Happy almost New Year!!! I hope 2015 was amazing for you and that you're bringing in this new year with even more amazement and opportunity! Today is the official launch of my blog and I couldn't be more excited on the topic. I went back and forth with what exactly I would write about for my first blog entry; I wanted to start with something major and then it clicked. Spotlight a Memphian who has talent oozing out of their pores and a particular person came to mind; Visual Artist and Musician Lawrence Matthews III., musically known as Donlifted.
I can remember watching him as a kid drawing at Grandma's house, not knowing then the incredible things he would come to do but still aware of the fact that an elementary kid was able to look at a person and capture all their features; that's beyond dope for an 8 or 9 year old right??
Fast forward to present day, Lawrence at 24 has advanced his talents beyond just drawing. He has evolved into an artistic creation, having his hand in music, film, any form of visual art, and aiding in the renovation of Memphis' black art society. He recently received his Bachelor's in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis (2014), was awarded “Best of Show” in the University’s 31st Annual Juried Student Exhibition in 2014, and has tons of exhibitions and performances added to his list of accomplishments.. His most recent task to take on is him teaching an art class for Anna Julia Cooper Educational Services, which is a home school service in the Hickory Hill area; nothing like a full load right?
It's so exciting to see a young African American Memphian thriving in his particular field; despite the negativity that seems to hover over Memphis or the doubts that are presented when developing an individual lane for yourself. Not being what society would consider your typical rapper I'm sure it has been an interesting journey getting to the point of feeling your art is somewhat accepted.
"It's really hard being an artist, but it's even harder being a
black artist that wants to be successful but make work
of substance and it's harder being a black artist in Memphis
that doesn't create music that the
black people here really relate to/enjoy"
I can attest to Memphis being a tough place to start different trends, gain support, or feel accepted when you go against what some consider to be normal. Being able to witness the journey has been inspiring and motivational; I can't say I know what it's like dealing with any aspects of the music industry but I know first hand how being an artist of any form dealing with creativity can be a gift and seem like a curse at times.
I applaud and thank you for your many contributions in bettering the city and taking on a task many wouldn't be able to handle. People tend to think New York and L.A are places where dreams come true or if you make it there you can make it anywhere, but to be successfully living your dream/passion in a city that sometimes seems to thrive off of negativity and rejects diversity is a major accomplishment.
This entry was dedicated to you as an appreciation of all you've done and to show what kind of people really are from and live in Memphis. Please continue to show the world what Memphis is really made of; dedication, hard work, creativity, diversity, pride, fight and talent! Know that we are behind you and you are creating a path for others to be able to follow their dreams no matter how big or different!
We have to support each other and be apart of the events taking place in our City.
Here are a few of his Upcoming Events:
Be sure to check out his many social media outlets showcasing his different projects; for information on Lawrence Matthews III (Donlifted) go to:
Art Webpage: http://www.lawrencematthewsart.com/