A few years ago, some girl named Neda Abghari contacted me about some sort of creative project she was working on. It involved her taking pictures of various local artists and musicians, posting these photo sessions online with accompanying interviews and eventually putting out some sort of collected volume of her portraiture documentation of Atlanta’s creative scene.
So why was she calling me? I assumed it was because I had been covering Atlanta’s art scene for a few years for publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, accessAtlanta, Creative Loafing, Stomp and Stammer and others. But she wasn’t looking for press about her project (at least not from me). Instead, she was familiar with my writing and wanted me to be involved with her creative process by interviewing the subjects of her photo shoots. I was impressed with her work, which brought the works of each artist to life through highly stylized and personalized photo sessions. And when I found out my first interviewee would be Charlie Owens, whose wide-eyed comic book-like beauties I had seen around town, I agreed to be involved. (It didn’t hurt that the pictures featured Charlie and a few scantily clad tattooed girls in a grimy bathroom.)
Following the Owens article, I did a little bit of additional writing for what was then known as the Atlanta Creatives Project. After interviewing goofball comic artist Josh Latta, I didn’t hear from Neda for a while, aside from a few emails about upcoming art shows and, later, her new plans for the project.
When the project resurfaced a year ago with Jung at HeArt,
the debut benefit for its Creative Community Housing Project featuring works by renowned local artists Fahamu Pecou, Bethany Marchman and that girl named Neda, it was clear things had come a long way since I had last been part of The Creatives Project. While her own creative energy was still at the heart of TCP, it was no longer simply an outlet for spreading awareness of local artists through her own photography. Instead, it was a way to not only garner attention for rising talents, but also foster those talents with big-name sponsors, collaborative partnerships and events like Jung at HeArt, where people can enjoy dancing to local DJs, taking in a myriad of artistic styles and help support a creative cause.
Since that event, TCP has made tremendous progress in its art outreach programs. From organizing events like Jung at HeArt to being named as the official nonprofit partner for the Atlanta Arts Festival last September, TCP reached hundreds of artists, performers, fans and supporters in 2011. In addition to placing its first six artists-in-residency into studio spaces, TCP further helped enrich the lives of young artists with programs such as a citywide arts supply drive, which has helped greatly in the education of its artists.
As the year came to a close, TCP held another successful benefit and exhibition at the Goat Farm in October called The Second Coming, which featured works by the likes of TindelMichi, Shana Robbins and Corina Sephora Mensoff in the main gallery and a showcase of its artists-in-studio residents such as Marcy Starz, Brandon Sadler and Jerushia Graham in the side gallery. The celebration also included a special collaborative musical performance featuring members of Jack of Hearts and Bosco, as well as violinist Lindsay Fisher.
It was also around this time that I became part of the creative process once again, plotting with Neda about how my own creative talents could help inform others about this growing project. Considering the talent already involved with TCP, as well as the caliber of events it had recently hosted (many of which included free beer, booze and food from restaurants and sponsors that believe in the cause), I was honored to be back in the fold.
Which brings us to my own Creative Process. Well, I can’t really claim it as my own since there will be so many other people involved with it. But here we are with the first edition of The Creative Process, my column for The Creatives Project where I will let the world know about TCP’s resident artists, mentorship programs, art shows and, of course, parties and other events that bring it all together in fun ways.
Rather than bore you with a bunch of blah, blah, blah about what TCP has planned for 2012 (don’t worry, we’ll get to all that soon enough), I’m really just here to let you know I’m here. TCP has carried the momentum of 2011 into 2012 and somewhere along the way I was swept back into the mix to help carry it forward. And I’m looking forward to being the voice of TCP and The Creative Process of everyone involved.