If you have never attended an Art Party before, you are in for a big surprise. It is an entire evening of unpretentious music and art right here in Pensacola. It began with an idea that came to Jef Bond, creator and organizer, when he figured out that a lot of the artists he knew had no place to show their work.
“I would see my friends’ work hanging on walls in private homes and not in galleries,” said Bond. “They would tell me they could not get into galleries because their subject matter or style is not what local galleries wanted. As a photographer myself, I also have friends that wanted to buy art and could not find any, so I put the two together. Basically, do it our way.”
The Art Party features artists, visual performance arts, live music from The Suzies, The Isles and Imaginary Air Show, DJ styling from AnyDayDJ, free food, treats and raffles for great prizes. So many businesses have sponsored the event by donating money and prizes such as: Culinary Productions, Inc., Solé Inn and Suites, Revolver Records, The Fish House, Intracoastal Outfitters—the list is long and varied. All of the art on display will be auctioned off.
It was designed to be a fundraiser for Help Hope Live, a non-profit organization, formerly known as the National Transplant Assistance Fund. Bond is a 2009 kidney transplant recipient. The Help Hope Live group helps transplant recipients learn the skills necessary to put on their own fundraisers, and raise the money they need to assist with medical expenses.
This year if you attend you are encouraged to dress as an artist, a piece of art or have an artist make you up. Anything and everything goes. If you make it extraordinary, you can win cash and an Art Party 9 trophy. There are VIP packages available for purchase as well that can make the evening unforgettable.
One of the bands playing at Art Party 9—The Suzies—formed about a year ago after a chance encounter at a party. Based in Mobile, Ala., the band consists of full-time glass blower Joe Hobbs, along with Luke Buckley, Jeremy Padot and Willis Garrett.
They write all of their own songs and cover some songs that have influenced the band along the way. They have a 45-minute set of all original music. The covers include bands like The Beats, The Turtles and even a cover of Whitney Houston’s “Dance with Somebody.”
“We have been trying to wrap up words to describe our music,” said Hobbs. “It is 1950s and 1960s pop music, with a contemporary feel. We are calling it sonic pop for now. That is a hard question to answer.”
To date, The Suzies do not have any recorded albums. They do, however, have a goal of 13 songs before they sit down to record. So far, they are sure on eleven, and two they are still writing.
“It is an extensive, laborious process.” Hobbs said. “They should have it wrapped up by February.”
Hobbs started glass blowing at Belmont Arts and Cultural Center. He said he came to love it and was hooked after attending Rhode Island School of Design. He was taking drawing and painting at the time, and glass blowing was an elective.
“I was entranced by glass blowing, the process was difficult,” said Hobbs.
Hobbs and Bond connected on the art front, and each year Hobbs shows his work at the Art Parties. This year Bond contacted him about both the art and live music.
“Music is something I have always wanted to do,” said Hobbs. “We are doing a kick-start for the album, taking donations and pledges, when we reach a certain goal the record will be made. We want to make a vinyl record.”
“These are some awesome guys to work with,” said Luke Buckley, writer, drummer, guitarist and piano player for The Suzies.
Buckley learned to write songs from his grandfather, Robert Buckley, in New York. His dad builds all the guitars he plays. He moved to Mobile, Ala. from Brooklyn, N.Y. and went to school at the University of Alabama to major in communications. At the time, he was working with an independent film company that had him on the road quite a bit. The whole time he was on the road, all he did was write songs.
As for the future of The Suzies, Buckley said, “We want to keep making music.”
ART PARTY 9
WHEN: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28
WHERE: Ware Are You, 3715 W. Navy Blvd.
COST: $35 and up