Category Archives: ART

The Greens | A Growing Influence

the greens outside imageColumbia, MO is a dusty town spread out between hills and vast forests, parks and farmlands. Smack dab in the center however, is the University of Missouri.

Mizzou, home to SEC athletics and the occasional white frat scandal, is an unlikely but incredibly live ecosystem for creatives, especially those that fall into marginalized groups. It is generally accepted that the black undergraduate population is essentially comprised of 4 large groups of students: those from St. Louis, those from Chicago, those from Kansas City and those from anywhere else on the globe.

This concept is not to be used to reduce these students to their geographical origins, but to shine light on what this generation of Midwest creatives is doing in this small town. A campus collection of poets, rappers, designers, intellectuals, DJs, artists, activists, fashion icons, researchers, movers and shakers, leads to communities built to support these creative pursuits. Not only spoken word clubs, rap groups, orgs and events – but entire businesses.

Enter: The Greens

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The Greens Logo

The company and brand is much more than tops dripping in sauce and hot hoodies that spread like wildfire throughout the campus. The Greens is a sacred space. We spoke with representatives on their team to find out more.

“The Greens is a creative boutique that doubles as an art curation space. This means that fashion and art goes hand-in-hand here at The Greens.”

The initial impression is that this is a clothing brand. But wait, there’s more…

The Greens has two sides to it, the first being the successful clothing line and the second being a flexible and dynamic, curated art garden of sorts.

“On the fashion side, we market ourselves as a high-end streetwear brand. Our focus is on cut-and-sew pieces, giving us extreme freedom, creativity, and custom-ability with our garments. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and want to deliver quality to our customers.

On the curation end, we hail ourselves as a space where creatives of all kinds can come and be inspired. We like to think our space as a “blank canvas” that can be transformed at any time. During our day to day operations, we serve as a boutique, but the space can be completely flipped at any moment and built out into an in-house installation or collaboration with an artist that fits the brand.”

A radical spin on student run businesses (that puts the original logo company I started at MU to shame – I might add), The Greens is a blend of shop and support system. Not to mention an inspiration showing dreams can be realized and capitalized on, right in the middle of Missouri. Yes, just around the corner from hazardous Rock Quarry and a neighbor to Columbia favorite Heidelberg, sits an art-oasis-meets-retail spot that came into fruition due to the diligence of actual Mizzou students.

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An STL native, Marquise White poses with hometown hero, Smino. The slant rhyme rap guru holds up a dope Smi-inspired top.
The concept came to Marquise White and Curtis Taylor Jr. years ago. Both men have been deeply involved on campus during their respective times at Mizzou and both have their passions and focuses. Quise is notorious for excelling at his personal goals, busting fits and pushing the envelope to pursue and declare his style, while Curtis is more focused on the art side and has extensive photography and videography projects under his belt, not to mention a legacy in the making.

 

The two have officially been cooking this idea up since 2015 and with that, I had to ask how they took their first steps to get here.

 

“There has been so many steps to get us to this point, but we think the first step was building a solid foundation for us to stand on. That means defining who we are, what our mission is, and how we could accurately translate this dream and passion into a living, breathing entity. When we established that, everything else kind of fell into place for us. Now, seeing people wearing our clothes and ordering from all across the nation has been super surreal but shows us what happens if we continue to stand behind our mission.”

The clothing has taken off, the store is immaculate and has undergone updates and constant changes and the word is spreading.

To see the full transformation of the space visit The Greens on Instagram here.

The Greens is currently and rapidly expanding its team and has new products and events in rotation to support and connect artists and the community. They emphasize working together and note how crucial Mizzou and Columbia as a whole have been in helping make this happen.

I asked them about their motivation as they continue to grow The Greens.

“We have the opportunity to take everything we’ve learned thus far and pour it into The Greens. What’s dope about that for us is that we are simultaneously pouring into everyone who interacts with our brand as well. We opened this store with the intent to give back to the people. Whether that’s giving people a platform through collaboration or giving people the blueprint and inspiration just by having a space that was opened by two young, black men.”

This aspect in particular is what inspired me to reach out and learn more about the brand. So many times the young, extraordinary and ambitious are told or taught that certain risks are not possible for them or not worth pursuing. It has never been a better time as a young creative to learn, plan and GO! Create, broadcast, brand and build – you don’t need to have a brick-and-mortar space to make an impact or start. I myself am greatly inspired by what this team of people are doing and creating.

“We wanted to be an example to say that all of these things that we typically think are out of our reach are very much so obtainable with the right people and direction.”

And regarding the origins of The Greens creators and St. Louis, there is tons of gratitude and plans to give back to the city, be that with a shop or through service. St. Louis’ support of The Greens is something they won’t ever forget or lose gratitude for.

