By : Mikey DZZZ
7 min read
The article is the first episode of an artist-on-artist interview series where artists who work in the same medium interview each other while they also create art around the interview. For instance, photographers would take photos, painters paint paintings, etc. This first interview hosts Author Mikey DZZZ and Rafael Shabazz—both photographers, poets, and musicians.
We spoke about two things, art and life. Both very much one in the same. Different perspectives, different interpretations of what we’ve seen. As a poet, photographer, and multimedia artist, Rafael Shabazz, a 24 year old Afro-Latino Dorchester native sees his world through a lens coated in static and grit. Vinyl scratch envelopes the words scratched through records, and etched on the walls of art galleries. The words couldn’t be held to paper alone.
When I asked Q, as I call him, how he sees the through-line of his use of texture within his various pieces, he exclaimed simply, “it all comes back to jazz.” The inspiration that "The Love Supreme" by John Coltrane had on a young Shabazz shaped his entire artistic path. These elements can be seen all over his photography, as well as his physical writing. This past summer before closing, CNCPT6 in Lowell, MA held an art showcase presented by Shabazz, hosting all sorts of different pieces, as well as allowing him to sprawl his words on the walls for guests to enjoy.
During the run of his art show, Shabazz hosted a panel discussion featuring some of the the most interesting artists with different mediums to speak about the lives of a local artist and mental health. I was asked to be one of those panelists. This discussion very much inspired what you are reading today. As an artist who makes art for the love of it and not just some cheap heat, or a paycheck, an open dialogue with other artists helped to put the whole of what I do into perspective. As a multimedia artist who experiments in many mediums, I as well use through-lines within my work to tie together my personal perspective in order to exemplify my aesthetic.
My dream as an artist has always been to create worlds that we can all live in, if only for moments. Starting as a musician and filmmaker, the best way that I had always known how to do so was to show and tell. Taking my own inspirations from very different aesthetics and artists such as the revolutionary outcries of punk rock and hip hop, or the gentle yet hilarious slapstick levity of Charlie Chaplin, who also directed and composed his films as well as starring in them, along to the experimental and dream inducing storytelling of Jean Cocteau, Maya Deren, or David Lynch.
They say that art imitates life, but to us art is life. Plato thought that art and imitation should be banned because it wasn’t the real thing. To him a chair was a chair, but a painting of a chair was just an imperfect version of what the gods created. Rene Magritte famously painted “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” or in english, “This is not a pipe,” in “The Treachery of Images.” For artists like Rafael Shabazz and myself, Mikey DZZZ, what we paint and write is real, and we believe that to be true in our search for truth through artistic expression. After all, in this world, truth may be all we have.
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #163 November 2023
Check out all the art and columns of November's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass