In Conversation with Emmy Award Winning Composer David Nichtern

David Nichtern is a songwriter, record producer, guitarist, and composer for film and television. A four-time Emmy award-winner and two-time Grammy-nominated composer, he is widely known for his classic song, “Midnight at the Oasis”.

David began playing guitar when he was eight, composing in his teens, and working as a professional musician while still in college at Columbia University, where he had a rock band called Voltaire’s Nose with lifetime friend Christopher Guest.

Throughout a diverse and colorful career, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Jerry Garcia, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Christopher Guest, Lana Del Rey, Brand New Heavies, Maria Muldaur, The McGarrigles, Patti LuPone, David Bromberg, Dr. John, Sultan Khan and Krishna Das.

We caught up to discuss his successful career and his latest recording “Pandemoonia”  You can read the full interview on Occhi Magazine.

 

Image, courtesy of David Nichtern

Participating in A Global Art Community

The challenges of the last few years are combined with the necessary focus on my practice and wider professional commitments. Despite the pandemic and its challenges, I have endured, moved forward, bridged significant relationships, and created opportunities with hope for a positive and prosperous future. Whilst have been shamefully neglectful of my personal blog site, I have documented many of my activities via my company websites; Occhi & Entertainment, Occhi Contemporary, and Occhi Magazine. You’ll find several projects I have curated and interviews with several amazing artists who have inspired me beyond measure!

In recent months, I have been privileged to once again participate in the 2022 Caribbean Fine Art Fair, and co-host a number of webinars and talks with prominent artists and academics from the African and Caribbean diaspora. Art fans from across the world were able to join CaFA 2022 at the Norman Centre, Broad Street in Bridgetown, Barbados, but also through caribbean.global .

One of the artists I was honoured to meet was Cheryl D. Miller. Cheryl D Miller is a designer, author, and theologian who is best known for her diversity, equity, and inclusion advocacy for black graphic designers in the industry and marketplace. Miller holds a Master of Science degree in visual communications from Pratt Institute and received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with Foundation Studies completed at the Rhode Island School of Design. She also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. An accomplished, award-winning designer and businesswoman, Miller established one of the first black women-owned design firms in New York City in 1984.

The event included a segment on NFTs by Zoe Osborne of Mahogany Culture, one of the early adopters of NFTs in Barbados and the Caribbean. She dedicated a portion of her panel discussion to exploring and clarifying facts about the new digital option for artists. For further information on the artist and the online exhibition of works, visit the caribbean.global website.

Together for Our Planet Exhibition

Further to the Occhi Arts and Entertainment/Phoenix call for artists to participate in the collaboration, we have produced a short publication featuring artists across the globe. I have also interviewed several artists and discussed their careers and exhibition entries. Further information is available on the Occhi Arts &Entertainment websites.  For further information visit the following link

 

Art, Artists and Inspiration!

David Emmanuel Noel: Photo Credit Gary ThomasI’ve been extremely productive with Occhi Arts and Entertainment over the last few months, launching the platform’s Contemporary Art Gallery. We’ve had the privileged of showcasing the work of several talented artists, including Pantea Mahrou, Despina Symeou, and Gary Thomas.

Pantea Mahrou began her professional career ten years ago, delving into architecture and taking a leading role in her family’s construction company. She went on to teach at the acclaimed Azad University of Tehran. From a young age, she fell in love with ancient architecture, specifically the Archimedean era, which has inspired her study into its rich history. She remains committed to uncovering its mysteries and secrets. Using spiritual symbols, and architectural influences, her work provides energy that encapsulates the rich history of Middle Eastern culture with a contemporary perspective on life.  Paying careful attention to the colors used, she provides audiences with a sense of calm and peace.

