“I like to say that I use my art as a ticket for adventure” – Andrew J. Katz
Not long ago, I received a social media invitation to participate in an on-line television/radio interview. There are many new outlets for sharing my artwork and my stories, so I jumped at the chance.
The invitation came from the owner/operator of Listen Vision Studios in Washington D.C. – Jeremy Beaver. Also known as DJ Boom, Jeremy reached out to me, after seeing my artwork on Facebook and Twitter. I was penciled in as the March 10th ‘District Spotlight’ guest, and he amiably asked me to bring a thumb drive full of my artwork, and five or six original pieces.
I drove to DC that Friday afternoon, and quickly realized that WLVS is just up the road from my U Street stomping grounds, and directly across the street from Howard University. I was scheduled to be on the air at five o’clock, and getting there a bit early, I decided to explore the Howard campus.
After reading the powerful and thought-provoking Ta-Nehisi Coates book, Between the World and Me, I was curious to see his ‘Mecca’; the school and the quad that he credits for expanding his personal and world perspectives. I wandered past the football field and imagined where the historic homecoming scenes unfolded. Hip-Hop has had many iconic moments on this campus, and I got swept up in conjuring the images and personalities that helped cement HU’s Hip-Hop resume. It was strangely quiet as I rounded the corner leading to the expansive quad. The iconic clock tower loomed large, as I noticed fraternity letters and temporary decorations adorning the thick, old trees dotting the campus. It was apparent that there were many traditions and fraternal rituals that would require more investigation and explanation. It would have to be another time, as it was nearing the time for my interview. I decided I’d better head over to the studio.
I climbed the stairs in the front of the red-painted building, and walked past a booming speaker. WLVS is constantly streaming live, and there was a broadcast emanating loudly into the street. Images of Mr. Señor Love Daddy from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing came to mind, as I realized that people in the community were encouraged to listen as they walked by. The louder the better, and it was all facing in the direction of Howard University’s open gates.
Upon entering the second floor of the building, one immediately sees the on-air studio area. A few young guys were fiddling with some A/V equipment and casually talking about music. They looked me up and down, and went back to their business. There was a closed door at the far end of the room, and display cases filled with an extensive Hip-Hop memorabilia collection. I tried to get comfortable, and propped my portfolio up in the corner, while I went in for a closer look. There were signed CDs, small, customized pins, figurines, exclusive sneakers, and all manner of posters and box sets. Most things were autographed and displayed with much care and attention. At this point it was 5:00, and I realized that I still hadn’t met Jeremy in person.
Just then, the door at the end of the room opened, and Jeremy emerged. Energetic and charismatic, he was moving quickly through the space. He set up his phone and simultaneously introduced himself. We shook hands and he instructed the young sound engineer to get ready for our discussion. I pulled up the tall bar stool, and made sure my artwork was at the ready. I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to show, but I wanted everything at arm’s length. After less than thirty seconds of having met Jeremy, we were on the air. Here is the interview that followed. Thanks for checking it out!: