HUG Life: Love Blossoms on the Streets of Charlotte
After moving to a new city, it’s a challenge to establish your bearings and make connections among the sea of new sights, sounds, and people.
For artist and recent HUG micro-grant recipient, KHEM, diving into the creative community here has eased that transition; and it continues to be an instrumental pipeline for meeting people, understanding what’s going on, and learning how to be of service.
“Lost and Found” street art morphs into “Love Blossoms”
Using copper supplies, KHEM creates flower sculptures with open heart blooms. Originally entitled “Lost and Found,” these metamorphosed “Love Blossoms” are being planted outdoors as public street art — and are available for purchase.
His wired works of art are part of “Love Blossoms on Earth,” a project intended to “grow the Love” in the world.
The concept took form after the artist decided to commit to Love as a state of being… an intentional choice over expending the same energy battling anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
For KHEM, mental health is a personal priority because it translates into personal freedom.
Having made that decision, the next question KHEM asked himself was, “How do I do that?” That’s when “Love Blossoms” solidified as tangible ways to add and cultivate Love in the world. Physically giving Love to humans and planting Love in the world is a way to love life, itself.
L-O-V-E: Too often overlooked or nervously discussed
Love is a topic that is too often overlooked. Or, when people do talk about it, it is usually accompanied by a bit of squirming and bouts of emotional jitters. KHEM and his copper flower installations may be paving the way to a comfort zone for broaching the subject of L-O-V-E.
Commenting on his conversations, KHEM says: “It’s powerful watching others become more confident, share their experiences, and help others shine, too. It’s been awesome watching this happen.”
The experience inspires and motivates people to continue being honest and open.
Sharing art with people who can’t or won’t enter an art gallery
Sharing art is a driving force behind KHEM’s “Love Blossoms.” Because there are people who don’t have access to an art gallery or museum, or won’t enter one, bushels of “Love Blossoms” are planted in spaces where people already are — on the streets of Charlotte.
Multiple locations also push the evolution of the project organically. Planting bouquets of “Love Blossoms” in more spaces around the Queen City proliferates the intention, language, aesthetic, and opportunities to share.
HUG micro-grant paved the way for the unexpected
KHEM actually used his HUG micro-grant to explore painting as an approach. However, as a by-product of exploring that medium, he discovered that sculpture was the truly appropriate art form for the project.
And, although the HUG grant paid for the supplies, what the HUG really bought was creative freedom.
After trying and walking away from a series of projects, he was eventually led to the one that was personally, creatively, and financially fulfilling. Therefore, “Receiving the HUG was a huge lift,” according to KHEM.
Love blooms where you plant it
He would like to see “Love Blossoms” planted all over planet Earth. All good things start somewhere — so, why not in Charlotte?
These copper beauties are currently growing in South End, NoDa, Ballantyne, and Camp Greene — as well as in Matthews, NC.
If you would like “Love Blossoms” planted in a space near you (including a home or business), or if you are interested in sharing the Love, send a message to KHEM on Instagram (@WeAreKHEM) or at WeAreKHEM@gmail.com.
A few last words from KHEM about the importance of mental health…
For KHEM, mental health is a personal priority because what you get in return is freedom. Being free, being true to Self, and being the greatest version of Self means facing Yourself. Trust You.
HOW CAN I GET A HUG GRANT?
HUGs are $250 micro-grants awarded to individuals or organizations (for-profit or nonprofit) working on creative initiatives that are open to the public in the Charlotte area. HUGs are “strings-free” and are intended to remove a small financial obstacle holding a project or a person back from realizing the potential of their idea. HUGgees (HUG grant recipients) are also eligible to participate in special training events and seminars throughout the year. Since 2017, more than 100 HUG micro-grants have been awarded in Charlotte. To apply for a HUG, visit www.HUGGrant.com.
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