New sculpture installation hopes to revive North Chattanooga

By Taylor Ellis

CHATTANOOGA, TN (The Loop / UTC) – A recently approved ordinance will allow Graffiti art gallery a permanent art installation on the sidewalk just outside the studio on Cherokee Boulevard.

The work, which was the idea of owner David Jones and sculptor Bryan Rasmussen, will be installed outside the gallery in the upcoming weeks and will be a permanent resident of 505 Cherokee Blvd for at least the next year. The plans for the sculpture, which will be somewhere close to 10 feet tall when completed and weigh close to 1000 pounds, was first submitted to the city sometime in late November 2013. “I wasn’t sure who to even contact,” owner David Jones said about the beginning of the project. Eventually, the blueprints for the installation and photos of the work were submitted to the city engineer’s office where they waited to be approved.

Several weeks later, representatives from the city’s transportation department inspected the site for the sculpture to make sure there would be plenty of room for sidewalk traffic and cars alike. “I’ve been really impressed, even though it’s taken longer than I had hoped,” Jones said. The resolution for the installation was signed in early March, making it an official project scheduled for completion in the upcoming weeks.

“Harvester” during its creation.

“I’m hoping within two or three weeks we’ll have it up,” Jones said about the latest addition to his gallery. This will be the first commissioned piece that the gallery will feature outside the normal floor space. “The appeal to us was that it’d give us more street appeal,” Jones said, later adding that the the size of the sculpture would help to add more visibility from the street.

The work, which is called “Harvester,” is another in a long line of sculptures by local artist Bryan Rasmussen. In addition to his work outside Graffiti, Rasmussen’s works can also be seen on the campuses of Red Bank High School and Chattanooga State.

Rasmussen grew up in North Georgia and did not have any aspirations to be a sculptor in his early life. However, as an art student at the University of West Georgia, a required sculpting class changed his outlook and his life. Rasmussen has contributed many works to the studio at Graffiti, and has worked under acclaimed sculptor John Henry. 

A work by Bryan Rasmussen at Red Bank High School

A work by Bryan Rasmussen at Red Bank High School

Some of Bryan Rasmussen’s sculptures include:

Originally, the installation of the outdoor sculpture was planned for late February to coincide with a gallery show Rasmussen was featured in at Graffiti. However, the process of approval for a city project proved to be a much longer process that initially thought.

“Everybody has been really helpful with the city, it just had to go through multiple people.” David Jones said about the entire process from idea to approval. “I think it’ll be neat in giving this end of Cherokee Boulevard some more prominence.” In addition to the installation of the sculpture, several other activities are planned for the upcoming spring to help and draw attention to this area of North Chattanooga.

In late March, students from the Savannah College of Art and Design will display their photography in the studio at Graffiti. The group of student call themselves #ArtNomad, and their show entitled Symbosis has already been well received in two previous gallery shows in Atlanta.

For more information on other events coming to the area in the near future, be sure to check out the links here, here, and here.




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4 Women, 4 Strings

By: Charnele L. Box

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC The Loop)- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s music department is known for having great musical events. This year the music department is will present the Marian Anderson String Quartet to the Chattanooga community, February 20 – 22.

In the fall of 1989, members of the Marian Anderson String Quartet, then known as the Chaminade Quartet joined forces to accomplish more than they ever dreamed. The Marian Anderson String Quartet has won major classical competitions and performed at the White House during a Presidential Inauguration.


(top to bottom- Prudence McDaniel, Diedra Lawrence
Marianne Henry, Nicole Cherry)

The Marian Anderson String Quartet Residency project was initiated by Dr. Jonathan B. McNair, Coordinator of Theory and Composition at UTC, as part of an effort to raise public awareness of the contributions to concert (classical) music by African American and other minority performing artists and composers.

“I became interested in bringing acclaimed African American classical music composers and performers to Chattanooga a few years ago. I had purchased a collection of music by Black composers, and liked some of the music very much,”  said McNair.

The four women are passionate about their musical art. They will perform a concert for the public, work with local music students, of high school and collegiate levels, conduct a workshop for young composers from around the Southeast, and participate in a public panel discussion.

The MASQ will visit Orchard Knob Elementary school on Thursday Feb. 20 in the morning, and Center for Creative Arts high school Thursday afternoon Feb 20.

“I hope to bring other highly skilled minority artist to campus in coming years, such as the Ritz Chamber Players, and/or the Imani Winds, or fine solo artists who I’ve come across online. If this MASQ program is successful, which I believe it will be, then we have a foundation to build on for the future,” he continued.

