Announcing the 2017 Jasper Artists of the Year & Thanking Everyone Who Helped in Celebrating Them

Announcing the winners of the JAYs - and celebrating them - is such a joyous way to spend an evening. Sure, we could bump up the ticket price and ask people to worry about what they're going to wear. We could hold the celebration in some swanky hall with fancy food and funky drinks. Ice sculptures. We could do ice sculptures.

But Jasper decided a long time ago that our celebration of artists who have had a very good year would not fall into that trap of being a who's who and a see and be seen event. We have way too many of those things in town already! And the reality is that once you pay for those mixologists and finger foods -- not to mention the ice sculptures -- you've not only out-ticket priced the working artists in town who just barely get by financially off their art and their other jobs, and you've created an entirely uncomfortable event that people fret about going to and can't wait to leave so they can go home take their Spanx off.

Last night was another example of how we play at Jasper. We had some of the best people in town on our stage, serving us drinks and food, and doling out big authentic hugs to one another.

Those Lavender Whales, finalists for JAY in music, fully embraced our request that they lead us in Christmas Carols -- and Jessica even donned a Dolly wig and sang Hard Candy Christmas! All three JAY literary finalists - Nicola, Al, and Don - put together a sweet and silly Twelve Days of Christmas number involving all the finalists. Mandy, finalist in theatre, performed some beautiful songs accompanied by Chris, also a finalist in theatre, and Tyler, JAY finalist in music. Jay provided us with our sound system.

Off-stage. we had Phill and Matty pouring beer and wine and Joe and Candy serving up some delicious snacks. Ashley was capturing everyone on camera and Barry was popping those images up on screen as fast as he could. Bohumila, Diane, and Billy had coordinated the ornament auction in which more than two dozen ornaments, made especially for last night by artists like Stephen, Barbie, Matthew, and more, went home with folks as a remembrance of the evening. Kristian judged the living Christmas tree contest -- Bohumila won -- and offered up the prize of a dinner at Bourbon. Intern Jenna checked all the contestants in. And Thomas offered us four of his beautiful paintings for auction -- Barry and Chris each took one home. Kyle and Coralee ran the door, selling not only tickets but also the hand-made all-ages coloring books that Billy, Bob, and I had put together, with art in them from Cedric, Michael, Heidi, Laurie, Dogon, Thomas, Alexandra, and Sean.

At the end of the night we were tired, but sustained by our sense of community and that happiness that comes from having an authentically good time in the company of people we can be ourselves around. It was a joy.

So, without any more tap dancing and horn tooting, we are delighted to announce our winners of the 2017 Jasper Artists of the Year.

 

 

Fat Rat da Czar - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Music

Fat Rat da Czar - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Music

Al Black - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Literary Arts

Al Black - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Literary Arts

Bakari Lebby - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre

Bakari Lebby - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre

Sean Rayford - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Visual Arts

Sean Rayford - 2017 Jasper Artist of the Year in Visual Arts

Congratulations once again to all the finalists - Nicola, Don, Tyler, Aaron and the gang, Nicole, Cedric, Mandy, and Chris. 

Thanks to everyone who voted (and sorry to have to clean out those multiple votes and keep it clean, but that's how Sara rolls!) And thanks to all who came out last night to support and celebrate with us.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Jasper Project!

 

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Focus on JAY Finalists - Sean Rayford in Visual Art

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

 

Photographer Sean Rayford - 2017 JAY Visual Arts Finalist - photo by Forrest Clonts

Photographer Sean Rayford - 2017 JAY Visual Arts Finalist - photo by Forrest Clonts

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

Sean: This past year was great for me because I feel I’ve been able to get a better grasp of balancing work and personal projects and allowing them to interplay when appropriate. I’ve come to trust my instincts more. In my game, preparation meeting with opportunity is everything and I’ve been much better prepared and have had many more opportunities

 

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

Sean: In 2015 I stepped into a lot of new responsibilities and it gave me and it challenged me to take my craft to another level. But at the same time I was experiencing so many new things and just feeling my way through it. I felt like I was still winging most things. Like when you’ve been snowboarding only a few times and getting down the slope without dying is still a regular challenge. This past year I’ve been able to apply what I learned during that whirlwind and it’s provided me with a lot more poise.

 

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

Sean: Columbia now has established live music venues of all different sized rooms. The Jam Room Fest is amazing and a host of regular concert series in the city have been able to work well with the local, regional and national acts. I can attribute growth to perseverance from members of the community who embraced their city instead of fleeing to another one. 

 

Jasper: Why is art so important right now?

