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Meet Brandie Davison of Art Realm Collective in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandie Davison.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in the wonderful city of Long Beach, California. I have always had a passion for art and creativity. I was always writing, drawing, listening to music, and dancing. When I was younger, we had an assignment to create “something we could sell” while most of the other kids made baked goods or toys, I created a magazine and a magazine subscription service.

I won a bookmark contest and decided to make a “stationary & bookmark” company (which was really me creating a ton of bookmarks and drawing on the front of notebooks) to sell outside of my home. My elementary school did not have a cheer team or “dance squad” so I created one. We had about fifteen members and a competing team. We even set up a competition and got the staff involved.

My teenage years involved a lot of partying. There wasn’t much else to do and I really enjoyed the music, dancing and meeting new people. At a certain point, parties were no longer fun but filled with paranoia of being shot. I really wanted to attend an HBCU so I went off to Clark Atlanta University for college. This was one of the most fulfilling and elevating experiences of my life. Being in community with so many Black people from all over who were my age actively pursuing their goals and aspirations was inspiring. It was during these years that I started realizing some of my experiences surrounding violence were not universal. I began to have a different outlook on my city and my experiences growing up.

I returned home after experiencing serious health complications before completing my degree. When I returned home it felt weird being a new person, in an old place. I continued utilizing my own creative outlets. I spent most of my time going to different art shows or art events. I always noticed that there weren’t many people of color featured unless the actual exhibit was surrounding experiences that specifically affected people of color. I personally knew and was surrounded by so many creatives and artists and only saw their work if it was an underground show that they put together themselves. I wanted to experience the art that they were making in a more traditional gallery setting. I also wanted to give everyone an alternative to parties or bars. So, I decided to put on a show. I told my friends about my idea and they were on board to help. Originally I wanted to partner with an already existing collective but last minute they fell through. We decided to go on with the show and had birthed something totally separate from the original plan. From there was the start of something great.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has definitely been tricky adapting to a leadership role of this magnitude. Being that I created something without expectation of what it would become, I am learning along the way while molding the organization; there is no exact blueprint to follow. I make mistakes, but ultimately I try to remind myself that this is new to me. I have to continue to grow and constantly improve. I am helping others and the community, so I feel it is my responsibility of servitude and purpose to continue moving forward.

Sometimes personal problems or health problems become a hindrance. I have allowed things to slow me down in the past, but at the end of the day there is no room for excuses. Prioritizing and keeping the bigger picture in mind at all times is necessary. Another thing that has been a struggle is finding space. Because we are young adults it is often assumed that it will be a more energetic, dance party type of atmosphere which is not the vibe at ART REALM events. I have definitely experienced tension when gallery or venue owners go from talking to me on the phone, to seeing my skin in person.

Please tell us about Art Realm Collective.
The underlying idea behind ART REALM was to create reality; lacking enough consistent platforms and spaces within our Art District where emerging artists of color and those that identify with underground culture were represented, we created one.

I hope to continue to push the value of creativity and artistry while providing a safe space. We have a running list of 30+ visual artists associated with our collective. Our shows are always in Long Beach to bring support and attention to our city and local venues in our communities and not outsource to LA. Each of the events includes different creative activities that guests can interact with. Right now ART REALM consists of our seasonal group show and a collective that provides support to the artist.

I specifically direct the collective and curate the seasonal ART REALM events. This consists of finding spaces, deciding on a theme and concept for the show and doing research. Selecting artist to participate and communicating details with each of the artist. I also work to find funding for each of the events, the Arts Council For Long Beach has been one of our biggest supporters so far.

I am working on creative direction of the overall collective. This includes details regarding advertising for the show. A big part of our success has been our advertisement videos which we post online. Most of them are made by my friend and creative Royce Isaac. We recently have been reaching out to other creatives to collaborate on the filming process with.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Long Beach is a great place to do anything creative. I personally would want to start in a more tight-knit community like Long Beach versus taking on greater Los Angeles. You can gain sincere relationships and become apart of a community of dedicated creatives.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photography prints by Soulfull, Coloring Book Interactive Drawing by Yarbro The Dragon, Art By Sabrina Wong, Art By Trinity the Art Prncess, Word Installation by Chenel King

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