Each member of the ensemble is trained at top conservatories and universities such as Julliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and Shepherd School of Music.The women of the string quarter have a strong commitment to music education, and established a community music school in their home base of Bryan, Texas, as well as string quartet music camps in the Southwest and the Virgin Islands.

Sources: UTC Music Department and Marian Anderson Quartet Sites

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Come See UTC’s Play “No Exit” and Get A Taste Of Hell

By: Kelli Findlay

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — UTC’s new play “No Exit” premieres February 11th-17th.

UTC’s play “No Exit” premieres Feb. 11th at 7:30. “No Exit” was written in 1944 by French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. Students can purchase tickets here.

Original No Exit Cover by Google Images

Original No Exit Cover by Google Images

“It is the story of three people trapped together for eternity. Hell is this room that they cannot escape and they’re trying to survive and figure out who they are based on people who are strangers to them,” explains Gaye Jeffers, associate professor of theatre and the director of the play.

“I don’t want to give too much away, but the design choices that we’re making are going to be surprising for some people,” says Jeffers. “The use of lights is going to be impactful and unexpected. In most theater productions, you only see the theater lights focus on the actors on the stage. We’re kind of using lights to focus on other parts of the theater as well. It will be kind of an event where the audience will be involved in a way that they might not normally be involved. There are some surprises I don’t want to give away what will be thematically important and will make the audience physically feel something instead of just thinking about things in their head.”

“NO EXIT” came out as a new installment movie in 2013 starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Michelle Williams.

For more for information about the original play, you can check out the facts about “No Exit.”

UTC Speech Professor Jeannie Hacker-Cerulean said that she hopes that there is a great turnout for the play because she thinks that it is a great opportunity for students to get to know the theater department and see UTC’s talent.

Students are also excited about this psychological thriller of a play. UTC Houston, Texas Senior, Lindsey Carpenter, said “I can’t wait to go check this play out, I saw a movie that was similar with the ‘trapped in Hell’ theme and I think it will be scary!”

“NO EXIT” came out as a new installment movie in 2013 starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Michelle Williams.





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Graffiti: Contemporary Art for Urban Spaces

By Taylor Ellis

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC The Loop) – In 2010, while counting homeless people for the United States Census, Chattanooga native David Jones saw something that sparked an idea.

Jones, who lives just a few blocks from the gallery’s new location at 505 Cherokee Boulevard, said he ” saw a bunch of graffiti that people wouldn’t normally see, and I really liked it.” What has emerged from an idea in 2010 is Graffiti, a contemporary art gallery featuring modern works from many local artists.

The current space, which is much larger than the original location off the beaten path in North Chattanooga, offers street artists from Chattanooga and surrounding areas a place to sell their artwork. The regular gallery features both artwork and 3D installations from six resident artists, and the back of the gallery boasts a public graffiti wall for any artist to “tag.”


The Graffiti Wall is a public space where any artist can add his or her work

The Graffiti Wall is a public space where any artist can add his or her work


Happenstance, a UTC Senior art student collaborative

Happenstance, a UTC Senior art student collaborative 

Of the 50 or so pieces in the studio, a hand full are creations of UTC   students or graduates.  One of the gallery’s featured artists, Ellyn Bivin, is a Chattanooga native and graduated from UTC with a degree in painting and drawing. Along with Bivin’s pieces, the work Happenstance is a UTC Senior art student collaboration. The work is just one of many pieces currently in the gallery that have a direct connection to UTC.


The current artists feature in the gallery include:

– Bryan Rasmussen

– Ellyn Bivin

-Eddie Graham

– David Jones

– James McKissic

– Renel Plouffe

– Jim Tucker

– Derek Williams

– Larry Young


Many of the works that are featured at Graffiti are not there for long. All of the works on display are for sale. As David Jones playfully put it, Graffiti is all about sales. “We’d like to be the place that is you have a modern building, or a modern house,” Jones said, ” that if you came here you’d find a piece of artwork.”

When new pieces are added to the gallery, it’s not without celebration. In the upcoming month, new installations by artist Bryan Rasmussen, who previously worked with renown sculptor John Henry.

A work by artist Josiah Golson

A work by artist Josiah Golson

In addition to the new 3D pieces, many new paintings from Graffiti’s resident artists and special guest Josiah Golson, who is a young artist showing his work for the first time in a gallery setting.