Pantea Mahrou
Pantea Mahrou

Multidisciplinary Artist Gary Thomas’ creativity and thirst for knowledge has inspired many years of study, growth, and development in the creative arts industry. He also continues to highlight major players, celebrities and document the activities of individuals in the industry, particularly with photo portraits. Gary has an archive of photographs. Over the years he has photographed many household names such as Nile Rodgers, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, TLC, Professor Sir Magdi Habib  Yacoub, Lalah Hathaway, Dianne Reeves, Hugh Masekela, and Van Morrison. I was honoured to be included as part of this list this month, featuring the accompanying photo (Above)

Gary Thomas

Despina Symeou is a Painter-Printmaker who lives and works in London. After the study of art forms focusing on fine art, printmaking and photography, Despina specialized in Jewellery Design, gaining a B.A.Hons Degree from Middlesex University. In recent years she has returned to the two-dimensional formats that had originally fired her imagination, predominantly in etching. Her work is currently featured in Occhi Contemporary’s online exhibition ‘ Not Just For The Bedroom’ Please visit the Occhi Contemporary Website for further information on the artists, news, and forthcoming shows.

Despina Symeou

Participation in The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) 2021 Conference

The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) holds its 2021 conference this month. The event is designed to provide networking opportunities for young museum professionals, professional development, and online learning. Speaking about the event, Vedet Coleman-Robinson, Executive Director said, “Last year’s successful launch of the first virtual conference proved that despite our distance, we can still learn, grow, and network together virtually.   Historically, the AAAM conference is a family reunion of sorts for professionals of African and African American-focused museums as well as a wide array of cultural institutions.  Last year, we gathered and connected virtually and we all were safe, protected, and healthy.  We want to have that same outcome this year.”

This year,  I’m privileged to participate in a panel discussion, titled ‘Museum Pedagogy: Informing and Educating through a Parallel Delivery of Arts, Media, and Mentorship’. I’ll be joined by Kishan Munroe- a Bahamian documentarian, researcher, and interdisciplinary artist whose practice comprises painting, drawing, photography, film, installation art, and assemblages, and Alexis Alleyne-Caputo (Afro Diaries™ & Grace and Graffiti™) – anthropologist, researcher, and award-winning interdisciplinary artist. We’ll be exploring the importance of the arts and how artists may contribute to their communities whilst supporting worthwhile objectives of museums and educational institutes.

Registered participants will gain insight on a variety of topics surrounding the museum field from a range of museum professionals throughout the country with the conference and plenary sessions.  Keeping in the tradition of their conferences, AAAM will have special guests for their keynote address and evening receptions. This year’s event will again be virtual allowing registrants to be safe, empowered, and engaged while keeping safe and healthy.

The conference runs from August 4 -6th 2021. For further details, and to register for the event please visit the AAAM’s website.

Launch of Occhi Contemporary Arts

Hoping you’re all well and looking after yourselves as we continue through this unprecedented period. It’s been quite a busy period on the art front, which has resulted in me writing fewer blog entries. However, my time has been productive back in the studio and working with Occhi Arts and Entertainment colleagues on several projects.

We’ve officially launched our visual arts platform, Occhi Contemporary Arts. The platform will showcase an eclectic mix of contemporary art by artists, with an integrated program of shows, including solo and group exhibitions. The first featured artist is London-born Kerry Zacharia.I had the pleasure of interviewing Kerry a few years ago. She has lived and worked in London all her life. Her successful 2018 solo show ‘London in Different Dimensions’ is Occhi Contemporary Art’s inaugural feature,  now online for a worldwide audience to see.  As a self-taught artist, guided by her vision, instinct, and intuition, Zacharia takes viewers on a journey through familiar urban scenes of London. The artist originally presented this collection at her central London solo art exhibition near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. The exhibition was originally hosted by The Salvation Army at their International Headquarters, within their Gallery 101 space. Kerry has been a longtime supporter of the organization, fundraising to raise awareness and money to help support its work combating homelessness and modern slavery.  In her time practicing, she has succeeded in engaging audiences with her expressive and highly individual graphic line style.

Kerry Zacharia's Landscape by Dimensions ( Ink on Paper)
Kerry Zacharia’s Landscape by Dimensions ( Ink on Paper)

Despite the lockdowns, I’m glad to have written about many creatives working on exciting projects. I’ve also caught up with many inspiring artists who, despite recent difficulties, have focused on developing their practice or collaborating with others to show the true value of the arts. This includes Acclaimed Artist and Army Veteran Darrell Urban Black and the award-winning painter O Yemi Tubi. 

Please visit the Occhi Magazine and our new site Occhi Contemporary Arts for more info.