Focus on JAY Finalists - Nicola Waldron for literary arts

We're chatting with the 2017 JAY Awards Finalists as we enter the last few days of voting and preparing for the JAY Awards (& Retro Christmas party!) coming up on December 5th

Nicola Waldron - literary artist     photo by Forrest Clonts

Nicola Waldron - literary artist     photo by Forrest Clonts

Jasper: What made the past year so great for you as an artist?

Nicola: I have been lucky to have a number of prose pieces accepted for publication in various venues, and to feel in this way that my voice is being included in the national conversation in some small way. I also had the opportunity to work on a piece of performance art through the Jasper Project’s Syzygy Solar Eclipse Festival: it was so good to collaborate with new friends, and to be given the encouragement to experiment. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and found some new avenues to wander down.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Nicola: This has been, as they all are in their way, a hard year, which also means it’s been a year to respond to those difficulties. For me, that means thinking through issues in my writing of femaleness, Americanness, immigrant-ess, and parenthood. If your heart is a social justice engine, then struggle can be its juice, its defibrillator; and art its beat.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

Nicola: Writing is my way of being fully alive within myself, when public life sometimes feels oppressive. As a classic introvert, my work is where I live most of the time. It brings me ridiculous joy, those moments where the words on the page come to actually match what it is I’m thinking or feeling: synergy. There’s nothing quite like it.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

Nicola: The support of the community is of enormous significance. We can, and must, labor away or play with our art in private, but without an audience or someone, at some point, saying ‘I hear you; this matters,’ I’m not sure there’d be much point. For me, it’s all about connection. I love the moments here in Columbia where I find myself in a room with like-minds and think, ‘These are my people,’, by which I suppose I mean, ‘here is my true family, the people who will support me in whatever I do, in my attempt to examine a subject and get at the truth of the matter.’

 

Jasper: Who are some of your favorite local artists from an arts discipline other than your own?

Nicola: I really adore the visual art of painters like Lee Monts, and Christopher Lane, both of whose use of color and form moves me in the way a good poem moves me. I also enjoy the courageous, boundary-pushing work of artists like Michaela Pilar Brown, and Nicole Kallenberg Heere, and Dogon Krigga, though this is not an exhaustive list, by any means. These artists inspire me to break down some walls of my own. In theater, I have particularly enjoyed the work I’ve seen at USC’s Center for Performance Experiment this past year—so much talent in the work of directors and actors like Stephen Pearson, Robyn Hunt, and Mary Beth Gorman. Just so much talent everywhere you look!

 

Jasper: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support of your arts career?

Nicola: Without the support of the Jasper Project, and particularly people like Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, and Al Black, their warm friendship and encouragement, I’d have fallen into a pit of despair long ago. Thank you one and all. (editor’s note – ow, wow, thanks, Nicola!)

 

Jasper: Why should folks come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party?

Nicola: Because people dressed as Christmas trees!

 

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

 

 

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Focus on Jay Finalists - Those Lavender Whales in Music

We're chatting with the 2017 JAY Awards Finalists as we enter the last few days of voting and preparing for the JAY Awards (& Retro Christmas party!) coming up on December 5th

Those Lavender Whales - photo by Forrest Clonts   

Those Lavender Whales - photo by Forrest Clonts

 

Jasper: What made the past year so great for you as an artist?

TLW: We were really happy to release our album, “My Bones Are Singing” this past spring and get to travel to a lot of new places playing those songs with friends.

 

Jasper: How have you grown as an artist over the past year and to what do you attribute that growth?

TLW: We’ve felt more focused as a group. That could be just having an album coming out, but it feels like we’ve really made an effort to move closer musically when we perform making things tighter and playing more as a family (less as individuals).

 

Jasper: How have you seen your arts community grow over the past few years and to what do you attribute that growth?

