JAMEL SHABAZZ: THE LIGHT THAT GUIDES ME

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy? 

JAMEL SHABAZZ: As a practitioner of the craft of photography, it affords me the ability to transform a chemically based roll of unexposed film that has been placed in a camera, measuring light and adjusting speed towards a particular subject, conceptualizing and composing by the third eye through a glass lens, before applying pressure on the camera shutter release button, freezing a moment in time, thus preserving history. So yes, I would say that there is a direct correlation between being an artist and an alchemist. Any creative artist, whether they are a painter, musician, sculptor or photographer, who uses their innate ability to create something from nothing, is in fact dealing with the science of Alchemy. The various schools of artistry all use science in their creative process and it may consist of the mixing of chemicals, arranging sound, or creating shapes, but when these practices are applied, the results are magical manifestations of a high form of alchemy. 

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

JAMEL SHABAZZ: As a young man coming of age, I was told by a very wise man that I was the equivalent to the sun which was a giant star in the center of the universe, and that through studying the nature of the sun along with the solar system, I would better understand my purpose in life. It was that wisdom that placed me on the path of enlightenment and provided me with light, guidance and purpose. Like the sun, I would learn that my primary purpose in this universe was to use my kinetic energy to stimulate life and matter through my creative process in hopes that I would create other forms of light and energy in a world that was slowly becoming cold and gloomy.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

JAMEL SHABAZZ: With all honesty, I have never been confronted with a “creative block.” My creative energy is in constant motion and the light that guides me seems to always be illuminated. During the course of my many expeditions, I have accumulated such an abundance of photographs, negatives, and other forms of research, that are readily available to me. This keeps me in a constant creative mode to the point that I no longer travel outside my space to take images like I once did. At this stage in my journey, it took courage for me to realize that I needed to reevaluate my assignment in life, and I have been blessed to create a space where I can meditate, reflect and process what I have been blessed to document. In this undertaking, I continue to seek ways to share what I have with the universe and young visionaries who are fresh on the path of self-discovery.

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine and Fusicology

Photo Credit: Jamel Shabazz

www.jamelshabazz.com

The Museum of Light is curated by: Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

 

RAFAEL CASAL EXPLAINS BRIDGING HIP HOP AND BROADWAY

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: What inspired you to create #BARS workshop, and what do you hope this unique platform will provide to other performers?

RAFAEL CASAL: #BARS is a workshop I founded with my long-time collaborator Daveed Diggs as a place for artists to explore the intersection between contemporary verse/rap and theater. It came about as a joke suggestion from a friend, and turned into a force all it’s own through the excitement and genius of the artists who have been a part of it.

It has three components: a masterclass series with seven different guest speakers, a workshop period where we write, stage and create new work together, and a culminating video medley that we create for YouTube. The medley and the masterclass talks are all documented and put online, so we can spread the conversation and creation to others who are invested in this kind of art. 

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You also hold the Monday conversations at #BARS with artists from both the Hip Hop world and from Broadway, such as Black Thought of The Roots/Jimmy Fallon, Hamilton director Tommy Kail. What have been the highlights from these conversations so far?

RAFAEL CASAL: Because this conversation feels so new still, it has all been a highlight. But there were exciting themes that continued to prevail in each conversation; points about authenticity, about methodology as an artist, the importance of verse throughout the history of the arts, what it means for new voices to continue pushing into the Broadway realm, and things like what vegetable would be the best playwright if vegetables wrote plays.  

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Are people surprised by how much the Hip Hop artists know about Broadway?

RAFAEL CASAL: I am not of the impression that an overwhelming amount Hip Hop artists are super savvy on Broadway and it’s goings-on, but who knows… maybe Young Thug was super into Shuffle Along. I think it’s fantastic that Hamilton summoned some of the rap elite into a Broadway seat, and that The Hamilton Mixtape features a crazy list of Hip Hop and pop artists that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked out to do some next level shit yet again.

But Hamilton isn’t all of Broadway. It can only do so much as one show, and it’s important that the creation of new work continues so it doesn’t become THE Hip Hop show; an exception to a rule of a continued tradition of a separateness between the highest levels of Hip Hop and theater. It still feels like Hip Hop is in the early ‘80s on Broadway, and Hamilton just proved it’s financially viable in the mainstream marketplace. It’s an exciting time, but a time to start asking a lot of questions, like now there is a one rap song in the new The SpongeBob Musical, performed by the villain… what does that say about rap music? Are we about to re-experience the real VS fake dialogue that the early 90s Hip Hop scene, but with Broadway shows? What is the relationship between Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy,” Hamilton, and the Lyricist’s Lounge Show? That is what I’m interested in asking Hip Hop artists about.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You mentioned that #BARS could be a kind of portal (portal being defined as a doorway, gateway, opening etc.). How would you define a portal in this context as it relates to #BARS?

RAFAEL CASAL: I think it’s a place for us to peer into the future of our individual and collective art through games and exercises. We just bring our skill sets like ingredients. Some people can rap, some can sing, some can write, some can do all of the above. The mutual ground is the love for pushing the boundaries of the forms, of using verse to tell heightened stories, and to see what new configurations of language can emerge when dope people get together to do dope shit.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Portals are often connected to light (how light gets in, how light shines through, etc.). How does #BARS provide a portal to performers and in what ways have you seen performers find new openings from this experience?

