Famed dancer/choreographer offers industry and fitness tips


Tarzan is one of the more accomplished dancers/choreographers working today. Based in New York City, Tarzan has taken the stage with luminaries such as Grace Jones and Madonna, performing everywhere from Afropunk in Brooklyn to the Rebel Hearts Tour. He offered some words of wisdom for guys looking to break into the world of dance and choreography, sharing what he's learned throughout his career.

"Make sure that you research your business," says Tarzan. "It’s fun and amazing to travel and work with different people doing different gigs, but you want to make sure that this is the industry that’s for you and it will fit your lifestyle. It’s a business first, most people only see the performance side of it."

And Tarzan also believes in continuous learning.

"Always be in class," he says. "Take all styles, from anybody and everybody. Don’t just stick to one style or one choreographer. Especially if your goal is commercial dance, don’t just think about dancing for a Chris Brown, think about dancing for the people who work for Chris Brown; creative directors, styling team. They work with all of these people, so don’t put all your eggs in oen basket."

Fitness is important for your craft and Tarzan urges young dancers to not take it for granted.

"Take care of your body," he advises. "A lot of dancers think that the only thing you can dod is dance and that’s it. you have to make sure you’re eating well and treating your body well. Eating well, sleeping and working out. You have to work out. Dance is not just working out, it’s a cardio form but you definitely have to work out. Take care of yourself.

"I learned from Ciara’s choreographer Jamaica Craft--these words have stuck with me ever since--she said if you stay ready, you never have to get ready. Keep your headshots on you, keep your business cards on you. Make sure everything is appropriate and business-ready—have your personality in it—but stay ready."

The Art Institute of Chicago showcases exemplary David Adjaye exhibit

David Adjaye, Munson and Christina Steed at the exhibition Opening Celebration of "Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye" presented by The Art Institute of Chicago and Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director
David Adjaye, Munson and Christina Steed at the exhibition Opening Celebration of "Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye" presented by The Art Institute of Chicago and Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director

The Art Institute of Chicago is world-renowned and has a reputation for being the number one museum in the country. Museum curators have produced an exhibit for acclaimed architect David Adjaye, which serves as a prime example of their forward-thinking that pushes boundaries.

Internationally known for creating valuable ideas for space, Adjaye who has given us a prize at the Institute including scale models of homes, a remodeled factory, colorful scale models of buildings including the Whitechapel Idea Store located in London's East End.

The Art Institute of Chicago shares his gifts and are showcasing a level of creativity that will cause many to beg the question: Why did it take so long to birth this level of art?

Fellow British artist, Steve McQueen, whose work is primarily moving images, graced the stage at the Institute before his breakout film, 12 Years a Slave, caught the world by surprise. In 2012, his oeuvre was an un-cinematic collection of video, film, a slide projection and an unwonted sculpture.

Comparatively, their exhibitions are an example of the critical thinking and thought leadership that cause others to respect the very mission and creative integrity of the The Art Institute of Chicago and the individual foundations and corporations that support their vision.

It is here that Adjaye commands a community of supporters who are giving the world a perspective on design from individuals who have talent that needs to be showcased on a level that the international world can see and the importance of this body of artistic conversation and moment of historical recognition.

The Institute distinguishes itself with this exhibit. The Art Institute of Chicago is the only North American venue for this pioneering show, which precedes the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), designed by Adjaye Associates, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There is chatter that Adjaye will design the Obama Presidential Center.

Archibald Motley portrays Black life that conveys pride and integrity

Archibald Motley 3
Archibald Motley was the catalyst for Chicago's art renaissance. Motley's impressionistic jazz and lifestyle paintings have an aura of happiness. They convey an image of Blacks during one of the most prolific and artistic moments in the history of art culture and the African American expression.

A native of New Orleans, Motley has some of the moss culturally diverse art, depicting a lifestyle others wouldn't have known existed. His use of expression, body poses, gestures, hues, and colors (royal purple and red) make the figures appear larger than life.

Motley's generous use of expression is poignant, brilliant, and beautiful unlike Jacob Lawrence's stoic figures that tell a different story. Motley brings life to ideas, imaginary and even intimate places that are inviting. It's a voyeur's dream. Enjoy Motley at the Chicago Museum now through August 31, 2015.


