New work from GENESIS' live graffiti artist PUSH, who was selected by AOE supporter Shepard Fairey.
The Art of Elysium organization is an arts-and-community focused nonprofit founded by Jennifer Howell. On September 5, at the Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, they will hold a multi-platform art party and exhibition with the express goal of raising money for the charity through a curated celebration of emerging artists.
Featuring live performances from SoKo, Moses Sumney, The Garden, Nite Jewel, and more, alongside fine art and film installations by Chris Milk, Lance Bangs, and street artist WRDSMTH, GENESIS 2014 aims to serve as a beacon for the constructive, community-building capacities of curation—each artist was hand-selected by a panel of artists including Spike Jonze, Alex Ebert (of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros fame), Catpower, Jakob Dylan, Santigold, Shepard Fairey, Karen O, and Beck. Rain Phoenix, the event's organizer, describes the creative torch passing as a "circle of giving, a chain reaction."
Of his participation in GENESIS, emerging street artist WRDSMTH explains, "Rain Phoenix discovered my art a few months ago and asked me if I wanted to be involved in GENESIS 2014. I jumped at the chance as I love everything that The Art of Elysium does. It is such an inspiring and thought-filled organization [...] which is one of the many reasons I said, 'Absolutely.'"
SoKo echoed his thoughts, adding that this would be an intimate, familial event: "I've known about Art Of Elysium through my friend Rain Phoenix for a while now, and I've always wanted to join her on her trips to hospitals and sing for kids with her. And then Alex Ebert, from Edward Sharpe, is an old friend and I'm also signed to his label, Community Music. He happens to be one of the curators of the night, and asked me to perform. So now this is the perfect combination of all the people I love in one single event."
As the curation style of the show is unconventional, we reached out to Phoenix to talk art, collaboration, and the genesis of GENESIS.
The Creators Project: Can you describe the mission of Art of Elysium?
Rain Phoenix: The Art of Elysium, founded in 1997, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of artists by providing them with opportunities to be of service in their communities. We currently serve medically fragile youth throughout Los Angeles and New York and are thrilled to be expanding our programming to various populations in need as we promote a model of healing through the arts within our community. And I’m super excited, because Elysium Sessions (our music devision) recently added eldercare facilities!
Why is it important to you to include both emerging and established artists in your overall mission?
When an established artist highlights an emerging artist, it creates a circle of giving, a chain reaction. We as artists have a responsibility to give back in whatever capacity we can. We get media attention, we have microphones, we can use theses tools to broadcast a culture of kindness, one where competition takes a back seat to collaboration.
No matter how well known or obscure an artist is, when we volunteer for the sake of someone else’s well being, we are reminded of a deeper purpose. Service is the great equalizer.
Where did the idea for Genesis come from?
This is the 6th annual Genesis event for The Art of Elysium, but when I came on board in February 2014 I set to work on a new concept: I’d been working on an artist launching platform with the focus on curation, as well as producing multi-platform collaborative shows… So, I was really happy when the charity’s founder Jennifer Howell supported me in combining these two ideas into one show.
What inspired you to ask artists to curate their own show?
To me, if art comes recommended by an artist I respect, I’m more prone to check it out. And I love getting artists together from across mediums to collaborate - there are always surprises and almost always they are cool.
Performer Moses Sumney. Photo by Eric Gyamfi
How do you hope GENESIS will inspire its artists, audience, and The Art Of Elysium's future projects?
I hope Genesis will be the beginning of many new friendships, collaborations, inspiration and most of all, that collectively we will plug in to the power of service. The power we all have to turn apathy into action. To see first hand that our actions can create positive change in the world.
Brazilian singer-songwriter Rodrigo Amarante. Photo by Elliot Hazel
And any specific projects you want to highlight?
I want to highlight all the incredible artists who volunteered their time and talent, who’ve come together to make this night possible. This is the kind of show where words fall short - it really needs to be experienced! I encourage Angelenos to come and see for themselves this Friday.
I also want to highlight some other kindred spirit non-profits. There are so many great organizations doing good work. I hope in the near future there can be more collaborations between us so we can tackle even bigger problems collectively and help to be a cause of more joy in the world:
The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding
The Lunchbox Fund
Aileen Getty Foundation
Creative Visions Foundation
Mario Batali Foundation
The Silverlake Conservatory of Music
For tickets, and to learn more about GENESIS 2014, visit The Art of Elysium's website.