Fantasy In Color (FIC) is an artist collective based in Harlem, NYC whose mission is "to create a network of local artistry to band together on projects and bring the arts back into our communities." How do they do it?—By hosting bi-weekly art parties, consisting of both visual and performance artists.
When you walk in you are greeted by a crowd of diverse faces admiring art, having conversations, dancing to music, and overall you feel welcomed. It is as though the art embraces you, and therefore, you embrace the art. With three rooms full of colorful art, there is so much to see.
You find yourself gravitating towards pieces; pulled in by their message, design, and creativity. You can literally spend minutes, if not hours, gazing at the art. Sometimes you may look around and realize that the artist is nearby, noticeable by their classic, "Hello, my name is..." name tags. There's nothing like talking to the artist and getting inside the thoughts behind their piece.
"'Don't Color Me Red,' said Black," was the piece I decided to feature at FIC's art party. A 16x19 frame soaked in many colors; it was a rainbow of sorts. A black figure made of paper mache stood at the center colored with red drops over it's body, representing the Black struggle to remain 'Black' and not 'red' in a society where guns are like paintbrushes painting the black man red. Let's not forget, in this colorful world, black lives matter.
Towards the end of the event, everyone was gathered by the host, president and founder of Fantasy In Color, Rob Ayala. It's showtime! First up to the mic was Richard Pigkaso who wowed the crowd with his yo-yo skills and then switched it up with an original rap entitled, Living Over Laziness Always (L.O.L.A). Following Richard was Lori Minor who shared an original song that she performed for the first time since writing it. Mack Taylor sealed the performances with his Harlem anthem, "Do It 4 Harlem," which had the crowd singing along.
The performances were over but the party wasn't finished. Dj Chase kept the crowd moving as the artists and their art oozed inspiration. Conversations about the creative process, collaborations and more kept artists primed and stretched like canvases readied for painting.
Interested in participating in a future event? If you're an artist, shoot them an email. If you're looking to attend an art party, follow their Instagram. Also, check out their first podcast where Rob Ayala and DJ Chase mix it up with Kadeem Phillip and Ivette Urena, two artists featured in Fantasy In Color.
As per FIC tradition, at each event, the participating artists are invited to draw and/or sign a canvas; leaving their artistic mark. The canvas represents Fantasy In Color perfectly—a collective of artists contributing their own form of artistic expression within one space at one time, captured just like a photo in black and white.