When it comes to art, whether its fashion, or music, or the visual arts, there is a general stigma that has been associated with artistic individuals for centuries. This is, that although artists are generally revered for their talents, they often become isolated, impoverished, and eventually discouraged. Even the most famous of artists of today often got shunned back in their time and end up creating their masterpieces alone and with only a few carrot sticks to munch on, only to gain worldwide recognition centuries later, appearing in museums and used in commercials.
This lack of connectivity in the art world leads artists of all stripes to either give up their dreams and get a “real job”, or continue along despite not really earning a fair living wage. Many stay in their basements, driven by passion and working long hours, but to no real avail.
If you are an artist, then you may know that some hand made creation of yours that took you 40 hours to create perhaps will only sell for less than $100. To break that down into earnings, that means an artist is working for just over $2 an hour. Sad! This may be a generalized view of how it is to be an artist, but it is also, more often than not, the true tale.
Luckily, there are organizations such as RAW Natural Born Artists that exist to work to bring all kinds of artists together, through the various events they hold, and through their organization as a whole.
RAW is a huge international collective whose mission statement is essentially to shine a spotlight on artists, and providing them with the tools they need to make it in the big bad art world of today. Its really no joke, either. The art world, regardless what facet we’re talking about, is generally dog eat dog. If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on art school (aka fashion school, film school, photography school, and so forth), often times you realize by the time that you leave that you were provided with no skill set along the lines of a business acumen, and you head right back to your apartment or basement with no clue what to do or where to go…
The History Of RAW – Natural Born Artists
This story resonates with the history of RAW, because this is basically how Heidi Luerra, founder of RAW, got started back in 2003.
Heidi always wanted to be a fashion designer, but realized that starting her own clothing line and selling it here and there wasn’t going to be enough. While searching for a better way to gain exposure for herself, she eventually found her calling when she had her own fashion showcase in L.A. in 2005 and connected with the community there. The connection was so powerful that Heidi realized that connecting artists was what she wanted to do from that point on (in addition to fashion, of course).
And so she did – RAW eventually saw the collaboration between Heidi and a website maker named Matthew Klahorst in 2009, to make their dream of an online artist collective a reality.
Soon after that, RAW began to expand in leaps and bounds, eventually busting out of the L.A. scene and onto the international stage, making its way around the United States, up to Canada, then crossing the ocean to the U.K. and eventually chugging along until they reached Australia! Now RAW appears in over 70 cities worldwide, bringing their mission and their highly stimulating and innovative showcases to artists and art lovers around the world!
Here’s a video clip of one of their epic shows in Melbourne, Australia.
With many years under their belt now, RAW as an organization is internationally known and all of their shows are just a joy for everyone involved, being so colorful and creative as they are. And it all serves to fill a very practical need, which is providing artists with everything they need to get by. This includes resources, exposure, and also friendship and connectivity with other artists from around the country.
Check out the pic below of the ladies from Tobias Designs out of Kansas, a RAW featured artist as they attend an event.
RAW specializes in a variety of types of art, from music, to hair and make up, photography, fashion, to performance art and visual art. Because they have an international following, they have hot spots in over 70 major cities in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia, and they organize colorful and exciting shows in each city in turn (kind of like a more art-y Lolapalooza) to showcase their artists’ talents.
RAW Is Raw!
Oh, and by the way, they are called RAW for a reason. When it comes to their shows, and their artists, “raw” is really the best word you could use to describe them. With RAW, they like their creativity to be unleashed, but also fun, and focusing on bringing people together. This isn’t anarchy-fest, this is more of a love vibe, because that’s what makes the world go ‘round and it is always a good time.
When a RAW show descends upon a city or town, it has the opposite effect of a cold drizzling rainfall that sends us back under the covers – it is generally a warm night of good times and fun for all, and a whole lot of exposure and connection. As an artist, or an art lover, you don’t want to miss out on it!
What might you expect to see when you go to a RAW Showcase? You get a little taste of everything, that’s what – from screenings of independent films (movies, music videos, and more), to local fashion designers having their creations hitting the runway, to vendor booths selling local wares of all types, to visual arts and photography. It definitely runs the gamut. Once you factor food and drink into the proceedings, a great time is usually had by all.
RAW has developed an online platform which serves to showcase their creative peoples internationally, using various types of online profiles. If you hook up with RAW as a RAW artist, you can choose from a variety of online profiles to help you get the word out about yourself. There are a number of perks on the website as well, allowing you as an artist to share your photos, music, and shout out upcoming events of your own. There’s lots to take part in, so its worth checking out their website to get hooked up with an artist account.
That said, RAW does have their own screening process, which involves every artist taking part in one of their shows. So, in effect, every artist who applies may not get their own profile on RAW, but the screening process is worthwhile because it simply requires every artist to be prepared to contribute to the RAW community before getting all of their exclusive promo tools and access. Once you’re part of the community, not only do you get access to RAW’s tools, but you also get notified when and where there are RAW events to take part in!
If you take nothing else from this, just know that RAW is out there, and as an art maker or lover, you should check out a show the next time one rolls through your city or town. If you’re an artist yourself, get your stuff together and head on over to their website to see about making a profile or collaborating with RAW on their next event!
We’ll leave you with this. The RAW-mobile crossing the country and trying to spread the word back in 2012. You’ve come a long way, baby!