Tyrim Brash: Brooklyn artist talks limitless possibilities

When you ask Tyrim Brash what he does, he will say, "I am a painter primarily." But in addition to being a visual artist, he's a fashion designer who creates silk scarf clothing derived from his artwork.

"I choose to not to limit myself to art because not everyone understands or takes a liking to art so I take it upon myself to extend my creativity and passions onto other mediums to ultimately reach a broader demographic with my art," he share.

Read what else he has to say.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
By never losing sight of the generations i aspire to influence, how much morality in peoples lives I want to affect, and keeping in mind that my overall goal is to be one of the most influential artists that ever lived.

Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about art and/or artists? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
Yes, I think that some people misconstrue art for something you have to have good schooling to be good at, and also people get the idea that you can only become an successful artist when your deceased. Well I am a self-taught artist in all my craft. So, I feel as I do well at expressing my art the notion that you need good schooling to do well with art gets dispelled. And, I feel if you giving the world no choice but to view your art and your doing all you can to shove it in their face and its good then that in return will bring you success while your alive.

Circe, 1977. Courtesy Estate of Nanette Bearden and DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Romare Bearden's 'A Black Odyssey' excites art lovers at Emory

Circe, 1977. Courtesy Estate of Nanette Bearden and DC Moore Gallery, New York.
Circe, 1977. Courtesy Estate of Nanette Bearden and DC Moore Gallery, New York.

"Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey," a dazzling exhibition of collages and other works by one of the most powerful and original artists of the 20th century, is open at the Michael C. Carlos Museum until March 9, 2014.

Curated by the esteemed scholar Robert G. O’Meally, this exhibition reunites the 1977 series in all its glory.

In the unique language of visual art, "Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey" is a startling retelling of Homer’s ancient story of Odysseus, the “man of many ways” who faces temptations and battles adversaries to make his way back home to Ithaca.

Neal Hamilton paints out loud

Cleveland native Neal Hamilton artwork has been featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, top art studios, VH1 and HBO’s Treme to name just a few. Hamilton recently sat down with rolling out to talk about his work, style and reaching urban youth with his art.

Where are you from originally and where did you receive your formal training?

I’m originally from Cleveland and I studied at the Cleveland Art Institute.

Tell us how “Paint out Loud” and your style were created.

It started with a fire. I was the official photographer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had covered a lot of musicians and bands. Then one day a house fire destroyed all my belongings. But I was able to move to another house that I owned and I had to start over. But the only supplies I had were three cans of latex house paint (orange, red and black), screwdrivers, putty knives and razor blades.

Very non-art supplies, I would say.

Exactly but that’s all I had, so I started to paint. The first picture I worked on was Sting. I started doing it stepped back and said “this looks pretty awesome.” I then did Bootsy Collins and Peter Gabriel. I decided to take what I love and translate it to a contemporary style. I then was chosen to paint a 10-foot tall Stratocaster guitar of Jimi Hendrix for display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Hewlett-Packard, HP.

But you also paint regular size guitars, how did that start?

I saw an ad on Craigslist that stated “looking for artist to paint guitars.” I called the guy, Mr. Dan Harr and he explained to me his concept. Dan is a vet who runs a charity called the Guitar Project. Guitars are painted and auctioned off and the money donated to different charities. So I did three guitars at first, Robert Plant, Brian Seltzer and Carlos Santana. I’ve even done a fiddle for Charlie Daniels. All of these items can be found at www.mnnguitarproject.com.

mo barnes

AFRICOBRA: Showing at the DuSable this July

AfriCOBRA: Art and Impact opens at The DuSable Museum of African American History on Friday, July, 26th. This very special exhibit, honors the Chicago artist group, AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). 

According to the DuSable's website:

AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact. The exhibition at the DuSable Museum (July 26–September 29, 2013), is curated by Arlene Turner Crawford, visual artist, with Charles Bethea, Chief Operating Officer and Curator of DuSable. This chapter will document how AFRICOBRA flourished and influenced other artists in Chicago—artists who became official members of the group, and other artists who exhibited work in AFRICOBRA shows. In addition to founding members, these artists include Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Nelson Stevens, Carolyn Lawrence, Frank Smith, Murry DePillars, Sherman Beck and Omar Lama. The exhibition will assert the major impact of AFRICOBRA on the visual arts in Chicago, particularly on the South Side, in the period of the Black Arts Movement. AFRICOBRA artists committed themselves to the principles of social responsibility, artistic excellence, local artistic involvement and the promotion of pride in Black self-identity. The works selected for this exhibition will highlight the continuing development of “positive images,” focusing on AFRICOBRA’s aesthetic vocabulary and pursuing its key themes of self-determination, African heritage and solidarity, as well as the inspiration of music on the visual arts.

