To step into the pulse of South Florida’s art world that is ArtServe’s annual RedEye tradition is to take a deep dive into a cornucopia of imagination — or reimagination, that is, a term more aptly suited for this year’s theme: Reality Reimagined. Much like in previous years, creativity is expected to burst at the seams of the event, though at a whole new level this year.
“This year, we have challenged our artists to strip away every preconception they have about their art to create a new reality and to discover the possibilities that exist when they are at their maximum creative potential,” says Jaye Abbate, president and CEO of ArtServe. “With RedEye, it’s always exciting to get some people out of their comfort zone and into a creative space, thus creating a new reality for them. With creativity being such a new important capital asset, it will be exciting to see where the artists take us this year.”
Judging from the lineup of featured artists, it looks like we’ll be taken to one colorful and interactive realm — one that draws inspiration from the past, present, and future.
For the past ten years RedEye has served as South Florida’s artsy heart, and now its 11th event is paying homage to both its roots and the progression of art itself. When RedEye began, it was one of the first events to have graffiti artists paint live.
“In fact, the origin came from talented kids getting in trouble doing graffiti on buildings,” Abbate says. “We had professional artists mentoring them to channel their talents to canvases so they [could] make money from their art.”
Flash forward ten years, and graffiti art is almost mainstream. Featured artist Dave Lavernia, a well-known muralist who paints as DaveL, will create a live mural during the event and mentor local students on the process as well as display some of his newest works. Expect aquatic elements in vibrant colors and fluid compositions in a detailed line work that Lavernia has cultivated for years, drawing inspiration from his tropical surroundings and experimenting with an array of mediums from acrylic and oil enamel to aerosol and mixed media.
Lavernia credits the world as his teacher. “I’ve gone everywhere, traveling with my art, just living and learning,” he says. “I am excited to share my story and my craft with the Fort Lauderdale High School students I’ll be mentoring at RedEye, paying it forward as others have done for me over the years.”
His work certainly epitomizes RedEye’s evolution, which Abbate describes as a direct reflection of the evolution of new art forms and genres. For example, the Spoken Word Salon will feature artists who magick words into influential art, symbolizing the powerful and expressive art form that spoken word has become. Likewise, an interactive "Sofa Lounge" exhibit will “celebrate the rise of digital and gaming art as important art forms,” says Abbate.
“Rock star or ‘gig posters’ are another unique art form that typically goes uncelebrated and under the radar,” she adds. RedEye will feature signed works from some of the major South Florida gig poster artists, including posters done for Pearl Jam, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Smashing Pumpkins, to name a few.
Speaking of music, RedEye will have no shortage of live entertainment. Witty hostess Michelle Rose Domb will turn up the heat for the night, making way for four bands to swell the stage with sound, including featured performer Alexander Star and the Golden People, an act that teaches inner-city youth meaningful and appropriate songwriting and lyrical expression.
But the beat doesn’t stop there. Man of many talents Darius V. Daughtry, a poet, playwright, and founder and artistic director of The Art Prevails Project, will be presenting a brand new original short play, “Speak No Evil.” Written and directed by Daughtry, it will be performed by members of The Art Prevails Project.
With more than 50 artists lined up, there’s a bit of something for everyone to let their imagination run wild in the sea of art’s reality. As Alexander Star puts it, “ArtServe’s RedEye will both inspire and entertain audiences of all age ranges, ethnic[ities], and income backgrounds.”
ArtServe’s RedEye: Reality Reimagined takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on July 16 at 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; general admission tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door, and VIP tickets are $75 while supplies last; 954-462-8190; artserve.org .