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Artist _ 15 JEREMY BIGGERS

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#ARTISTUPRISING

Written by LEE ESCOBEDO

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ith Dallas artists signing to major labels (Bobby Sessions to Def Jam), working on Grammynominated albums (Justus on Dr. Dre’s Compton), and joining legendary rappers on tour (hip-hop artist -topic opening up for Flying Lotus), it’s a peak in our city’s history worth documenting. Multi-hyphenate visual artist Jeremy Biggers is way ahead of you. The filmmaker, designer, muralist, and painter has been making avant-garde music videos on the Dallas music scene since the city’s renaissance began in 2013. “Being able to work with these people has definitely allowed me to grow as much as it has because of the caliber of talent I am working with. Being able to work with Blue, The Misfit., Sam Lao, Sarah Jaffe, and Bobby Sessions has pushed me to grow as well and hone my own craft. As much as I have been documenting their growth visually, it has also helped me grow as a creative as well.” Biggers believes the hip-hop community is gaining momentum, with Sessions’ recent signing to Def Jam leading the way. Biggers and Sessions have been collaborating for a while, but their recent work on the music video for “Like Me” brought Biggers national attention for his visual direction. It’s the type of national attention Biggers is now focused on. While he acknowledges the city’s growth, like any hungry artist, he’s hardly satisfied with staying in Dallas for long. “The music industry in Dallas (as with all creative communities) is growing, albeit at a snail’s pace. It’s hard for people like me who have been working day and night for years honing in on my craft, yet the city can’t always fully support the impact of emerging arts because Dallas is still trying to figure out it’s own identity.” Outside of a minority within major markets, videos for “local” rappers stay in a standard, boring lane. They tend to rely on street tropes flashing stacks of $1 bills made to look like $100s, tire shops, chicken shacks, and visits to dark and gritty strip clubs. Biggers is more interested in reflecting on the art form in threeminute films. His work balances the surreal with minimalist subtleties. “I hate for it to look like a typical Dallas music video, where I know exactly where the scenes are shot at. I want people to feel like my videos are not necessarily from Dallas; I want them to compete on an international level. I try to make sure creativity is at the forefront of what I’m doing so I don’t fall into the trap of shooting downtown Dallas from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.” One of the artists he frequently collaborates with is rapper and

singer Sam Lao—who also happens to be his wife. He describes their collaborations as “special.” Lao has a degree in graphic design and is a creative in her own right. “She comes to the table with ideas; I come to the table with ideas; and we figure out how to mesh them to make sense of what we want to do creatively together. She is very particular and very specific with what she wants to do. It’s more like two creative directors working on one project.” While Biggers has been busy documenting the rise of Dallas hiphop the last few years, he rarely rests on a single medium. He is also an accomplished painter, having shown at {neighborhood}, The Public Trust, and held an artist-in-residence at the Fairmont Hotel. While he has gained opportunities, he cites an oversaturation of nepotism in his lack of gallery representation or landing largescale solo shows. “I think the gallery scene (as with a lot of scenes) is a cosign community. If L.A. or N.Y.C. hasn’t discovered you, then Dallas doesn’t care. It doesn’t go out of its way to show Dallas artists. Other cities have to give you a show first. Once that happens, your phone is ringing off the hook. I find it annoying. We live in an Internet age; we don’t need the galleries to have people view our work. It’s kind of like gallery representation compared to the music industry and record labels. It helps to be affiliated, but you don’t need it to get your work seen,” Biggers says. As in all his artistic endeavors, Biggers embraces a forward-thinking approach. If Dallas won’t pay attention on the level he seeks, he’ll look internationally, using the Internet to network and build. “As time progresses, that distance will grow. The galleries are still operating on ‘this is how we have always done it,’ although media and how we consume it is changing. If galleries are not careful, they’ll go the way of Blockbuster: something as simple as Redbox or Netflix will make it more convenient. There are so many other ways to view artwork (like ArtMail—read story on page 94). Galleries will put themselves out of business with an elitist attitude.” For 2018, Biggers is currently putting together a large body of new work he will pitch to galleries outside of Dallas. As always, he will continue to document the city’s rising hip-hop scene. While Biggers has given Dallas his blood, sweat, and tears, he can’t stay the city’s most underrated artist for long... You can find Biggers either at Beauty Bar when DJ Sober is spinning or at Off the Record when Blue, The Misfit. or Taylor Rea are spinning. Catch @STEMANDTHORN on Instagram.

Profile for Artist Uprising

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