Artists battle head-to-head at the SOY X SOY Art Rumble at Starland Yard

Get Ready to Art Rumble at Starland Yard!

Two shrouded eyes stare out at the viewer from behind a striped lucha libre wrestling mask as the glitched-out black and white video pops and crackles and a heavy bass line thrums in the background.

“Expect us to go all in … Expect Battle … Expect Skills … Expect Styles … Expect Thunder … Expect to be amazed … Expect DJ Jose Ray on the ones and twos …”

This social media promo spot by El Incognito (Adolfo Alvarado) is part of the relentless hype machine behind what’s sure to be this summer’s hottest fight ticket in Savannah. This Saturday, July 13, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Starland Yard, eight artists will compete head-to-head in a succession of elimination rounds to win the championship title of the first annual Art Rumble. The competition will be MC’d and soundtracked by the electrifying DJ Jose Ray.

This ain’t your mama’s live painting performance. This is art as bloodsport.

“I’m encouraging so much s***-talking, I’m not even kidding,” laughs organizer Tafy LaPlanche.

The Art Rumble at Starland Yard is brought to you by the ever-expanding Latin/Native American collective of artists, curators, and collaborators SOY X SOY (pronounced “soy como soy,” meaning “I am who I am”). If you’re not already familiar with SOY X SOY, you may not be forgiven because you had to be hiding under a rock to have missed the flurry of art exhibitions, parties, celebrations, and mixers the collective has hosted in its few short years in effect. Now in their third year, SOY X SOY is taking the art experience to the next level with their Art Rumble.

“Essentially I feel that now that we’re in our third year of the collective, we’re starting to look to see what else we can do besides the establishments we’ve been in before,” says LaPlanche. “We want to show what we can do because the collective is growing and everybody has so many different talents and we want to make sure to continue to display that in different ways.”

LaPlanche explains that the decision was made to open up the Art Rumble to any artist who wanted to apply regardless of whether or not they were a member of the collective.

“I feel that Savannah has such a rich art culture and there’s so many people who are involved. We just wanted to make it fun and showcase each artist in their own individual way … So this event is hosted by SOY X SOY, but it’s not just SOY X SOY artists.”

That is to say, there will be an assortment of gringos and other nationalities entering the ring along with a few of the collective’s core members. LaPlanche says that each participant was drawn at random from the pool of applicants and those who weren’t selected will be automatically entered into the lottery for next year’s event. The idea is to have an annual recurring showdown of artists where the champion will return each year to defend their title.

“We’re just putting a bunch of sweaty artists in the ring to fight to the death. That’s basically it.”

click to enlarge Get Ready to Art Rumble at Starland Yard!
Screenshot of @adolfocreates
On the day of the event, an actual, bonafide wrestling ring will be set up inside Starland Yard underneath a large tent and surrounded by chairs for audience members to get up close and personal when the paint starts slinging and the markers start flinging. Each round will see two fighters enter the ring and sit or stand at their easel facing away from the other so as not to be able to see what each other is up to. The audience will provide prompts for the artists and a panel of three judges (Clinton Edminster, Rob Hessler, and Madai Rodriguez) will comment and deliberate and eliminate one fighter per round until only one is left standing. Because there can be only one.

“It should be whacky and fun and completely random at the same time,” says LaPlanche. “I think that’s the beauty of the competition is just seeing not only how these guys use their creative talents, but also seeing their interpretation of the prompts.”

The winner will receive a gift package provided by the sponsors, Starland Yard and Starlandia Art Supply, as well as a genuine, hand-crocheted Wrestlers Champion Belt from the legendary and indomitable Becca Cook. Starlandia will also provide the supplies for the art making and Service Brewing will be featuring kegs of their all-too-appropriate Señor Delicioso brew.

Instagram has been ablaze with each artist leaning into their fighter persona and amping up the excitement level, so let’s meet the fighters:

Zombie Man Zack ( Zachery Turner) – “Shameless and vile. Plant Dad. Deep Center.”


















La Heartist
(Amelia Jamerson) – “Gel Pen Fanatic. 150+ markets. 18Loves.”


















El Incognito
(Adolfo Alvarado) – “Origin: Unknown. Cypher Borg Squad. ‘SSSTOOODISSS’”


















Ookee
(Duff Young) – “Sensei. Beast from the East. Finger Flow.”


















Brush Breaker Berkland
(
Adrienne Berkland) – “Hails from the North. Abandoned Free Will. Here for the Heat.”


















Watercolor Witch
(Amy Challis) – “Dreamhouse Queen. Macron Master. Workshop Host.”


















Mee Maw
(Shannon Snow) – “Nostalgic. Age of Wisdom. Coming Out of Retirement.”


















Señor Peligroso
(Julio Cotto Rivera) – “Origin: South Bronx. Wins? I Stopped Counting. Lone Wolf.”


















There are obviously no actual hard feelings between any of the participants as everyone is thrilled to be involved and to be having so much giddy fun—and their energy is infectious.

Like so many artists who move to Savannah, Señor Peligroso (Rivera) explains that he found the artistic community that he was craving here in the dirty south, and being a member of SOY X SOY has been a huge creative boon.

“I was excited to get back into a community that’s basically feeding you art shows all the time,” says Rivera. “It’s exciting.”

If you follow Rivera on Instagram, you’ll see that he’s constructed a very elaborate persona for his fighter avatar which has almost become an art project unto itself.

“I also act and write,” he says. “So it’s been fun to do the quotes and come up with the backstory to my character. Some of it is based on me, like my character was born in the South Bronx and I was born in the South Bronx.”

LaPlanche says that some of the participants, like Zombie Man Zack (Turner), have already garnered something of a cult following on social media.

“There’s been a fan club that’s evolving since his posts came out,” says LaPlanche. “There’s already a zombie club for Zach.”

“My character is like an amped-up version of myself,” says Turner. “I’m really into horror movies and I wanted to make an alliteration so I came up with Zombie Man Zach. I’m leaning into the horror with a kind of Street Fighter thing. I was thinking about a boxer who gets knocked out and is pushing up daises, but he gets back up and comes out swinging.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Mee Maw (Snow), who should provide a fun counterpoint to the zombies and killers.

“She’s like a sweet and spicy southern grandma who’s modeled after my grandma,” says Snow. “I’m from Georgia so I’m thinking she’s going to come in and not take any s***, but also be sweet when she needs to be. She’s feeble so maybe that’ll get me some sympathy points.”

This is an all-in participation art event, so get your drink on and come ready to rumble.

As El Incognito implores, “Creativity beyond sickness, so don’t get caught by surprise.”

The Art Rumble at Starland Yard (2411 De Soto Ave.) will take place on Saturday, July 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is free.

     
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