RAFAEL CASAL: It’s really too early to tell, but everyone seems to be excited by the possibility of it. I had a cohort member tell me that the workshop changed the way she approached art, and that she felt a whole new world of possibilities had opened up to her. Sometimes we just need a space that gives us permission to be the best, most full version of our artistic selves, and we flourish.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: #BARS is shining a spotlight on the stage for both Hip Hop and Theater, creating a bridge between Broadway and spoken word. What is it that allows these two worlds to so naturally shine their light together?

RAFAEL CASAL: I mean… they are both about beautiful language. They are both inherently theatrical, they are both musical. I don’t know that #BARS is the bridge by any means. I think that bridge has existed for a long time within the duality of people who love and exercise themselves in both worlds. #BARS is just a space for those people to improvise and create. #BARS is just a place that “Yes, and”’s the creators own forwarding plot line.

Learn more about #BARS here

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

Photo Credit: Lavell Wells, Vincent Morris. V Matt Smith. 
The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

Robert Glasper - This Is What Alchemy Sounds Like

Robert Glasper - This Is What Alchemy Sounds Like

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy? 

ROBERT GLASPER: I feel like the transforming of something into another thing as far as the alchemist goes in music is basically understanding all of the elements of the genre that I'm in. Once you understand the element, you've got to study the element, and you actually can authentically replicate that element, then, at that point, you know the ins and outs of it, and you can change it. I feel like that's what my band does. We've all studied and we know the history of the music and all these different things and we know sonically what makes one thing sound different from another thing. So that allows us to have the tools to be able to go from one thing to another and change things. And even have the tools to try to do something that is different that we haven't really heard as far as we know. A lot of that really comes from studying all types of things. Some people know genres from a far when they hear it and never really played it or lived it. So it's very important to be in it and then that really helps.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

ROBERT GLASPER: I see my work as a light to people. I feel that because I've been able to read feedback from people from social media, talked to people at shows, I get a lot of insight on what my music does for them. And even for some music, my intention wasn't for a certain feeling, but for somebody else it resonated a certain way. I was like, 'Wow. I didn't have that in mind when I wrote this song.' For them it's like something else. It's great. You never know what your music is gonna do for people. It's very good to be open and honest about your music because people are going to interpret it different ways anyway. So being a cookie cutter and doing what somebody else does, for what? They're going to have their feeling about what it makes them feel like. People can feel when something is pretentious. They feel it when it's not honest. I try to always be honest because that's what's gotten me this far. People telling me how my music has changed their life or changed a situation. It lets me know that was a light for them. I think that's great and what motivates me.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

ROBERT GLASPER: What's helping me create and find that spark? It's funny a lot of people when they create, musicians, we tend to say, All right tomorrow at 2 o'clock, I'm going to sit down and write a song. Like they got the universe on lock. Like at 2 o'clock that's when the Gods are going to give me this beam and the song is gonna be written and this amazing thing. I don't do that. Pretty much since I started playing, recording music, I've always had voice notes on my phone because I get inspired by so many things in my life: riding a train, walking down the street, in the bathroom. Like a song might play in the bathroom while I'm taking a piss and it inspires another thought. And as musicians, thoughts come and go really fast. So we let go of more than we keep, just naturally. So I try to record as much as I can to keep as much as I can. Immediately I pick up my phone and I sing whatever idea it was in my phone. And that's how I recorded 95 percent of my music by doing that because I get inspired when I'm not in front of the piano. Seeing the piano doesn't inspire me. Life inspires me. So where ever that might be, I always carry my phone so I can try to capture that moment. Then, I'll work on it later. Flesh it out and make it something. But that's what I'm inspired by: life. It could be anything. Any person, any song, a bird. The other day I saw this hummingbird flying around the tree. Somebody had a little hummingbird feeder with sap in it and boom. It inspired me somehow. I took out my phone and sung a melody. I might not use it for six months, but when it's time, I'll go back and listen and will be like, Oh, I can use that as a tag for that song or ending or bridge or anything. I just try to record all my ideas.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: If you want to know what alchemy sounds like, listen to Robert Glasper Experiment’s work. His new album, ArtScience, out today, is transformation at its finest. It's among pop music's most eclectic merging of genres, incorporating jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, drum and bass, and more.

In addition to addressing the fusion of Art and Science in the album title, Robert also expounds on it on the album’s opening track, “This Is Not Fear."  As the production moves from battling, frantic saxophone and piano solos, the music calms to allow Robert to speak. He says, "The reality is my people have given the world so many styles of music, so many different styles. So why should I just confine myself to one. We want to explore them all.”

As Robert’s voice fades, the music shifts again and so on. He follows this course for the duration of the album, refusing to limit himself creatively. It’s the way alchemists transform lead into gold. 

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

Photo Credit: Mathieu Bitton
The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

Bridging Hip Hop and Broadway

Rafael Casal Explains Bridging Hip Hop and Broadway for #BARS Workshop


Rafael Casal, co-creator of #BARS workshop with childhood friend Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, talks to the Museum of Light about their ground-breaking series that has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, Time and Elle for bridging Hip Hop and theater and has received rave reviews.

