Preview of Culture Shock’s “Graffiti Life” dance theatrical @ S.D. Repertory
The thought of graffiti in the average mind induces images of city subways, gang-related insignias, and with that, a world of violence and darkness that many do not understand, much less know anything about.
To shed some light on this misunderstood art form, Culture Shock San Diego is taking steps to document a different side of the graffiti world in their second original full-length performance, “Graffiti Life: The Color of My Sole”, playing at the Lyceum at Horton Plaza May 28 through May 31.
Through the medium of hip-hop dance performed by the world-known troupe, Culture Shock, the lesser-known, real underground side of the graffiti subculture will be revealed. It will be accompanied by artwork produced by the writer of the theatrical dance show, San Diego artist Pose 2. The show is actually based on his experiences growing up as a graffiti artist in the subways of New York and his encounters with the art thereafter.
“My goal in writing Graffiti Life: The Color of My Sole was to communicate the essence of what graffiti is about through another medium other than [graffiti] itself in order to reach an entirely different realm of people,” Pose 2 said.
The play examines the different perspectives and dimensions of the graffiti world through several different characters, all representing the various facets the art form has to offer.
Ill, for example, represents the gritty, angry side of graffiti while the female lead character, SheRock, portrays the beauty and expression that is often underrepresented. The two conflicting sides of the art are apparent in the creation of the Young Boys Crew, a group of new graffiti artists struggling to find their niche in the scene. The Graffiti Life cast includes Culture Shock San Diego dancers Jeremy Mascardo, David Henry, Angela Molton, David Silvas and Sherman Shoate.
Pose 2, also known as Mr. Maxx Moses, has attributed much of his growth as a person to graffiti, which he considers the most relevant form of artwork in society today because of its wide flexibility in terms of display and distribution. It’s all around us wherever we go. In order to witness the messages represented in the artwork, one does not need to visit a museum or formal setting — graffiti can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Pose 2’s artwork has been displayed everywhere from Mexico to Dubai. Through the performances of “Graffiti Life”, he is trying to convey the universality of the artwork and provide a peek into the mind of the artist in order to instill an appreciation of this most controversial medium of expression.
“My personal inspiration and motivation for writing this production comes from being an artist, a creative soul in search of its higher self. Through art and the creative process I find expression freedom and a voice that connects people,” Pose 2 said.
The members of the Culture Shock San Diego are renowned internationally and some of the troupe’s alumni have gone on to perform with well-known celebrities such as Missy Elliott and Destiny’s Child. Several other dancers from the group are members of the dance team, Jabbawockeez, who took home a win on the popular MTV show, “America’s Best Dance Crew”. The troupe represents the mission, “We are a troupe of individuals who, through the power of music and dance, cultivate self-worth, dignity and respect for all people.”
Proceeds from the show will be used by the company to provide three scholarships for a seven to fourteen week session of the “Graffiti as an Art Form Class” at the Art Academy of San Diego in North Park taught by none other than Pose 2. Winners also will receive a package of free dance classes at the renowned Culture Shock Dance Center. There are no requirements and all ages are encouraged to apply. Graffiti writing experience is not necessary. Those interested can sign up for a scholarship at one of the shows.
“This [graffiti] is my life. I live to create and I create to live. This is what I do everyday in every way possible. My generation created hip hop and I am hip hop,” Pose 2 said.
On May 28 and 29, the show will be at 7 p.m., on May 30 times will be at 2 p.m. and 7p.m. and on May 31 it will be at 5 p.m. Pose 2’s artwork will be featured simultaneously in the Upstairs Lobby gallery of the Lyceum in an exhibit titled, “Pose 2 is Mr. Maxx Moses”.
Tickets for “Graffiti Life” cost $25 and $22 for seniors, military members and students. All seating is general admission. Tickets are available at the Culture Shock Dance Center, the Lyceum box office and online at www.lyceumevents.org and www.sdartstix.com. Pre-sale tickets, which cost $20, are now available at the Dance Center.