Sean: Art can bridge divides and we’re pretty divided.

 

 Jasper: What role does art play in your life?

 Sean: My life is consumed by the process of making images and learning first hand about the world through that process. Most of what I do has something to do with an attempt at becoming a better visual storyteller. I’m always observing and always framing scenes. Hopefully their is music around most of the time

 

Jasper: Who have been some of your major influences?

Sean:  William Klein, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gerry Melendez, Jill Freedman

 

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

Sean:  Jon Warf, Jake Luhrs

 

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

Sean: Mom and Dad, The Gamecock Newspaper, WUSC and the photo department at the State Newspaper during the turn of the century. 

 

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

Sean: Folks should come out to the 2017 JAY Awards and Retro Christmas Party because Those Lavender Whales are an amazing band and amazing people.

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!

About the 2017 JAY Finalists

2017 JAY Finalists in Visual Art

Nicole Kallenberg Heere * Sean Rayford * Cedric Umoja

Nicole Kallenberg Heere   Through December 2016, Nicole’s painting "Mommy's Little Helpers" was used by Theatre Lazina Nowa to advertise the play  All About My Mother  on billboards and posters in the city of Krakow, Poland. She continues to be an Artist in Residence at Tapp's Art Center in Columbia, South Carolina where her artwork was presented at "Figure Out" art exhibition in 2016. Her work was included in the Columbia Artists Guild inaugural show, "Our Art: A Celebration of Life and Creative Freedom," at City Art gallery in Columbia. In October 2016 she was selected as the cover artist for the fall issue of  Jasper Magazine  and was featured along with magazine editor Cindi Boiter on ArtsWACH for WACHFox news. From October 2016 - May 2017, Nicole showed with French Art Network at Galerie Rue Toulouse: New Orleans, LA and was honored at an artist meet and greet at Galerie Rue Toulouse in December. In January 2017, she enjoyed a solo show at Kershaw County Arts Center in Camden, SC and in February 2017 she was featured in  French Quarterly Magazine , New Orleans, LA. In April 2017, she had a solo show at Patriot's Hall Performing Arts Center (Formerly Jasper John's High School) in Sumter, SC, and from May 2017 – present she has been represented by Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.   

Nicole Kallenberg Heere

Through December 2016, Nicole’s painting "Mommy's Little Helpers" was used by Theatre Lazina Nowa to advertise the play All About My Mother on billboards and posters in the city of Krakow, Poland. She continues to be an Artist in Residence at Tapp's Art Center in Columbia, South Carolina where her artwork was presented at "Figure Out" art exhibition in 2016. Her work was included in the Columbia Artists Guild inaugural show, "Our Art: A Celebration of Life and Creative Freedom," at City Art gallery in Columbia. In October 2016 she was selected as the cover artist for the fall issue of Jasper Magazine and was featured along with magazine editor Cindi Boiter on ArtsWACH for WACHFox news. From October 2016 - May 2017, Nicole showed with French Art Network at Galerie Rue Toulouse: New Orleans, LA and was honored at an artist meet and greet at Galerie Rue Toulouse in December. In January 2017, she enjoyed a solo show at Kershaw County Arts Center in Camden, SC and in February 2017 she was featured in French Quarterly Magazine, New Orleans, LA. In April 2017, she had a solo show at Patriot's Hall Performing Arts Center (Formerly Jasper John's High School) in Sumter, SC, and from May 2017 – present she has been represented by Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston.

 

Sean Rayford   Sean Rayford is a freelance photojournalist and commercial photographer working during the last year with  The New York Times, The Washington Post, Getty Images, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, the Associated Press  and more. His commercial clients include the ACLU, Chernoff Newman, and the Columbia Visitors Bureau. Sean produces  The Angry Whale , a photography webzine focusing primarily on local narratives with a heavy emphasis on the local music scene, along with national stories including a look at street protests in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. He won the Best Photo Story from the South Carolina Press Association in 2016 and the Atlantic Institute Peace and Dialogue Award: Media and Communication in 2017. He enjoyed a Solo exhibition called “Documents” at Anastasia and Friends, a book release,  Inundated , and was named one of 51 Instagram Photographers to Follow in the US by Time Magazine, all in 2016. He won the  Free Times  Best of Instagram Honorable Mention, in 2017. In 2016 Rayford had extensive coverage of rioting in Charlotte, NC for Getty Images, and Hurricane Matthew in the Carolina’s for  The New York Times , Getty Images and The European Press Agency. After the election of Donald Trump Sean’s storylines have often intersected with the resulting protest movements including contentious congressional town hall meetings.

Sean Rayford

Sean Rayford is a freelance photojournalist and commercial photographer working during the last year with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Getty Images, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, the Associated Press and more. His commercial clients include the ACLU, Chernoff Newman, and the Columbia Visitors Bureau. Sean produces The Angry Whale, a photography webzine focusing primarily on local narratives with a heavy emphasis on the local music scene, along with national stories including a look at street protests in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. He won the Best Photo Story from the South Carolina Press Association in 2016 and the Atlantic Institute Peace and Dialogue Award: Media and Communication in 2017. He enjoyed a Solo exhibition called “Documents” at Anastasia and Friends, a book release, Inundated, and was named one of 51 Instagram Photographers to Follow in the US by Time Magazine, all in 2016. He won the Free Times Best of Instagram Honorable Mention, in 2017. In 2016 Rayford had extensive coverage of rioting in Charlotte, NC for Getty Images, and Hurricane Matthew in the Carolina’s for The New York Times, Getty Images and The European Press Agency. After the election of Donald Trump Sean’s storylines have often intersected with the resulting protest movements including contentious congressional town hall meetings.

Cedric Umoja   Cedric Umoja has enjoyed the following exhibitions over the past year: Afrofuturism (a group exhibition) at 4th Wall Gallery in Charleston SC, as part of the Spoleto Arts Festival; "WE BLEED TOO!" a solo exhibition at the Goodall Gallery in Columbia; "Libation," a three person exhibition at Charleston City Gallery in Charleston SC; and, the MOJA African American / Caribbean Arts Festival. Cedric has completed a number of murals including "The space I'm in" in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA and "23 Million miles" on Millwood Avenue in Columbia. He has performed live art at MOCAD (Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit) and performed in the film,  Bridge (Refrain)  as an actor/co-producer, and music supervisor, shot in Columbia. He has also completed commission work for Radio Krimi, Experience Columbia, LuLu Lemon, USC, and Coach Michael and Chantal Peterson.

Cedric Umoja

Cedric Umoja has enjoyed the following exhibitions over the past year: Afrofuturism (a group exhibition) at 4th Wall Gallery in Charleston SC, as part of the Spoleto Arts Festival; "WE BLEED TOO!" a solo exhibition at the Goodall Gallery in Columbia; "Libation," a three person exhibition at Charleston City Gallery in Charleston SC; and, the MOJA African American / Caribbean Arts Festival. Cedric has completed a number of murals including "The space I'm in" in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA and "23 Million miles" on Millwood Avenue in Columbia. He has performed live art at MOCAD (Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit) and performed in the film, Bridge (Refrain) as an actor/co-producer, and music supervisor, shot in Columbia. He has also completed commission work for Radio Krimi, Experience Columbia, LuLu Lemon, USC, and Coach Michael and Chantal Peterson.

 

*****

 

2017 JAY Finalists in Theatre

Chris Cockrell * Mandy Applegate Bloom * Bakari Lebby

 

Christopher Cockrell   Christopher Cockrell is both a musician and actor, with most of his musical contributions being offered to the theatre. In July, 2016 Chris musically directed the Trustus season opener  American Idiot , nominated for the  Free Times  Best Theatrical Production award.  In October 2016, after 15 years of playing Riff Raff, Chris musically directed  The Rocky Horror Picture Show  which won the  Free Times  award. In December he was the sound guy for the  Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical . And in February 2017 he musically directed the  Love is Love  cabaret. During March 2017 he was the artist in residence at Hammond School and musically directed  Into the Woods .  In May he competed in the Vista Queen Pageant as Raven Black for which he won the Judge’s Choice award. He reprised his role in July for the Jasper Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle and won.  June 2017 saw him musically directing  Rock of Ages .

Christopher Cockrell

Christopher Cockrell is both a musician and actor, with most of his musical contributions being offered to the theatre. In July, 2016 Chris musically directed the Trustus season opener American Idiot, nominated for the Free Times Best Theatrical Production award.  In October 2016, after 15 years of playing Riff Raff, Chris musically directed The Rocky Horror Picture Show which won the Free Times award. In December he was the sound guy for the Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. And in February 2017 he musically directed the Love is Love cabaret. During March 2017 he was the artist in residence at Hammond School and musically directed Into the Woods.  In May he competed in the Vista Queen Pageant as Raven Black for which he won the Judge’s Choice award. He reprised his role in July for the Jasper Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle and won.  June 2017 saw him musically directing Rock of Ages.

Mandy Applegate Bloom   Mandy offered a burlesque performance featuring a body positivity, sexuality, and autonomy talkback at Hoechella Music Festival in August 2016, and was presented in an article and podcast with Auntie Bellum on Burlesque in August 2016. She also taught the Burlesque Beginners Dance Class Series at Tapp’s Arts Center in October 2016. Mandy was a singer and performer in the PALSS Torch Cabaret Benefit at CMFA October 2016 and was choreographer/movement coach for  The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical  at Trustus Theatre in December 2016.  Her most outstanding performance though was the dual leading roles in (and choreographer for)  Grey Gardens  at Trustus, March 2017. Mandy also judged the annual Vista Queen Pageant at Trustus Theatre this year.

Mandy Applegate Bloom

Mandy offered a burlesque performance featuring a body positivity, sexuality, and autonomy talkback at Hoechella Music Festival in August 2016, and was presented in an article and podcast with Auntie Bellum on Burlesque in August 2016. She also taught the Burlesque Beginners Dance Class Series at Tapp’s Arts Center in October 2016. Mandy was a singer and performer in the PALSS Torch Cabaret Benefit at CMFA October 2016 and was choreographer/movement coach for The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical at Trustus Theatre in December 2016.  Her most outstanding performance though was the dual leading roles in (and choreographer for) Grey Gardens at Trustus, March 2017. Mandy also judged the annual Vista Queen Pageant at Trustus Theatre this year.

Bakari Lebby   In August 2016 Bakari was inducted as a Trustus Theatre Company Member where, the month before he had performed as Gerard in  American Idiot . He is an actor, sound designer, and writer for The Mothers Sketch Comedy troupe. He ran projection and did video design for  Hand to God  at Trustus Theatre, directed, did sound design, projection design, and graphic design for  some girl(s)  at Workshop Theatre, assisted with costume design for  Sex on Sunday  at Trustus Theatre. Bakari was also selected to direct  One Another  (Jon Tuttle) for Syzygy: Eclipse Plays.  His podcast,  Soda City Sessions , boasts more than 70 interviews online, and his band, Sandcastles, released the album,  Die Alone , in 2016.

Bakari Lebby

In August 2016 Bakari was inducted as a Trustus Theatre Company Member where, the month before he had performed as Gerard in American Idiot. He is an actor, sound designer, and writer for The Mothers Sketch Comedy troupe. He ran projection and did video design for Hand to God at Trustus Theatre, directed, did sound design, projection design, and graphic design for some girl(s) at Workshop Theatre, assisted with costume design for Sex on Sunday at Trustus Theatre. Bakari was also selected to direct One Another (Jon Tuttle) for Syzygy: Eclipse Plays.  His podcast, Soda City Sessions, boasts more than 70 interviews online, and his band, Sandcastles, released the album, Die Alone, in 2016.

*****

2017 JAY Finalists in Music

Those Lavender Whales * Fat Rat * Tyler Matthews

Those Lavender Whales   The group was mainly focused on releasing and supporting their second full length "My Bones Are Singing" (which came out in April) which garnered some national and international press, a  Free Times  cover story, and a good amount of touring up the east coast and around the southeast. Before the release of their album, they played an Arts & Draughts last fall, a special stripped down set with upright bass and electric guitar at the Nickelodeon for a Magic Hour in January with Valley Maker, and a songwriter event at Deckle Edge literary festival earlier this year.   

Those Lavender Whales

The group was mainly focused on releasing and supporting their second full length "My Bones Are Singing" (which came out in April) which garnered some national and international press, a Free Times cover story, and a good amount of touring up the east coast and around the southeast. Before the release of their album, they played an Arts & Draughts last fall, a special stripped down set with upright bass and electric guitar at the Nickelodeon for a Magic Hour in January with Valley Maker, and a songwriter event at Deckle Edge literary festival earlier this year.

 

Tyler Matthews   One of Tyler Matthews’ goals for the last 12 months was to gain music coverage beyond state lines. Producing his first full-length album in the form of the soundtrack for Exit 8 achieved just that — generating positive reviews, commentary, and interest from music blogs across the country. Along with scoring Exit 8, he served as the video editor for the film which gave him the opportunity to create a film trailer. This led to scoring and producing an additional composition which subsequently went on to receive a Gold Addy Award for Original Music at the Addy Awards. Tyler was one of 2 freelancers to win a gold award out of 250 professional entries. He was recognized by the American Advertising Federation of the Midlands as the member of the year for the video he volunteered to make promoting the Addy’s.  He was a selected filmmaker for the 2nd Act ( Mr. Wonderful ) Film Festival in October 2016, which involved creating original music for the film as well as tapping into music industry contacts Skylar Spence and Niilas who gave me the green light to use their music for  Mr. Wonderful . He ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to submit  Mr. Wonderful  to the short film festival circuit, and supported other musical artists and organizations around the community through video and audio production. He played shows around Columbia for Jasper, Scenario Collective, and miscellaneous house parties. However, the vast majority of his music work was done in the studio setting on a Macbook Pro - Writing, Recording, Engineering, Mixing, Mastering, etc.  He was the producer of Insanity Podcast and was selected “Who to Stream” by  Cola Daily , after being named New & Noteworthy on iTunes earlier in the year. He produces the music and all multimedia for the podcast.   