For the first season last spring, the 12 students in the 7-week course performed Hip Hop adaptations of scenes from Kill Bill, Mean Girls and The Devil Wears Prada for the #BARS Mixtape Musical Medley. The summer session that wrapped earlier this month featured interviews with the likes of Black Thought, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Lemon Andersen at New York’s The Public theater.

Here Casal, who appeared on seasons 4,5 and 6 of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, explains how he and the Grammy and Tony Award-winning Diggs are using #BARS to shine their light.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Rafael Casal. #BARS

Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Rafael Casal. #BARS

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: What inspired you to create #BARS workshop, and what do you hope this unique platform will provide to other performers?

RAFAEL CASAL: #BARS is a workshop I founded with my long-time collaborator Daveed Diggs as a place for artists to explore the intersection between contemporary verse/rap and theater. It came about as a joke suggestion from a friend, and turned into a force all it’s own through the excitement and genius of the artists who have been a part of it.

It has three components: a masterclass series with seven different guest speakers, a workshop period where we write, stage and create new work together, and a culminating video medley that we create for YouTube. The medley and the masterclass talks are all documented and put online, so we can spread the conversation and creation to others who are invested in this kind of art. 

Daveed Diggs and Pharoahe Monch. #BARS

Daveed Diggs and Pharoahe Monch. #BARS

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You also hold the Monday conversations at #BARS with artists from both the Hip Hop world and from Broadway, such as Black Thought of The Roots/Jimmy Fallon, Hamilton director Tommy Kail. What have been the highlights from these conversations so far?

RAFAEL CASAL: Because this conversation feels so new still, it has all been a highlight. But there were exciting themes that continued to prevail in each conversation; points about authenticity, about methodology as an artist, the importance of verse throughout the history of the arts, what it means for new voices to continue pushing into the Broadway realm, and things like what vegetable would be the best playwright if vegetables wrote plays.  

Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Pharoahe Monch, Marc Bamuthi Joseph. #BARS

Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Pharoahe Monch, Marc Bamuthi Joseph. #BARS

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Are people surprised by how much the Hip Hop artists know about Broadway?

RAFAEL CASAL: I am not of the impression that an overwhelming amount Hip Hop artists are super savvy on Broadway and it’s goings-on, but who knows… maybe Young Thug was super into Shuffle Along. I think it’s fantastic that Hamilton summoned some of the rap elite into a Broadway seat, and that The Hamilton Mixtape features a crazy list of Hip Hop and pop artists that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked out to do some next level shit yet again.

But Hamilton isn’t all of Broadway. It can only do so much as one show, and it’s important that the creation of new work continues so it doesn’t become THE Hip Hop show; an exception to a rule of a continued tradition of a separateness between the highest levels of Hip Hop and theater. It still feels like Hip Hop is in the early ‘80s on Broadway, and Hamilton just proved it’s financially viable in the mainstream marketplace. It’s an exciting time, but a time to start asking a lot of questions, like now there is a one rap song in the new The SpongeBob Musical, performed by the villain… what does that say about rap music? Are we about to re-experience the real VS fake dialogue that the early 90s Hip Hop scene, but with Broadway shows? What is the relationship between Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy,” Hamilton, and the Lyricist’s Lounge Show? That is what I’m interested in asking Hip Hop artists about.

Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Pharoahe Monch, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, #BARS.

Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Pharoahe Monch, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, #BARS.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You mentioned that #BARS could be a kind of portal (portal being defined as a doorway, gateway, opening etc.). How would you define a portal in this context as it relates to #BARS?

RAFAEL CASAL: I think it’s a place for us to peer into the future of our individual and collective art through games and exercises. We just bring our skill sets like ingredients. Some people can rap, some can sing, some can write, some can do all of the above. The mutual ground is the love for pushing the boundaries of the forms, of using verse to tell heightened stories, and to see what new configurations of language can emerge when dope people get together to do dope shit.

Daveed Diggs, Pharoahe Monch, Rafael Casal, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, #BARS.

Daveed Diggs, Pharoahe Monch, Rafael Casal, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, #BARS.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Portals are often connected to light (how light gets in, how light shines through, etc.). How does #BARS provide a portal to performers and in what ways have you seen performers find new openings from this experience?

RAFAEL CASAL: It’s really too early to tell, but everyone seems to be excited by the possibility of it. I had a cohort member tell me that the workshop changed the way she approached art, and that she felt a whole new world of possibilities had opened up to her. Sometimes we just need a space that gives us permission to be the best, most full version of our artistic selves, and we flourish.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: #BARS is shining a spotlight on the stage for both Hip Hop and Theater, creating a bridge between Broadway and spoken word. What is it that allows these two worlds to so naturally shine their light together?

RAFAEL CASAL: I mean… they are both about beautiful language. They are both inherently theatrical, they are both musical. I don’t know that #BARS is the bridge by any means. I think that bridge has existed for a long time within the duality of people who love and exercise themselves in both worlds. #BARS is just a space for those people to improvise and create. #BARS is just a place that “Yes, and”’s the creators own forwarding plot line.

Learn more about #BARS here

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

Photo Credit: Lavell Wells, Vincent Morris. V Matt Smith. 
The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

ARTISTS AS HEALERS: DJ QBERT

ARTISTS AS HEALERS: DJ QBERT

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy? 

