This article started out to be about what I am trying to do on a grass roots level and quickly turned into more than that as the days unfolded and progressed.
To begin life as an artist or musician is difficult, especially now a days. For many many years since leaving Pratt Art School in 1984 and in between I had to take all different types of jobs just to earn a living. Art and music had to be put on hold, as full time professions in telecommunications left no time for career moves in the arts.
|14th St Union Sq Fallen Demonstrator by Romero|
Now back in my younger musicians days one company had a novel type of “pay it forward” type of concept which is what we are trying to do here today albeit that we are bootstrapping the operation, due to lack of vision or my ability to explain and give value to the work we do. The company was called Music Is Youth, whom I might have mentioned in previous articles, and what they did was book young music bands for smallish gigs at your local club, VFW, American Foreign Legion or CYO. The idea being the organization and or parents would get together, fund and staff the event so their kids could enjoy a safe Friday or Saturday night of entertainment while the parents supervised and watched over the event. The pay was very good for us and everyone had a great safe time enjoying live local entertainment.
Now things have gotten so commercialized that entertainment is expected to be top name acts, or safety has become such a great issue as chasing after the buck is more important than being accountable for watching for weapons being brought in or how much alcohol is consumed by a patron and the proliferation of drugs.
This is where what I have been pioneering with the Ikohaus concept is what can be called “Social Engagement Art” or S.E.A. for short and can be defined in the following manner – The engagement of the artists in the arts from all disciplines with the fabric of humanity within the purpose of building bridges between people and using them as paint to create a different reality from the normal structure in an avant-garde fashion.
The primary medium I have been using at this time is one that is generally not expected to be used as an art form, for it is not oils, watercolors, film, poetry, stone, clay, an instrument or dance, but rather telecommunications. Blab.im is the platform of choice that I have settled on as I find myself moving the solo digital art creative medium. Digital art is still very rewarding and immediate for me as an artist but lacked a key ingredient I discovered studying art at Pratt while doing film, fashion video shoot, the engagement between artists and now more the audience itself.
More than being a product of our environment I have come to find that we are more a product of our experience. During the late 70’s I visited many Off-off-Broadway shows that were developmental and experimental in nature and often wondered how I could incorporate those elements of audience participation and engagement in my work. Now that broadband technology has proliferated the capability to meld voice, video, chat and engagement has become possible to capture the experience of using people as paints of different colors and the global internet as the canvas, with ability of the people to engage with one another and see the changes and mixing of thoughts taking place, then for me as an artist as well as others to step back and see what we have created in collaboration.
Right now the production team is small, Rob Hix the owner of a video conferencing company from Wash. DC is a co-producer of the show, produces the shows display graphics on live air, my daughter COO of CPirateNetwork, a recent college grad works in the day to day operations, while members of Blab’s THN Network disseminate promotional media.
The entire concept is one that is ripe for socially conscious companies to become involved in as the equipment used ranges from Dell computers, Google, Google Fi, Audio Technica, Behringer, Ubuntu, ASUS, Motorola, WACOM, Logitech and Sony. A veritable who’s who of standard consumer equipment manufacturers whose products are not only used by us but by many of our viewers. The primary importance of the work is ability to capture and make accessible various artists and people from every walks of life in a real and engaged process before the commercial aspects are set and they become aloof and removed from common interaction.
Many might think that this concept can be easily co-opted and constructed in a high powered commercially backed product, but what I have come to notice is the work and the innovation does not stand without the artist (I am known as BlackCaesar in music circles and Romero in art) who is that. It would be like replacing Picasso with Leonardo DiCaprio. He could play the part but the essence of Picasso would be lacking. And unlike Picasso my work involves the artist primarily not being aloof from humanity creating the work, but rather immersing my self within the work and becoming part and at one with the work.