Tyler Matthews

One of Tyler Matthews’ goals for the last 12 months was to gain music coverage beyond state lines. Producing his first full-length album in the form of the soundtrack for Exit 8 achieved just that — generating positive reviews, commentary, and interest from music blogs across the country. Along with scoring Exit 8, he served as the video editor for the film which gave him the opportunity to create a film trailer. This led to scoring and producing an additional composition which subsequently went on to receive a Gold Addy Award for Original Music at the Addy Awards. Tyler was one of 2 freelancers to win a gold award out of 250 professional entries. He was recognized by the American Advertising Federation of the Midlands as the member of the year for the video he volunteered to make promoting the Addy’s.  He was a selected filmmaker for the 2nd Act (Mr. Wonderful) Film Festival in October 2016, which involved creating original music for the film as well as tapping into music industry contacts Skylar Spence and Niilas who gave me the green light to use their music for Mr. Wonderful. He ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to submit Mr. Wonderful to the short film festival circuit, and supported other musical artists and organizations around the community through video and audio production. He played shows around Columbia for Jasper, Scenario Collective, and miscellaneous house parties. However, the vast majority of his music work was done in the studio setting on a Macbook Pro - Writing, Recording, Engineering, Mixing, Mastering, etc.  He was the producer of Insanity Podcast and was selected “Who to Stream” by Cola Daily, after being named New & Noteworthy on iTunes earlier in the year. He produces the music and all multimedia for the podcast.

 

FatRat Da Czar   As South Carolina’s godfather of hip hop, Fat was the Invited speaker/panelist at 2017 Charleston Music Confab and a performer at Charleston Music Confab (Charleston Music Hall). He was named the  Free Times  Best Hip Hop Artist and the 2017 Free Times Writers Pick for Best Annual Event or Festival for Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Festival, which he previously founded. He established a hip-hop headquarters at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street, and was an invited participant in EdVenture’s 100 Men Who Cook for Kids fundraiser. He executive Produced hip-hop artist Cole Connor’s album: SODA (Sometimes Our Dreams Align) and was an invited speaker at Richland Library’s Music Entrepreneur Seminar: Find Your Voice. Fat released the album,  RailRoad , co-authored the book  Da Cold Warrior , released the Cold Warrior double CD, performed at Freeway Music Festival (at the Music Farm Columbia) and performed at the Indie Grits opening party.                                                      *****                              2017 JAY Finalists in Literary Arts                        Al Black * Nicola Waldron * Don McCallister

FatRat Da Czar

As South Carolina’s godfather of hip hop, Fat was the Invited speaker/panelist at 2017 Charleston Music Confab and a performer at Charleston Music Confab (Charleston Music Hall). He was named the Free Times Best Hip Hop Artist and the 2017 Free Times Writers Pick for Best Annual Event or Festival for Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Festival, which he previously founded. He established a hip-hop headquarters at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street, and was an invited participant in EdVenture’s 100 Men Who Cook for Kids fundraiser. He executive Produced hip-hop artist Cole Connor’s album: SODA (Sometimes Our Dreams Align) and was an invited speaker at Richland Library’s Music Entrepreneur Seminar: Find Your Voice. Fat released the album, RailRoad, co-authored the book Da Cold Warrior, released the Cold Warrior double CD, performed at Freeway Music Festival (at the Music Farm Columbia) and performed at the Indie Grits opening party.

 

                                                 *****

                           2017 JAY Finalists in Literary Arts

                    Al Black * Nicola Waldron * Don McCallister

Al Black   Al Black is a northern born Southern poet who is trying to make up for 50 years of hiding his poetic life beneath a layered costume of respectability. He publishes in journals, online blogs and anthologies, most recently in  Fall Lines  2017. He organizes and hosts a weekly poetry venue called Mind Gravy and three monthly poetry venues called Magnify Magnolias, Poems: Bones of the Spirit, and Blue Note Poetry as well as two monthly poetry workshops, in addition to organizing and hosting a monthly lyric singer/songwriter event called Songversation. Al co-founded the Poets Respond to Race Initiative with the poet, Len Lawson in May 2015 on which Len and Al continue to tour organizing and hosting readings and events connected with the initiative and, in February 2017, they co-edited,  Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race  published by Muddy Ford Press.   

