The Strange Love Project is the answer that the artist and hip−hop musician Bisc1 (real name Brad Smith) came up with, along with 30 other artists, to his question: “How can I artistically drive myself and other people?”
The project is the first of its kind and consists of a collaborative effort by Bisc1 and more than 30 artists who joined together to interpret the lyrics of Bisc1’s latest album, “When Electric Night Falls.” From hearing Bisc1’s words, about 10 producers put the album together and some 20 fine artists and designers made artwork, which includes photography, graphic designs, drawings and paintings, based on what they heard.
The result, part of the “Deadly 4mula” exhibit on display through Jan. 30 at the Haven Arts Gallery in the Bronx, is a diverse representation of Bisc1’s musical sensibility through powerful images begging viewers to pick up a copy of the album to hear it for themselves.
“The lyrics throughout the album really speak to someone who lives in the city… I can’t describe it better than driving around the city, or sitting on the train, listening to the album and looking out the window. It’s that exact feeling you get,” said James Murray, an artist who produced an image for the project.
In addition to being a fine artist in his own right, Smith, a graphic designer by day and graduate of Pratt Institute, is a hip−hop artist. “Art and music have always been an in−and−out focus for me. It’s been really hard to merge and be balanced between the two. A goal I have is to really intertwine the audio with the visual,” he said. The Strange Love Project evolved from this goal.
Some of the pieces in the project are abstract, while others are more straightforward. “Nightfall,” by James and Karla Murray, is a photo composite that captures not only Bisc1’s album but also the edginess of New York through two images placed on top of each other.
“It’s a composite. The top [photo] is downtown Manhattan on a snowy day during the early evening and the bottom [photo] is the old Croton Aqueduct,” Murray said. “It was a gray day and it just really fit, it seemed to describe what the tune was about (‘When Electric Night Falls’).”
When looking at the diverse contributions to the project, it becomes quite clear that Smith has surrounded himself with talent. In fact, some of the artists involved were classmates from Pratt. When asked if he was happy with the outcome, Smith said “hands down, as a whole, the work exceeded my expectations.”
Originally from Connecticut, Smith came to New York City 10 years ago and lived in Bushwick before settling in Woodside. He said that relocating to Queens gave him “the space to work — it’s real comfortable out here.” Having the room to develop the Strange Love Project proved extremely rewarding for the artists, but he said he is always looking for another challenge.
“A lot of stuff has been done, so it really becomes, where are we gonna go? Hopefully, someone picks up and does something bigger and better and then it pushes me to do something bigger and better,” Smith said.
Bigger and better than The Strange Love Project? It seems that as long as Smith is involved with such an artistic drive, anything is possible.
If You Go:
The Deadly 4mula
Where: Haven Arts Gallery, 50 Bruckner Blvd. Building A., Bronx
When: Through Jan. 30, noon − 6 p.m. daily
Contact: 718−585−5753 or www.havenarts.org
©2009 Community News Group
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