S4EP1: Art is Freedom ft. Jeremy Harrison & The Soul Woman
Season 4 is here and I am over the moon! ºFarenheight TV has produced over 50 episodes and I am so grateful to all of our guests, crew and supporters for making this growing platform AMAZING!
This new season, I am so committed to continuing to bring you content that uplifts your soul! For our Season 4 premiere, we were so blessed to have two multi talented artists join us on stage, Graffiti Artist & Entrepreneur Jeremy Harrison and Singer & Curator, The Soul Woman.
I met Jeremy while working at a bakery a few years ago and was instantly captivated by his artwork. He would sometimes bring his sketchbook to work and the art within those pages were clean, filled with details and truly unique. Being a growing artist myself, I remember sketching out the NEW ºFarenheight TV logo at work and asking for his opinions on how I can improve my overall art skills. He was always patient and kind enough to share advice and feedback and overtime, he even created some artwork on the walls inside of the bakery!
On our Season 4 premiere, I really wanted to chat with artists who feel liberated when they create art and Jeremy is truly one of Boston's best! Jeremy knew he was an artist when he was in the 4th grade. The Dorchester native remembers creating a Halloween mask out of paper plates for a contest at school. He drew his inspiration from his older brother, who drew really great were wolfs. Jeremy spent the next few days mastering this technique and created the best mask ever! From that moment on, he knew that the art life was his purpose and journey. "That's when I was like I kinda want to do this forever." As he grew older, learning new art styles and techniques became his goal. One of the styles that captivated him the most was Graffiti.
"I honestly did not know what graffiti was." He recalls seeing these graffiti tags on Blue Hill avenue every Sunday on his way to church with his family. He was fascinated by it and began to recreate the tags in this sketch book. One day his cousin Lloyd saw his sketches and was amazed by the talent and love he had for this art form. "He knew I had the graffiti bug and he just broke down the game to me and I was hooked ever since." Right then and there, Lloyd decided to teach Jeremy graffiti and the rest was history.
Graffiti has the negative notion of being seen as only vandalism. When graffiti was first introduced in the states, many people did not view street art as art. Despite the negative backlash, artists rebelled and continued to tell their stories on walls. To this day, street art has expanded all over the world and many fans like myself are forever grateful that artists were resilient and that society has embraced this growing art form.
After learning the techniques of graffiti from his cousin, Jeremy went to work. As he recalls "It was pretty much torture for my mom because every dresser, cabinet, refrigerator, I was just scribbling everywhere." His first graffiti group was N.B.N. (New Born Nation) and they were a group of artists based in Mattapan that spray painted their visions everywhere in the city. Jeremy conveys that's when he learned a lot about himself, both as an artist and young man. "It helped me get out of my quite shell." Graffiti motivated him to continue to grow as an artist and N.B.N. became a brotherhood that supported and inspired him to keep creating.
Today Jeremy is no longer scribbling but creating masterpieces. His NEW business, 'Back Against the Wall Initiative' strives to create legal graffiti/street art walls in the city in more underserved areas of Boston. Their mission is to promote sparks of creativity with opportunities for visual expression for all residents. You can support this needed initiative by donating to their Go Fund Me page. The funds will be used to purchase supplies, hire artists and create more murals all over city and beyond. You can also donate supplies. Jeremy and his team are in need of ladders, paint rollers, brushes "anything that can help me my get my team get up to a wall and create, please send it my way."
You can join them at their upcoming Fundraiser on April 18th at Art Plug! There's going to be LIVE art auction, LIVE performances, art for sale and food! Open to all ages. Check out @batwbos for more information.
What Jeremy enjoys the most is creating artwork alongside his family, one of them being his 11 year old son. It brings him great pride to see him not only create art but teach him how to build upon his work ethic, his integrity and devotion to living in his purpose. "For me that's total enlightenment and that's my goal." Aside from creating great artwork, he also hopes he can motivate creatives to follow their purpose. He took the time to share the best advice for creatives who may feel stuck in life.