Al Black

Al Black is a northern born Southern poet who is trying to make up for 50 years of hiding his poetic life beneath a layered costume of respectability. He publishes in journals, online blogs and anthologies, most recently in Fall Lines 2017. He organizes and hosts a weekly poetry venue called Mind Gravy and three monthly poetry venues called Magnify Magnolias, Poems: Bones of the Spirit, and Blue Note Poetry as well as two monthly poetry workshops, in addition to organizing and hosting a monthly lyric singer/songwriter event called Songversation. Al co-founded the Poets Respond to Race Initiative with the poet, Len Lawson in May 2015 on which Len and Al continue to tour organizing and hosting readings and events connected with the initiative and, in February 2017, they co-edited, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race published by Muddy Ford Press.

 

Nicola Waldron   Nicola Waldron has enjoyed a number of essays being accepted for publication or published in nationally-recognized magazines and websites this year, including "Ictus, or 1984 Redux" which was shortlisted for the Proximity personal essay prize in July 2017; “If Plan 'A' Don’t Work Out”: in  About Place ; and “Containing the Chaos: Spiral Form in Memoir” in  Assay . “Spill” which was published in  Marked by the Water  in October, 2016 was performed as a staged oration at Tapp’s Art Center as part of the Marked by the Water commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1000 year flood. An excerpt from her book,  River Running Backwards,  was published in  Fall Lines , summer 2017, and she was selected as a playwright for the Syzygy: Eclipse Plays project in spring 2017 for which she wrote the play  Visitation . Her poems “Dream” and “Birthday in October” were published in in  California Quarterly,  July 2017; “Walking the Sawmill” in  California Quarterly,  in fall 2016, and “Crawlspace” and “After a Flood” were published in  Marked By The Water , 2016. (“Crawlspace” was also published in  Jasper , October 2016.) Nicola also participated in Bones of the Spirit, Mind Gravy, and Magnify Magnolias.

Nicola Waldron

Nicola Waldron has enjoyed a number of essays being accepted for publication or published in nationally-recognized magazines and websites this year, including "Ictus, or 1984 Redux" which was shortlisted for the Proximity personal essay prize in July 2017; “If Plan 'A' Don’t Work Out”: in About Place; and “Containing the Chaos: Spiral Form in Memoir” in Assay. “Spill” which was published in Marked by the Water in October, 2016 was performed as a staged oration at Tapp’s Art Center as part of the Marked by the Water commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1000 year flood. An excerpt from her book, River Running Backwards, was published in Fall Lines, summer 2017, and she was selected as a playwright for the Syzygy: Eclipse Plays project in spring 2017 for which she wrote the play Visitation. Her poems “Dream” and “Birthday in October” were published in in California Quarterly, July 2017; “Walking the Sawmill” in California Quarterly, in fall 2016, and “Crawlspace” and “After a Flood” were published in Marked By The Water, 2016. (“Crawlspace” was also published in Jasper, October 2016.) Nicola also participated in Bones of the Spirit, Mind Gravy, and Magnify Magnolias.

Don McCallister   Over the past year, Don began his own indie publishing company, calling it Mind Harvest Press, to publish his own backlog of material including  Let the Glory Pass Away  which launched in February 2017. His short story, “Eye of the Vandal” received an Honorable Mention from the  Short Story America  Fiction Contest and his short story, “Ruby in the Dust,” was published in  Fall Lines 2017.  In addition, his papers from the publication of  Fellow Traveler  were selected for the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz.   Don teaches creative writing at Midlands Technical College. 

Don McCallister

Over the past year, Don began his own indie publishing company, calling it Mind Harvest Press, to publish his own backlog of material including Let the Glory Pass Away which launched in February 2017. His short story, “Eye of the Vandal” received an Honorable Mention from the Short Story America Fiction Contest and his short story, “Ruby in the Dust,” was published in Fall Lines 2017. In addition, his papers from the publication of Fellow Traveler were selected for the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Don teaches creative writing at Midlands Technical College. 

*****

Vote

Jasper Artists of the Year

2017

http://jasperproject.org/jays

 

Then join us on Tuesday, December 5th at 7 pm in the 701 Whaley Market Space for the

2017 JAY Awards & Retro Snow Ball

and

Caroling with Those Lavender Whales

Retro Family Photos

Pop UP Art Show & Silent Auction by Thomas Washington

Silent Auction of Original Christmas Ornaments Created and Donated by Columbia-based Fine Artists in Support of Jasper Magazine

Cash Bar by The Whig

and more ....

 

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Jacob West opens show at Wired Goat & Travis Bland has a chat with him

Local artist Jacob West has his fingers in many pies. Jasper noticed that West planned to put some of his visual arts skills on exhibit coming up this Friday the 8th at the Wired Goat Coffee House down in the Vista, and we asked frequent Jasper contributor David Travis Bland to come up with a few questions for West to give us a little insight into what makes the man behind the music and the visual art tick. Here's a bit of that conversation. west c

 

 

I think I've always had the sneaking suspicion that southern cities and towns have a dark side, a seedy underbelly just underneath, not necessarily negative, but dark all the same. --- Jacob West

Music is a big inspiration for you. What’re some acts and song that motivated you to pick up the brushes?

 

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and like to pull inspiration and imagery from all different places. Most of the pieces for my newest showing have been done fairly recently, and were inspired in part by some newer albums. The first three that come to mind are:

Deftones – Gore – This album is gritty, beautiful, and haunting, all the things I try to make my paintings.into

Aesop Rock – Impossible Kid – This album is dark, honest, and personal. I admire artists that can be open and honest, because I try to do the same thing with my art.

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book – This mixtape is just too damn good and I can't stop listening to it.

~~~

This show features other local artists. Who are a couple local artists you dig?

 

I grew up in Columbia, so I've been extremely lucky to run into a lot of talented artists around town. There are three guys that I think are just on a whole other level:

John Stroman – I've known John a long time, and am just blown away with every piece of his I see. A lot of his pieces are on found materials, so he ends up with some really unique canvases to paint on. He also paints animals a lot, like I do, but where my work is usually pretty dark, his end up full of joy and just make you smile. I can't say enough good things about John or his work.

Alex Smith – Alex is another super talented artist from around town. He's a writer, director, actor, painter, I don't even know what all else he does! He recently had a show at Tapp's, full of extraordinary pieces. His work is usually a little haunting and just pulls you in instantly. I love art that can do that.

Sean Rayford – I've always been a huge fan of Rayford's work. He used to work at New Brookland and took pictures of all my favorite bands. Then I saw the pictures he took of Charleston and the State House when the flag was coming down, he's just been consistently capturing powerful and compelling images for as long as I can remember. I'm glad he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.

~~~

Each of your pieces are like self contained stories—snapshots of narratives. What are some of those stories and how did you visualize them on the canvas?

That's really what I was aiming for with my latest images. I felt that for a while now, my stuff has really depended on symbolism. This time around, I wanted to see if I could tell a story. I have a kind of loose narrative in my head for these new paintings, I named this group of paintings “Out Where the Grass Don't Grow”. They're supposed to be snapshots of different places and things happening in a fictional, romanticized version of a small southern town. I think I've always had the sneaking suspicion that southern cities and towns have a dark side, a seedy underbelly just underneath, not necessarily negative, but dark all the same.

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You never had any formal art education. Do you think that’s allowed you to develop your own style? Has not having any training held you back in any way?

I think not having gone to art school did help me in certain ways. Years ago, I went to a comic convention with my sketchbook in hand and a young man's ambition. I did the thing that all young artists do at comic book conventions, I tried to get a job. My sketchbook was embarrassingly bad, but I did get a lot of great advice from the professional artists there. At the time, I was still deciding whether or not to go to art school, and every single person I asked for advice told me not to go. They said that my work had a strong voice of its own, and that I'd lose it if I went to art school. I'm not sure if they were saying that because my sketchbook was so terrible, or because they meant it. But either way, I didn't go to art school, and kept drawing, painting, and doing my own thing.

I've never really thought about how things would have turned out had I gotten formal training. I suppose i'd be better and maybe have made some important contacts. But, I'd also have art school debt.

~~~

You said your art is Southern Gothic in ways. Would your style be different if you weren’t born and raised in the South? (is that the case, you’ve always been around the south?)

I was born and raised in South Carolina. I was born in Lexington, spent some time as a kid in Charleston, then moved back to West Columbia in middle school, and moved downtown as an adult. Though, I've been lucky enough to travel all over the U.S and even Central and South America, I feel like the south (for better or worse) has a rich history and plenty of good and bad to pull from for inspiration. I have the feeling if I wasn't from around here, there's no way my style would be the same. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something special about the American South. Our culture and community is special and unique and I hope that comes across in our art.

