Bay Area mural program on full display at Oakland Art Clash | by Alan Chazaro | June 2021
“This event can change the trajectory of an artist,” says Rachel Wolf, Creative Director of BAMP. A former winner of the event itself, it has helped kick-start her path in the local arts as a profession. Now she can rate, critique, and guide other artists with feedback and encouragement.
“Before Art Clash, I wasn’t given a chance anywhere else,” she says. “But with events like this, I was able to elevate my art. We need to support our artists because they are an essential part of this community. “
Indeed, the event provided a genuine sense of unity, in which the artists united with an interactive audience by exchanging jokes and sharing a little love in all its forms. And best of all, every creator has been paid financially for their time. Although attendees had to pay a $ 100 fee to participate, it was reimbursed through donations and an auction. Each participant was able to break even – at a minimum – or, in many cases, make a profit (which is not always the goal, but is necessary for any Bay Area artist to endure in 2021) .
The winning painter, Tracy Williams, received $ 1,000 for his publicly voted work, then further sold his original work for $ 550 in a bustling atmosphere of bidders gathered in the back area of the West Oakland bar.
“I love Oakland,” Williams said during his acceptance speech. “I love our ancestors. I like the peace. I love the acvitism here, the scraper bikes, the lawn dancers and all the social movements that started here. This is what I tried to capture.
Having lived in Utah for the past six years, Williams has felt blessed to be back home, having recently moved to the Bay after the pandemic. The event gave him and the 12 other participants hope in a profession that is not always profitable.
The second and third place winners received $ 300 and $ 200 gift cards from a local art supply store, respectively, in addition to auctioning their art, which ranged from $ 100 to $ 600.
In a time of displacement and economic survival for many creators in a rapidly changing region, it is events like this that serve as a reminder why the Bay is such a special place, especially as people of color. For many, this is our home, and that affection is shown on every canvas and wall in the neighborhood, literally. And don’t be fooled by the recent commodification of Juneteenth by the US government– these events happen year round in the Bay Area with the help of organizations like BAMP, and capture the vibe of our daily existence here.
For future activities like this, be sure to click Bay Area Mural Program IG page. Like any locally run nonprofit, they depend on public awareness and support, such as donations and volunteers, to keep the spirit of the movement going, so help them by spreading the good word.
“Although this is an ‘Art Clash’, everyone comes here to support and encourage each other”, artist, Papatson suphavai, said. “It’s all around the elevation, and it’s just another tool to get everyone to walk away with something.”
And we’ve all done it.