Graffiti is located at 505 Cherokee Boulevard, and is open to the public. On the first Friday of the month, the gallery hosts new exhibit opening receptions from five to nine p.m. Graffiti is owned and operated by David Jones, and specializes in contemporary art for urban spaces.

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Andy Warhol Art Inspires Ballet in Nashville


By Courtney Archer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — The Nashville Ballet, inspired by Andy Warhol, will perform a short program Friday at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts where a Warhol exhibit is on display.

According to a news release from the ballet, the performance at the center’s atrium will be inspired by Warhol’s aesthetic and artistic style. The performance will mimic Warhol’s art that features everyday objects, and will be set to popular music from the era of Warhol’s pop art and screen prints.

The exhibit is “Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol’s Work.”


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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My World in HD

A  closer look into the ever changing and always evolving world of technology in motion pictures and still photography.

By Benji Aird

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)-Whether you shoot with the Nikon D90, Canon 7D, 5D,  or anything else, HD-DSLRs are now taking over a large segment of the video-journalism and motion picture markets. All are not really made to shoot video, but with various adapters and add-ons you can make it work and get results not possible in the past.

Recently I shot two projects with the Nikon D90 and was thinking about the differences between using the D90 and a “regular” video camera.


Bokeh describes the rendition of out-of-focus points of light. Bokeh is different from sharpness. Sharpness is what happens at the point of best focus. Bokeh is what happens away from the point of best focus.Bokeh describes the appearance, or “feel,” of out-of-focus areas. Bokeh is not how far something is out-of-focus, bokeh is the character of whatever blur is there.

The most obvious difference is the wonderful limited depth of field (DOF/Bokeh) that is made possible by the large sensors and 35mm still lenses.

This is an example of the Bokeh from a prime lens.

A welcome change from the everything-in-focus, 3-chip smaller sensor video cameras.

At minimum, you’ll need some sort of viewfinder to use the LCD screen in the back of the camera. I tethered to a 17inch monitor for the last project. There’s really no way to use the camera without a viewfinder for professional results. This is a must.

The on-board sound in any HD-DSLR is abysmal at best. You can either record using the BeachTek DXA-5D, or use an external recording device such as the Zoom H4 and sync everything up in Final Cut Pro with Pluraleyes, an incredible program from Singular Software that saves many frustrating hours of trying to sync sound.

One last item is a Vari-ND filter. This variable neutral density enables you to shoot at f2.8 in daylight and maintain that limited DOF look and feel. I use one from Singh-Ray.


The following clip was from the Thanksgiving holiday 2010:

Shooting a low-lit environment may not be the best of conditions to shoot a video, however with 50mm prime lens like the Carl Zeiss I rented from helps a lot. That particular lens had a beautiful bokeh. It was a totally manually operated focus ring which took some getting use to. I know many young photographers are custom to automatic everything!! Using this lens really forced me to take my time when composing the shot.


The other project brought me to up and coming recording music artist Richard Torregano:

Mid:Depth of Field

Shallow: Depth of Field

In the behind the scenes footage from Chad B.’s new club banger “Hit It” you can clearly see the skeleton crew that shoots the video using Digital SLR’s.

After Torregano’s session Blake Hampton of Attention2Detail and I collaborated on a few projects.

Some time in the not too distant future I would like to hit the lottery. I am speaking it into the universe!! I would make the world a better place, visually that is. SO, you come across one of these from a “Street Vendor” get in contact with me.

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Anime Comes to life in DC

Fans gathered in Washington DC to share their love for Anime!

By: Corey Honeycutt

CHATTANOOGA/Tenn.(UTC/LOOP)–  The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City Alrington, VA. played host to one of many Japanese animation conventions on the weekend of November 12-14th.

Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Hyatt Regency Crystal City, photographer unknown

Anime USA was started by fans in 1999 and became a non profit educational organization in 2004. It’s slogan “Of Otaku, By Otaku and For Otaku has held true throughout its years.

It started off as most conventions with a few hundred people. It now brings in around 5,000 fans a year to the Crystal City Hyatt Regency.

Fans ranging in all ages show up dressed as their favorite characters, from animes and games ranging from Pokemon and Final Fantasy to more obscure titles such as 07 Ghost.

This form of dressing up is called cosplay or “costume play.” It originated in Japan, but has been gaining more and more popularity here in the U.S.

