Photo Courtesy of SCAD
A talented trio — pioneers in the fashion, music and art community – showcased their artwork at the SCAD Museum of Art from July 18 to September 13. The “i feel ya” exposition by André Lauren Benjamin — better known by his stage name, André 3000 — in collaboration with SCAD alumni Greg Brunkalla and Jimmy O’Neal, is receiving zealous praise from viewers and publications. Creative Loafing said, “[André 3000 is] never one to limit his creative expression to one form.” In addition, Rashaad Newsome’s “Orders of Chivalry” trancends visitors into a reverie through its fascinating images and golden frames.
As one half of the the Grammy-award winning hip-hop duo, Outkast, Benjamin had no clue his personalized jumpsuits would turn into an international sensation. A total of 47 noir couture jumpsuits imprinted with rhetorical anecdotes were presented last summer on Outkast’s 20th anniversary tour. They sported anecdotes such as “i don’t know what else to say,” and “which type of stereo are you?”
“With these suits, I had an opportunity to say things every night,” said Benjamin at the Design Miami Collector’s Breakfast.
By using the chest of his jumpsuit as a canvas, Benjamin created his own form of social media similar to Twitter by using limited characters to share his thoughts. Benjamin’s thoughts were not overlooked, especially due to the large block letters. The contrasting large white font against the black nylon fabric immediately catches one’s attention and gets people to halt and reflect upon phrases like “across cultures, darker people suffer most. why?” His intention is not to elicit a response, but to make the viewer think and connect to one of the tiny narratives adorned on the jumpsuits.
Along with André 3000 and Benjamin’s jumpsuit installation, Greg Brunkalla, a SCAD film and television alum, directed the triptych short film, “Trumpets.” A haunting voice reciting the phrases from Benjamin’s jumpsuits plays aloud while active portraiture of various people and landscapes are projected onto the gallery wall. One would assume it would feel like a scene from a horror film, but viewing the motion picture brought a calming element to the exhibition.
Jimmy O’Neal, a painter and SCAD illustration graduate, has eye-catching artwork on display in “i feel ya.” With a hint of Jackson Pollock’s energy and a distinct focus on self reflection, O’Neal’s mixed media paintings casts back a picture of the viewer, making them a part of the artwork. O’Neal’s tactic and concept aligns with Brunkalla and Benjamin’s because the significance of his work invites the audience to think critically about themselves while looking at their reflection.
“Orders of Chivalry” presents a reinvigorated, original approach on socioeconomic status through juxtaposing heraldry, implying social status and power, with contemporary visuals and portraiture referring to hip-hop culture. Newsome discovers and analyzes the parallels between the two differing styles, evoking an unusually mesmerizing collage.
Along with several of his collage works, Newsome’s film, “King of Arms,” presents an extravagant ceremony showcasing the granting of higher status. Integrating art history with renaissance-inspired fashion, compelling dance, and ballroom culture, “King of Arms” merges these varying factors to make the late Middle Ages and Renaissance eras modern, with his 21st century spin.
Each exhibition recently displayed at the SCAD Museum of Art has an interesting dialogue intertwining fashion, history and personality. Needless to say, each presentation has a distinct charisma with a unifying message: art is meant to identify with individuals in its own peculiar way.