IAW's Melonie Green & Aima the Dreamer on Importance of Independent Artists' Week

Posted by Billyjam, August 30, 2012 09:30am | Post a Comment
In this digital age artists are bestowed much more freedom than in any previous era to control their own destiny with precision, and to get their work out there to a much larger global audience. However this modern age gift can be a two edged sword since with its ease of communication comes a lot more competition into a market that is flooded with both good and questionable contributors. So to get one's work out there these days an artist must be extra innovative and knowledgeable with all of the tools available to help make their work stand apart from the crowd.  Hence an event like the upcoming Bay Area's Independent Artists' Week (IAW) - now in its fifth year - that kicks off next Monday (Sept 3)  is so important.

The San Francisco event bills itself as "a week long celebration dedicated to ensuring that artists, arts organizations, and the businesses that support them have a means to celebrate and network" and in its event-packed week it will offer lots of opportunities at networking /consulting, numerous panels and showcases, live performances, and other events which are all listed below - and all of which are completely free or very affordable with minimal charges. 

This week I caught up with IAW co-founder Melonie Green to ask her what initially inspired her event? "When Melorra - my twin and business partner - and I moved to the Bay we kept hearing about how San Francisco and the Bay is the mecca of independent art," she said. "It was a reverb that continued throughout our first couple of years in San Francisco attending Academy of Art University. We started hosting art mashup events in 2007/2008 called BYOA (Bring Your Own Art) featuring artists of just about any genre including Salsa dancing, break dancing, fine art hanging on the walls, clothes and jewelry vendors, etc. The momentum from these events sparked our desire to start something that boldly said Independent Artists." The next step, she said, was to make it official with the city. "We submitted a proclamation to [SF] Mayor Gavin Newsom's Office, listing all of the qualities the arts community provides to the betterment of San Francisco (and any city for that matter) and he signed it, proclaiming The first week in September as Independent Artists' Week"

In this digital age, when it is seemingly so easy to connect with one another, is the IAW so important now or is it more important than ever I asked Green who answered with a positive. "Artists still need to be aware of their resources to grow. The community still needs to feel apart of the various opportunities the arts provide; healing, cultural awareness and sensitivities, knowledge of what is current within society and reflection of our past. Art does all of these things. The digital age makes it easier and faster to connect, but we still must come together to continue to propel our growth as individual artists and as artists practicing within various communities. We use technology during IAW and think it is a critical tool to empower artists. But we still must connect with one another."

What sets IAW apart from a lot of the other artist events out there is that is not limited to simply one field. Rather, as Green notes, "It offers a huge range of activities that speak to the various issues that artists care about and/or should have on their radar. We don't just focus on music; we don't just focus on film or any one genre." IAW stressed Green was created to help, "highlight the various resources and artist connections provided. It is meant to create synergy for the entire Bay area artist community."

One of the artists who is performing at the IAW is Aima the Dreamer whose rich Bay Area music history as a vocalist and MC includes her work with J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science, The Mamaz, the Goddess Alchemy Project, and Brass, Bows and Beats Jazz Mafia Orchestra. I caught up with the artist to ask her a bit about herself and her thoughts on being an independent artist in this current era and the upcoming IAW. (detailed descriptions of the IAW events follow the interview below)

Amoeblog: How specifically do you see things have things changed as an independent artist in the years since you started your career?

Aima the Dreamer: I feel like since I started doing my art as career I have seen the industry, or how I like to call it, the middle man fade, crash, and disappear. The music genre I am a part of has become D.I.Y. which is a doubled edged sword. On one hand you don't have to have loads of money to make and get your music out to the world. On another it is that much harder to find and sustain financial support for tours, merchandise, and air play.

Amoeblog: What are some of the positives of this new era in music and the arts and what are some of the negatives?

Aima the Dreamer: The pros would include: More access to recording equipment. Been able to hear, share, understand more music and cultures from around the world because of said access which creates a global unity through art and music that should not be overlooked. And Social Networks have made it easy to promote, gather, and follow up with your local and global fans/fanbase.   The cons would include that because of the "Laptop DJ" it's harder to book live bands. People are so hungry to play they will do it for close to free, which lowers the bar for us all (beginners and veterans), and venues are forgetting how important it is to provide and take care of their local entertainment, who are the ones that promote their business and events..

