Bombing BUKU

15:30 March 10, 2015
By: 2Fik

Festival Assembles New Orleans Street Art Showcase March 13 - 14

The visual spectacle at BUKU Music + Arts Experience, landing in New Orleans March 13 - 14, goes way beyond the lasers and 3D projections of the DJ stages. It also features the most prolific urban art showcase of any local festival, ranging in styles from street art to recycled industrial spaces. Where Y'at sat down with event producer Reeves Price and art director Chris Berends to learn more about BUKU's artistic side.

Where Y'at: In previous years, BUKU has featured a live street art installation. Will this be returning for 2015?
Berends: Our New Orleans Live Gallery features local street artists producing live murals, each measuring about 8 x 12 ft. We have roughly 20 artists producing art going up three stories of scaffolding. We auction each piece during the festival; some of the pieces go into the thousands of dollars. The proceeds are all donated to a cause—this year, the proceeds will benefit Dog Paw Approved, an animal charity that will be presenting the 2015 New Orleans Live Gallery.
Price: Last year, the proceeds went to Upbeat Academy, a local non-profit that teaches school children about contemporary music production...it's sort of like the new school version of the Tipitina's Foundation, except our main focus is EDM, hip-hop and other more modern sounds. This year, 50 cents from each ticket will go to the foundation.

WYAT: Almost every major music festival includes "art" now. What makes BUKU stand out?
Berends: What we do differently is that we create our art here inspired by the venue, rather than bringing in something pre-made from elsewhere. Every piece of art at BUKU is interactive in that audiences can see it being made and purchase it, or they can actually be on top of it or inside it, experiencing it one-on-one.
Price: The location of BUKU plays into this - it's near the Crescent City Connection, there are trains and ships passing by, there is an enormous abandoned power plant in the background. We try to embellish the industrial atmostphere by using aluminum structures and scaffolding for the stages. We constructed a giant hammock out of recycled shipping containers and shipping nets, and another one out of old oil drums...these are just a few examples. This speaks not only to the venue, but to the industrial nature of New Orleans, which is something the average tourist doesn't expect; we are one of the biggest port cities in the country.
Berends: Having art at your festival is kind of cliché now; it is almost expected even. I think it is easy to just throw some stuff out at your event site and say you are an arts festival. We want to expose the underbelly of New Orleans, we want to tell a story

"We have such an enormous amount of talent in the city. We want to feature the most diverse selection of New Orleans street art imaginable." ~ Chris Berends, Art Director

WYAT: Back to the 2015 New Orleans Live Gallery. How do you select your artists?
Berends: The person who curates our gallery for us is very aware of what is going on in the New Orleans graffiti scene. Our criteria are a combination of how prolific an artist is, their style, and how active they are, both in general and on a local level. We don't take applications at all…we reach out to them.

This being our fourth year, the possibility was there to really make this more of an international event in terms of our street artists. The truth is we have such an enormous amount of talent in the city, we want to feature the most diverse selection of New Orleans street art imaginable on the New Orleans Live Gallery wall.

WYAT: Many street artists keep galleries and do commissioned works, but several technically share their art through vandalism. How do you locate these artists? Also, is it hard for those who paint in secrecy and solitude to perform in front of thousands
Berends: Instagram is one of our main sources for finding artists, as well as for reaching out to them. Addressing the first part of your questions, some have galleries, and some do not. Everyone has always been super excited to participate, however.

A list of this year's 2015 New Orleans Live Gallery street artists and links to their Instagram accounts can be found below.

Trace

Uter

Task

Tard Instagram N/A

Sager

Swan

Nobel

Elle One

Mrsa

Imag

Meek

Wooly

Elsie

Soem

Seek Instagram N/A

Dvote

Painter

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