DJ QBERT: Yes, I feel that as an artist, I’m constantly on a journey to learn more about music and hone my skills… It’s led me to a transformation from just doing music, to now discovering that we as artists are healers. I’ve found that the more love I put into what I do, it definitely shines through to the listener. (Well, at least I hope it does, ha!) 

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

DJ QBERT: Yes, you got it! It’s a transference of energy. the frequency of love is light… so what we hear are frequencies… and light is higher forms of frequencies. The music you hear may not blatantly reveal to you the subtle frequencies of the invisible light of love, but you will feel it, when the artist has that intention. And besides, as humans, we are all micro universes… so you could say we are all full of stars.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

DJ QBERT: It’s all a balance and it comes in waves just as nature does… When you are not “feelin" it at the moment, it is the perfect time to do other things, like just simply live life, listen to other things, go out and get inspiration… And speaking of nature, that’s exactly where I go to get it! There’s so much beauty on a path in the forest. All the geometry in the plants, the way animals look and do things, the way things sound, the music that insects make, you know… All the love and light the universe gives to us just makes me peaceful… And when I'm in a zen kinda mode, I’m ridiculously creative for some reason. My third ear is open and I hear music from outta this dimension… I guess there could be light in your ears too, ha!

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

Photo Credit:

The Museum of Light is curated by: Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

 

DRAWING IN LIGHT: JOONBUG

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, is there an element  of transformation in your creative expression? How does this process for you, connect to that of an alchemists?

JOONBUG: I think it’s that moment where the sudden excitement rushes over because I finally found a path from mind to paper. You get all these thoughts of what could be, what could not be, and you sketch all those thoughts, and there's one definitive line, and it goes from there. A lot of times I don't know what direction I'm going in. I just connect to that line, and then everything starts falling into place.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light. Do you see your work behind the pen or behind the lens, as a reflection of this light?

JOONBUG: Yes in the sense that it’s a reflection of the idea manifested on the paper. The light could be the idea, the reflection could be how that light manifests in the tangible realm.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." Where do you find the creative spark? What inspires your work and does it require a sense of courage to create from this unknown space?

JOONBUG:  Amazing question!! I view the creative block as a challenge or opportunity. It's like one of those blessings in disguise. When there’s a creative block that just means that the path that you’re going on is too narrow. You have to widen that. Widen your path. Use the said block as more of a catalyst or fuel. You take yourself out of your comfort zone. The courage comes in the discomfort. That discomfort of what you’re feeling of the unfamiliar, you get this chance of rebirth, you’re stuck with this. You can either fold or make something great of it. Chances are if you’re looking for that change, you’re going to make the best of it. That’s the courage you need to have to make something of it. You have to put yourself outside of that. Is this really a block? Is this really going to stop me? I think it’s a good thing. You have to be ready to roll with the punches. I would love if people saw creative blocks as a form of good, not the other way around. It’s solvable. You’re just not thinking outside the box. You have to train your mind to think different ways. You grow. That’s the beauty of humans. We make the best of what we’re given all the time, lemons into lemonade.

JOONBUG: The Oil Guppies is my concept series of original characters, derived from oil spills, and serve as Mother Nature's way to counter. Each spill spawns a creature and, as it grows, absorbs the oil; the colorful display comes from the oil and water mix.

JOONBUG: The Oil Guppies is my concept series of original characters, derived from oil spills, and serve as Mother Nature's way to counter. Each spill spawns a creature and, as it grows, absorbs the oil; the colorful display comes from the oil and water mix.

JOONBUG: My Dallas collective, Team From Nowhere, features a set of individuals from different backgrounds and for a magazine interview, I reimagined us as ninjas from the Edo Period. I've always loved the art style and this was good exercise, there are actually six characters.

JOONBUG: My Dallas collective, Team From Nowhere, features a set of individuals from different backgrounds and for a magazine interview, I reimagined us as ninjas from the Edo Period. I've always loved the art style and this was good exercise, there are actually six characters.

JOONBUG: My default love will always be line work. With this project I delved into the gestural lines to convey movement and energy.

JOONBUG: My default love will always be line work. With this project I delved into the gestural lines to convey movement and energy.

JOONBUG: These are the messy, charcoal-filled pages for the G-Eazy music video, Sad Boy. The project brought me together with an animator team, for the first time, and with that I learned a lot; good fun but time-consuming.

JOONBUG: These are the messy, charcoal-filled pages for the G-Eazy music video, Sad Boy. The project brought me together with an animator team, for the first time, and with that I learned a lot; good fun but time-consuming.

JOONBUG: These are two panels, volume four, from my Beanboy comic. He's a character from my clothing brand, Fresh Kaufee, whose origin story roots itself in: slavery, time travel, coffee, love, and growth. For now, it can exclusively be found via the Instagram hashtag, #beanboyfk. I am working on a tangible copy if Volume 1 so stay tuned - @freshkaufee on Instagram.

JOONBUG: These are two panels, volume four, from my Beanboy comic. He's a character from my clothing brand, Fresh Kaufee, whose origin story roots itself in: slavery, time travel, coffee, love, and growth. For now, it can exclusively be found via the Instagram hashtag, #beanboyfk. I am working on a tangible copy if Volume 1 so stay tuned - @freshkaufee on Instagram.