Amoeblog: Do you think that the average artist today takes full/proper advantage of social networking or is there something that could be improved?

Aima the Dreamer: Yes! The average artist who does their art for a living has no choice but to take full advantage. It is a labor of love and if you hunger to do what you are called to do then you are using every tool in the toolbox.

Amoeblog: Last question: What do you have planned upcoming for rest of the year in your career?

Aima the Dreamer: Some highlights include finishing my solo album with the amazing Headnodic from Crown City Rockers & The Mighty Underdogs, presenting a TEDx talk at the de Young Museum in October on The Pursuit of Passion, opening up for Nneka at The New Parish in November, and putting out a new Aima the Dreamer Mixtape with J-Boogie (OM Records).

For more on Aima the Dreamer, who will be hosting/ performing on the first day of IAW at the Labor Day opening party, check out these links: Aima the Dreamer's Bandcamp, Aima the Dreamer's YouTube, Aima the Dreamer's Facebook) And for more details on the Independent Artists Week scroll down.

Independent Artists Week 2012 in San Francisco Schedule Sept 3 - 9: 

September 3, 2012: LABOR OF LOVE!
Hayes Valley Farm NOON - 4pm Free

"Labor of Love" a live art celebration. Live performances, live painting, and art sales are sure to create a good time for art lovers and families. Drum circles, a section for kids to create arts and crafts and skateboarding, just to name a few - who could ask for more! “Labor of Love” is the place to be for Labor Day.

September 4, 2012: OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Yoshi's SF, 1330 Fillmore St. 6PM-9M FREE if RSVP by 11:59PM on September 3rd/$5 After
**$5 Wristband to receive Extended Happy Hour Specials**

"Opportunity Knocks" a speed dating meets networking event where emerging artists have 10-minutes to meet one-on-one with industry professionals to show their work, gather advice on how to take their craft to the next level, or how to grow the audience for their work. Music producers, entertainment-marketing specialists, fashion executives and art gallery owners donate their time to support up-and-coming artists. Artists are encouraged to bring their music, portfolios, scripts, apparel, or other artistic medium for critique.

September 5, 2012: GO GREEN
Gallery 1307 1307 Fillmore St. 6pm-9pm Free

"Go Green" a sustainability/ eco art event art fair. This year we focus on sustainability in the creation of fine art and sculptures. Follow the craft of six local artists who create beautiful work by rethinking old pieces and incorporating found objects. We also join forces with Grind 4 the Green (G4G) to present a full circle view of the Green movement via their awesome mobile video display!

September 6, 2012: “THANK YOU” AWARDS
1300 on Fillmore, 1300 Fillmore St. 6pm - 9pm Free

“Thank You” Awards Ceremony – This is our official celebration to say "thank you" to amazing Bay Area Artists, Art Supporters and Advocates who are on the front lines of the independent art movement. These persons have done exceptional work to empower others through art.

September 7, 2012: THE FILLMORE ART WALK
Fillmore St. (between O'Farrell and Eddy) 6pm-10pm/Until Midnight (select locations)
**$5 Wristband to participate in Happy Hour Specials (includes food/drinks in select restaurants)**

“The Fillmore Art Walk” is a multi-location art celebration and an assortment of one-night-only pop-up galleries along Fillmore Street featuring live painting, video/DJ Showcase, live music, supplemented by food and drink specials from the restaurants and lounges along Fillmore Street.

September 8, 2012: ART OF HEALING
Gallery 1307, 1307 Fillmore St. 6pm-9pm Free

“Art of Healing” look into the art and craft of yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy, and meditation. Come and participate, ask questions and learn about taking care of your body from master body workers.

Fillmore between Geary St. & McAllister St. 11am - 4pm Free

Music, games and prizes, biking, djs, performances and more- all in the streets of the Fillmore corridor!

Independent Artists Week 2012

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Melonie Green (1), Aima The Dreamer (1), Iaw (1), Independent Artists Week (1)