A couple of years ago I thought local art was only for hipsters and anti-mainstream subcultures. That’s before I learned that all art begins in community.
When I visited my friend Sarah out in Colorado Springs she started talking about this band from the Springs that she was totally into. She told me that she went to almost every show, and some of the guys dropped in for a special performance at her sister’s birthday party. That was the first time I thought local art might not be exclusive after all. Then I came to Greenville and met a lot of musicians with amazing talent and really creative ideas. But the problem was, not a lot of people outside campus culture had even heard of them.
If you’re a student at Greenville, you’ve likely run into Trey Brockman. When he formed TREY (pronounced All Caps Trey) and really began promoting their music, a lot of my friends were diehard fans. As TREY slowly started gaining momentum, I realized it was those diehard fans that gave TREY their first breathe of life. Without the radical support of students and townies, without people who check out up and coming bands in somewhat sketchy venues, TREY wouldn’t have gained an audience. They wouldn’t have the platform they do now. Watching this progression convinced me that supporting local art is for every person.
A unique trademark of TREY is their extreme focus on their fans. From Instagram posts to audience engagement at each show, TREY feels more like one giant family than just another indie band. The band recognizes the significant role a faithful audience plays in getting noticed, “Local buzz is what bigger agencies and labels look for when identifying talent in local markets,” (Trey Brockman). With more than 40k monthly subscribers, TREY is on their way to embracing even more hearts.
“Every huge artist or musician was local at one point. If you know of a band that you really enjoy that’s playing a local show, you showing up specifically for them can mean they make enough money to pay for gas that night, or be enough to get them to the next show.” ~Trey Brockman, TREY
This principle applies to all art. Take recent Greenville grad Rebecca Munshaw and senior Erin Gilmore. Their work has been significantly impacted by the support of a local audience. Rebecca became known for her distinct style of blending color. Each of her paintings tells a unique story through the visual movement and transformation of color. Becca will tell you that developing an art form is not an easy journey. But the reward of a supportive community makes the journey worth it. If you’re interested in commissioning a piece, check out @rebeccamunshaw on Instagram.
“Every great artist/musician/athlete etc starts somewhere. When people support local artists it provides the artists with a chance to move forward with their dream and bless more people with the gift of creativity and ingenuity that has been given them.” ~ Rebecca Munshaw
For Erin Gilmore, what began as a doodle borne outof boredom has become a quiet revolution of friendship and a budding business. Erin Gilmore’s “Pals” are unique renditions of creatures and plants who hold special meaning to each commissioner. Using colors
unique to the inspiration of the project, Erin brings these special friends to life. Because of students on campus and in the community, Erin has been able to open her own Etsy shop.
“It’s important to support local artists because of the joy both the receiver and the artist will get. You gain a unique item that someone made in joy versus buying a hobby lobby item that at least 100 other people have.”~ Erin Gilmore, founder Erimore Art
Maybe you started reading this article as one of those diehard super fans who always supports their friends. Or maybe you started out a little skeptical like me. Either way, I hope you walk away convinced to support local art. Never hold back words of encouragement, and always show up to the next art show or the next concert when you can. Your presence matters. Art begins in community.
Media by:Di’Mond Salmond