JOONBUG: Leon and I have been friends for a few years now, we sat down over coffee to discuss how we could create together. Our Aesthetic matched well which made this more a passion project, It gave me the chance to really explore one if my favorite illustrators, Robert Crumb, who created these Blue's Trading cards; it was perfect. Add in the sweet shot reference by Erin Rambo, who introduced me to The Kid.

JOONBUG: Leon and I have been friends for a few years now, we sat down over coffee to discuss how we could create together. Our Aesthetic matched well which made this more a passion project, It gave me the chance to really explore one if my favorite illustrators, Robert Crumb, who created these Blue's Trading cards; it was perfect. Add in the sweet shot reference by Erin Rambo, who introduced me to The Kid.

All these projects have challenged me in ways i can only be grateful for, thanks for rocking with me, y’all. 

- Joonbug

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

 

CREATING LIGHT: MAURICE GARLAND

Photo Credit: Andy Lee

Photo Credit: Andy Lee

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, is there an element  of transformation in your creative expression? How does this process for you, connect to that of an alchemists?

MAURICE GARLAND: Most definitely. As a writer and music journalist, I look at my work as using words to paint pictures which I consider a valuable skill and talent seeing as how so much of our communication nowadays is visual-driven. When I write I am relying on history and the present moment to tell a story that someone in the future will hopefully read, enjoy and even reference. Also, often times, I interview artists and other creatives who may not be as open or well-spoken as the next person, so I have to find ways to not only get them out of their comfort zone and share, but later combine my words with theirs to create a compelling, truthful story.

Photo Credit: Anthony "Truth" Gary

Photo Credit: Anthony "Truth" Gary

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light. Do you see your work behind the pen or behind the lens, as a reflection of this light?

MAURICE GARLAND: I do. When I interview and write about “stars” I like to create stories that inspire readers to become “stars” themselves or at least absorb some of that star energy that they give off. Rick Ross personally contacted me and told me the cover story that I wrote on him for The Source (Decemeber 2015) was one of the best if not the best stories he’s even read written about him. I’ve written bios for Big Boi and Kendrick Lamar, so in those cases I have to capture what they are about and use my words to present them to the world they way they want to be seen. Every star begins as a particle and winds up becoming a star. That said, much of the work I have done has revolved around getting people to recognize stars in the making. I was the first person to interview or write nationally published articles on people like Janelle Monae and B.o.B. Killer Mike is all over the place now, but for years it felt like I was the only person interested in interviewing him. So yes, I do see my work as a reflection of their light.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." Where do you find the creative spark? What inspires your work and does it require a sense of courage to create from this unknown space?

MAURICE GARLAND:  What some call a “block” I like to look at as a time to rest. When I am not inspired to create, I rest. I sit still and enjoy those moments where my mind and spirit are simply being rather than doing. Fortunately, I rarely have to go find inspiration or a creative spark. During those “block” times ideas usually come to me because I am being still and allowing the universe to bring them to me rather than running and moving and looking. I have found when you move around too much looking for something, you miss what was there waiting for you to claim all along.

 

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

 

THE ALCHEMIST & THE DJ: DJ MARS

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, is there an element  of transformation in your creative expression? How does this process for you, connect to that of an alchemists?

DJ MARS: The alchemist and the DJ play similar roles. The combining of existing elements, in my case sounds to create what hasn't been heard before. All of this makes DJing super exciting to me.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light. Do you see your work behind the pen or behind the lens, as a reflection of this light?

DJ MARS: I would say the light in some instances can be described as inspiration. In part, the relationship between the community and the music industry is inspiration. I would say my influence is based on positive influence. I am a college graduate who, in part shaped the DJ culture in Atlanta. DJ'S followed the lead that I set and took it in a positive direction as well. That is a clear example of the planet reflecting the light of the star.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT:  When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." Where do you find the creative spark? What inspires your work and does it require a sense of courage to create from this unknown space?

DJ MARS:  My creative inspiration comes from a multitude of different places. Being a DJ is relative to being a producer,or scientist or a cook. A DJ takes bits and pieces of records to combine them to make a coherent thought. In our line of work that coherent thought is a party. We use records to shape emotions,and if used properly they songs evoke strong emotions. Great DJ's are like great orators,whether the speech giver is a politician or religious figure. For me I rarely hit a creative block because there is so much music for me to play. A new record gives me,the DJ, a new direction to go. Each audience gives me a new opportunity to alter my set,so that its fresh and new. In my line of work creativity is endless.

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by: 
Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

 

BEING A STAR: FERRARI SHEPPARD

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, is there an element of transformation in your creative expression? How does this process for you, connect to that of an alchemists? 

FERRARI SHEPPARD:  This is probably the most poetic question I've ever been asked. Alchemy, in comparison to creating art? Absolutely. I was conversing with my friend the other night about optimism and pessimism and finding a balance, if possible. I asked her, "Do you think there is more bad or good in the world?" My friend, being an optimist, answered that there's more good in the world than bad, but I'm not convinced that's true for me. I think one has to be open to seeing good in the world, and actually find it. Positivity is everywhere but it has to be located, mined, refined, molded and polished, like a precious metal. The creation of art works similarly. Some of my favorite artists personal lives are fucked up, they struggle with mental illness, alcoholism, oppression and existential crisis. Somehow, they are able to turn those issues into something beautiful and timeless. I work to do the same. Each time I write, paint or take a photograph I want to touch on something innately human, experiences difficult to articulate.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light. Do you see your work behind the pen or behind the lens, as a reflection of this light? 

