I heart Jozi: The arts hustle is on, so where are the products?

2012-03-16 12:38

I was pleasantly surprised earlier this week when I attended Abueng Junior’s book launch at 44 Stanley in Milpark, Johannesburg.

All along I had thought Junior was just a photographer, one whose work I love, but it turns out that he is a man of many talents. He sings, writes, raps, takes fantastic pics, edits video and is one of the founders of the Ukukhanya Arts Project.

Junior opened up and invited us into his world through his work in his first anthology titled “In The Scheme of Things”. I have always been quite intrigued by how easily love junkies like him strip themselves and stand bare before an audience who will now know all about that girl who just ripped his heart to shreds.

For me, those kinds of conversations are strictly reserved for late night phone conversations with a girlfriend, wine glass in hand, never empty, always half full. Different strokes.

But I’m really loving the energy in Joburg’s art scene right now. I feel like someone whispered a message in enough ears to really get things going. There is a real entrepreneurial spirit that makes answering the question “so, what do you do?” a recipe for a conversation much longer than anyone had imagined: “Well I’m a photographer who also writes kids’ stories while running a bakery which specialises in chocolate brownies and in my spare time I fly to the moon and give live performances that are out of this world ... literally.”

The one thing any industry needs to grow and become self-sustaining is products. I make it a point to support local artists; I’ll buy your books, CDs, DVDs ... and all I ask is that you make it worth my while.

Artists are on a mad hustle in Joburg and it’s always been like that. Now we need good quality products – the memory of your last live performance is too easily wiped away.

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