In the corner a DJ has become lost in his own world of sound: a refreshing mish-mash of cross-generational R&B/hip-hop tracks winds around the meandering guests. This is merely one in millions of un-orchestrated moments of delight often provided by the underground entertainment scene. This one happens to be part of a recent afternoon spent at a private art show in College Park. There’s a lot of nice real estate in this area, including the quaint but roomy space visual artist Gbaby (aka Sylvia Cohen) has transformed into an elegant gallery. Yellow bowtie-clad young men are passing around trays of colorful refreshments, successfully conveying that this is a well-planned affair.
Everywhere there is something to see, so much so, in fact that it takes several trips through all the rooms to soak it in. This is what one might call a visual candy store. Joined by a handful of equally yummy local artists, Cohen presents the gamut of her talents. Her art (which consists of multiple mediums, and her hot-ticket handbags) is both whimsical and soulful – the perfect lifestyle adornments for the person with a youthful spirit. Though many of her themes are feminine, that doesn’t mean the artist’s style wouldn’t appeal to men. Highlighting the major areas of the gallery are bold abstracts and other subjects displayed in a dizzying array of hues.
Events like these have become the stomping grounds for those seeking a reprieve from…well, anything. Unfortunately, the underground arts are also peppered with a few obstacles, like a general lack of support and the kind of interpersonal back-biting that often serves as a huge detriment to the scene’s overall proliferation. These things sometimes “water down” our sense of purpose; but it’s hard to ignore the sheer number of talented visionaries throughout the urban community – like another artist at the show who has duplicated his oil paintings onto nifty coasters.
But it apparently takes more than paint and brush strokes to get your vision to the masses. And that’s where the networking and support comes in. As such, I’ve learned that two separate festivals are taking place back to back in July (more on that, stay tuned) – launched by a tight group determined to keep urban arts alive. It’s become evident that in addition to creating masterpieces, artists like Gbaby keep the path clear for authentic art appreciation. Before you toss that flier or business card, give it a second look. Atlanta is bursting with hidden “geniuses” just waiting to share their Conversation Pieces. But sometimes it takes a few conversations to get the ball rolling.