FERRARI SHEPPARD: Talent is not fair. It's not equally distributed nor is it always universally celebrated. However, I do believe everyone has a gift and one must recognize it and put it to use. We live in an age of microwavable celebrity. People become famous every few seconds. They become stars for no reason at all. In this way, the concept of stardom has become warped and almost meaningless. Where that leaves me is with the art itself. Since the popularization of social media, I've struggled to resist tendencies to talk instead of producing work. I see this as a problem for many young people, from aspiring folks to professionals. To that end, when I create art, I do so with the intention of being the best that I can possibly be. If that results in stardom, so be it. I try not to make being a star my goal. Hot stars burn out the most quickly.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." Where do you find the creative spark? What inspires your work and does it require a sense of courage to create from this unknown space?

FERRARI SHEPPARD: I'm speaking to you from Tanzania. By some wild twist of fate, a boy who grew in the projects has the opportunity to travel. I am not wealthy and most of time, I don't know how I end up in the places I do or why. I do know that travel sparks my inspiration. Being forced out of my comfort zone, being lost, and finding my way contributes greatly to my perspective and subsequent creative output. I'm inspired by tears, laughter, uncertainty, purpose, sunrises, sunsets and first kisses. I'm galvanized by passion, wittiness and aesthetics. I derive courage to create from the acceptance that I'm literally built for that purpose. It's who I am.

Photo Credit: Ferrari Sheppard

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by: 

Billy Johnson Jr., Joslyn Rose Lyons, Adell Henderson, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:
https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

IN THE STILLNESS: MAJOR.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

MAJOR. : It's amazing what the creative process produces when heart & passion are the nucleus. I honestly believe I (we) have been created to manifest great works in the earth for the betterment of humanity. Because excellence is my untethered bar of ethic, I am often gratified by the GOLD produced as a result.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

MAJOR. :  To be true to one's self is the start of illumination. Such transparency has a way of posturing you in a manner that draws the eyes and interest of many. Truth & Greatness reveal a shine unlike any other. I am MAJOR. and therefore, I shine.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

MAJOR. :  BEING STILL generally remedies my creative rut. In the stillness I begin to take in the moment for all it is - allowing creation to speak to me however it may. The wind speaks just a sure as the birds release their singing. From there I receive the inspiration to carry on and build accordingly. Usually, the outcome is among my best work.

Photo credit: Jose Cardoza 

TRANSFORMING LIGHT: GABRIEL PULECIO

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

GABRIEL PULECIO: Definitely, the artist, as a transforming agent, by juxtaposing or overlapping different materials or concepts, can bring new ideas and shapes into the world. The same can be said of always looking for "inspiration" or ideas to find that "perfect" result which lies within every person creating for the good of expression. Also, analyzing how sometimes things don’t quite work takes a lot of experimentation, discipline, exact measurements, and several processes to find the perfect balance between the elements. It's as much science as art.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

GABRIEL PULECIO:  I can see several relationships between an artist and stars. First, the fact that stars are grouped into constellations and asterisms, in this case a constellation, could be a group of artists working in the same movement, or in a trend, call it expressionism or electronic art. Especially nowadays, in this new globalized era we live in where the connection between the stars is more evident. We can all see them in a "virtual" sky.

GABRIEL PULECIO:  Also, I feel how an artist or his work can be compared inversely proportional to the life of a star in the sense that the stars we see are so far away that most of them have ceased to exist but being so far takes light years for their light to stop. The light of an artist will keep shining after it’s dead and even become stronger than when alive. This can especially be true when a star is pinned into a constellation, depending on its relationship with the other stars of that constellation and the point of view of the “astronomer.”

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

GABRIEL PULECIO:  I found this quite interesting. I don’t think there is such a thing as inspiration “per se,” as somebody once said, "Every work is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent 'transpiration.'" And this is definitely my case. I start every single project with the idea that it’s going to be good, that eventually that "inspiration" will come, but I can’t sit and wait for that great idea to come. Normally it never comes. It is the action of connecting the dots. The process is almost always the same. I start with an idea of what I’m doing, either a sculpture, installation, painting, whatever it is, and after working on it, not necessarily with very clear direction, I find something I think is interesting, and I start developing this idea. As you work on this, you start feeling how the original idea began to unveil itself. Towards the end of the project you really see what it is. It’s in that last push where you finally see the whole image -- after all the research and tests, and trial and error -- you see something interesting that surfaces. Normally this happens towards the end of the process, and now you have this very clear direction. All you need to do is to produce it and make it happen. The best way to deal with the "creative block" is to work, work, work. And have a mindset that at the end everything will present itself in front of you, not by some miraculous inspiration but by experimenting and testing and trying and failing. Also fails are great to find inspiration. Sometimes what you think is going to work, fails, and then you realize what you are really trying to do and another door opens that you can enter.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

WE ARE ALCHEMISTS: SHAFIQ HUSAYN

Photo Credit: Theo Jemison

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

SHAFIQ HUSAYN: WE ARE ALCHEMISTS. We take nothing and turn it into something from Any and Everywhere. Thought is the cause of it all. Thought is spirit/force and power is a result/manifestation of force. Creativity is an infinite part of man, and here is where The Artist becomes the ALCHEMIST.