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Follow The Greens on social media @thegreensco (click here for Instagram and Twitter) to stay up to date on clothing drops, performances, events and more. 

Read on for more on Marquise White, co-founder of The Greens.  Continue reading The Greens | A Growing Influence

Boominati Worldwide: STL Producer named Top Songwriter of 2017 for Q1

We’ve all heard it before, “Metro Boomin wants some more nigga,” “If Young Metro don’t trust you I’m gone shoot you,” or my latest favorite, “It’s luh Metro on the beat.” It’s gotten to the point where you know any song with one of these tags is about to bang. Your favorite rapper probably has had him on their project and it was probably that rapper’s best song on the tape. The super producer hit the ground running a few years ago and has picked up the pace to start off 2017, giving himself​ another notch on his heavyweight belt.

According to Music Business Worldwide, Young Metro is the top songwriter in the US for the first three months. The study basically gives out points for every song that cracks the Billboard Hot 100. Metro has the most points, contributing to nine Hot 100 hits, five being in the Top 10. 

On top of all this success, Metro has announced the launching of his record label, Boominati Worldwide. He’s already dropped some heat with his new label– “No Complaints” featuring Drake and Offset. 

So next time you feel like this man is damn near on every song, slap yourself because you been sleep for nearly the past decade. This Midwest mega-star has already stepped into elite status in this music industry and plans to make his name Worldwide.

Check out some of the hits that placed Metro above Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran as top songwriter below, along with his new single “No Complaints”. 

“INSPIRE” A Photography Exhibition By Nicholas Coulter

Nicholas Coulter is a St.Louis photographer whose work has taken him high and far. Whether it’s from seeing his work all over social media doing shots with local artist and models or from seeing a NFL team use his images on their social account. Nicholas really takes his talents to the next level and will also be hosting his first ever solo event “INSPIRE” A Photography Exhibition by Nicholas Coulter.

I met Nicholas before photography took his heart. When I met him he was passionate about two things… Family & Football. Someone I noticed that passed on the passion he shared on the field, now into his lens.

Photograph taken by Trina Rager

I once read a tweet from Nicholas that stated that he promise his grandmother that he would make it to the NFL and live out his dreams. Nicholas did just that indeed but by taking a different route. I asked him, “Explain the feeling  you had when you finally accomplished the goal you promise your grandmother years ago?”

My grandmother played a key role in my life. She would always offer some form of wisdom or story telling to help alter my perspective when dealing with certain situations. Unfortunately this conversation was the last in person we shared before her passing a few days before Christmas.

I was preparing to head off to Los Angeles, CA for Football Camp so I stopped by my grandmothers to say hi & share a few good laughs and get a hug before I departed.
We stood on her porch as the sunset, discussing my goals & aspirations. I was sad because I knew she wouldn’t be able to travel all the way to Cali to see me play so I had to promise that once I made it to the NFL I’d fly her out and she’d be front row to cheer me on. I was determined to make it to the NFL, ever since I started playing football at 7.

Unfortunately Cali didn’t work out and I took a road less traveled. I came home to Saint Louis & really dug deep into my heart. I remembered everything my grandmother told me & engraved it into my heart. After seeing football not go as planned, I saved up every last dollar and purchased my first camera. Not knowing what to expect I dove right into it & began my journey. The first picture I took was of my Brother Brock Seals, he’s an musician/painter.

Fast Forward to October of 2014 and I was working with my hometown Saint Louis Rams on a collaboration project. One of my good friends Janoris Jenkins wanted Brock Seals to paint a pair of his cleats for breast cancer awareness. That was the beginning of our journey into the NFL.

Pink Cleats- St. Louis Rams CB Janoris Jenkins

Now Brock & myself work together with Several NFL teams painting & photographing the players & their cleats.

I’ve always dreamed of times like this, it shows never to give up on your dream & enjoy the journey because it’s a beautiful struggle to the top & im all for it.

Christmas Edition- Su’a Cravens Washington Redskins

“How does it feel to know that this Saturday you’ll be hosting your first solo show? That must be a big moment in any artist’s career. All the limelight is on you. And everyone that came, came to support you. Explain how does it feel to finally be at this point to take this first big step into the future? And what are some goals you plan on achieving next?”

It’s feels amazing… I’m proud, I’m grateful & most importantly honored, especially with my first showcasing being in my Hometown of Saint Louis.

As the days to my exhibition is approaching many emotions erupt, I think back to the beginning of when I had that glimpse of inspiration towards photography which fueled mi fire. The feeling of all my loved ones coming out to celebrate & indulge into my artwork is a feeling I’ll cherish forever.

Honestly, I’m prepared for what’s ahead, I’ve been sharpening my skills & praying for times like this. Photography is what makes me genuinely happy & has created friendships and connections that I’ll be able to utilize moving forward.

My goal is to become the greatest photographer that I can be & find true happiness through it. My mission is to inspire & reach those who may be confused or discourage with the path they are traveling on now. I want them to know to enjoy the journey and believe in what they are doing 100%.

Goals that I will accomplish: 

Be featured in National Geographic. Document the Super Bowl & See my nephew grow and prosper through photography. Also put my family in a mansion by the lake, my momma always wanted that.

It’s safe to say that Nicholas, is one of a kind and his work will last a lifetime. 

All paintings by Brock Seals & photographed by Nicholas Coulter.

Making His Mark, In Marker

His hashtag is searchable, with almost 5,000 hits on Google in half a second. His art covers his walls and crosses timelines across the country. Celebs and artists alike have been eyeing the handiwork of 22 year old, Travon Greer a talented Chicago artist with a passion for sharp shapes and Sharpies. His work features Egyptian, Oriental and pop culture icons and themes, bright and glow-in-the-dark colors, and mesmerizing hand drawn patterns. Greer features the greats from Kanye to the ancient goddess Isis and back to Kid Cudi. His work is hard to miss, and if you’re sleep now, you won’t be for long.

(Shmay) Q: When did you start drawing and why?

(Travon) A: I would say I started drawing my freshman year in high school. I took an architecture class in which we had to draw out floor plans and random other stuff, but that wasn’t really drawing to me. I started my style of drawing in 2013 when I was at Kansas State. I started drawing to help relieve me of stress, it was just something that eased my mind when my thoughts were clouded.

One of the most admirable things you can notice about Greer as an artist, just by scrolling through his Media tab on his twitter (@xTRVONx), is that he is consistently producing work. As simple as it sounds, consistency is what separates talent from success and progress.

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Q: What motivates you and keeps you focused?

A: The thing that motivates is the satisfaction of finishing a drawing. The process of putting my thoughts and feelings on paper soothes my soul for some reason. Its a great feeling to be able to show people the type of imagines and ideas I have in my head.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and what does it mean for you to be one?

A: My favorite artist in any field is Kid Cudi. I have a bunch of favorite visual artists like Basquiat but its too many to narrow down. At first, I never thought of myself as an artist, I just wanted to be able to represent my thoughts on paper because its easier to me than talking. It means a lot to be an artist because you can just be expressing yourself and without knowing, you can be inspiring people to be creative as well.

Jhene x Travon
Usually the other way around, Jhene has heart eyes for these xTRVONx originals.

 

 

Some very important people are falling in love with what Greer is producing.

 

Q: Is there a reason marker is your go-to medium? Interested in any others?

A:  I use sharpie because it was the only thing I had to use to add color to my pictures, when I first started drawing. I know there are way better markers to use than sharpie but I’ve used sharpie for so long I just prefer them now. I do want to experiment with painting though, I feel like once I teach myself how to paint I can really create some crazy art pieces.

Q: Egyptian themes are heavily present in your work, what else inspires you?

A: Besides Egypt, I get a lot of inspiration from music. Artists like Kid Cudi, Kanye and Travis Scott inspire me to push my creative boundaries.

Q: Favorite musicians? Who’s currently on your playlist?

A: Kid Cudi, Travis, The Underachievers, Chance The Rapper etc. And I’m listening to Thouxanbandfauni right now.

Q: What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to take their art seriously or follow in your footsteps?

A: The advice I would give other artists is keep creating and never stop. The more you draw/paint the better you get. Once people start to see your progress, more opportunities will open up.

Q: Do you have a goal for your work/art/brand for this summer or this year?

A: One of the main goals I have this year, is to get involved in more art shows. I’ve only been in 4 art shows and that’s not a lot at all but I’ve set myself up in some up coming events so I’m already off to a good start.

Speaking of  events, for any Chicago readers or those who can make the trip, you can catch more of Travon at the Art, Mimosas, and Pancakes Exhibition on July 8th, at Mad Art Gallery in Chicago.

Art is an individual’s documented reaction to existence
– Chance the Rapper

Check out more of Travon’s work by stopping by his website or following him on twitter and peeping his hashtag (@xTRVONx and #xTRVONx, respectively). His work has been distributed on shirts, rugs, prints and he’s been commissioned for album art featured on Apple Music. Hit him up for commissions and orders, RT, and support if you can. On top of dope music opinions, event updates and more of his work, Travon has even in the past had a couple giveaways of his most popular prints.