TLW: My favorite thing is seeing more murals around town. I love seeing murals in other cities. Seeing public art seems to scream to the average passerby that there is a thriving and working arts community.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

TLW: With so much negativity and uncertainty floating around, creating is a good response to express and process your views and feelings.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

TLW: There’s art on the walls of my house, I make up songs about doing dishes and going to work, my daughter performs dances for my wife and me in our house. I can’t speak for everyone, but art seems to always surround me and be intertwined with every part of my life. I just recognize it more at random times.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

TLW: From our meager beginnings emailing dorm room recordings to friends, to having our wider web of friends and family produce, mix, and master our last album, community has always played a huge role in our music.

 

Jasper: Who are some of your favorite local artists from an arts discipline other than your own?

TLW: Trahern Cook is a live painter who is always around local events. The way he uses the energy of where he is and allows people passing by to influence his painting is really amazing.

 

Jasper: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support of your arts career?

TLW: We love Columbia, and don’t think we could make the sounds we make in any other city. There’s such a vast array of different sounds and art coming out of this place that it’s great to be a part of it and be supported by it.

 

Jasper: Why should folks come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party?

TLW: You get to sing along to some fun Christmas songs (if you want), get to dress up in some silly Holiday wear (if you choose), and get silly with a bunch of fun and friendly Columbia folks!

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

Focus on JAY Finalists - Nicole Kallenberg Heere in Visual Arts

Nicole Kallenberg Heere - photo by Forrest Clonts

Nicole Kallenberg Heere - photo by Forrest Clonts

We're chatting with the 2017 JAY Awards Finalists as we enter the last few days of voting and preparing for the JAY Awards (& Retro Christmas party!) coming up on December 5th.

 

 

Jasper: How have you seen your arts community grow over the past few years and to what do you attribute that growth?

 

Nicole: Because of the support Tapp’s has provided me, my arts community has grown exponentially over the past year. It’s my home base, along with 30 other wonderful artists and a knowledgeable staff. Being new to the Columbia area, the city didn’t feel like a home until I had my creative community intact. Not only has Tapp’s provided me a community, it has also provided a unique opportunity when it comes to exposure, allowing my fan base to grow beyond the people involved directly in the art scene. The many events that the Tapp’s building hosts along with its prime location on Main Street has helped elevate my art career to the next level. The venue also led to the introduction of my art to the Jasper staff, resulting in my cover and interview in Jasper magazine, which in turn helped secure my affiliation with Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Nicole: In our modern era, in my opinion, it is the responsibility of the artist to question those in power and also the things we consider “normal.” I personally have chosen to explore gender, hypermasculinity and misogyny in my artwork without attacking the other side. I have found that if I leave out anger and add in humor, people are less intimidated and more inclined to open up dialogue, sharing their thoughts not only with me, but with others viewing the art. And I think with our polarized population, healthy dialogue is important and artist are the few people with the ability to open up that dialogue, partly because of our talent and partly because we haven’t been completely vilified… yet.

 

Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

           

Nicole: What role does art not play in my life would be the easier question to answer. I cannot turn off my creativity. From my clothing, to my makeup to the vibe of my home the creativity is a constant. This year I became a mother. At 3 months old, my baby girl has already been to 5 art shows, met the gallery girls in Charleston and was a center piece in Columbia City Ballet’s production of Dracula. Come to my home and you will find it to be musically centered. My baby loves the piano, I can literally feel her body relax when she hears it, Chopin and the Brooklyn Duo are her favorites. We also listen and dance to a lot of Motown. I’m not sure if she will be an artist, but I want her to understand and appreciate the arts. And much like dictators and the church use art as propaganda, I too use it in my home. My baby girl is surrounded by images of female empowerment… wonder woman doing yoga and Marie Antoinette wearing boxing gloves just to name a few examples.

 

Jasper: What role does community play in the execution of your art?

           

Nicole: Community is everything in my art. Unlike many artists, I do not paint solely for myself, I also paint for all of you. Public opinion can be the most rewarding and at times the most painful part of being an artist. I think a lot of people don’t understand how incredibly difficult it can be to put your creations - your time and heart - out into the world for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, to judge. And maybe this is why I feel that my art belongs to the community and not just to me. Maybe its detachment, maybe it makes me feel like the art is more impactful if it has wings… if it can belong to you too.

 

Jasper: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support of your arts career?