Photo Credit: Theo Jemison

SHAFIQ HUSAYN: Writer's block can arise from a few different reasons, but they all are centered in the Heart/Mind/Soul...

Photo credit: Tami Temple

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

SHAFIQ HUSAYN:  I usually take a "no mind" approach into my process and just allow myself to deal with what's in my immediate surroundings. Technology, etc., all of these are tools, but we also have tools for the workshop of the mind as well. We can build our character up in this "place." Writer's block can arise from a few different reasons, but they all are centered in the Heart/Mind/Soul.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

ARTISTS AS STARS: PRINCE EA

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

PRINCE EA: Alchemy? Yeah, I can definitely see my creative expression as alchemy. As artists we start with nothing, just a blank piece of paper. To transform thoughts into eloquent words that in turn galvanize people to take action is truly amazing. For me its almost similar to an ice sculptor. I can see the beautiful figure before I begin but everyone else sees a block of ice. I chip away, getting rid of what’s unecessary and the figure reveals itself. Beautiful.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

PRINCE EA:  I do see my work as an artist like that of a star. It shines on its own without trying to. It doesn’t need credit. It naturally guides the way for people and illuminates their lives.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

PRINCE EA:  I don’t force anything. The art comes out when it wants to. I’m merely a vehicle for it. The more I force it, the more ugly it becomes. Like pulling a flower from the earth to try to make it grow, you damage it. You must let it grow in its own time at its own speed, and be there to water it constantly. This means, give yourself space to grow, give yourself inspiration and time for the fruit to grow ripe <3

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

THE PROCESS OF ALCHEMY: DA DREAK

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

DA DREAK: When you think about the creation of a piece of work in reverse you can find the true definition or process of alchemy. Turning an idea into something tangible that everybody can enjoy requires a certain amount of skill. Especially when that piece of work becomes timeless.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

DA DREAK:  Absolutely, understanding who you are as an artist will reflect in anything you do. Our work as artist in most cases inspires the next individual, sparking the next idea. I always want to inspire people simply because I feel it is my job to keep the cycle going.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

DA DREAK:  Being a creative your inspiration comes from many things, I stay away from distractions and make it a habit of entertaining certain activities to keep my creative mind exercised. Taking the time to learn something new or stepping outside of my comfort zone is necessary. I never try to force creativity, if you are active enough in your life that "creative spark" will appear often if not constantly.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

THE LANGUAGE OF THE SOUL: SANDRA ST. VICTOR

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

SANDRA ST. VICTOR: I see it as a social science really. So yes, alchemist would fit as well. There is a real organic science behind probing your inner self to get to the crux of emotions, lows, heights, and anxieties that humans share. Artists are gifted with a channel that gives them admission to the language of the soul, lyrically and musically.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

SANDRA ST. VICTOR:  For sure. It is unquestionably a journey. We are forever traveling, growing, understanding more. The reason stars are attractive is because of that reflection. We see something of ourselves in a star. Just as we are all literally born of star dust, so are the creations of a pure artist the stuff that reflects the firmament of the human condition. It's reaffirming, comforting, validating to feel that someone else feels what you feel, and can speak it from the mountaintop that is a stage or your home entertainment system.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

SANDRA ST. VICTOR:  I guess it could be deemed courage. I've always seen it as necessity. Being able to create, to sing is not a choice. For instance, I guess if I saw a woman being raped, I would jump in without thinking. Would that be courage? Even though I wouldn't have a choice? I wouldn't be able to NOT. Creative blocks are also needed. Sometimes your sight is dimmed, but when the light opens up it's clearer than before. I appreciate it more then. I feel like I've grown deeper into myself. That darkness is vital to the light. My process is about giving in to the quiet. Seeking the quiet and letting whatever is supposed to happen, happen. When I begin to see the pinhole of light, that spark coming through, it's like finding a river in the middle of the desert. I dive in and soak it all up. What comes out afterwards is usually the best stuff. The stuff that I've had to seriously wait for. True inspiration, subconscious channeling.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

SHINE: TREVOR JACKSON

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?  

TREVOR JACKSON:  I believe an artist can take any situation -- whether it be good or bad -- and turn it into a positive thing.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

TREVOR JACKSON:  I do not see myself as a star in that sense but I do hope that my creativity can be a spark for others to find whatever makes them shine.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process. 

TREVOR JACKSON:  When I'm experiening a creative block, I tend not to force it and try to focus my mind on other things so that my thoughts have time to breathe. But the courage lies in the persistence and the trusting in one's self and their ideas.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

PURPOSE: DENAUN

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?  

DENAUN:  I would have to say we are that in a way. But all of the art we create is only gold to us. People today are experts (sarcastically speaking of course). Not even for good reason but because they want to comment and have their moment even if it is just to start an argument. So when we put something out these days we are afraid of having those ideas aborted. The art of alchemy today would have people testing your gold's quality instead of them seeing it as a great accomplishment.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

DENAUN:  Yes because I'm trying to guide people with my music. Either to bring light to a subject or make them think of a subject in a more logical way and not just judging books by covers. Eventually we will navigate amongst the stars and just like we used them to find our place on the earth we would use then to travel to the next planet like signs. The more energy we put into trying to guide or bring attention to social issues. We will shine brighter. Some stars won't, and some stars burn out. The hardest thing to do is keep using energy to stay illuminated.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process. 

