about innovative pop art or driving pop culture, the wall of a gallery or the screen in your home, one thing is true: creative work inspires people to feel, to remember, and to act,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising, Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal

The 2019 edition is presented on LinkNYC and will take place in key art-centric neighborhoods in New York during Frieze Week (May 1-4, 2019).

Hip Hop Started out in the Heart

Hearing the theme music to Wayne’s Brother’s play for the first time changed my life forever. Electric Relaxation by the Hometown Heroes, A Tribe Called Quest. I guess you can say that’s when I decided to make it official with Hip Hop. No doubt about it, I was in love and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. I’ve had crushes before but nothing like this, nothing I could put into words. Just a feeling I couldn’t and didn’t want to describe. Kind of like the first time you have great sex. A Tribe Called Quest You Me NYCA Tribe Called Quest in the early days. From left to right,
Jarobi White, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife Dawg.
Ernie Paniccioli/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

That’s what Hip Hop is to me, a feeling with such a vast everlasting stamp on this world. Too much to box in but just enough to recognize. However with any and everything, we need reasons to classify and define. If it doesn’t fall into the guidelines regulated by individuals not even responsible for its creation; it’s seen as blasphemy and should be punishable by law. Funny, I haven’t been on this earth as long as most people, however, I have never heard anyone debate so passionately about who’s the best country singer. Especially when it comes to content. There’s a certain kind of freedom allowed in other genres that I don’t see in Hip Hop. It’s always who did it first, who’s the king or queen? Who’s the strongest lyrically? No real room for growth, variety or inclusivity. Unless it’s being used for advertising purposes, then the lanes and streams are endless.  

Hip hop tends to get treated like the troublesome teenager with talent and promise that needs to be disciplined and watched constantly. That one kid all the students love and the teachers can’t stand. The kid with straight A’s who lived in detention really out of boredom unless you needed to show diversity on campus. Hip Hop is almost 40 years old and should be treated as such including the artists who continue to strive and create in this genre. 

I love hip hop but I hate having discussions about it sometimes. If you say more quote on quote conscious artists like Kendrick and J Cole then you get some form of respect but if you say Migos or Kodak then your musical choices are in question when there’s room for everyone to have a seat at the table. Like for BET to trash Nicki Minaj while congratulating Cardi B on her Grammy was disappointing. I’m actually not a fan of either personally but both women worked hard, created their lane and succeeded in it. That’s what Hip Hop is all about. Take out the competition, find the beauty in that. Get back to the heart.  

Metro Manga

People draw inspiration from pretty much anything these days.  Whether you are walking around Central Park, strolling down Eastern Parkway, or staring out a window.  Manga artist Sophocles Plokamakis, founder of “Sophocles Art” and coiner of the term and genre “Metro Manga” finds his visions in the Subways of New York City.  Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:    What genre do you consider your art to be?
Sophocles:  I create comics in the subway which I call Metro Manga because they are inspired by Japanese comics and read from right to left. When I paint Metro Manga on canvas, I’d say that my work is a mixture of Manga and Pop Art. I used to paint in a photo-realistic style, but I much prefer impressionism painting and pop art.

Peter Frz:    Where are you originally from and where are you currently residing and how long?  
Sophocles:  I’m from Astoria, NY a very Greek city in Queens and I live here now for about 8 years but I’ve been in and out of Astoria my whole life. I love how it’s a great mixture of the city and the suburbs. 

Peter Frz:    What is your creative process like and what tools do you use to harness your creativity then transpose to the canvas?
Sophocles: 
 I use a portable clipboard as a drawing pad that holds all my paper and Japanese Kuretake Fude pens (calligraphy brush-pens), sharpies and Japanese animation red and blue color pencils. Sometimes I draw on black paper, usually black card stock. I make the majority of my art in the subway drawing real people on the spot. When I step into the subway, as I’m waiting for my train, I make a composition of Manga Panels starting from right to left. I record my journey from what stop and train I started with so that my readers can see where I was that day. Each panel in manga records a moment in time and I want my Metro Manga to be my daily visual ongoing comic strip, that people can look back on many years from now, like old newspapers as a moment in the history of art. 
Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Sometimes I color my paper manga with Copic sketch markers and more recently I’ve taken them to the next level by making large acrylic paintings of the comic pages that I made in the comic. For my paintings, I use Copic brush pens on top of acrylic paint on the canvas.

