posted 2012-05-13 00:22:22

Underground Creative Minds Find Home

The burgeoning scene in the Paint & Poetry movement

Peter Dunifon

Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor

If the warm winds weren’t enough to cheer the wintertime funk, attention all fledging poets, painters and creative thinkers: there is hope. Paint & Poetry, a monthly event for creative souls, is making waves for positive expression and progression in the monsoon of New York City.

Paint & Poetry celebrated its fourth month on April 28, the last Saturday of National Poetry Month. Just inside the glass windows of 3rdEy(Sol)ation gallery, near the Halsey stop on the J train, a classy group of young people had gathered, surrounded by freshly installed artwork on the walls.

As an open space for self-expression, networking, and just getting down, Paint & Poetry fulfills a much-needed opening in the oftentimes too pretentious scene of New York City creativity. Surprisingly, it does so while staying classy. For a group of college students and early 20-somethings, their focus is surprisingly mature. Instead of going so hard as to not remember, most seem to emphasize the simpler idea of togetherness in art and creativity.

At Paint & Poetry, fresh perspectives on art, poetry, music, and fashion mesh together effortlessly; supportive and constructive energy feel as real as the stories shared. And more than that, everyone brings unique style to their crafts.

When hosts, Nigel Guscott and Cristal Joshua introduced the poets, they did not invite them to a stage. The crowd simply gathered around in a tight circle to offer their attention to some of “NYC’s most dope underground poets and emcees.”

Ashley August, a poet who has performed at several Paint & Poetry events, delivered a piece with the accompaniment of a vocalist singing Floetry’s “Fantasize.” Delivered in a slam poetry style, her words and the song behind them made many people smile, compelled to sing along. Another performer presented rap verses sans-beats, letting his words stand alone to form rhythms and melodies.

Mojo Disco, a promising designer, poet and the founder of Paint & Poetry, depicts the event succinctly. When people bring their art together and share on this level, it is “nothing short of bliss,” as he calls it. His strong commitment and energy to Paint & Poetry exudes an overwhelming positivity.

Disco moves very quickly too. He organized the first Paint & Poetry this past January when he was just nineteen. Prior to that, he had already been working as the founder and designer of Ubiquity eyewear, whose mission statement reads as directly as Disco speaks: “The purpose of this eyewear line is to add a silently obnoxious personality to your look. Yep, that simple.”

For Paint & Poetry, however, the concept is much grander. Not only does the event create a space for the fluid convergence of a diverse range of creativities, it has a tangible impact on the underground artist culture as well. People are working and sharing in a very open way, not often seen in other venues. “It’s almost like a silent renaissance,” Disco said – though it’s dubious that these underground artists can manage to stay silent for long. At the rate Paint & Poetry has been growing, a much larger platform seem inevitable.

Especially when Mojo Disco describes Paint & Poetry as “the church of our culture,” or with a smile, he says, “this is not a gang! We are family!” he seems to be looking toward a much grander future. Certainly, many elements of a much greater movement have all collided here, in this home, “for like minds and creative souls to get together, preach the word, hear the word, view some art, and take part in what is a utopia.”