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Arts & Culture
These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

'Good Times' Brings Color To A Darkened Charlotte Music Venue

Good Times art show
Courtesy Infamous PR
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Examples of previous works from Nico Amortegui (left), Hnin Nie (center) and Georgie Nakima (right).

Kevin Taylor used to drive by murals that artist Georgie Nakima painted in Charlotte and be so fully drawn in by the colors and lightness of the vivid scene that he would have to pull over to stare.

“I’d just imagine being able to walk into one of them – like, how amazing that would be,” said Taylor, a designer, illustrator and creative director at IMEK Studios. “Her work always puts me in a good mood, and is bright and vibrant on the surface.”

Garden of Journey - wtc3.jpg
Courtesy Infamous PR
Georgie Naikima, who creates work as Garden of Journey, poses next to one of her works.

The vibrancy and light is something we could all use a little more of these days, Taylor believes.

So when Taylor was asked by Pabst Blue Ribbon to curate a show at The Underground at The Fillmore, Charlotte’s once-lively music venue that has been just a dark, cavernous room for the past year, he knew he needed to fill it with color and life.

The result is “Good Times,” a free, immersive art show that opens April 30 and runs through May 3.

Taylor selected a diverse collection of Charlotte artists to feature in the show, which has timed entry to help maintain social distancing protocols. Nakima – who produces work under the moniker Garden of Journey -- will be one of the artists with works displayed (and for sale).

Though the works will be “Instagram-worthy” and encourage engagement and photos, Taylor says that isn’t “the catalyst for the show, as some people might have you believe.”

“It's first and foremost to celebrate the art,” he said.

Nico-Amortegui-5.jpg
Courtesy Infamous PR
Nico Amortegui is hopeful that "Good Times" signals a "new beginning."

And also to celebrate a slow emergence from dark pandemic times. Artist Nico Amortegui, who describes his work as “raw and playful” and “Picasso-ish,” will have a life-sized, interactive display.

“The idea is to just sit there and have a good time,” Amortegui said. “Like, get a photo, get a moment, get a memory, because at the end of the day, this is a great show of art and there should be more of them.

“And also it's a new beginning of what's happening in the world. Literally. With all the vaccinations, things are changing.”

Hence, the theme “Good Times.”

“It’s some bright fun escapism right now, which I think everyone could use,” Taylor said.

Despite the lack of shows for the past year, artists like Amortegui, Nakima and Hnin Nie, another artist featured in the show, all said their work has flourished.

Nie, a Goodyear Arts collective artist, said she’s felt her creativity sparked with more time to focus on her art. Amortegui said after a lull for just a couple months in 2020, his work tripled in the last year.

HNin Nie - GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS.JPG
Courtesy Infamous PR
Hnin Nie said she hopes she can "captivate" people with some of her work displayed at "Good Times."

“I think people realized that they needed more art in their house and those empty walls no longer make them happy,” he said.

Nakima, meanwhile, views the pandemic as something that has helped everyone appreciate art in all the little moments in life – from Netflix and Hulu, to even DoorDash bringing us culinary art.

“I think that the past year has just reminded everyone to slow down and be a little bit more intentional with their time and with the reason why we are creating as artists,” she said.

The artists want to keep the products of their creativity mostly a surprise, but confirmed works at “Good Times” will be a walkthrough floral experience, a wooden sculpture, a “taxidermy wall” with 20-30 hand-painted animal heads and a giant, abstract UV reactive throne.

“It's just where we are right now. I don't see any sense in building a show that's dark or too low,” Taylor said. “Right now, I'm just looking for positive things, you know what I mean? And ultimately, that's what I want people to experience — leaving that show feeling hopeful and happy and energized.”

Because “Good Times,” hopefully, are ahead.

A full list of artists participating and reservation slots can be found here.

Do you want to know more about arts and culture in the Charlotte region? WFAE's weekly arts and entertainment email newsletter, Tapestry, will keep you in the loop. Sign up here to have Tapestry delivered straight to your inbox.