DENAUN:  I remove myself from the studio. I don't belong there if I'm not contributing or giving or learning. I play the piano and instantly become inspired so the blocks are a little less these days. It's not a lot of drama to make me frustrated so I'm always creating. If I don't feel like being in the studio, I play piano and record voice notes in my phone so when I do feel the desire to be inside her again I'm there with purpose not just for pleasure.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

RADIATING LIGHT: DAN CORSON

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?  

DAN CORSON:  Historically, the study of alchemy was not just about purifying “base materials” into “noble” ones (e.g.: lead into gold), but it was equally focused on the transformation of the soul from "lowly" survival-based life into the state of “gnosis” or an "enlightened being” complete with immortality. Now I know that I am not personally immortal, but through my artwork, I do transform elements into new and surprising objects and experiences; some that will extend well beyond my life. It is that special “ah ha” moment or transformation in experience that I strive to infuse into all my artwork. So in once sense, that striving to evolve and challenge myself through my artwork embodies the spirit of alchemical transformation.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

DAN CORSON:  It is all about communication: the transference of knowledge, information, perspective. I see this “radiating light” not as the artwork, or the artist, but as the experience of communicating that unique message that the artist may want to express without words (or between the words) to another. The light is that evidence or vehicle for that communication.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process. 

DAN CORSON:  My unblocking process starts with “knowing your craft,” then I need to “state the question clearly” in my head and finally "ignore the problem" while actively working on something else. I find that if something does not take a lot of direct concentration (like taking a long road trip) it will engage the practical side of my brain to drive, and then will inspire my creative side of my brain to dream, gestate, invert and resolve the problem.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

https://instagram.com/museumoflight/
https://twitter.com/museumoflight

 

 

STARS IN THE SKY: SLEDGE GRITS BAND

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?  

THE SLEDGE GRITS BAND:  There is an "alchemist" in every artist. A well written song transforms into an amazing masterpiece when translated by a talented vocalist. Just as a song transforms from lyric to art, we hope as artists we can transform from simply one of the many making noise to one that produces a sound that reverberates above it all.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light? 

THE SLEDGE GRITS BAND:  As artists, we are very much like stars in the sky. When we put out light, in the form of music, the planets -- which to us symbolize the receivers of the sound (the listeners) -- then respond to the music and reflect that response (feedback) back to us. We want the light we illuminate to be positive energy. We hope the response to be warm and embracing.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process. 

THE SLEDGE GRITS BAND:  A block is a barrier that can stop you if you allow it. We cannot barrel our way through it. We can wait for it to eventually go away or we can seek another path to our destination. Clear the clutter from your space. Focus on something else. Sometimes walking away from the block leads you to an alternate route, an often better route.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

For more info on The Light visit:

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RADIATE LIGHT: TIRON & AYOMARI

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists as Alchemists: Just as an alchemist transforms led into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

AYOMARI: For the most part yes, although sometimes in the creative process there isn't an explanation for inspiration. Sometimes it literally feels as if the inspiration was presented to you and the circumstances just happen to be right for you to receive the inspiration. There are things I've created or have been apart of creating where I can trace the point of inspiration to specific origins. While other times I can't begin to explain how something happened to manifest. So yes I do view it as alchemy, but I also want to highlight the aspect of the process that can't really be explained or owned in terms of 'i saw this, and it made me think of this, so i did this.' Feel me?

TIRON: Definitely. Because you get the opportunity to create an entire world from a blank canvas. You're also a part of a craft that many people don't subscribe to. Everyone enjoys the gold once it’s produced but very few are in the lab watching the alchemists at work. 

The Museum of Light: The Evidence of the Journey: Artists are often labeled as "stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this "light" that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

TIRON: Yes, I think that everyone is a star. We're all shining, it's just that shining bright while enlightening students as a teacher isn't as heavily praised as shining bright while on stage entertaining. As an artist, it’s about unapologetically shining as bright as you can and not dimming your light to make others feel comfortable. 

AYOMARI: I believe all of mankind are stars. We're literally all composed of the same star material so we all have the same capacity. I think we all radiate light but the light we radiate is only perceived by like-minded light. If you don't believe in the message we're pushing then the likelihood of you perceiving our light is diminished. So yes, the evidence is there, but only to those who are open to it.

The Museum of Light: The Courage to Create: When an artist is not "creating" it is often labeled a "creative block." How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

TIRON: It usually comes from doing something else. I've noticed that I hit a "creative block" when it’s no longer creative. The minute it becomes a job where I'm trying to fulfill some imaginary quota I get trapped. Creativity is a flow of expressive energy that doesn't answer to statistics or deadlines. Once you turn that expressive energy into repressive energy then it becomes what one would consider writer’s block.

AYOMARI: I navigate it by realizing it's apart of the process and when under it, I try not to force it. At a certain point you become implicit in your creative block if you try to force it in spite. Stepping away, doing something completely unrelated is a good way to free up the thought process. The mind is incredibly complex and is totally capable of subconscious problem solving. So listening to new music, cleaning the house, going out and being around people with different opinions/views all contribute to getting past the creative block. A creative block is when you've been looking at the same thing the same way, that's all. Gotta step back and see the bigger picture.

You can find this story and others from The Museum of Light at RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by:  Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

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