Gen Art Resurrection Benefit
BY STAN BASHMASHNIKOV – SMB.COM
In early December, I was graciously invited by guestofaguest.com to attend a Gen Art Show at the Hudson Hotel in Midtown, Manhattan. These lavish, who’s who, high-end events are thrown several times a year by the Gen Art Foundation, a subsidiary of the Gen Art Organization. Essentially, Gen Art is an arts and entertainment organization that showcases emerging fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists.
Their productions reach nearly 100 events annually – within populated markets including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago. Gen Art had filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier in May of last year. However, rumors were swirling that they had secured funding from angel investors. I kept asking myself – would I really be attending their farewell show?
It was titled the “Resurrection Benefit” – and dubbed “the last Gen Art experience in your lifetime.” The Gen Art Foundation was pulling out all the stops. The genesis of the event was to raise funds to pay back a group of emerging independent filmmakers and fashion designers who suffered economic setbacks when the company was economically-afflicted in early May of 2010. And rightfully so – after 15 years and over 1,000 events – ranging from industries such as fashion, entertainment, music, and media – the company deserved to make a last-stand, if you will, to stay afloat.
The organization has helped introduce names throughout differing industries. Actors Adrian Grenier (Entourage) and Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs), and most recently, Rooney Mara (The Social Network) have all been showcased at Gen Art events prior to achieving showbusiness stardom. Brad Anderson (The Wire, Fringe, The Machinist) and Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou) were fledgling filmakers trying to make their way to the top when their showcases were previewed at a Gen Art event.
Ultimately – the night proved to be a huge hit amongst the crowd. A red carpet ushered the way for our notable attendees – including Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire), Paz De La Huerta (Boardwalk Empire), Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints, The Walking Dead), in addition to designers Richie Rich and Chrissie Miller of Sophomore. I was lucky enough grab a makeshift-position next to photographers from the New Yorker, Newsweek, and People. Exciting stuff, undoubtedly. While my shots weren’t particularly up to some DSLR standards, a handful were featured on guestofaguest.com. I’ve included the majority of them in the gallery (located at the end of this article).
Organizationally and visually – the event was out of this world. A whirlwind of multi-media content was featured everywhere your gazing eyes had turned. The live fashion show/photo shoot was the centerpiece of the show, as young up and coming models and photographers, respectively, aimed to make heads turn. A job well done on all accounts in this area. The theme couldn’t have been anything other than custom leather, which was hand-made and presented by Jordan Betten of Lost Art (who dresses musicians such as Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler). And let’s not forget about photography. The event featured five emerging photographers – Miles Ladin, Arturo, Sam Bassett, Stephen Meierding, and Michael Wientrob – who all did a remarkable job showcasing their visual talents (Google them).
The talent didn’t end there. I got a chance to speak with Kelly Calabrese, from RealTVFilms (www.realtvfilms.com), who interviewed many of the notable guests in attendance. She mentioned how unique Gen Art truly was – both as an organization and as a benchmark for discovering young, emerging talent spanning numerous industries. While this was considered a goodbye benefit – we both agreed that Gen Art would be back and in full-force in 2011. Only time will tell. Be sure to follow Kelly and RealTVFilms at the aforementioned website as they cover the Sundance Film Festival from Aspen on January 20th – 30th.
Maria Uroos, of DesiROckerz (www.desirockerz.com) is an up-and-coming photographer/graphic designer who offered some great insights as to why photography is her chosen expertise. She noted how much she appreciated the high-level of art being showcased at the event, hoping to one day have her work displayed at a major Gen Art event. I’m real, real optimistic this will one day happen for her. Her style is quite innovative. Be sure to check out her talents on her website, listed above.
My final thought was a composite feeling of respect, awe, and sympathy for the entire Gen Art organization. Because of companies such as themselves – up-and-coming professionals, in whatever industry they made be in, are given the opportunity to showcase their talents to the masses. And all it takes is one person to notice. Our country is built upon this principle to pursue what makes you happy – and it is made better by “talent facilitators” such as Gen Art. I’m optimistic you’ll be hearing their name again in 2011.
Stan Bashmashnikov runs stanmichaelbash.com, focusing on industries such as creative marketing, online media, and social networking. Please visit the Contact Me link at the bottom of the page for more info.