Emergence of Self-Made “Collectives” Are a New Trend Worth Paying Attention To
Photographers, Painters, and Musicians are Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands
A new breed of creative people is emerging from today’s youth. Groups of multi-talented creative types are banding together under a common name, referred to as a collective or crew, and promoting themselves by highlighting each other’s talents. One defining feature of these collectives are that they are usually self-funded, and rely strictly on their own guerilla advertising techniques to promote themselves. Instead of hiring an ad agency, many of these collectives invest in vinyl stickers and cheap posters which they illegally plaster all over street signs and bus benches to make their name or logo well-known. Another technique that these collectives utilize is self-promotion through different internet platforms. Every social media site is fair game when it comes to self-promotion; Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, Google. Nearly every social media site, has become inundated with media created by these collectives with the sole intent of self-promotion.
The collective known as “Oddfuture” is a group consisting of young musicians, artists, and photographers. Oddfuture has quickly become the focal point of a huge amount of media attention and has recently been met with a lot of financial success. This large group of kids, based out of Los Angeles, adequately depict the successful formula when forming a collective: they used every type of internet self-promotion available (with an emphasis on YouTube videos), consist of a huge variety of kids with different talents (rappers, graphic designers, photographers etc.), and put all of the money they made back into their advertising. Some of the break-out stars of Oddfuture include the front man, rapper Tyler The Creator, Earl (who has been considered to be one of the best lyrical rappers of our time), and Julian Berman, their main photographer. Berman’s work has recently been on the covers of magazines such as Billboard and XXL. Additionally, Berman has recently created a highly sought after photography book titled, Golf Wang which revolves around the documentation of the Oddfuture Kids.
Another crew that has recently been met with a lot of success and praise is known as “The Seventh Letter.” The Seventh Letter consists of a large quantity of artists who practice different mediums, in the visual arts, and attribute most of their recognition to the use of graffiti. Nearly, every single artist in The Seventh Letter has a background in the practice of graffiti writing and has made a name for themselves by relentlessly painting their names and logos across the world. Some of the most notable members of The Seventh Letter include: Jason Williams (more commonly known as Revok) who has painted graffiti murals around the world and has helped to create graphic designs for some of today’s most popular brands such as LRG and Krew, the heavily influential cartoonist and graffiti artists known as Dabs and Myla, and photographer/photojournalist KC Ortiz who has recently received an award for his photography.
One commonality among collectives is their emphasis on relentless self-promotion and dependency on media in order to gain recognition. With the success of collectives such as Oddfuture and The Seventh Letter, more and more kids are adhering to the do-it-yourself mentality of creating upstart companies and crews to gain financially and become well-known.