Dig Baton Rouge


By Tara Bennett


A fusion of art and technology is on tap this week with the premiere of “Pop!” a Smart Series. This smart art series launches on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Theater and is set to appear monthly with dates to be announced. Admission to the event is $8, which allows patrons to buy art and enjoy interactive media with live music.

Created by local artist Neda Parandian, “Pop!” serves as a new type of exhibition, which combines art and technology into a multidisciplinary project in order to bring a new progressive experience to Baton Rouge. Parandian has been highly involved in the local art community. Last year she co-created a series of successful art shows called The Splatter Effect, and this year, she spoke with the Varsity Theater about bringing a strong art and music series to the Highland Rd. location in order to provide Baton Rouge with a regular, continuous pop up art event. Another goal via Pop! is to offer an outlet for local artists of all spectrums to showcase their art and give them more exposure.

“One of my goals is to create a launching place for artists in Baton Rouge,” said Parandian. “We don’t want to limit ourselves to one type of art, we want to have a full spectrum of artists. If it’s acrobatics, robotics, 3-D projections, we want to give everyone a platform.”

The lineup for Thursday evening’s entertainment features an array of talent and activities including interactive media, art created by local artists, live music, performers, and the latest in scientific breakthroughs.

“What we’re doing is kind of mixing a lot of education into it, but you won’t even notice because you’ll be having so much fun,” said Parandian. “This is a very progressive, experimental show. We’re doing something purely radical with what’s happening with art, music, technology. We need to bring that to Baton Rouge…hopefully we can create more unique, progressive events that showcase a lot of talent here.”

An array of art will be on sale for the evening, including original fine art paintings, handmade masks, jewelry, paper works, ceramics, and photography. The lineup features over 20 artists including Gabriel Aguilar, owner of TZ Pro Graphix and designer of the Pop! logo, who has displayed his illustrations in the past at the Surreal Salon 7 at the Baton Rouge Gallery.

Another artist is Carl Jacobson, who has also shown at Surreal Salon 7 and Prospect 3 with his custom Adidas designs. Dimitri Pagaoulato, a self-taught painter who specializes in iconography and sculpting will be showing, along with plein-air painter Paul Neff. Other artists include Michelle Elder, Paul Ruez, Michael Decuir, Michael Walker, Mike Carambat, Alex Escobar, Shane Leggio, Tex Anne, David Losavio, Drew Guillory, Nima Parandian, Reginald Hatch, Danny Picou, Holly Hubbard Heine, Frank Venadas and Courtlyn Sholar.

“Drew Guillory, he’s kind of new on the list,” said Parandian. “He’s the guy who drives the Delorean car around Baton Rouge. So I was like I have to have him in there, he’s in the Back to the Future car. That is definitely different.”

In addition to the artwork, the event will feature aerial silk artist Aeradroid, and performance pieces by Brittney Morse and Jana King, who will create their skits based off of the themes for the show. Providing auditory atmosphere that evening will be live music by Shoelace with a solo performance featuring EarthChilde.

With Paradian becoming more involved and appreciative of the technological branch of the art sector, she wanted to bring the latest in technology to Baton Rouge. On display throughout the night will be bionic limb designs by Ross Senske, 3-D visual projections by John Gray, and robotics by Jason Spears, which will give attendees an idea of what is currently going on in the technology world. Also an interactive black light drawing room by Aguilar will be available for attendees to experience.

“We’re pushing the envelope and doing things you might not normally think of doing,” said Parandian. “It’s probably one of the most different shows you’ll ever see because of the technology edge to it…You’re not going to get bored that’s for sure.”

For more info check out the official fan page for Pop! at nparand.wix.com/popsmartseries or on Facebook at /popsmartshow. Those interested in participating at future Pop! shows should email Parandian at Nparand@gmail.com.


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