If you spent any time on the poetry scene in Jacksonville in the early 2000's, chances are you heard someone perform a piece by the name of Amplifier. Most likely you heard several people, on many occasions, perform some version of the piece - oftentimes in groups. No matter how varied, the one commonality between each performance was the echoed hook:
"MY HEART'S MY AMPLIFIER - I DON'T NEED NO MIC"
What you probably didn't know was who the creator of the original piece was (or you thought you did, but you were wrong - it wasn't that guy/girl). The piece sparked a wildfire - it was extremely relatable amongst poets and poetry enthusiasts alike, tinged with raw emotion, and encouraged crowd participation. Before we knew it, new verses and monologues were being added and versions started popping up (both verified and unverified) throughout the spoken word diaspora. It was also hard to ignore since the piece is performed without a microphone and begins with a poet taking the stage and projecting, theatre style, with a force meant to make you shut up and listen.
Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the originator of Amplifier is none other than Jacksonville born and bred spoken word and hip-hop artist, KnightKrawler. Seemingly modest, he transforms himself on stage through his words and expression. It's this quiet talent, consistency, and passion that has earned him the designation of international artist, published author, and motivational speaker.
Amplifier has now a dozen years to its name and the momentum has yet to cease. KnightKrawler is steadily broadening his platform and using it to give back by helping the next generation of poets to build their confidence and understand how to navigate the spoken word landscape. Today we sit down with Krawler to learn more about where he's been and where he's going to take his Amplifier next.
Tomorrow, on Saturday, March 9th, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will be hosting a Garden Concert featuring HEAR in NOW - a collaborative trio performing mostly original, jazz-laden, avant-classical compositions. The group consists of Mazz Swift on violin and vocals, Silvia Bolognesi on double bass and Tomeka Reid on cello. These three women, each wildly accomplished in their own right, come together to create and perform rule-breaking and genre-bending musical art. This is a show you won't want to miss! (find details about the event at the end of the article)
In anticipation of the concert, we chatted with Mazz Swift (also known as MazzMuse or MizMazz) and learned about her personal musical journey, what motivates her as an improvisational artist, the origins and development of HEAR in NOW, and why it's important to her to take on the responsibility of "shifting the focus" in classical music as a person of African descent.
Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.
- Hermann Hesse -
They say still waters run deep - that often a quiet or placid facade hides an unforeseen passionate or subtle nature. Such can be said of Antwan Dickens, better known as T.W.A.N.
A Jacksonville native, T.W.A.N. has been an active part of the Duval Underground Hip Hop scene for years. From freestyling to producing, he's been unpretentiously honing his craft while always remaining humble and gracious. In a realm where bravado tends to dominate, he has consistently produced quality content while sharpening his skills, allowing his work to speak for itself.
The message has been clear - he's a beast and he doesn't have to brag on it. He released his debut, self titled album in the fall of 2016 to rave reviews and has recently followed up with his sophomore project - The Wise Soul - a much more polished, sophisticated, and self aware body of work. His evolution from YOUNG TWAN The Problem Child to The Wise Soul is more than evident in his lyrics and production. Heavily laden with Duval swag, the album features cameos and collaborations from a handful of equally talented Duval powerhouses like Ché, Ebony Payne-English, Higher Learning and boasts production credits to Tough Junkie as well as Executive Production credits to himself.
Getting to know The Wise And Nice One might take some time, but his music is the perfect place to start. His is one of the many voices of Duval and he has quite a bit to say.
“Love Our Locals” by “Laughing Out Loud” - 10 Questions with Monique and Adam Madrid of LOL JAX Film Festival
"When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist -
Monique and Adam Madrid are the kind of visionaries every community needs.
What started as an idea in passing soon developed into the foundation for what has become the LOL JAX Film Festival - a local Short Film Festival with a mixing in of Stand Up Comedy. The project launched two and a half years ago and has already gained a huge amount of notoriety, recognition, and community support in a relatively short amount of time.
The idea was to create a platform to showcase short films and talent by local community filmmakers, actors/actresses, and comedians while promoting positivity within that same community. Perhaps it was fortuitous that the idea came to Monique while they were attending the 2016 Jacksonville Horror Showcase hosted at Sun-Ray Cinema in Historic Five Points. A little over a year later that very same venue would be the flagship site for their own film festival.
Pairing their love of cinema and filmmaking with a dash of comedy between the lines has proven to be just the right recipe for success for the pair. They have big plans on the horizon as they approach their third year in operation and we're happy they made the time to discuss the past, present, and future of LOL JAX with us.
