RAW: Opportunities Made for Artists by Artists

To kick off the Tenacity series, I attended the annual RAW art show Magnify.

And wow!

It was an outstanding time!

Originated in 2005, the RAW Art Organization, a promotional platform that prides themselves on being made for artists by artists, showcases indie creatives in art, film, fashion, music, performing arts, hair, makeup, and photography. The RAW Artist Organization operates in over 65 cities across the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.

To find an event in a city near you please visit http://www.rawartists.org/

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The First Impression

“I recognized from the way everyone was dressed heading towards the entrance that this was going to be a real treat.” My boyfriend David describes in our post-interview. We stood in line with patrons clad in dress suits, casual wear, tribal wraps, and costumes. People from all walks of life met at the venue hoping to come across a piece of art that they would not be able to leave without.

Inside, every artist had their own station where they displayed their talents. Most of the art displayed that night was also posted on the website. Anxious patrons like myself who had bought their tickets in advance were gifted plenty of time to run to the website, sneaking prospective peaks at pieces while anticipating the event. So accordingly, I spent most of the first hour at the event itching to meet the artists of my favorite paintings. As the budding journalist that I am, I came prepared with questions and to my surprise, most of the artists were kind and receptive.

As I walked around the venue gawking at beautiful paintings and pictures, and fashion (Oh My!) I found a few creations that required more context. The interviews were recorded on the memo app on my cell (which was surprisingly clear.) but I have not found an app that will allow me to cut out all of my stuttering, fumbling, hot messes yet so I will spare you all from that…  This time.

Dose of Dopeness

One of my favorite artists of the night was Dose of Dopeness (Vernon Strain). I was drawn to his art station by his pieces featuring African American women depicted as goddess figures and queens. I admired his ability to capture the beauty of the African American culture in a vibrant and colorful manner.


(Dose of Dopeness’s holds a piece in progress to show his signature “Melanin Drip” which he uses to portray having  melanin being poured onto the people in his drawings.)

As a self-taught artist that has been working at this craft since the age of three, he draws inspiration from the people, music, and emotions surrounding him.

ME: How do you use music to draw inspiration for your drawings?

VS: Whatever the feeling is in a song, it usually sparks an idea for a piece. I just roll with it and honestly, I just black out and it creates itself.

ME: I saw on your page that you’re from Columbus, OH. Do you travel to do the events or do you live in Atlanta now? Have you seen a difference in the art cultures between the two states?

VS: I still live in Columbus but I will travel almost anywhere to get my art seen. The cultures are very different. Art in Atlanta is more of a collective and community-oriented scene where Columbus artists are more supportive of only those they know or are within their circle. In regards to style, there’re artists of all calibers in both cities that produce insanely awesome work.

To find more information about Dose of Dopeness please visit http://www.rawartists.org/doseofdopeness

Caitlin “KK” Nixon.

Another artist that I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing was Caitlin “KK” Nixon. Like myself, she is not a native of Atlanta, GA. She moved from Birmingham Alabama for college and also to find a home for her unique style of work.


She has a business named Hell is a Place which takes first world civil and political issues and depicts them in macabre and humorous ways.

During our interview, I was able to learn a bit about her as an artist and a few ways she maneuvers through the industry. One portion of the culture that I had not given much thought before starting this interview was collaborations. Caitlin and I spoke indepthly about how collaborations in the community can broaden the skill set of an artist and open up opportunities for exposure.

ME: How have you seen collaborations play a part in the exposure of your work both positively and negatively?

CN: Collaboration plays a huge part in one’s exposure, and I’ve used it a ton to push and promote myself. The pluses are vast, from being able to be apart of those opportunities that you would of otherwise not of had, to learning new skills and techniques that you can apply to your own projects. However, of course, you can’t have good without bad, and I’ve seen my fair share of failed partnerships that ran risks of portraying negative ideals about one’s personality or work to jobs that just failed.

To find more information about Caitlin “KK” Nixon please visit http://www.rawartists.org/ckknixon.

The night at Magnify was definitely one to remember! The welcoming atmosphere, live performances, and amazing art sent me out of the door with my head spinning and body buzzing with excitement. Every creator and performer gave one hundred and ten percent to all of us in attendance and it was received with more support than I ever would have imagined. I will definitely be attending next year!

olivia willis

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