By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For The Birmingham Times
‘Art, Beats and Lyric’s’ 13th annual urban-lifestyle art show attracted a packed crowd last week to the the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Referred to as ‘AB+L’, the event is highly anticipated all over the country, and features a pure millennial art experience by producer Jabari Graham, and curator, Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright.
Fashion, hip-hop, and social messaging are all part of AB+L.
“AB+L is all about the four elements of hip hop: you got the DJ, the break-dancers, graffiti art, and of course the MC,” said long time featured artist Mathew Curran.
Curran and Dubelyoo formed a bond several years ago while participating in the international art exhibit, ‘Art Basel’, which stages three shows annually in Basal, Switzerland, Miami, Florida, and Hong Kong, China.
Dubelyoo said, “[Curran] is one of the most meticulous people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. I met him at ‘Art Basel’ one year, and we hit it off and got a chance to do a couple shows together, and now, he rolls with us to every city.”
Kat Goduco, a featured performance and AB+L tour photographer, said, “It’s all about lifestyle”.
Goduco featured a display called, “The Pursuit”, a sneaker series featuring two NBA cheerleaders from the Atlanta Hawks. “I partnered with Athlete’s Foot for this series because I’m a sneaker head, and I also love movement and dance. These two shoes [featured in her art] are a shoe collector’s desire, so think of it as the pursuit of collectable lust. That’s what sneakers are to shoe heads, we almost lust after them”, Goduco said.
Part of the AB+L charm lies within the familiarity the art consumers can draw from the illustrations.
Artists are featured from all over the country and some parts of the world, Dubelyoo said.
“I find a lot of the artists in the show on Instagram. Funny thing with artists, you don’t have to say much, I’m like, ‘hey man, this is Dubelyoo, and I’m doing this show called arts, beats and Lyrics, want to be down with it?’ and they’re like, ‘Ok, cool.” And that’s that.”
Dubelyoo said he saw the work of Miami artist, Raheem Milton, via Instagram.
“I saw his pencil, pen and ink [work] and an oil painting, and it was amazing, I had to hit him up.”
Birmingham’s Gina T, and DJ Love Deluxe, were among the five guest DJs to rock the crowd before headliner, DJ Mannie Fresh took the stage.
AB+L featured two grand DJ booths, one inside with the exhibit, and one outside. The outdoor entertainment area even featured a pop up barbershop, giving live demonstrations.
“Dubelyoo”, also a stencil artist, featured his boxing exhibit with pieces of Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson holding his pigeons, and Muhammad Ali. “When I began this series, I wanted to incorporate the things I was into. At the time, I had just started boxing, and kick boxing lessons, and that’s what I drew inspiration from here,” he said.
AB+L continues to grow and organizers in the future want to see more interactivity, perhaps live exhibitions.