Local arts showcase kicks off its first stop in San Diego

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Local arts showcase kicks off its first stop in San Diego

Courtesy of RAW

Courtesy of RAW

Courtesy of RAW

by Lilly Glenister, Senior Staff Writer

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The San Diego chapter of the Los Angeles-based art organization RAW: Natural Born Artists is kicking off the new year with its showcase Futures at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the House of Blues San Diego.

RAW was founded in 2009 by event producer and then-fashion designer hopeful Heidi Luerra. Since its creation, the independent arts organization, which prides itself on being a company “for artists, by artists,” has expanded to more than 70 cities across the world.

The organization works to provide a larger platform for emerging artists in a multitude of creative outlets including visual art, film, hair and makeup artistry, fashion design, music, performance art and photography.

Daniel Chavez, the press and promotion lead for RAW San Diego and a musician himself, said Futures will act as RAW’s inaugural event throughout its different cities in 2016.

“This is a new leaf for RAW itself,” Chavez said. “We are expanding as a company and we are expanding as an arts organization. This is a chance for everyone who is involved (in the company and art organization) to be involved in this growth.”

The Futures event is sponsored by The G.O.O.D.S Magazine, a publication that shares RAW’s dedication to promoting up and coming artists, and San Diego online music news site Listen SD.

The showcase is set to host more than 50 artists from San Diego, along with a few out-of-state artists who participated in a past RAW event and have now earned a spot in the San Diego show.

Chavez said that the showcase will be fast paced and everything is for sale at the event.

“We encourage everyone to network as much as possible and not be there just to show their work, but to be there to represent themselves as an artist,” he said.

Although RAW has received some flack in the past for its platform, which consists of artists selling a set amount of tickets in order to showcase at the large-scale events, the organization does not consider itself a “pay-to-play” company and does not take any commission from the sale of the artwork. One-hundred percent of the sales go to the artists.

Local artist Randy Crawford is one of the many talents who will be showcased at Futures. Crawford studied graphic communications at San Diego State in the early 1980s and recently retired from a fulfilling career as an artist, illustrator and graphic designer for an aerospace company. He currently focuses his energy on digitally transforming his stunning original photographs into painting-like masterpieces.

Crawford, who joined RAW in November 2015, views the organization as a great venue for artists who wish to make their mark and broaden their audience.

“There will be a lot of people there that I wasn’t able to reach before,” he said. “I’ll increase my audience by being apart of this show and that’s what you have to do if you want to grow as a commercial artist.”

SDSU students can get involved with RAW in several different ways. If students are interested in becoming a RAW artist, they can make a profile and submit it on the organization’s website.

Chavez said RAW is always looking for new talent and volunteers for its showcase, and they also hire photographers, production assistants and hosts on a yearly basis.

RAW works to bring exposure to independent artists and to provide artists with the creative tools necessary to build a successful career.

“(RAW) helps to galvanize the artistic community in each city that we function in,” he said. “RAW events are a great opportunity for artists to showcase to a ton of people.”

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