The Nxup Mag L.A. team, Doug the media consultant, left, and Ray the videographer on far right.
Chris Rutledge, the "TapArtist"
CEO and Editor-in-Chief, NXUP Magazine
RG Los Angeles Stories: From Unknown to Celebrated
“Paul’s vision of the magazine was very simple, get the stories of different talented people who are struggling to get known and publish them. He wants a vehicle for these unappreciated talents to propel them from unknown to celebrated.” -RG
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defined “Talent” as: a special ability that allows someone to do something well; but talent is just an unappreciated ability unless a person learns how to promote his/her work. This is where NXUP Magazine comes in. I met Paul Remy, CEO and Editor in Chief of NXUP Magazine, at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf coffee house in Hillhurst near Griffith Park in Los Angeles. I invited him there since I saw it befitting, the place after all was a hangout for aspiring local young talents in the area…musicians, writers, actors, cartoonist, painters…you know, the kind of people you see hang out at coffee houses during the day that makes you wonder what the heck they do for a living. Paul’s vision of the magazine was very simple, get the stories of different talented people who are struggling to get known and publish them. He wants a vehicle for these unappreciated talents to propel them from unknown to celebrated.
Before I met Paul in person, I had some trepidation. I had envisioned him as this hustler, a smooth talker, the aggressive type who can make things happen…I imagined it would take such a person to be ambitious enough to launch a magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to be so wrong. He appeared to me as a gentle soul, soft spoken, friendly and with a warm smile; but behind the exterior was a sharp mind and a driven person. We chatted briefly through email and NXUP’s Instagram account a couple of days before and the day of our meeting was a significant one. Paul and his Los Angeles team had been given a chance to media-sponsor the RAW Natural Born Artists RAWards Event near downtown. Paul graciously invited me to meet up with his team for the event that night. If he was anxious it didn’t show, although he candidly told me that for NXUP Magazine to media-sponsor something as big as this talent show was like plunging into the deep end of the pool. “So it’s sink or swim then?” I said, he laughed amicably and said “We are definitely going to swim! Sinking is not an option”.
RAW Natural Born Artists, www.rawartists.org, 5th Annual RAWards Indie Arts Award Show was held at the swanky Belasco Theater and Club in Los Angeles on November 14th. RAW Natural Born Artists, or Raw for short, is an entity that holds Independent Art showcases spanning over 50 cities in the US, Canada and Australia. The artistic abilities that the group endeavored to highlight are talents from art, fashion, music, film, hair, makeup, photography and performing art and its “RAWards” are much sought after by aspiring artists. Several celebrity artists got their careers launched after being showcased by “RAW”, such as Dom Streater, a fashion designer from Philadelphia, won Season 12 of Lifetime’s Project Runway.
In retrospect, it should’ve been obvious to me that NXUP Magazine would be interested in covering the event. I have no idea how a startup was able to land such a project. As baffled as I was, I was equally astounded at the audacity of Paul to take on such a project. But again, Paul has a knack of finding the right people to collaborate with. I for one, although primarily a photographer, was an occasional blogger who searched and interviewed local underground artists here in LA. The reason we were meeting that day at the Coffee House was to discuss my services as a photographer for the RAWards event. As unheard of as my blog-site was I wasn’t very keen on talking about my blog readily to people—I should be self-promoting to get more followers—for some reason, he was able to get me to share my writings with him. I think it is Paul’s forte, convincing people to believe in themselves and get out of their shell with so little effort. That is the reason why I’m writing this piece now.
There were a lot of talented nominees for the RAWards show in LA and artists of different genres were all over the place. Tables and makeshift art galleries were set up inside the theater. It had a bazaar feel to it and the insanely hip music of the DJ’s and performers gave the event continuous entertainment. Whoever thought of Raw events were geniuses!
Although primarily an award show, the main goal of “RAW” was to give aspiring artists a platform to show their art whether they win a “RAWard” or not. Paul, with the NXUP Magazine crew set up shop in the green room to interview the winners of the night, but he encouraged me to look around and interview and take photos of the other nominees and other artists showcasing their work.
Chris Rutledge, the self-proclaimed “TapArtist”, who created paintings by tap dancing on canvas was a particular favorite of mine. There was also: John Thvedt, www.wysiwygshots.com a photographer, who created prints on reclaimed wood. I like his “Into the Woods”, a portrayal of a girl surrounded by trees and vegetation, which he printed and applied into a wood with especial coating giving the print a rough texture and a rustic and vintage look. Frank Venadas, www.facebook.com/frankvenadasart, his pen on paper “Helmetheads” was like a collage of his favorite different sci-fi characters in kind-of “Where’s Waldo?” inspiration. The Jewelry designer Armen Michael, www.facebook.com/armenmichaeljewelry, was also one of my favorite designers. I have seen him from the Metropolitan Fashion Week Closing Gala in Pasadena and have admired his creations which I can only hazard to describe as pieces that would not be out of place during ancient Greece, his pieces have a combination of fragility and strength in it.
It was a tough job for the judges to figure out which talent would get the RAWard. The host of the night was Jesse Daniels, www.ernieandjesse.com, and I was bold enough to ask him which was his favorite of all the performers that night. It wasn’t really a fair question; it’s like asking a parent to say which one is his favorite child. “My favorite is the one who’s gonna win” Jesse said mischievously.
Seeing all the up-and-coming artists that night, I can’t help but realized a sense of irony with what NXUP was trying to accomplish. Paul, a University of Florida Graduate class of 2009, leads the small Los Angeles team that includes, Doug, the Media Consultant and Ray, the Videographer. John Casseus, a Pre-law graduate of Brookdale Community College class of 2012, heads the New Jersey/New York team. They are launching NXUP Magazine in the Winter of 2014. As you can see both Paul and John are themselves an emerging talent and intellect, and for now, it is as if a paradox for aspiring artists to seek a media platform for advancement from a still non existing magazine; but the motto of NXUP is “Home of the Gifted” and “As long as you've got a gift, we've got you covered”— so I am for certain that these two gentlemen are “at home” in NXUP—and that they will not stop until they accomplished their goals and give voice to the unappreciated and unknown local talents. Paul and John are “Next Up!”
Edited by: Paul Remy of NXUP Magazine
For more photos of the event, check out www.3RPhotography.blogspot.com
All photos and article are copyrighted
Copyright 2013 RG Los Angeles Stories