CURRENTLY ON show at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and the SCAD Museum of Art is the exhibition, i feel ya: SCAD + André 3000 Benjamin which explores fashion, film, and painting through the work of artist, musician, performer, fashion innovator, and actor André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Grammy-Award-winning musical group Outkast), filmmaker Greg Brunkalla, and painter Jimmy O’Neal.
Phrases printed on custom-made jumpsuits designed by André Benjamin which the artist believes “initiate a powerful exchange”, reflected in Jimmy O’Neal’s large-scale abstract paintings alongside an experimental film directed by Greg Brunkalla. “More than a casual affirmation, i feel ya is an invitation to think critically and consider rhetorical expression,” claims the gallery.
Presented in a dynamic display, Benjamin’s 47 jumpsuits were originally created for Outkast’s 2014 worldwide tour celebrating the band’s 20 year anniversary. The slogans reveal some of Benjamin’s musings and observations – intended as “a response to today’s content-heavy digital landscape, which provides an unrelenting flood of images and opinions – i feel ya engages viewers as vital participants in a socially dynamic conversation.”
Central to i feel ya is a commissioned film, Trumpets, conceived and directed by SCAD alumnus Greg Brunkalla and produced at SCAD’s Savannah Film Studios, a 22,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. The film uses the phrases on the jumpsuits as a “creative point of departure to build a broader conversation about language and context”. Two projectors cast words and phrases onto a single surface without syncing to the film itself – a spontaneous effect that creates a wholly unique experience for each audience and screening.
“SCAD is a place of convergence for smart, creative people,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “This exhibition is a collaboration in the truest sense – André’s singular style is illuminated by the brilliant work of SCAD alumni artists.”
“As I initially thought about displaying this collection, I immediately knew I that wanted to work with my longtime collaborative partners at SCAD,” says Benjamin at the time of the exhibition’s original showing at Mana in Miami last December.
As a versatile artist in music, performance, fashion design, and film, Benjamin’s became interested in art as teenager, later becoming internationally famous as a member of Outkast—the first hip-hop act to win the Album of the Year Grammy for 2004’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which sold more than 11 million copies. Benjamin has been a longtime supporter of SCAD, particularly through the university’s Collaborative Learning Center, an interdisciplinary learning community that facilitates sponsored projects between SCAD students and external partners.
Greg Brunkalla’s recent work includes interactive installations and advertisements for Nike, HP, and Lincoln; music videos for Vampire Weekend; and a series of intimate celebrity interviews for The New York Times and W titled Screen Tests, which earned him three Emmy nominations and a Webby Award. Brunkalla earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television from SCAD in 2001. He is represented by Skunk, the Los Angeles-based production company that supported the making of Trumpets.
Jimmy O’Neal has exhibited paintings, videos, installations, and performance art in galleries and museums around the world. In 2003, his “brain machine”, a device that paints from EEG connections to the artist, was included in Painting 4, a large-scale exhibition at the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Massachusetts that included his work alongside paintings by Ingrid Calame, Katharina Grosse, and Michael Lin. His large-scale mirrored work The Nine Muses (2007) is permanently installed at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. O’Neal graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from SCAD in 1989.
i feel ya is curated by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD’s Executive Director of Exhibitions, who oversees the SCAD Museum of Art and SCAD galleries in Savannah and Atlanta.
by Caroline Simpson
i feel ya is on until September 13, 2015, at SCAD Museum of Art, 601 Turner Blvd, Savannah, GA
Monday, closed, Tuesday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday, noon to 5 pm, Sunday, noon to 5 pm
Daily admission to the exhibition is free for all SCAD Card holders and museum members. The exhibition is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.