Kuroshitsuji Photoshoot

Kuroshitsuji Photoshoot, photo by Corey Honeycutt

Fans can also put together skits and compete against each other for the title of Best in Show in the masquerade which is the highlight of most conventions and draws the biggest crowds.

Shanna Labriola potrayed the character Van from the series Escaflowne. Her costume consisted of hand made wings from chicken wire, felt and feathers. Overall her outfit took her 25 hours to make.

Van from Escaflowne, Photo by Refractor Productions

“My cousin took me to a convention and that’s how I got started into cosplaying.”

The convention played host to not only the fans to but to many guests who work in the industry such as voice actors, artists, directors and professional costumers.

This year’s guests were voice actors Brina Palencia, Cristina Vee, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Patrick Seitz and Christopher Sabat. Megan Murphy, Heidi Arnold and Monica Gallagher are a few of the artists guest and Clockwork Dolls, Promise Sisters and Echostream were the bands.

Brina Palencia recently landed the main role of Ciel Phantomhive in the anime Black Butler(Kuroshitsuji).  Black Butler is an anime gaining popularity over here in the US and already has a big fan base. She has voiced small and large roles in such popular animes as Fullmetal Alchemist, Nabari no Ou, Darker Than Black and XXXholic.

“My favorite role has to be Natsuki in Summer Wars, because she is raised by her grandmother and I was raised by my grandmother. It is probably the most genuine acting I’ve ever done.”

Even though she has voiced main characters in the past when asked how she felt about the part of Ciel she said she was terrified.

Brina Palencia, photo by Corey Honeycutt

“It’s really exciting, but I’m so terrified about it. I feel I worked very hard on the part and researched the accent. I’m proud of the work I did, I’m just hoping the fans like it. ”

Brina Palencia just finished a web series called Throwingstones on top of her other voice acting roles.

“It’s sort of a Breakfast Club meets horror movie.”

AUSA is just one of many conventions dedicated to anime, games and manga. There are enough conventions to go to one every weekend. They range from smaller ones with only to a few hundred people, to over 50,000 people.

So if you feel that Halloween is to short a time to dress up, or have a knack for creating costumes and are an anime or gaming fan, there are plenty of conventions to choose from.

Other conventions are listed below that can be attended throughout the year in many different states.





Anime Weekend Atlanta

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Chattanooga’s Essence of a Queen

When you hear the word pageant you think of Ms. U.S.A. or Ms. World. However, Chattanooga has their own pageant called Ms. Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant

By Bryson Simpson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–Several different pageants take place around the world. From baby beauty pageants, teen pageants, gay pageants, and scholarship pageants. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated hosts scholarship pageants called Miss Black and Gold Pageants all over the United States.

The bylaws of Miss Black and Gold Pageant states, “That under the sponsorship of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is an outgrowth of the long standing tradition of the Fraternity chapters recognizing outstanding young women, their achievements and talents. The Fraternity recognizes the valuable contributions of women scholars in the undergraduate community.

The first national Miss Black and Gold Pageant was held during Alpha’s 1976 General Convention in New York City where Miss Denise Smith, representing Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded the first prize.

The Eta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hosts a Annual Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant ever since they have been reactivated in 1998. The Eta Phi Chapter was chartered on the campus of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the campus is the usual location where the pageants are hosted. Phillip Rosser, The Chairman of The Miss Black and Gold Pageant, said,” The Pageant this year is separated into six sections which are dance, Introduction, swimwear, talent, formal, and question and answer.

This year the Eta Phi Chapter had their annual pageant on Oct. 27 in the University Centers Auditorium. The theme they chose for the nine contestants was “The Fruits of The Spirit” which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.Each of the contestants chose a spirit and had to pick out fruits that represented them.

The contestants of the pageant were

  • Shanee Driver
  • Kaila Warren
  •  Amanda Thompson
  • Ciera Conley
  •  Alyssia Morales
  •  Kayla Hyatte
  • Jessica Ornsby
  • Faith Henderson
  • Ashley Robles

After the Question and Answer section the judges were making their final tallies of the contestants so the new 2010 Miss Black and Gold could be announced. Ciera Conley was awarded Miss Congeniality, Kaila Warren was awarded Best Talent, Faith Henderson was awarded Miss Black and Gold Runner Up, and Jessica Ornsby was awarded 2010 Miss Black and Gold.

Jessica Ornsby, 2010 Miss Black and Gold, said,”I enjoyed myself throughout the whole process of the pageant. I have established great relationships with the other contestants and I am looking forward to progressing to districts.”

