I’ve lived and worked in Maryland my entire life. I live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and I’ve held a teaching position in Annapolis for thirteen years. Unfortunately, I had been struggling to connect to the art and music community that seems to thrive in this capital city. Although I teach visual arts, and I’ve been enthusiastically making paintings and drawings, my work had instead been finding homes in Washington DC and Baltimore. After a chance meeting with local artists Sally Comport and Linsday Bolin-Lowery, the connection I was hoping for was suddenly cemented.
One day, after school, I had visited Sally’s Art at Large studio on West Street. I was invited there to discuss public art and uses for augmented reality and the HP Reveal app. It seemed that there was new interest in making mural endeavors and museum exhibitions come to life. I was eager to share how I’ve experimented with this interactive technology.
The meeting went well, and we strategized new ways that we could bring this to the Annapolis community. I was demonstrating the app, and lamenting the fact that I hadn’t been successful gaining a foothold in the local scene, when we heard voices in the FIN ART gallery next door. Lindsay suddenly lit up. She said, “I think Jimi is over there! I’ll go get him, so we can show him what we’re talking about!” She disappeared for a few seconds, and returned with Jimi Davies, a.k.a. Jimi Ha Ha – musician, artist, and creative. I knew about Jimi from his music (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) and I had seen his popular culture art pieces all around town. He is a multi-talented guy and a ball of creative energy. It was cool to finally meet him.
After the introduction, and a brief explanation of how the augmented reality app works, Jimi said matter-of-factly, “OK, let’s do it! Let’s put your art in our magazine, and use the app to make the issue interactive.” Normally, I have to convince people of the innovation and advantages of this type of technology. It didn’t take me long to realize that Jimi is a creative risk-taker. His ‘what’s the worst’ that could happen?’ attitude was inspiring, and I was blown away by the openness to include me and and my artwork in the winter issue. It was that simple.
In the months leading up to the launch, I figured that I’d hear from the design team. I thought they might struggle with the app, or they would have questions about the layout of the article. Instead, Cory Deere, the art director for the magazine, crafted a beautiful layout, and included augmented reality ‘hotspots’ throughout the issue. I heard absolutely nothing about the project until the night of the launch party. I was on Route 97, coming back from the airport, when Jimi posted some teaser details on social media. From the partial picture that he shared, I knew that my corrugated cardboard portrait of Chuck D would be featured on the cover. I couldn’t get to the party fast enough!
I pulled up at the bar, and waited to see someone I knew. After a few minutes, I pulled out my phone to text a few people. Just then, a magazine was slapped down on the countertop. “I figured, you should get the first look at the new issue!” said a friendly voice. It was Jimi, and he had arrived for the concert and party. He clapped me on the back, and I thanked him profusely for his kindness and generosity. With that, he excused himself to get a few things set up. I had a few minutes alone with the new article. Julia Gibb, the author of the piece, had come out to Kent Island a few months back to interview me. Although she recorded our conversation, I was a bit worried that she had the herculean task of distilling it down to a few columns. I was elated at how she capably wove together my long-winded ramblings and pieced together a flattering biography. It was overwhelming. Thanks, Julia. Thanks, Cory. Thanks, Jimi. Thanks, Sally. Thanks, Lindsay.
The attention to detail and the professional quality of this magazine is not easy to forget. It’s surprising that this is a free, local publication, that serves as promotion for musicians, galleries, artists, and restaurants. Although it costs nothing, it is a rich, vibrant snapshot of an exciting, close-knit, burgeoning community of creative people. I’m humbled to be a part of it.
Once the article was published, and I got my hands on a few copies, I began sending them to friends who don’t live in Annapolis. One of the coolest messages of support and thanks came from Germany. Giovanni Fichera, curator of the Public Enemy On-line Museum, and arguably the world’s biggest Public Enemy fan, posted this photograph –
It’s been a fun few weeks, and I hope these new connections will become solid friendships and strong ties. I’m fortunate to be welcomed into this unique community.
Please follow the directions on the first page of the magazine. This way, you will be able to interact with the photos and the advertisements using the HP Reveal app.
Special thanks to Academy Award-nominated photographer, documentarian, and friend Mig Martinez. He and Rebecca Groom were so kind as to construct a video of me with my work (back in May, at the Blind Whino in DC). I used those photos and video to enhance the article and the augmented reality. Thanks, Mig. Thanks, Rebecca.
When you get a chance, check out Mig’s movie Farewell Ferris Wheel.
Here is a link that allows you to view the whole magazine: Up.St.Art Magazine – Winter 2018
Here is a clear, easy-to-read version of the article: Andy’s Instinctive Travels by Julia Gibb
On HP Reveal ‘follow’ – Up.St.Art public auras and ajkatzart public auras to successfully view all of the hidden content! Good luck! – AK
IG – ajkatzart