~~~

What does it mean to make it as an artist for you? Like is having a day job and being recognized in your community enough or does making it mean your livelihood comes exclusively from art?

I'm not sure, because every time I think I've made it, I set a new goal for myself. I remember thinking that “made it” meant that I got commissioned to paint for somebody. Then, I made it the first time I got to hang my art somewhere for sale and sold it. Then, I made it again when I had my first solo show. I keep moving the benchmark, so I don't think I'll ever make it. That being said, it sure would be awesome to be my own boss and paint for a living.

~~~

You get to do a portrait of anyone past, present, or future live in the flesh. Who is it?

Definitely the very first cave painter. The guy that invented 2D visual art.

 

Travis

Win Passes to World Premiere of Cinema Purgatorio

cinema purg Yes, summer is finally making its way to Columbia after a spring that teased far more than delivered and, before you know it, events will thin out, you might not have to wait to get a table at Cellar on Greene, and you may even find a booth at The Whig. Those who know Columbia know that part of our culture is to sort of go underground during the summer months. We’re not sure whether it’s because we’re a college town or whether we’re so perfectly positioned between the mountains and the shore that it’s hard to stay put during summer days – or whether it’s just so damn hot here in July that we just can’t stand it. But we are what we are, and you have to love us.

That said, don’t put away your opera glasses and pearls quite yet. (Pfft! Who has opera glasses or wears pearls to most of Columbia’s events? Show off!) Jasper has several important arts events on our upcoming radar, so don’t pack your bags just yet.

Chris White & Emily Reach White

 

Sunday, June 1st – Cinema Purgatorio World Premiere

We’re delighted that SC filmmaking team Emily Reach & Chris White of Paris Mountain Scout productions chose Columbia to premiere their latest film, Cinema Purgatorio. You might remember the Whites from their previous feature films Taken In (2011) and Get Better (2012). Not only do the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Emily have strong ties to Columbia, but two of the actors in the film walked right off of Main Street.

While local filmmaker/actor Jeff Driggers plays the pushy documentarian Clark Wiggins, Alex Smith, whose work ranges from the stage to the studio to the screen, plays a pretentious filmmaker named Dos Midler. (Alex is also a staff writer for Jasper, and Jeff won the Jasper Award at Hub City’s Expecting Goodness Film Festival last June. Both were chosen to participate in Jasper’s Second Act Film Festival last October.) In addition, Columbia photographer Sean Rayford will be shooting red carpet photos at the first screening and the reception at Bourbon.

Jeff Driggers

 

Alex Smith

 

What’s more, the after party at The Art Bar will feature live music by  Shallow Palace and Mel Washington. Tickets to either screening include admission to the after-party.

As a sponsor of Cinema Purgatorio, Jasper invites everyone to come out and support independent filmmaking for the premiere showing on June 1st at IT-ology.  By purchasing your tickets at this special Jasper site, you’ll also be supporting Jasper Magazine.

But there’s more. Everyone who joins the Jasper Guild this week – at any level – will be entered to win two Gold Pass tickets to the premiere, including passes to the Producer’s Reception.  (Those who join at the $25 level will be entered once; those at the $50 level - twice, those at the $100 level - four times, at the $250 - 10 times.) Drawing will take place on Saturday afternoon, May 31st and the winner will be notified by email and announced on Facebook and Twitter. For more on the Jasper Guild -- see Below.

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Isn’t it time for YOU to join the Jasper Guild?

The Jasper Guild is a group of supporting artists and arts lovers who appreciate not only the vital Columbia, SC arts scene, but the magazine devoted to promoting it. Members of the Jasper Guild recognize the labor-of-love that is Jasper and work to do their parts to ensure that Jasper continues to publish a 100% LOCAL & artist-produced magazine. You’re invited to join us in our mission to make Columbia, SC the Southeast arts capitol by becoming a member of the Jasper Guild. And the next time you open a copy of Jasper you’ll be able to say,

“I helped make this happen and here’s my name to prove it!”

  • Apprentice – 1 year delivery of Jasper & your name listed in Jasper for 1 year $50
  • Journeyman – above + your name in print in LARGE LETTERS $100
  • Master – above + a non-transferable Econobar PASS for 1 year $250
  • Centerfold Sponsorship above + your name/dedication printed on the centerfold $500
  • Publisher above + your choice of 3 books from the Muddy Ford Press catalogue $1000

 “But I’m just a starving artist myself,” you say?

  • Artist Peer - Practicing artists in dance, theatre, music, film, visual & literary arts are invited to join The Jasper Guild at a reduced rate & see your name in Jasper for 1 year $25

Join NOW!