The winner of Miss Black and Gold will move on to the district, which is held in Chattanooga as well on Nov.22.

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The Digital Shootout: Does size really matter?

by Benji Aird

The ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots’ in the digital single lens reflect camera industry makes a big difference, size matters! Laying the smack-down on full-framed digital slr’s are the medium-format digital slr’s. Don’t let the distinction in the title, medium, fool you. Medium formats’ capture images starting out with 30 mega pixels. We see the tip of the ice berg in a short comparison between the full and medium framed cameras.

Chattanooga, Tenn(UTC/TheLoop) — On set at a photo shoot in between the firing of  strobe lights, hair-stylist crofting hair, make-up artist reapplying foundation, and wardrobe repositioning garments, photographers patiently wait to capture a single image. I think this one of the greatest times in history to be a photographer. The evolution of the camera has taken leaps and bounds in every decade.

In my not so distant past, I began shooting with a Kodax 110. The number ‘110’ refers to the size of film measuring not quite 111 mm. Fast forward a few years to Christmas 1998 when I received a 35mm automatic camera. The simple point-and-shoot helped me see, and develop an artistic eye. Now, I have a Digital SLR that allows me to instantly see what I photographed! Oh how I am easily amused.

Some pro-amateurs and professional photographers alike use full frame digital SLR. To get you up to speed click here to read what a full-frame digital SLR is all about. Just when I thought it could not get any better…IT DOES! The lion has entered the den with a presence that commands respect, the medium format digital SLR. Medium format brands include Mamiya, Hassleblad, Hola, and others. These cameras are  fashion’s equivalence  to Gucci, Fendi, Prada, and Chanel.

In digital, medium format is a very expensive option, with typical brand new all-digital medium format cameras retailing for $10,000 (Mamiya ZD) to $32,000 (Hasselblad H3D) in 2008, though, older and used equipment can be substantially cheaper.

Derek Blanks in a helicopter shooting the New York skyline with the Hassleblad.

Celebrity photographer Derek Blanks recently shot with a Hasselblad medium-format digital SLR in a shoot on-location in New York. Derek said, “Ok guys, I think I am in love with this new camera! The Hasselblad! Check out my beauty shots…”

Digital medium format SLR’s shoot at an astronomical 30 to 60+ mega-pixels. Lets put this into perspective:

  • Camera phone at best is 5MP-8MP.
  • Average point-and-shoot digital camera for adventures in the club is 10MP-12MP.
  • Canon T2i Digital SLR is 18MP.

The Fuji most conservative medium format camera starts at 30MP!!!! If your head is about to explode, this sensation is perfectly normal. As Derek would say “That’s dope.”

Image of Tomiko Fraser Hines taken by Derek Blanks with a medium format digital SLR.

Up close and 'Pore'sonal. The 30MP+ hides no problems defining each pore with crisp definition.

Notice how in the DSLR image (left-side) the image of the bird is not seen. This is a result the the smaller frame size of the DSLR. The Medium format on the right captures more of the image.

I get goose bumps looking at a side-by-side comparison of the full-frame and medium format.

Does size really matter? Well, thats relative to your level of photography. If you have the money to spare and really, really, I do mean really want to go all out you can rent a medium-format from as well as other equipment to keep your shutter-finger happy.

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Anything You Shoot, I Can Shoot Better…& Cheaper

By: Benji Aird

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/TheLoop) – Here recently I have noticed the growing trend of small to even large production companies incorporating Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflect) cameras into their arsenal of equipment. Digital SLRs allow the camera operator to shoot tight spaces with a minimal amount of equipment.

DSLR Video Rig

Many ‘Guerrilla’ style productions are shot using this type of system. A camera rig and operater, gone are the days where you need three and four people make up a production crew.

Everyone from music video producers to reality television shows often shoot concepts and pilot shows to pitch to broadcasting networks to get showtime.

About a year to two ago some friends and I started what I call a visual communication team. Wherein we Tweet, Blog, Vlog and anthing else you can think of to visually communicate with the world.

Everything is done one of the two Nikon D90 Digital SLR’s we currently own. Its our staple when I comes to in-the-field footage and studio photoshoots. We are always keeping an eye out on the latest gadjets that help us do what we do better!

Window shopping lead me visit my friends at Wolf Camera to see what hit the shelves.

The featured Nikon D3000 has a very user friendly user interface and in hand it does feel soild. I won’t be trading up/down/or lateral until all the kinks are worked out.

Back view of the Nikon D3000

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