March 25, 2017 – As I walked around the Elevator Factory on Saturday, the space in which the walls were covered in self expression from local talent and filled with people who radiated carefree passion for art, music and aesthetic. I watched hundreds of people fall in love with the art on display and dance to the music the DJ and the performers provided. Real Friends, an art exhibit and day party featuring Atlanta’s creative, top quality and fresh talent, left a clear, lasting impression on me.
Sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka, Lyft and Microsoft, the event was cultivated and produced by the Delly-Lotus Agency. They brand themselves as a place where creatives and brands call home, and is a start up created by Danny Choi, Martin Maignan, Omar Chery and Deston Fykes. Choi, the creative director of DLA, sums up their purpose for their installments of Real Friends:
“The sole reason we do these events is to shed spotlight on amazing artists that don’t get the notoriety they deserve. In this industry, it’s all a numbers game and raw talent often gets overlooked. For us, the most important thing is to showcase these individuals and strip them off all that ‘You can only do this if you know someone,’ and, ‘I’ll give you this much but take away a lot more from you,’ crap and breed a new culture of genuine, authentic talent. Because we’re from Atlanta, doing this here only seems right; we feature these local visual and musical artists with the ideology of helping each other out by giving our names recognition and supporting each other. Thus, the name of Real Friends.” Danny Choi
Candidly reflecting Atlanta’s culture deeper than just the familiar trap scene, it truly seemed to be about representing an idea of loving passionate art produced by passionate artists. Choi describes the entity behind the third installment: “It’s all about believing in your craft and collaborating with each other; the trust building in this community is tight. We see each other for who we are and want to show that to the world.”
As the artists spoke eloquently about their inspirations and answered questions about how they want to be remembered, there was a certain moment of the day that resonated with me the most. Artist Paula Sinisterra’s impactful words echoed throughout the crowded room as she revealed about what her art meant to her: “I have so much culture; I want to fight it.”
Among eight other artists, she spoke to a turn out of hundreds. Sinisterra’s art hung from the wooden beams, paintings of orchids and flowers beautifully intertwined with vines to create an “art garden”. Photographer Elliot Liss and painter Vivian Laurence both also had their art hanging against the walls of Elevator Factory including mixed media portraits of models and abstract paintings with bold colors to provoke emotions that rise from deep within you.
Musical performances included Mr. Dee Dot, Christian Ahmed, Angel White and Vivian Laurence. With messages of “I am Patient, Confident, and I am Free,” and striking questions of, “How do you want to be remembered?”, the room filled with positive vibes as they listened to the fresh, original sounds of the local artists. The respective DJ’s for the night – DJ ContraBAND and DJ YXDi – kept the ambience groovy with beats that beckoned anyone who heard them to move their feet. It was almost impossible to stay still for more than a minute.
With a collective effort, the DLA undoubtedly threw another successful installment of Real Friends. The turnout was remarkable, new (and real) friends were made, and art was celebrated the way it should be. Make sure to follow @dellylotus on Instagram for any updates on the next installment for Real Friends. The artists showcased at this event can also be found on Instagram at @vxvian, @elliotliss, @angelrwhite, @yxdi_, @paula_sinisterra, @christianahmed_, @thevibesetter.