You may best know Graciela Cain as GeeXella, a queer biracial hip-pop artist. GeeXella describes herself as a bleeding heart, rainbow fueled, passionate nightingale. She fuses southern hip-hop with bachata, a style of romantic Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republic. GeeXella uses music to invigorate the souls and stimulate the minds of her audiences. "Gee Things," a 7 track EP, was released by GeeXella in the fall of 2016.
GeeXella has a personal mission to change the world for the better. She knows that she cannot achieve this mission in solitary. It requires a collective effort, sincere bonds, and a tribe of like minded individuals. This is what led GeeXella to become involved with Girls Rock Jacksonville.
Representing One's Community and Culture Through Art - 10 Questions with Emerging Visual Artist Christopher Clark
Christopher Clark is an emerging visual artist. His body of work celebrates black identity and captures the roots of black culture and its beauty. Clark uses various mediums such as acrylic and watercolor paints, ink, and mixed media. In the past twelve months he has participated in group exhibits at Downtown Cigar Lounge and Delo Studios.
In 2015 Clark embarked on a project to write and illustrate a children's book. The book's main character was inspired by his daughter, who at the time was 3 years old. Clark's objective was clear as he started work on the book. He wanted to make a story where the main character looked like his daughter and other children in their community.
Imagine that you had invested four years of your life developing a project only to have your body of work disappear. How would you react and would you have the perseverance to start over from the beginning? That's what happened to author Nikesha Williams while writing her debut novel Four Women.
Williams, who received her Bachelors in Science degree in Communications from Florida State University, started writing Four Women in 2010. The novel began as a short story surrounding one of the book's female protagonists, Soleil. In 2013 the project evolved from a short story to a novel. Then, in 2014 Williams suffered a hard drive crash and she lost her manuscript. Unable to recover the data, Williams picked up the pieces, started over, and finished the novel in 2015.
On the second Tuesday of every month the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, along with co-hosting individuals from Jacksonville's creative community, organize Every Single Artist Lounge. This informal meet-up is intended to spark dialog between artists of all disciplines, gallery owners, curators, art educators, and the general public.
Artists Ingrid Mathurin, Toni Smailagic, and Mal Jones co-hosted March's meet up. A fantastic group of creatives joined us at the Cummer Cafe on April 11 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM. For those who missed this month's event, please mark your calendar's for April's meet up, which will be held on May 9 from 5:30 PM until 7:30 PM at the Cummer Cafe.
Below are photos taken by Toni Smailagic during Every Single Artist Lounge. All photos can be found on Toni's site. Toni shoots in natural light as a freelance photographer. Please contact Toni if you have any questions about his photographs or services.
Introducing Jacksonville to Jacksonville - 10 Questions with Natural Light Photographer Toni Smailagic
"I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive." Those words can be found on the opening page of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, which was first published in Paris in 1934. The work, which was banned from publication in the United States until the early 1960s, was written as a reflection of Miller's time spent living in Paris as an artist and expatriate in the 1920s and 1930s. That quote referenced Miller's hand-to-mouth existence as a starving artist living abroad.
Photographer Toni Smailagic, while attending college in 2009, had the notion that he too would like to be an artist living in Paris. Smailagic dropped out of college, quit his job, and departed the United States in route to France. Comically, Smailagic had convinced his family that he was traveling to Paris to participate in a study abroad program. Unlike Miller or The Lost Generation, Smailagic did not use a pen nor a typewriter to document his time abroad. Instead, Smailagic relied on his keen eye and his camera to capture the sites and fashions of Europe.
Smailagic's time in Paris initially reflected Miller's now famous quote. He pre-paid for an apartment upon arrival in Paris, which proved to be a scam. Nearly out of money, Smailagic existed on an extremely conservative budget and had to rely on the kindness of others, which led to him making acquaintances in odd places and with even odder individuals.
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