SOULARD – In a city many say is measured by the haves and have-nots, and where philanthropy often determines whose art is considered significant, visual phenom and musician Brock Seals has solidified his name.
He describes himself with the tagline, “Brush in one hand, mic in the other.” His repertoire includes painted works of art created for himself, as well as customized pieces for professional athletes, musicians and his peers.
Art, Mimosas and Pancakes, an event held Saturday night at the Mad Art Gallery, 2727 South 12th Street in Soulard, is the brainchild of Seals’ artistic efforts. It provides access and visibility in spaces where urban art has yet to reach.
As a rapper, Seals’ energy is palpable, creating fans out of first-time listeners and reminding “day ones” – fans who have been with him from the start – of his energy and skill as a wordsmith. He spends free time speaking on panels to youth around the metro area and maintains his connection to the city even as his art expands at a global level.
Perhaps you could call the emerging young art scene a breath of fresh air, but that would mean you haven’t been paying attention. Fact is, the scene has been growing steadily for several years.
AMP is currently in its fifth year and growing. That’s largely due to creators such as Seals, whose energetic and encouraging personality keeps art aficionados returning for more.
The opportunity to display work from at least a dozen creators not only produces an inclusive atmosphere for established artists, but introduces others whose music will make its way to your playlist, whose pieces will hang on your gallery wall or whose photographic skills will have you booking them for your wedding.
AMP hosted more than a dozen artists and musicians from various mediums including painting, photography, videography and illustration. Art was throughout the venue, including the jail cells of the converted police squad car garage.
The gallery’s main space was occupied by pieces that stretched across large canvases, as well as one-of-a-kind furniture up for grabs and work by Louis Quatorze, who unveiled his 100th music video. Art dedicated to the late hip hop artist Nipsey Hussle was available for purchase as well, with Seals requesting a moment of silence in Hussle’s memory.
The event drew a crowd of cool kids with the latest sneaker drops as well as others of all ages. Many were dedicated enough to stand in line for the chance to receive pancake art by the popular pancake artist Dr. Dancake. The line spanned the length of the entire room.
Seals took the stage in between performances of other musicians such as Chicago native Christian JaLon and rising local favorite KV The Writer. Seals performed some of his own music and played with the DJ’s turntables for a bit.
AMP fosters an environment where young artists both new and established can showcase their work, sell it and amass a following on their terms. Seal’s event is just one example of the culture young black artists in the city are working to build, outside of highbrow artistry and the city’s sometimes persnickety gaze.
It’s an understatement to say the young art scene is alive and well.