Peter Frz:   How has your style changed over the years? 
Sophocles: I started making art when I was 3. It started out very abstract, drawing comic, video game and cartoon characters with accurate colors and costumes but in an extremely simple style. The Heroes all had giant smiles and the villain’s big frowns. I’ve been told by art teachers my whole life that I had good observational skills so as time went on my fan art became more precise, subtle and detailed, but I’ve always been a fan of the more abstract simple design of characters in Japanese cartoons and comics. It was Shonen Jump, a Manga magazine translated into English from Japan that changed my life. At SVA I learned fundamental drawing, painting and sculpting skills and was exposed to different kinds of art I had never looked at before and was encouraged to experiment with different genres of art. I love that school and the effect it had on my journey through the art world.

Today my characters have detail that sets them all apart from one another but they are still simple. I use as few lines as possible to suggest the people of the Subways of the world like an Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodcut print) artist or a Sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) artist. I’m always open to my style constantly evolving and exploring new territory as an artist, which I think is vital if you are to keep growing and coming up with new pieces that have an impact.

Peter Frz:   What do you believe is a key element in creating a good work? 
Sophocles: The key element in making great work is to do what you love. I learned this from my favorite teacher Keith Mayerson in our Principles of Cartooning class in my sophomore year at SVA. Once you find a subject that inspires you the rest is easy because I get overwhelmed by the urge to create something new every time I travel on the Subway. The subway is my main studio so you need to find what moves you and gets you painting, drawing, sculpting, making collages, prints, or even in the other arts, which subject(s) inspire you to create a new song, dance, etc. 

Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   What lead you to make art a career and was there any adversity from family or friends regarding your decision?
Sophocles: It was my love for cartoons, Manga, comics, video games, museums, and galleries. There was a lot of adversity from family and friends regarding my decision to be a pro artist and art teacher especially those closest to me. You have to push through that, if you are serious about being a pro artist, you got to show your art to people in galleries, the subway, parks, shows and network with artists, curators, and collectors so you can attract more opportunities through other people. 

Peter Frz:   Who or what are your biggest influences?
Sophocles: My biggest influences are Akira Toriyama (Creator of Dragonball and Doctor Slump) and Osamu Tezuka (The God of Manga and creator of Astro Boy) Toriyama’s amazing draftsmanship in Doctor Slump and his action-packed storytelling in DBZ and Tezuka’s Genius level storytelling made me want to make comics, art, cartoons and animated tv series for my whole life. Another huge influence on my life was traveling to Japan twice and visiting all the best manga museums, galleries and shows like the world of Dragonball in Nagoya, and the Osamu Tezuka museum in Takarazuka. That trip changed my life and I began to focus all my energy toward making comics on the subway as opposed to just drawing sketches of the passengers before that. Also, the character Goku always inspired me to want to keep making art and to see just how skilled I could become.

Peter Frz:   What are some of the challenges you face while you are creating?
Sophocles: It’s easier for me to draw in public and make comics on the go than at home. At home sometimes I get distracted. When I’m on the subway there’s always someone who inspires me to make art every time I commute on the trains. A challenge I face when drawing in the subway is when someone gets up and leaves the train before I’m finished drawing them.  However, I solve the problem by playing a drawing game I call MR. Potato Head. I’ll piece together a character in my Metro Manga by drawing other people’s features or clothing onto the original person that I drew so that I am still drawing from life and not inventing things. I find that when I draw from life or quality photo references my drawings look more accurate and polished than when I draw from my head.

Peter Frz:   Is Sophocles Art your first venture and were there any other ventures before Sophocles Art?
Sophocles: 
My business name used to be Sopho Toons (short for Sophocles’ Cartoons) but I changed it to Sophocles Art so people would know the name behind the work. 

Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   What’s been your greatest artistic success?
Sophocles: I’ve had lots of success in my journey as an artist but I have to say Decemberfest and the other shows I curated at ONE ART SPACE in Tribeca, NYC is my greatest accomplishment. Decemberfest was a 70-artist group show that I curated with my business partner and fellow curator Oriel Ceballos on December 1st 2018. We had 1000+ people come to see the show in only a 3-hour span. There were lines around the corner of the block to get into the show. I have never seen anything like that in all the shows I’ve been a featured artist in, as well as shows in the Chelsea galleries even for big-name artists from the past. I put my all into that show and the results were a testament to the power of GREAT ART and how it inspires a community and the world. 

Peter Frz:   What is next on the horizon for Sophocles Art?
Sophocles: I make a ritual of writing my top 10-20 goals for the year before the new year starts. For 2019 I have 5 more shows to curate at One Art Space. The next one is on April 5-6. Send me a DM if you’d like to learn more on Instagram @sophocles.art. I also want to self-publish 5 books this year featuring my subway art, a children’s book and a look book for my animated TV series that I’m working on.

Sophocles Art Nas You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Sophocles: In the next five years I see myself earning the money selling my books, art and to travel to all the major cities in the world that have subways and making METRO MANGA a Global project sort of like how Brandon Stanton (HONY) has taken his camera to other parts of the world, however my stories are fictional to give me the freedom of what to write. I see myself exhibiting in NY Comic Con and San Diego Con as well as cons and galleries around the world. I plan to make volumes of books of my travels through the subway systems of the world and drawing on location in other countries as well as places in the U.S.  

Conclusion

Sophocles Art, an innovator in such a crowded, demanding, and high-pressure field, delivers exceptional results and shows that in a craft like this, there is always room for exciting new ideas.  As long as New York City has its subways and urban settings we look forward to seeing what else this dynamic artist brings to the imaginative table of art.

Sophocles Art You Me NYC

  

 

Let’s Keep Talking About R Kelly

Robert Kelly, known as R Kelly is one of our generations biggest musical legends.  With smashes like I Believe I can Fly, Step In The Name of Love, Ignition, he’s earned many, many accolades.  Big accolades like multiple BET awards and Soul Train awards. I mean in 1998, he won three grammy’s alone and all for the same song.

Literally, everyone knows this song.  And if you don’t, now you do because I mentioned it above.  I sang this song in my elementary graduation when I was just a little girl in the year None of Your Business.  I Believe I Can Fly has been etched in our culture for good.

Now, here’s what happens.  In 1994, he marries Aaliyah who was 15 at the time.  Aaliyah’s hit, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” sparked rumors that Aaliyah and the writer of that song, yes, R Kelly, were boyfriend and girlfriend.  These rumors were denied.  Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.  Kelly had nothing to do with the plane crash, he just married someone who was barely a teenager at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

Back in February 2002, a video surfaced.  We all know the video.  This video included Kelly allegedly engaging in sexual behaviors with an underage (14 years old) girl.  In this same video, the man allegedly identified as Kelly, is seen urinating in her mouth.

In 2008, he goes on trial for multiple counts child pornography.

Now, a lifetime series titled “Surviving R Kelly” comes out, which brings up the heat in the controversy all over again.  To me, it seems like the topic was hot for a couple of days, maybe a little bit over a week and now, nobody’s talking about it… again.

Now some, including myself, would call him a musical genius, a legend, even.  But since the docuseries, artists have publicized their opinions, labels have dropped him and musical platforms have muted him.

In the streets, the debate became, can we separate the monster from his music?  Everyone here, in my tiny NYC apartment, has jammed to R Kelly at one point, whether we were stepping in the name of love at a wedding, graduating to I Believe I Can Fly, or getting lit to Remix to Ignition.

Here’s my opinion.  I’m not going to take the mans music away from him.  But, I haven’t played R Kelly in ages.  What?  Ya’ll were too busy stepping in the name of love to realize that this man is not a decent one.

Let me know… I just want people to keep talking about it because it’s important.