Sunday, November 29, 2009

"A vivid fresh look at hip hop" - Charlotte Observer

We opened the Charlotte Observer on a story about two of our artists today. Antoine still has his art up at our gallery space for another week.

A vivid, fresh take on hip-hop

>>Ask UNC Charlotte grad Antoine Williams to describe the influence of hip-hop music in American culture, and the 29-year-old can show you his paintings.

They're large, colorful and rife with political and social symbolism. The paintings also open a door on the often enigmatic urban youth point of view.

Williams also points to works by 10 colleagues, all members of the art group God City, artists who find creative inspiration in hip-hop music.

Their works, some of which are featured in an exhibit at UNCC through Dec. 19, acknowledge feelings of being powerful, powerless, conflicted, disconnected or plugged in.

The 15 works in God City's "Indie-Visual" exhibit certainly are not mainstream art, sometimes portraying comic book and movie-character figures and employing graffiti-style art techniques.

But the collection defies prevalent images of hip-hop culture, which often gets recognition for preoccupation with money, profane lyrics and unflattering portrayals of women.

That's why the exhibit is important, Williams said. These artists argue that today's hip-hop music and the international youth culture that sustains it are multidimensional and not easily categorized.

Within the culture, there are mainstream, alternative and underground movements, each with distinctive art and music. God City represents a glimpse at one part of the whole.

"Art is a way to let people see different perspectives of the world," Williams said. "We want to show the creative and intelligent aspect of hip-hop. Those are things that our community does not often get to see."<<

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