BmoreArt Releases Print Issue 07: Body

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ART AND: Wesley T. Brown

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The idea of an Issue 07 was inconceivable when we made the first BmoreArt Journal of Art + Ideas in November of 2015. At that time, I was hellbent on making something beautifully designed and printed, a collectible archive of Baltimore’s creative output in a physical form, but I didn’t actually understand what that meant.

Life Lesson: As artists and creative people, the most powerful thing we can do is follow our desires, especially those that appear silly or extravagant, and to realize that their manifestation is not actually about that amazing new *thing* that we’ve brought into the world. Even when our creation turns out sparkly and magical, the object of our ambition is actually less important than its role as teacher and guide in building the world we want to live in.

I didn’t realize it until I was deep over my head into Issue 01, but making a print journal from scratch is an exercise in trust and community building. All of a sudden, I needed a graphic designer with profound experience in printing to bring this thing to life in a serious way. There is no shortage of talented writers, artists, and photographers in Baltimore, but suddenly I needed to raise all kinds of funding through advertising sales to pay them an adequate amount for their contributions. I had to find a quality printer and it was important to me to print the magazine in the region (Schmitz Press in Sparks, MD), to invest that money into the local economy. I needed to reach out to area businesses and distributors, shops and stores and hotels, to ask them for help in placing the magazine into the hands of those who would appreciate it.

Most shockingly to me, a release party for several hundred people for each new print journal has become an integral part of this process and we depend upon community partners to host each event with generosity and style (Tickets are still available here). All of this—outside of making the actual publication—has taken me well outside of my comfort zone as an artist and writer and continues to challenge, terrify, and sometimes thrill me. I have to believe that the energy invested into each publication is shared by artists and makers throughout my city because frankly, it’s a ton of work and the process of connecting all these dots can feel like a precarious “trust exercise” where you fall backwards and hope that you don’t land on your ass.

Power Decals photo by Shan Wallace, Get Shredded Vintage photo by Justin Tsucalas,
and Fluid Movement photo by Vincent Vizachero

Each BmoreArt print magazine is thematic, which helps our team to select new stories and artists for a variety of reasons, and also to create a cohesion and see relationships between the stories we tell. Issue 07 explores the theme of Body, a subject that has inspired artists since the beginning of time and continues to evolve in surprising ways. Depiction of the human form, analysis of its intelligence and limitations, consideration of the ethics and absurdity of having a body in 2019’s political climate, as well as celebrating the body’s ability to inform, heal, and ground us in a culture that is often so far removed from reality it’s shocking, are all considered in this issue.

As with past print journals, the idea of what art can be is expanded rigorously to be inclusive and honest. This issue features dancer and community leader Sharayna Christmas of Necessary Tomorrows and Muse 360, as well as painter Mequitta Ahuja, who depicts herself as an artist within the classical language of painting. It features beloved water ballet collective Fluid Movement, considers the future of Labbodies, Baltimore’s experimental performance curatorial initiative, and speaks to newly appointed arts leaders Stephanie Ybarra, Center Stage’s Creative Director, and Donna Drew Sawyer, a novelist and the CEO of BOPA. Issue 07 looks at the future of Springsteen, a Baltimore-based art gallery, now housed in an owner-occupied building in the Highlandtown Arts District, as well as the stylistic, economic, and political benefits of shopping at Baltimore’s best curated vintage shops. We include a photo essay of wearable art worn by their makers and continue to promote the narrative that Baltimore’s art and culture are the greatest assets this city has to offer those who choose to live and work here.

For someone like myself, who tends to live primarily in her brain, considering the wisdom and limitations of one’s physical being in a body-themed issue was gratifying and informative. Inspired by the writing and images, the words of artists and creative entrepreneurs, I am trying to live more physically and directly, with less verbal sparring and angst.

When you take a moment to look around and to show up, it is obvious that we live in an amazing city with vast cultural resources, full of well-crafted buildings, objects, images, food, events, and spaces made by artists. I am thankful to live here and to have this opportunity to reflect the best aspects of Baltimore—a result of creative labor and the heritage this builds for all of us.

Wearable art by Patricia Chevez, Megan Lewis, and Will Grimm worn by Mark Fleuridor and the artist,
photos by Jill Fannon for our Wearable Art Photo Essay

Many thanks to contributing writers and editors in this issue: Rebekah Kirkman, Suzy Kopf, Bret McCabe, Lyric Prince, Angela N. Carroll, Kondwani Fidel, Dr. Jordan Amirkhani, Barbara Einzig, and Stephen Zerance. Many thanks to photographers Jill Fannon, Justin Tsucalas, Randall Scott, Kelvin Bulluck, Rachel Rock, Joseph Hyde, E. Brady Robinson, Theresa Keil, Micah E. Wood, Sean Scheidt, Vincent Vizachero, and Shan Wallace. A massive thank you to Tony Venne for being the best graphic designer ever (artists, I have learned, are the worst clients for them—we don’t follow directions! Shocking!) and for insisting on the most decadent print quality possible, which makes our journal the special object that it is.

I hope you are joining us for the launch of Issue 07 on Thursday, May 23 at the Parkway Theatre. We do our best to keep each event affordable and inclusive to Baltimore’s art community, but it is a fundraiser that gets us started in funding our next print issue! Dress code is Old Hollywood Glam. My go-to for a dramatic lewk is always Baltimore’s amazing vintage shops–Keepers Vintage, Bottle of Bread, Hunting Ground, Milk & Ice, Get Shredded, and Wishbone Reserve are all featured in Issue 07!

See you next Thursday.


Top Image: Sorting through wearable art photos by Jill Fannon, featuring Melissa Webb, David Page, Amir Khadar, and Troy Taylor modeling a coat by Mark Fleuridor

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