1.) Don't compare yourself to no one
2.) Turn your social media off
3.) Study your craft
4.) Tell others to mind their business
5.) Recognize your power and create, create, create
Please be sure to follow and support Jeremy at @suprsobeksix and his initiative @batwbos.
Our next guest was literally glowing on our stage (shoutout to her and our wonderful studio technician). She's a force, a kind creative, a Boston naive and is wise beyond her years. She's the Soul Woman!
"The name was actually an insult before it became what it is today." Nimnajee aka The Soul Woman didn't receive love at first for her artist name. As a deep thinker and strong communicator, anytime she would express her thoughts or opinions on something, people would tease her for it. To them she sounded like a preacher. Nonetheless, Nimnajee decided to embrace the name with pride and thus the Soul Woman was born.
The Soul Woman has been involved in the arts her whole life. She started off as a classically trained ballerina! She danced for many years and later on joined the cheerleading team in high school. However, she didn't feel like it was a welcoming environment. "It was so negative. They weren't body positive and always bringing people down." This motivated her to explore other arts like spoken word, poetry and creating her own music. "Music has always been a real thing, close to my heart that I can't live without." Since then, the Soul Woman has been producing and writing songs for over a year. Some of her favorite artists are Frank Ocean and Billie Holiday. The vibe of their music, makes her feel calm. It has further inspired her to create music that can also have the same feeling on others.
Transitioning from a full time dancer to a singer/songwriter was a bit challenging at first but the Soul Woman enjoys the journey. "A lot of the things I've created comes out of free styling, which is something I do avidly just to keep myself sane." The Soul Woman is always creating constantly rather that's writing notes in her notebook or experimenting with beats. Music for her is almost like a tool she uses to document or convey her personal thoughts and experiences. It makes her feel liberated because its created from a genuine place. "That's why I feel so free because I feel free when I'm making the music." Art has also helped her immensely with Synesthesia, a condition she lives with in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. "Art shows me that they are no boundaries, if you want to do something, you can really do it."
"Its something I can't live without, I'm just a creator...Creations bring people together and also helps you manifest the things you want by creating in general. You gotta do it if you want to do it, you feel me."
The Soul Woman also talked about the challenges of being an independent artist in Boston, explaining that's there's pro and cons. "There's too many people that want to capitalize on things they didn't create...but you meet so many incredible people in the process." Because of this, the Soul Woman is working on making safe spaces for other artists to express themselves freely. She is currently working on her project 'Art & Soul,' an all inclusive showcase allows artists to perform freely and emphasizes the importance of collaborating. "It's too sad to see people that have that much talent not bounce ideas off each other and really grow because you could learn so much." She's currently working on improving the showcase and looks forward to producing more events in the near future.
Besides being a creative, the Soul Woman is also a palm reader! Her advice for those struggling through this Mercury Retrograde (which ends on March 9th) is to "take those risks and do the things you wanna do." Farenheight TV, you're welcome :) Please be sure to follow and support the Soul Woman at @the_soulwoman and listen to her music catalog on Sound Cloud.
One thing I admired about both of these artists is their resilience. No matter how many 'No's' they've received, they didn't allow that to kill their self worth or their talent. In fact, the naysayers inspired them to go harder after their dreams. What was so cool about this episode was the EPIC and soulful collaborative performance by the Soul Woman and Jeremy Harrison. The singer introduced us to her musical universe while Jeremy Harrison painted a beautiful portrait of his son. I can't emphasize enough how happy it made my heart to see such greatness on our stage! The entire performance is such a cool vibe and my favorite song 'Runaway' is on repeat on my personal playlist. Check out some of fav moments below.
Our next episode premieres Thursday, March 26th LIVE @ 8:30pm on the Boston Neighborhood (Comcast 23, RCN 83 & Verizon 1960).