How did the origins of the traveling urban art exhibition, "Art, Beats and Lyrics," get its name?
"Back in 2004, street art wasn't as represented as it is now," explains artist Dwayne Wright, AKA Dubelyoo. "My partner, Jabari Graham, came up with the idea after working in marketing for the circus. He got laid off and wanted to start an event that fused art with music. He called me up to curate it, and right from the start, we had 300 people come out."
After finding a corporate sponsor in Jack Daniel's, "Art, Beats and Lyrics" became a traveling show. Since 2007, it has been merging street art and hip-hop music across the nation under the big tops of venues ranging from warehouses to football stadiums. The free exhibit will make its third appearance in South Florida this Friday, December 15, at Soho Studios. Dubelyoo says the December timing is fortuitous. "Miami is on the forefront of a lot of things. You have what just happened last week with Art Basel. Then you have Wynwood, which is right at the top of the street scene."
He performs an exhaustive search to find artists who fit the show. "We have a warehouse in Atlanta owned by the guy who designed the Super Soaker. We fly the artists out there to work on their installations. It's hot in there, it's no-frills, so they have to really be committed to work out their design concepts." Dubelyoo tries to bring in locals, and Miami is no exception. At Soho, expect to see Nate Dee and Raheem Milton.
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Dubelyoo has his own installation in which a series of paintings is displayed in a section designed to look like an art studio. "It's set up for people to take selfies. It looks like someone is about to start drawing... Maybe this time I'll end up bringing out my sketchbook."
One artist he's excited to present is Frank Morrison, who's best known as an illustrator of children's books. "He did two graffiti-based pieces. The person who taught him how to do graffiti did the opposite wall, so you can see the influences play off each other."
"Art, Beat and Lyrics" will also emphasize hip-hop and soul music. Local DJs Telescope Thieves and YNOT will represent the 305. They will be joined on the turntables by out-of-towners Wally Sparks and Jeremy Avalon. The music is a pivotal part of the show, Dubelyoo says, which means the art he selects for the evening has to be explosive. "We get artists whose work hits hard. With the music playing, you really need art that can stand on its own and blows people away visually."