Thursday, April 8, 2010

Taking The First Bite...

As the beat of Kampala moves through the soil and up through the tarmac and potholes I am lifted.  Through space and time watching the dark lake beneath me move further into the distance.  And my mind begins to work overtime.  This journey through the sky brings a space and forum for my own mind to process itself and understand where it is going.  
I think I need the sunshine to write.  I left for New York on the 24th of March and this is my first blog entry.  But through the cold my initial New York experience has been blessed with warm and friendly encounters that have made me reflect on life with a beautifully hot mindset.  
The people I have met so far have been nothing less than a blessing, with beautiful ideas, careers and motivation. The first of these people I wanted to tell people about was the ‘Mushana’ Family.  ‘Mushana’ meaning ‘Sun’ is a company who takes Ugandan beads and uses them to make fashionable jewelry; this jewelry goes on to help sustain the women making them in the village by providing a constant source of income.  Angela and her family have been the warmest most well spirited people I have met in a long time.
New York, the busiest place I have ever seen.  People walking at a constantly fast pace as if they are all late for something. It seems as if time is moving quicker here than anywhere else in the world and every turn is a photograph.  I wonder, through streets and streets trying to find the next place to stop and absorb my surroundings. I began my first day in New York with the Art Expo, an event organized with the aim of providing new and upcoming artists with a platform to put themselves out there to dealers and curators from all across the country.  This was an experience that allowed me to absorb and place myself into the contemporary New York art scene and mindset.  However, my initial experience did not enthrall and excite me as much as I had hoped that it would. Instead it seems as though the Expo, once renowned for showing the likes of Andy Warhol and Leroy Neiman seems to have become a mass of super commercial, easy on the eye artists who did not move me in any particular way.  What I did however learn was that this would be the perfect place to kit out a booth if I want to one day mass produce and sell images to hotels or large stores.  
The next stop of the day was the Art Institute, where a mass of talented young designers were having their work/portfolio’s reviewed.  This was a much more artistically expressive space.  It was a breath of fresh air to see New York’s young new talent fresh and ready to combat the fashion world and make links with potential designers I could barter images for designs with. 

The last two events of my first day were a gallery opening for Fund Art Now and a Gig for an upcoming artist Alice Smith.  I met both of these events with equal excitement.  Fund Art Now is where I had the pleasure of meeting Noah G Pop, a unique photographer who prints his images onto cloth to make funk fashion.  He has photographed the likes of Gil Scott, Erykah Budu, Jay-Z and Puff Daddy to name a few.
Moving on I have gone on to spend a bit of time with Noah, who on first encounters seems to be a very loud and in your face character, confident and not as approachable as the man I met for a walk through Central Park later.  This second meeting brought more clarity as to why he is such a likeable character.  In this moment of a long walk we meet a different side of Noah, a much more peaceful and complex man whose photographic career has not always surrounded itself with the celebrity and fashion world but started with the exploration of underwater photography. Noah also runs the Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation Center, which is what makes him a great example of an Artist and human-being who gives back whole heartedly to his community. He pushes the boundaries of the mind, allowing us to understand that not ever celebrity photographer is cut-throat and cruel, as is the common understanding at times.
From our walk Noah invites me out to dinner with none other than Zelda Kaplan. For those who don’t know Zelda Kaplan is a 94-year-old socialite and party girl.  Well known for her travels to Africa and her love for indigenous culture and fashion, Zelda is also a the oldest most respected party girl n New York.  I remember first hearing about her when I was much younger and would play on the idea that I would know I was ‘it’ if I walked into a party and saw her there.  Whilst I am far from ‘it’ and not as accomplished as I hoped I would have been it was still an honoring feeling to eat and then go for drinks with her.  Her presence is very special and encouraging, and the lessons acquired through her are to really love life and appreciate every breath and movement that your life takes you into.



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