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      photography Azha Ayanna 23 September, 2016

      7 young creatives on the bay area's exciting art scene

      As Bay Area natives like Daveed Diggs and Miranda July become part of the artistic establishment, Azha Ayanna of Shade Zine presents the new wave of creative talent from Northern Cali’s intriguing scene.

      Name: Rewina Beshue
      Age: 23
      What do you do?
      Student at SFSU in visual art, animation.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      San Francisco.
      How is the creative scene changing?
      New people bring new ideas and new forms of art that shift the scene. Also, the change in environment has a huge impact. The tech industry is a massive part of the "new Bay Area." Experiences with gentrification have influenced people's art to express the importance of keeping culture alive in the Bay. Since the boom of the tech industries, many artists have felt the need to use their art as a weapon to fight negative changes. Also, important issues such as Black Lives Matter have definitely changed the art scene. A lot of art i see today revolves around standing up for justice. People are creating art to inform others on social issues and change.
      What are some of the biggest challenges you face here?
      Gentrification and gun violence. Over the past few years, the Bay Area, especially San Francisco, has become insanely expensive and overpopulated with the growing tech community. A mass amount of people and culture have been pushed out to make room for money. The San Francisco i grew up in was such an amazing and influential place. Being exposed to the many cultures in each neighborhood of the city played such a huge role in the influence of my art and who I am. Riding the bus deep through the Mission or hanging out with friends in the Fillmore, San Francisco's historical jazz neighborhood. It's sad to see it slowly fading.
      Gun violence is also an issue and isn't recognized among people in the community. One reason is because many people are sheltered from the violence so it does not exist in their world. Another reason is that people are too ignorant to see how it really affects a community and how it needs to be stopped. Art is an important tool for teaching and spreading a message.
      https://www.instagram.com/rgb_/

      Name: Skyler Shruggs, Shrugga, Shruggy Finster etc.
      Age: 21
      What do you do?
      I'm a DJ & a producer. I'm apart of WavBros, Trill Team 6 & 1/3 of Left-N-Right Records.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      Richmond.
      What sets the Bay Area apart from major American cities?
      It's a combination of cities that make this area what it is. It's like a big body & every city is a vital organ.
      What's the best thing about being young and creative in the Bay Area?
      The amount of knowledge and support you get from the OGs. I know that's something most youngins don't want to address because of the whole "untapped youth is the wave" thing but to be real a lot of moves being made wouldn't be possible if it weren't for those before us.
      What are some of the biggest challenges you face here?
      Balancing my personal life with these cool ass hobbies of mine. That's the main challenge for me. I couldn't tell you how many times i've had to isolate myself to fully process and adapt to what's going on around me.
      Why is it important that the Bay Area is getting attention right now?
      Besides the money and the recognition it's lighting a fire inside a lot of kids to express themselves anyway they see fit and that's always important.
      https://www.instagram.com/shrggs/

      Name: Molly Matalon
      Age: 25
      What do you do?
      I'm a photographer.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      I live on the Oakland/Berkeley border.
      How is the creative scene changing?
      I don't think that with the Internet, the creative world can be whittled down or pinpointed geographically because I am constantly bouncing ideas off of friends all over. I found my creative family in NYC when I was going to school and it sort of grew out from there having friends all over with whom I share work.
      What about your surroundings influences your work?
      Living in California has changed the way my pictures look and feel. I've been spending mass amounts of time by myself and I am eating better.
      What change do you want your work to bring ?
      There are people making work that's more obviously political, and I support that and think there is a necessity for that. In my own work, it's important for me to separate my politics from being so obvious. Accessing the work first, and letting other ideas seep through second is how I operate as an artist. That way it lives in a less coded and more subversive world. I'd like my work to push me to think about myself more, not in a selfish way but in a "who am I how do I interact with others" kind of way.

      https://www.instagram.com/mollymatalon/

      Name: Yetunde Jacqueline Apeke Olagbaju
      Age: 26
      What do you do?
      I do vessel work, I do future worshiping, I collaborate, I support other artists, I include my elders, I love the earth. Ultimately, I hold space for myself and others to express and -- through that -- heal.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      I finished up high school in San Jose, CA, in 2006, and have been bouncing around SF and Oakland ever since.
      What sets the Bay Area apart from major American cities?
      First thing that comes to mind is the actual landscape. The Bay Area is lush and full and constantly spewing out magic. Things are constantly blooming and growing and transforming out here. It's no wonder that this constant state of creation/blooming ends up influencing and attracting creatives.
      How is the creative scene changing?
      Since moving back to the Bay after school, I've noticed an overall shift in collective support. Earlier in 2008 I felt like I was doing drag and performances and art. I'd often be the only black person in the room and often felt like my body and ideas were at the mercy of white gaze and consumption. Currently, there is a cohesion, mutual respect, and support between young black + brown artists that I've really been searching for my whole life. Folks out here are really looking out for each other and are about creating opportunity for one another. It's hard to be an artist and creative anywhere. Having an authentic, empathetic, and visionary group of individuals who have your back is crucial. The kind of support that I find out here is amazing and intergenerational. I believe this is a direct result of the Bay continuing a legacy of Black Power, collective consciousness, and, ultimately, joy.
      What change do you want your work to bring ?
      I want conversations around feelings and emotional support to be started.
      I want intergenerational conversations regarding openness and love to happen.
      I want to remind folks of where they came from but also where they presently are.
      I want help usher in a brighter and blacker future.
      But ultimately, I want to leave the world knowing that the folks who knew me and knew my work feel able to bring their whole selves to the table....and that there will always be a plate for them.
      https://www.instagram.com/ye.tunde/

      Name: Lish
      Age: 22
      What do you do?
      I curate sounds, and other things. I just made a mix called "RUDE GROOVE" for Shade Zine which is basically a sonic confessional. I also sing and I'm currently learning to produce original music. I also work in fashion where I write, style, and direct.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      San Francisco.
      What sets the Bay Area apart from major American cities?
      There's a freeness in the air. We're innovators with open minds and hearts. We're ruthless but not cold. We're understanding and we always find a way.
      What's the best thing about being young and creative in the Bay Area?
      Everybody is weird and carefree so you can go all out with no consequences!
      Why is it important that the Bay Area is getting attention right now?
      The world needs us! Our sound and energy are distinct and impactful and people deserve to be exposed to them.
      https://www.instagram.com/lishtypebeat/

      Name: Olivia Krause a.k.a. Liv
      Age: 23
      What do you do?
      I am a multimedia creator. I take photographs and paint and draw images that are a reflection of what I love to see and dream into the world. I collage together images of my inspirations and document other artists that I believe in and want to get theirs. I imagine and create a world of abstraction and colors when reality is too mundane and grey.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      I currently live in The Lower Bottoms in West Oakland.
      What sets the Bay Area apart from major American cities?
      The people that have been here and the culture that continues to thrive and survive despite gentrification, crime, violence and corruption. The Bay is resilient and does not become silent when things get hard.
      What's the best part of being young and creative in The Bay Area?
      The best part of being a young creative here is that if you are tapped in, you become part of a movement much larger than yourself. There is a community of conscious artists here that want to help bring awareness to social issues and what is going on in our community.
      What about your surroundings influences your work?
      I really love the vibrant colors, plant life, and music that I experience on my long walks and bike rides through the Bay. I find myself stopping to appreciate color combinations of buildings and the sunset composed behind someone's clothing walking by. I also love when a classic old school car drives by hella lifted slapping a hyphy song on First Friday and the street lights look just right. These are moments I want to capture in my work, when reality holds a little bit of magic.
      https://www.instagram.com/its_not_a_date/

      Name: Mancy Gant
      Age: 26
      What do you do?
      I'm a photographer and filmmaker.
      What part of the Bay Area are you from?
      East Oakland.
      How is the creative scene changing?
      A lot of the change is in the power and mobility the youth have in Oakland. Before there wasn't a scene where a mass youth of the Bay Area could collectively come together to celebrate art and creativity. Now there is an entire subculture of artists from all mediums gathering in the same places. It feels great to be a part of.
      What's the best thing about being young and creative in the Bay Area?
      The openness to being able to create what I want without judgement or bias. The people are very accepting of the art that is presented to them. It gives you the feeling that there is space for you to grow endlessly in whichever direction you choose.
      Why is it important that the Bay Area is getting attention right now?
      The Bay Area is the future. The way we think, our love for people, our progressive culture here. We are invested in the lives and dreams of every person around us.
      https://www.instagram.com/mancygant/

      Credits

      Photography Azha Ayanna

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      Topics:photography, molly matalon, azha ayanna, bay area, san francisco, creatives, straight ups, california, art, culture, interviews

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