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Trina Rager.. Hi-C, Highlighting Creatives

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You couldn’t tell just by looking at her, standing a sweet petite 4’10 and sporting a smile that is equal parts sunshine and quirky familiarity, but this chick packs a punch. When I met Trina, I reached out after seeing her sleek powerful pictures on my instagram timeline and we quickly made plans to shoot downtown within the week. I am a total rookie, I was nervous even just to DM her. Professional and polite and relatable are words I would use to describe my first impression of her from the internet to picking her up on the southside to us finding decent parking downtown; she made me comfortable. And just as quickly as she made me feel it, it wasn’t long until I realized I was working with a gifted individual. Any traces of hesitation and indecision were scooted off center stage to make way for a fiery passion and wicked eye for angles, architecture and color tones. She is powerful behind the camera, and made me feel like Tyra Banks’ pale niece. However, don’t be fooled, power and direction from behind the lens is not all there is to her.

 

I asked Trina what it means to her to be a “creative” and she explained how complex it really is and how it affects who she is. On a personal level, she attributes mental health and being misunderstood to drive her to reveal emotions through the camera and her models, that otherwise she couldn’t or, per usual, most people don’t take the time to listen and feel her. Her passion has spread out from herself, and by her definition being a creative is also a way to inspire others to take that leap. Trina also attributes personal growth to her journey as a creative, as her photography became a service she developed herself as a business woman and created a personal professionalism and standard of ethics which not everyone has.

 

Her advice she wishes she could tell the younger Trina or any new photographers-to-be is that “nothing is handed to you”. She has this concept down. Trina is a grab the opportunity out of the air kind of gal, but also someone willing to reach out and create networks for herself. Another thing she had to digest as a photographer is that people will always compare your work to others, and she’s learned to accept and absorb those things. A firm believer in collaborations, Trina hopes for all creatives, in St. Louis or otherwise, to start banding together instead of creating or feeding off of animosity.

 

 

On the topic of St. Louis, Trina is loud and proud and observant. 314’s time is coming, and she is going to be a part of it. Making moves, like the go-getter she is, while we talked Trina dropped the news that she’s going to New York soon. Traveling and investing in herself she has even bought a deadly cool film camera. Beyond photography, this girl is w o k e. Something super admirable about her is on her photography insta (@trinarager) is that her captions range from minimalist to full fledged, uncut rants as her fire comes out once again. She believes in fighting the wrongs of the world, learning about other cultures and snapping on those who deserve it. For all around updates, check out her website trinarager.com, you get a taste for her ability to connect with her models and her killer eye. Keep an eye out for her this summer STL and don’t sleep or hesitate to contact her for a collab. I’m so glad I met her, she’s one of a kind.

RY

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St. Louis graphic design artist Ryan Dickson aka RY. Brings his own style and creativity to his pieces of work. Earning a degree in graphic design RY has been taught by great artist and his work is very consistent.

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His artwork is reflective of his commitment and drive to perfect his craft. RY can produce stunning business cards and impressive logo designs. Also turning headshots and action photos into his own virtual reality.

Receiving appreciation posts and shout outs for the work he has done on famous artist such as Rae Sremmurd and St. Louis’s own Smino, RY can create art that is unique and special for each customer. He has displayed and sold art locally at First Friday and other artistic events. Recently invited to Chicago’s popular art show Pancakes & Booze, RY has begun filling customer’s homes, offices, and other art filled places with his customized pieces. Check out RY’s artwork here .

ZaeAhead

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Meet ZaeAhead, the Maneuver & Creator. The St.Louis native is starting to create a growing buzz lately with his intense colors and unique designs.We got the chance to sit down with Zae to get a deeper look into the creator and what we can expect in the near future.

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“My biggest inspirations as far as art and fashion have to Nigo, Basquiat, Takashi Murakami, Ye’. I really could go on but these people probably have had the biggest influence on me. They all are creatives that have their own style, ideologies, and way of doing things that’s solely them. When I’m working on anything whether it’s visuals, customizing some pants or a jacket, a canvas I try to portray vibrancy and darkness in everything. I’ve always been receptive to vibes and emotions around me. Whether it’s the music I’m listening to or pictures I’m looking at I try to channel all that inspiration into my art revealing vibrancy and darkness. That’s my aesthetic.”

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“I’ve been into art and fashion since I was young. I really started taking art serious in high school, working with acrylic and watercolor paint. I was always doing some creative shit whether it was shooting visuals, painting, or styling. I started customizing clothing about a year and a half ago. I’ve been in about 4 art shows since then, the fifth Vibes being one of the key ones where I got a chance to display my work with STL’s coldest creatives.”

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“Currently I’m just working on customizations I should be done soon. I have a pop up with new art and visuals at mizzou on the 28th. Most importantly, EXPECT MY FIRST OFFICIAL CLOTHING DROP THIS SUMMER 2 MONTHS. more details soon, I’ve been taking my time with everything but this summer I’m coming for sure. love.”