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.




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Concert to Celebrate Jasper Magazine Release at Art Bar

JasperProjectLogo Thursday night is concert night at the Art Bar as we celebrate the release of the 31st issue of Jasper Magazine. In the next few days we'll be profiling the bands that will be celebrating with us via our regular series by Ony Ratsimbaharison, Ony's Bands, starting with Moon Moths.


The Jasper release party will also give us a time to recognize some important people in the arts community who are getting stuff done these days - our JAY finalists and our 2016 2nd Act film Festival filmmakers.

2nd act 2016

We're also pretty excited about the stories in this issue including a cover story on Nicole Kallenberg Heere  whose work we love for both its exquisite technique and its irreverent subject matter. (Wait til you see the cover of the mag!)

Mommy's Favorite Hobby by Nicole Kallenberg Heere

Our centerfold is pretty impressive, too, as we profile one of America's top artist, Joe Byrne, who lives right here in Columbia, SC.

Summer House, Block Island by Joe Byrne

And in our new expanded format of 96 pages we are able to bring you more music reviews, book reviews, and stories about local artists (did you know that Keith Mearns, who is the horticulturist at Historic Columbia used to be a professional ballet dancer?)

We've even got short fiction as Michael Spawn shares his short story, "Stoned Puppies Forever."

Michael Spawn - Jasper Music Editor

We'll be offering you more teasers over the next few days as Ony profiles our guest bands and we get you ready for another fun night at Art Bar - Columbia's longtime home for the wondering artist.


Now, the Moon Moths, by Ony.

Self-proclaimed as “psychedelic orchestral hip-hop,” The Moon Moths is a new-ish band that is heavily involved in Columbia’s newly revitalized scene of young artists. You can find them and their friends playing unconventional shows set up by the Scenario Collective, a local artist collective that aims to enrich our arts and music scene. Overall, they wish to spread a message of love, peace, and self-fulfillment, according to Rupert Hudson, the band’s vocalist.

The Moon Moths features a rotating cast of members but was started by Hudson, AKA Prince Rupert, after he got asked to play at a Battle of the Bands but had no band to play his music with. After missing this opportunity to play, Hudson got together with some other members of Scenario, which he is involved with, and started playing. Hudson lists over ten active members of the band in the following interview, but each performance’s lineup is dependent on who’s available to play.

You can catch their extensive lineup at Jasper’s Fall 2016 release party on September 29, with other performances by Autocorrect, King Vulture, and Tyler Digital (playing a DJ set). Who are all the members of the band?

Prince Rupert - Vocalist

Sixx - Vocalist

Moon Child - Guitar/Vocals

Love Potion #9 - Violin

Poof The Blue Bat - Tap Dancing/Vocals

Fresh Heaven - Guitar/Vocals

King Goof - Bass

The Seduction - Keys

Mister B - Drums

The Visible Choir Boy - Trumpet

Daddy Ice – Ukelele

So is there a set group of people in the band or does it vary sometimes? The band varies sometimes depending on our shows, as since we have so many members it's difficult to have everyone at each show! But we try to have all the members each time.

What is your songwriting process like? Originally, I would write the entire song on the piano and the band would flesh it out, but recently we have been getting together and writing songs as a full band, which creates a more rewarding environment for the whole band.

Who/what are some of your musical influences? All of us have differing tastes that align in certain places but my own influences are specifically Chance The Rapper, Arcade Fire, and Kanye West.

Do you have any other shows or releases coming up? We do! We are playing Scenario's Embryoasis show on October 1st at Tapps and the Subversive Art Festival (SAFE) at Tapps on October 8th. We will be releasing music late this year or early next year.

What are some of your previous releases? Are they available online? We have just released on track, Meep Meep, on our soundcloud.

What are your goals for the band/its future? We are going to be recording this year and I would love to get that out so that we can book a tour. Playing SXSW next year would be brilliant and a definite goal.  --OR