Art. Music. Raising Awareness. These are three main components of our vision here at OZO Coffee, and they were amplified on February 3rd, when Denver based artist Awake the Soul (Christi Stadnik) hosted her second annual First Friday event. We were both beaming throughout the night, witnessing our community gather in support of not only her unique, abstract art, but more importantly to amplify the voice of the Nicaraguan Youth Organization Brigada de Limpieza de Gigante (BLG’s mission: to empower the youth of their community to become environmental stewards of their land). To top it off, Christi invited Boulder based Mr. Mota to perform two full hours of music. The place was rockin’!
I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the artist and the band to get a little more information about the Art, the Music, and the work of BLG.
Here is what Christi had to share:
Tell our readers a little about yourself and how you became an artist:
I’m originally from the east coast and moved to Colorado for school, University of Denver to be exact, where I study Geography. I first discovered my true passion for art my senior year in High School (2020), needing an outlet from the pressures of the pandemic. I’ve appreciated art from a very young age, but truly my business took off upcycling materials I found around my house during the lockdown. I fell in love with the power of creating from there onwards, exploring how I could transform everything from old denim, wood planks, and more into pieces of art that reflected my passion. Norwalk CT Murals Art Park was my first commissioned piece: that is where I developed what I now consider my logo (see image, The Eye within the Triangle). Since then, I’ve continued experimenting with other mediums like old surfboards and mural installations. You can find me on instagram @awake.thesoulart! One of my 2023 goals is to finally get my website up and running, as well as print stickers.
What inspires you most in your art?
Nature, my experiences, personal growth. A lot of the work that I displayed in this showing was inspired by my travels, particularly the Geography trips I had an opportunity to take with DU this fall to Mexico, Southwest Arizona, and Nicaragua. Nicaragua in particular was very memorable and inspired me to become more aware of my own environmental responsibility. It was there that we had the opportunity to work directly with BLG (Brigada de Limpieza de Gigante) and their youth. Many of the young Nica’s in Gigante do not have the opportunity to attend school or learn in social settings, and it was truly humbling to know that this one youth based organization was offering so much more for these young minds. Teaching them to take care of their land through beach clean ups and providing them a safe space to establish self identity are a few of the ways this group makes an impact. You can learn more about BLG and their work by visiting their instagram @blg_playagigante
Any final statements you would like to share?
I do want to add that BLG provides the youth of Gigante with skills for Empowerment! When our youth feels connected to a community, to a sense of personal identity/purpose, everyone benefits. What I witnessed from the connection that the youth had with the teen leaders and with their land cultivated a deeper sense of strength within me – my life has truly changed for the better after experiencing this youth group in action.
Here is what Mr. Mota (band manager Max Lerman) had to say:
This is the second annual Mr. Mota x Awake the Soul collaboration – what inspired you to support this year?
We first met Christi shortly after our band formed in 2021 and just felt an instant connection. She asked us to play her art opening last year and we had a blast, so when she invited us back it was an astounding YES from each of us.
We started off as a “backyard” band playing for graduations and other celebrations, and we really dig a good “lowkey throwdown”! The vibe at OZO Coffee Arapahoe is pretty special.
How many musicians make up Mr. Mota, and how would you describe your music?
There are five of us in total. Me (vocals, keys), my brother, Ari (bass), Brendan (drums), Rosen (guitar, vocals), and Willie (guitar).
I would describe Mr. Mota as a genre bending band heavily influenced by jazz improvisation and heavy on “in the moment” jams. We all come from varied backgrounds musically and have grown a lot in these past two years. Rosen and I write most of our original music. The collaboration process is definitely where we have grown the most, and we continue to fine tune our sounds and what we bring to our live performances. Each of us brings our own “parts” to the songs.
What else would you like our readers to know about Mr. Mota:
Every single one of us is 100% dedicated to this band – from managing to graphic design to songwriting to booking, we do it all and it is not easy, but we love it. We are super excited to be where we are and are excited to announce a summer tour throughout some of our hometowns in the midwest and the east coast. You can learn more about us and our tour on our website: www.mrmotamusic.com and our instagram:@mrmotaband