The show included “visual notes” from Union Grove senior Neil Hancock. “They’re really just my observations of what I find appealing and want to capture,” says Neil. To see more of Neil’s work, follow him on Instagram @neilhancock. (Sophia Mackey)
The show included “visual notes” from Union Grove senior Neil Hancock. “They’re really just my observations of what I find appealing and want to capture,” says Neil. To see more of Neil’s work, follow him on Instagram @neilhancock.

Sophia Mackey

Local teen art scene explodes in Atlanta’s Finest of the South event

May 11, 2015

Despite the dull, negative connotation that follows common suburbia, the local teenage art scene continues to slip out of the friendly neighborhoods of Kennesaw and Marietta and into the roaring venues of Atlanta.

The weekend of May 1-2, especially served as a platform for the artistic youth of Metro Atlanta.

On Friday May 1, local rappers and rap groups like Larry League, Uno the Activist, KasFlow, and more performed on the Purgatory stage of the Masquerade. The “Finest of the South” event allowed the budding rap community to expose their lyrics and beats to new and original fans.

“Next to videos (which we are trying to do more of), I feel like performing is the most direct communication of our music and ideas. Also it’s just really fun. It puts a face and an energy to the music,” says Sprayberry senior and Larry League member Calvin Triplett.

By hosting these shows, the groups possess an opportunity to share their art with people genuinely interested in listening to it. The frequent performances allow them to expand their already creative circle to an even larger crowd.

These shows continue to grow, starting in musicians’ basements and growing into venues like the Masquerade. While playing in bigger venues symbolizes gaining a larger audience, regardless of their shows’ size, they always serve their purpose as an expressive environment because of their style.

Triplett says, “It’s motivation for us and a sort of instant gratification which is nice. And it builds a reputation for us locally when it comes to shows.”

With crowds as hyped and as close as the group at the Masquerade, the moshing and full-audience rapping crosses the line from concert to full-blown party. Followed by late-night fast food runs and sleepovers, these shows turn a few hours into night-long functions.

Along with the music scene, the teens involved also adventure in the visual arts.

On Saturday May 2, Triplett and North Cobb senior artist Jordan Grubb hosted the Dirty Dingy Pop-Up Shop, an event exposing the art that thrives in Atlanta and its surrounding cities. The pop-up shop involved all forms of art: photography, sculpture, illustration, paintings, and music.

Grubb says, “I felt like it was really important to get all of these amazingly creative people in one place and support each other. I wanted to help unite the little creative young adult community.”

The artists involved a diverse group of talented students, including high schoolers from the Metro Atlanta area and students from Georgia State University (GSU). This variety made the event an extensive showcase of unique art. Once all of the artists set up their work, the gallery created its very own ambience.

“It was just cool to all be in one place with good vibes and good pizza,” says Grubb.

Accentuating the entire mood of the pop-up shop, DJ Benny Jetts offered a dreamy playlist for the entire five-hour art event.

“The atmosphere was very warm and inviting to me. It definitely gave an approachable feel that everyone was a friend even if they were a stranger,” says Jetts.

By creating a comfortable environment, the youth involved in the art scene formed a place and group to come back to with new art and potential creative endeavors.

“It’s important to have events like this so that young adults and teens can create cool experiences directly for their own demographic. Even deeper, I feel like it gives creatives, who are often introverted by nature, a safe forum to ‘network’ without the overbearing stressful connotation associated with it,” Jetts adds.

This kind of relaxed, creative environment allowed the artists to sell their work and collaborate with others, an experience treasured by almost any artist.

GSU student and photographer Tanner Rowan says, “Everyone was given a chance to broadcast and showcase what they made and how they felt creatively, ranging from drawings to photos to clothing to even Benny DJ’ing the event (which I would heavily consider an art form myself).”

By offering events like the pop-up shop, the artistic youth can begin collaboration at a young age, forming a tight-knit creative community among the artists.

“Through [the pop-up shop], artists are given that platform to convey and showcase basically what they’re currently working on and have been working on. It’s important because it’s satisfactory to the creative, but it’s super important because it’s incredibly inspirational to those that come out to the events, and in turn pushes others toward doing something,” says Rowan.

This endless creation and appreciation for art continues to push the Metro Atlanta youth towards each other and towards the city.

“There are so many talented and passionate young people. We just need a place where we can share and be proud of what we create,” says Grubb.

By hosting events like the Finest of the South and the Dirty Dingy Pop-Up Shop, these adolescent artists form their own community among the rest and offer a new perspective to suburban salad days.

 

To hear the music of the Metro Atlanta scene, check out this Soundcloud playlist:

Want more? Click on these links to see art by Jordan Grubb and Sophia Mackey and listen to more music by Larry League, Benny Jetts, Sea Ghost, and Yako Pack:

 
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