When someone introduces themselves as a “villain,” it tends to get your attention. That’s exactly what happened to Biscuit editor, Tim Miner, when he first met Charlotte writer, photographer, artist, teacher and mother, Carla Aaron-Lopez (or “King Carla” as she’s known) at the 2019 EmpowerCon. Such a self-description makes an impression. And, when the shock of hearing it is over, you remember that “villains” tend to be much more interesting than “heroes.”
Villains have a perspective and a personal mission that is often audacious and always at odds with the status quo. And, that is EXACTLY why we asked King Carla, who is an art teacher and a team member at BLKMKTCLT about the three biggest challenges she’s facing in the creative community right now.
Here are King Carla’s Three Biggest Creative Challenges on January 24, 2020:
First, I have to thank Tim for reaching out to me to make this connection. It’s not that many people willing to meet with the greatest underground art villain of all time. If I could share three major points about Charlotte’s creative community, it would be these things:
PUT UP OR SHUT UP
Stop complaining about what CLT does or doesn’t have in terms of creativity. It’s already here and it’s growing. There are different subcultures within Charlotte’s arts scene and we all need your support. It involves more than just “showing up.” It involves taking time to mentor beginning artists and building conversations with someone who looks different from you and me.
This point is for Charlotte’s artists and art-preneurs. We need to begin working together. By any means necessary. I’m dope and so are y’all. Collaborating doesn’t mean that we can use anyone’s name to advance ourselves professionally. It means to work with artists within this city that we respect because they get nasty with each medium they manipulate. Unfortunately, every top 5 or 10 list I’ve seen about CLT creatives either has one artist of color or no artists of color. That speaks VOLUMES about this city.
Support the FAM
Ever since returning home, I’ve slowly collected names of all the dope artists of color in this city. We are here and they are my art fam. I’m still collecting names tbh. I could curate a large exhibition based on each name. You just have to show up and support your fam. We influence CLT’s underground because we are The Underground. You won’t find that in South End or whatever gentrified name that’s been given to all the old black neighborhoods I grew up in. Pull up and observe. We don’t bite, but we also don’t take no mess.
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