The exhibit ends September 29, 2013.

'KKK' is coming to The DuSable in Chicago

Artists James Pate's KKK – "Kin Killin' Kin" – is a powerful and thought-provoking series of images that reflect artists James Pate's deep love and even greater concern for the epidemic of youth violence in the African American community. If he were a singer, he would sing about it. If he were a dancer, he would dance about it. If her were a journalists, he would join the thousands who write about it. James Pate is a master visual artist who has directed his artistic vision to one of the most critical social ills of our time...youth violence.

In the KKK-"Kin Killin' Kin" series, James Pate reveals a negative social reality in hopes of finding collective and positive solutions to a problem that touches us all directly or indirectly. Pate's powerful images are visual call-to-action to find solutions to youth and gun violence in the community and created in hopes of engaging our youth and community in acknowledging that harsh reality of gun violence, and to dialogue positive alternatives and solutions towards negative behavior.

The show opens on July 13, 2013 and  organized by SHANGO: center for the Study of African American Art and Culture, Inc., and EbonNia Gallery, Curated by Willis Bing Davis.

Ancillary events:
"KKK - Kin Killin Kin"- The Arts as an Agent of Change
DATE: Thursday, August 1, 2013
TIME: 6:30pm - 9:00pm

KKK - Kin Killin' Kin" is a powerful and thought-provoking visual experience that reflects James Pate's deep love and even greater concern for the epidemic of youth violence in the African American community. In the "KKK - Kin Killin' Kin" series, Pate showcases a negative social reality in hopes of finding collective and positive solutions to a problem that touches us all directly or indirectly. In this gallery talk, James Pate, along with Willis Bing Davis, the curator of the exhibition, discusses how the arts can be used as an agent of change. Learn more . . .

Organized by SHANGO: Center for the Study of African American Art and Culture, Inc., and EbonNia Gallery. Curated by Willis Bing Davis

"The Business of the Block"
DATE: Sunday, September 15, 2013
TIME: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

In conjunction with the exhibition, "KKK - Kin Killing Kin," we present a daring discussion about the "money machine" driving black gangs in Chicago.

During this panel and open forum, you'll not only hear from scholars who have studied the history and evolution of Chicago gangs and their street enterprises, but you will also gain insight from community leaders and former members of some of Chicago's most notorious sets who will speak about the allure of gang life for financial gain and how we can intercept its draw by introducing youth to creative business and entrepreneurial endeavors.

These events are FREE. For more information, call 773-947-0600 ext. 254. Visit our website at www.dusablemuseum.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube!

Artisans of Lincoln: Anthony Sims talks designing the 2013 Lincoln MKZ

Anthony Sims, a Lincoln Interior Designer, was put to the test to re-imagine the 2013 MKZ. He was one of a only a few on the team to be granted this experience.

“When sketching, I thought of luxury hotels and that experience, that feeling that you’re special,” shares the Washington state native.

Sims recently discovered an acute fondness for modern living spaces and contemporary furniture design — most notably Charles and Ray Eames’ iconic mid-century work — and has begun to apply a similar philosophy to his Lincoln interior design sketches.

Harlem Postcards: 10th Anniversary at Studio Museum in Harlem

It's the 10th Anniversary for Harlem Postcards, Studio Museum in Harlem's signature exhibit. Alex Da Corte joins Ugo Rondi­none, Jumoke Sanwo and Letha Wil­son in this season’s exhibit.

An ongoing project, Harlem Postcards features contemporary artists with diverse backgrounds who present images of Harlem, "the nexus of black culture," highlighting its "cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation and creative production." Each photograph is reproduced as a limited edition postcard and made available free to visitors.

Harlem Postcards is organized by Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant.

Mar 28, 2013 - Jun 30, 2013