It goes without saying that those who use their celebrity platform in order to spread a message, whether with good intentions or not, are most likely the most recognizable individuals in the public eye. Often times, we rely on people with a level of prestige that we’re more familiar with in order to find a sense of meaning behind their acts for the greater good. It’s the perception that the higher you are in social status, the more capable you are in reaching a broader audience; but what we don’t acknowledge at times is that, that expectation should not negate the efforts made by those no matter what status they may carry. The people who should be shown the same amount of respect; people who make just as much of an impact in our society and we should pay crucial attention to these future teachers of our world.
Over the week, I received an invite to a purple tie fundraising event for stroke awareness titled the Purple Series. The event was hosted by two notable artist and entrepreneurs, Bart Cooper and James Freeman, the vibrant co-founders of Maxwell Dickson. Maxwell Dickson, a business partnership highlighting the world of creative art, where they have worked with some of the most influential leaders in today’s entertainment industry. The event was set to begin at 7 p.m, but media check-in was at 6 p.m. I had to leave work early in order to make it across town, but luckily for me, the event didn’t officially start until a little bit later which gave me ample time to recharge and flirt with the photo booth near by. Eventually, I was able to head up to the 18th floor of the Indigo Hotel while being one of the first people to arrive. To my amazement, the view was phenomenal overlooking the Microsoft theater and all of Downtown LA. Since arriving before the majority of other guest, it allowed me to not only take in the gorgeous view, but also admire the art displayed on the walls.
I don’t frequent too many art galleries, but I can’t deny my appreciation for another person’s creativity and how it might speak to me. The images were stunning, reflecting the beauty and characteristics of each person portrayed. The portraits captivated the persona of each individual displayed in a purple visual series and all that the regal color represents.
While waiting for my friend Shauna, I was able to enjoy the sound check of singer/songwriter Niki Black who I had met downstairs. When she had formally introduced herself, I was taken aback by her genuine charm not realizing she was the music artist that guest would have the pleasure listening to later into the evening. During the sound check, I was able to get a raw performance of her vocals which blew me away. From feeling the pressure of trying to arrive on schedule in order to check my name off the list, I was in desperate need of a drink, but I didn’t want to make the assumption that the two bars were open bars for everyone in attendance.
Guest started to arrive shortly after and within minutes, the room was packed. From art lovers to Los Angeles trendsetters, everyone came to admire the colorful collection of Bart Cooper and everything he stands for behind his work of art. I found that guest created their own perception of each portrait; some being able to immediately identify with each painting and others who analyzed the visuals from the shadows drawn while trying to depict who each person was.
At one point, I ended up in the middle of a friendly, yet lively, debate of whether or not the portrait of Beyonce was really the Lemonade artist herself or the tin man from the movie The Wiz. I was asked my honest opinion being put on the spot, but frankly, I noted that there was no other person this painting could have been a representation of. Just by the sheer entertainment of these two men arguing at how they each viewed just one piece of art so differently, showed the level of passion some guest had when expressing their admiration and depiction of the persons talent.
Finally my friend had arrived and we started to mingle with other guest as well as grabbing drinks from the bar which ended up not being a cash bar after all. That was perfectly fine considering I had to be up early the next morning. I noticed I took for granted the amount of space that accommodated all of the guest in attendance. A lot of leg room and yet still comfortable to sit down and hobnob in front of a fire place overlooking the city in the main room. The spacious bar area was like any other Los Angeles bar establishment for a social mixer. The room towards the back had enough outlets in order to charge more than one phone at a time which is perfect for the selfie fanatic with close to nothing on their battery life. Basically, this was similar to a penthouse but set up like an entertainment room and it was the perfect ambiance.
The DJ was hyping everyone up throughout the night while a raffle was underway for one lucky winner to win a personally signed painting from Cooper himself. After a few performances, Cooper made his way to the stage to go over the depth and meaning behind the color purple and why he chose to use it in all of his work dedicated to Stroke Awareness. A table was set up with smaller versions of some of his work all priced at $25 dollars each in order to donate to the foundation.
I couldn’t attend this event and leave feeling that I didn’t do my part in contributing to his message. I was torn with all the selections on the table from Grace Jones to Marilyn Monroe, I related and respect both women, but I chose Grace Jones later regretting not taking each one home as I have spent more on a simple item of clothing. Eventually, I do plan on purchasing more of his art in the future as I have visited his site and seen other work that I truly liked.
In the midst of socializing, I bumped into former neighbors who lived in my apartment building, co-workers and even friends that I’ve known for ages in the Los Angeles area. This was like no other event I have attended being that I was genuinely happy to see everyone that I crossed paths with, especially for a good cause.
I was eager to meet the men of the hour as I have never attended any of their exhibits and I had grown fond of all the attention they were receiving. After making my rounds, I headed back towards the area where I could conveniently charge my phone. In between networking, Cooper had made his way onto the step and repeat to take photos on the purple carpet. I waited while he was being interviewed and then asked him for a bit of his time to talk about his event after snagging a photo opt myself. I was prepared for him to be pulled left and right by guest, but to my surprise, it was smooth sailing. Once I sat down, he made his way over to the couch area I was sitting at and we began to have a down to earth conversation about his success as being a leading artist in the city of Los Angeles.
I can’t begin to describe the amount of humility he embodied. I felt absolutely comfortable speaking with him on a different level from being perceived as just a blogger. He showed me just the perfect amount of attentiveness that you don’t normally find in an atmosphere such as this. He was one of a kind, and I wanted to know more about his creativity; first starting with understanding his accomplishments and the level of modesty in achieving the amount of success he’s created for himself over the years.
Starting at the age of three after following in his father’s footsteps, Cooper built his own empire with the help of his cousin James Freeman. From there, he has grabbed the attention of many admirers while also making his art affordable for those who might not have the financial means to purchase for themselves. Over a period of time, he has made his mark with vibrant colors of expression that have influenced a large following, which has also allowed him to team up with other highly driven individuals in educating our society on the importance of taking care of our health.
I can personally relate as my grand-daddy had a stroke not long before he passed away at the close age of 90. I’ve always tried to stay as informed to the signs as with my chest conditions, age is not always a factor and can happen at any moment in time with any health type of issues.
The purple series showcases different iconic artist and prominent individuals that have inspired Cooper for many reasons noted as the limited editions. The images, referred to as Mixed mediums, are paintings used with acrylics and digital technologies of today and older methods in order to create the color and details as we saw displayed. Each one representing a person for their attributes as individuals and remembrance in our generation that we have grown to respect over a period of time. Known faces like Beyonce to Audrey Hepburn and Billy Idol to Obama, where anyone could find a relation to the work that speaks to all of us no matter our level of knowledge for art. Purple, one of the hardest colors to create from dye, yet signifying the meaning of wealth and also one of my main favorite colors.
“Leave your mark” – Bart Cooper