BK KREATE WITH St. SPRAY SOUP
Written by Ashley Alleluya
“I’m excited to watch some magic happen tonight,” someone told me as we hung out at the Kingdome Lounge on the top floor of the Artspace studio for the first St. Spray Soup of 2017. Held on a beautiful Saturday evening, the event was a partnership between Monstarium and Burger King Kuwait, and our magazine had the honor of capturing the amazingness of the night.
In my head, this felt like the perfect collaboration. Artspace always ebbs with artistic life, delighting my senses each time I step in, making it the perfect venue for St. Spray Soup. Monstarium is the poster-child for the creative voice of today – opinionated, unfiltered, colorful and social, and this movement to create and collaborate could have only come from them. Burger King is the eternally fun brand, and brought to the table its fun and playful side, with their support and the hashtag #BKKREATE. This edition of St. Spray Soup also brought with it an incentive – the opportunity to win merchandise worth 100KD from main sponsors Burger King – and the participants went for the jackpot, all guns blazing.
If you were to take a walk around the open work area at Artspace that evening, you’d hear several layers of sound. The loudest layer was a steady stream of music to keep the artists inspired. Under that, a layer of peripheral sounds, chairs and tables squeaking under the weight of creativity, footsteps rushing across the floor to get materials for a project or a quick coffee from the bar, along with the sounds of spray cans and pencils adding life to paper. Binding all these sounds together was the steady hum of conversation, people marveling at each other’s work, receiving exposure to different creative languages, and inviting artistic minds from around the studio to collaborate and blend together their styles.
This bustling scene of creative chaos is what Monstariam speaks of aiming for since the first St. Spray Soup was held in 2014. “I always knew there was a lot of talent here in Kuwait, especially among the younger crowd, but I couldn’t find these people because they had no platform to showcase their work or involve anyone in their creative process,” he says. “With St. Spray Soup now also backed by Burger King, these voices have an outlet and a space where they can come with their ideas and tools, and meet like-minded people at an event which helps them form collaborations, learn and grow as artists.”
When Monstariam speaks of young voices, I don’t think he refers only to age as a reference point. Sure, there were participants in their teens, twenties and thirties, but this event also saw children as young as a two-year-old and a 60-year-old woman bring their perspectives to the table. Young, in this case, also meant the amount of experience each participant had with displaying their work, or even experimenting with the world of art. “I remember this young girl working on her sketch of a ballerina,” Monstariam tells me. “She had a specific image in mind and her sketch captured the ballerina from an upward angle – not the easiest of perspectives to work with. She did an amazing job! When she told me that she had never drawn for herself before this, I was shocked. For an untrained hand, this was masterful work.”
I personally believe that the confidence this young woman had in her work can only come from a feeling of comfort, knowing that she’s in an environment that’s set up to nurture rather than critique. There was nobody around the studio that believed in a wrong way to express art. Everyone’s viewpoint was a valid one, every piece given its due. Because people were so uninhibited, they were able to not only put their voices down on canvas, but also embrace other participants’ work as well. “I looked around at some of the stuff people were doing,” Monstariam remembers, “and I saw certain patterns emerging from some styles of work – patterns that would perfectly complement another person’s creation at the studio. So, I would introduce these people, have them sit down and share their ideas, and what we got by the end of the event was stunning.”
I completely understand his awe and the pride he feels at the success of these partnerships. Most of these participants wouldn’t usually seek out such team efforts because their work is confined to a personal form of expression, but finding themselves together in a room that took them out of their comfort zone, quite literally, was what helped them find their creative equals. Such collaborative harmony is what makes for some of the best artistic work, whether in graffiti, music or writing, and it was evident here throughout the evening.
Upstairs, the Kingdome team had a lounge area for anyone who wanted a breather from the intensity below. We had the chance to interact with a lot of the participants at St. Spray Soup, and quickly became clear was the diversity walking through our doors. People of all ages, backgrounds, interests and levels of expertise spoke about their excitement at finding an event that invites artists from around the country to just work together. We had professional artists, fashion enthusiasts, graphic designers, writers, singers and also a beat-boxer, cheering on St. Spray Soup and thanking Monstarium and Burger King for putting this evening together.
I asked people around the event if there were any particular things that stood out to them about the evening, and then posed the same question to Monstariam. The answer was resoundingly unanimous and Monstariam perhaps put it best. “More than any specific piece of work, my favorite part of this edition of St. Spray Soup was watching people work, along and together, and discovering the potential they have as artists. Just from this event, we already found two amateur artists who we think would do well with a big-scale project, and this is just one of many moments of genius from the night.” “Most importantly,” he concluded, “from what we witnessed, I want the participants from this edition of St. Spray Soup to remember that the 11th of February, 2017 was the night they realized they can draw.”