Nicole: Behind every great woman is a great man… that’s how the saying goes, right? While my art is gender bending and glorifies female empowerment, the truth is that I don’t think I would a) have the understanding to pull off my ideas or b) the self-esteem to do so, if I didn’t have a life filled with supportive men. My mother was supportive of my love of arts and connected me with some great female artists at a young age, but unfortunately my mother had a short life. My father has supported my love of art since the day I was able to hold a crayon and my husband has been another rock since shortly after we met. Not to mention the hell I put my brother through growing up painting and altering so many of his beloved toys. With my father in my corner, I received my BFA, and after meeting my husband I had the support system I needed to pursue this as a full time career. I think that’s why my art has a light hearted element to it, I love men and I love being a woman, I’m just tired of being a second class citizen in this male dominated culture.

 

 

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!

 

 

Focus on JAY Finalists - Tyler Matthews in Music

Tyler Matthews - 2017 JAY Finalist in Music - photo by Forrest Clonts

Tyler Matthews - 2017 JAY Finalist in Music - photo by Forrest Clonts

We're chatting with the 2017 JAY Awards Finalists as we enter the last few days of voting and preparing for the JAY Awards (& Retro Christmas party!) coming up on December 5th.

 

Jasper: What made the past year so great for you as an artist?

               

Tyler: Just getting to go full artist mode across several different disciplines, collaborating with talented people and working on awesome projects.

 

Jasper: How have you grown as an artist over the past year and to what do you attribute that growth?

 

Tyler: I’ve grown across the board in the area of problem solving, writing, and producing fast. When you start out at anything there’s a large amount of activation energy required to get past being a novice producer. After a certain amount of hours you reach a tipping point where the technical things that used to be difficult to understand are second nature.

 

Jasper: How have you seen your arts community grow over the past few years and to what do you       attribute that growth?

 

Tyler: I’ve seen the music scene continue to thrive because the energy from artists in Scenario Collective, Moas Collective, and WUSC has been embraced in Columbia by Arts & Draughts, First Thursday, and various events/venues around town. The film scene is thriving because of the leadership from Wade Sellers. The work he’s done with 2nd Act Film Festival has bridged more connections and brought more people to the scene than anything else I can think of in Columbia. (editor’s note – yes, that’s Jasper Magazine film editor, Wade Sellers – nominated for a boatload of Emmy’s, always eager to help  his brother and sister artists, especially with a hand-up. We love our Wade and are proud to have him on our staff and Jasper Project board of directors. And yes, 2nd Act film Festival is one of the primary endeavors of the Jasper Project, so you know, yays all around!)

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Tyler: Art is so crucial right now. At a time when there seems to be so much division and confusion in the world, art enables people to express themselves in a healthy, productive way. For some it provides a much needed escape.

 

Jasper: Who have been your major influences?

Tyler: Locally: Mason Youngblood, Chaz Bundick, Tucker Prescott, Pedro Ldv, and Wade Sellers. Globally: Hans Zimmer, Led Zeppelin, Deadmau5, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan,

 

Jasper: Who are some of your favorite local artists from an arts discipline other than your own?

Tyler: Ed Madden and Tucker Prescott (um, hello, it’s us again. We just wanted to point out that Ed Madden is our poetry editor and has been since we started Jasper Magazine – we don’t know what we’d do without our Ed. Oh, and did we mention that he’s the poet laureate for the city of Columbia? So, again, yay!)

 

Jasper: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support of your arts career?

Tyler: Mason Youngblood and Tucker Prescott for inspiring me with their talents and encouragement. Wade Sellers for being a great mentor. My family for putting music in my life at an early age and setting a high bar with their own talents. The Jasper Project for caring enough about the arts community to assemble a great team that takes interest in South Carolina’s creative talent. (Aww, thanks Tyler!)

 

Jasper: Why should folks come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party?

Tyler: Everybody who’s anybody is going to be there!

~~~~

VOTE at http://jasperproject.org/jays

BUY Tickets at https://2017jays.bpt.me/

GIVE as part of #GIVINGTUESDAY at https://www.facebook.com/JasperProjectColumbia/

THANKS!