“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind
Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses - especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
- Leonardo da Vinci -
When you get into the kind of head space where you truly begin to break down, understand, and assimilate the ideas that da Vinci references here, you can easily be perceived as beyond the common sphere of what most consider to be reality. Which, oftentimes, can be quite a shame because the type of mindset that lends itself to this broader conceptualization is typically the type that can also break through paradigms that have often overstayed their welcome among our shared human experience and prevent us from moving forward as humanity. Abstract thought and application are part of the ways by which we evolve as a culture, and it's this same 'just outside of accepted reality' perspective that can get us there.
Jeremy Nix, or perhaps more recognizably, The Balance King, maintains the sort of globalist outlook that, when you slow down, really listen, and consider the words and thoughts he conveys, demonstrates the outcomes of this same mindset. He's an artist that reasons as a scientist, and a scientist that understands how the application of scientific methodology can inform his art.
He also has a pretty delicious sounding recipe for what he calls 'Vegan Chili Crunch' that he shares with us today, along with his very interesting takes on art, existence, and his purpose on this journey.
It's not every day that you get to sit down and talk with an actual living legend - though they are hardly the types to claim that designation on their own. It's even less likely that that individual lives and creates in your same city, so we understand just how lucky we are to not only have an Artist like Paten Locke in Jacksonville, but also to be able to pick his brain for this interview - and, dare we say, call him a good friend!
Considering his extensive, highly impressive resume and insane amount of skill, Paten is extremely unpretentious and down-to-earth. Born in Boston and raised by artist parents, his life has been full of music and creativity since day one. From "digging" through his father's expansive record collections as a child, to amassing a mind-bending collection of his own that threatens the very real possibility of taking over his home, his repertoire runs the gamut from DJ, to emcee, to producer, with some of everything else in between. And while his "spirit is fundamentally and philosophically Hip Hop", his tastes are as vast, eclectic, sophisticated, and it shows in every project that he touches - and there are MANY.
Read on after the jump to get to know the visionary and constantly developing Paten Locke, and understand why he is a mainstay in Duval's Hip Hop history.
This spring the Community First Cares Foundation in collaboration with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, announced the second-year partnership to continue local artist grants and support business education symposiums. Community First pledged $10,000 to fund 10 direct artist grants, a doubling of last year’s funding. Community First also pledged to continue its support of the Cultural Council’s “Entrepreneur Symposium for Creatives: Every Artist is a Small Business”, an educational workshop for local artists.
“The Community First Cares Foundation is thrilled to see the good these grants can do in the hands of local artists,” said Community First Cares Foundation Executive Director Missy Peters. “The grant recipients are engaged in creative and innovative projects in our community which are worthy of support.”
The second round of grants was initially opened for applications from August 18, 2018 through October 18, 2018 (the deadline was extended by a week making the cut-off October 25, 2018).
On November 20, 2018, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and the Community First Cares Foundation officially announced the ten winners of the second-year artist grant program.
Jacksonville, FL - February 9, 2017 - Susan Datz Edelman, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
David Engdahl’s devotion to his work as a sculptor, his career in architecture and his selfless contributions of talent and energy to the local arts community prompted The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida to present him with the 2nd Annual Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant, recognizes an artist whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida, and is named for the late Ann McDonald Baker, whose leadership helped create and nurture such vital cultural gems such as The Community Foundation’s Art Ventures Fund, the Arts Assembly (now the Cultural Council) and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, among others. The award was presented at a private reception this week.
Engdahl has been a sculptor since 1971, and has exhibited works in over twenty states throughout the U.S., including nine solo exhibitions. His sculptures are included in numerous museums, corporate, public and private collections, including U.S. embassies abroad. In Jacksonville, countless residents and travelers have seen his signature high-flying wooden sculptures, ‘Ascent’ and ‘Descent,’ which were suspended above the escalators at Jacksonville International Airport from 1980-1989; they now reside at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. His 2004 installation, ‘Migration of the Paper Airplanes,’ hangs over the moving sidewalks at the Jacksonville International Airport parking garage.
Long Road Projects (LRP), founded by Aaron Levi Garvey and Stevie Covart Garvey, is a 501c3 non-profit artist residency and edition publishing program. Residency programs invite artists to take up residence in a specific city, outsite of their regular home and studio environments. Traditionally, these programs provide artists with time for reflection, research, exhibition, and the ability to produce new bodies of work. By participating in these programs, artists are able to immerse themselves in a new environment, be influenced/inspired by (and influence/inspire) the people they meet, and engage with communities.
Since its inception in December 2015, LRP has hosted four artists in Jacksonville, Lala Abaddon (New York, July-August 2016), Gamaliel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico, October 2016), Joshua Short (California, December 2016), and Tameka Norris (Iowa, December 2016). While in residence, each artists works with Jacksonville's resources and creative community to conceive a limited edition project. Upon their completion, each edition is made available for sale through LPR's website.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email Jihan@CulturalCouncil.org