Brooke Obie Interviews NOLA Artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums
From The Root:
In the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, across the tracks from where Homer A. Plessy was removed from a train, sparking the infamous Supreme Court decision “separate but equal,” is visual artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums’ Studio Be.
Outside the 35,000-square-foot warehouse, the walls are spray-painted yellow and red. A little black girl painted in shades of purple stares and smiles, her palms facing upward, her curls encased in a halo. A poem about a wild, beautiful girl who was a shelter hints at what you’ll find inside.
Studio Be is that shelter, not just for Bmike’s first solo show, “Ephemeral Eternal,” but for glorious blackness. It features spray-painted images of civil rights icons, art installations replicating Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and paintings of locals that change the conversation around who gets to be considered beautiful and holy.
“I think there is a lot of redemptive power in understanding your presence in the continuum,” Bmike tells The Root of the reason behind his show’s name. “And knowing that you’re not just an isolated incident, that somehow your existence is in a way part of a relay race, or a elevator, or escalator of moments.”
Over the past two years, Studio Be has become a hot spot for celebrities, tourists and students looking to experience the elevation and celebration of street art. RZA has just wrapped the film he directed, Cut Throat City, starring Wesley Snipes, Kat Graham and T.I., inside Studio Be.