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Social Encore: Local artists get RAW
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Hawaii’s political elections just ended, but there is another competition asking for the public’s vote. RAW:natural born artists, a national independent organization that helps local artists in various communities, is holding its annual RAWards competition at Aloha Beer Company on Saturday, Nov. 17. Voting by the general public will help decide which Hawaii-based artist wins the semi-final round on Oahu.
RAW founder Heidi Luerra wanted to create a platform for artists searching for an avenue that would help showcase their talents, so she started the company in California and expanded to more than 50 artistic communities across the United States and in Australia. RAW hosts monthly events showcasing different local artists in visual arts, performing arts, film, fashion, music, hair and make-up artistry and photography.
There were many nominees who took a shot at becoming a semi-finalist, and over a two week period online voters helped determine the top five artists per category. There are 31 artists in Hawaii vying to win their respective categories in order to represent Hawaii at the national finals.
Cy Carnate has planned events for several years and said being involved with RAW allows him to do something he enjoys while having creative freedom.
“We have so many talented individuals in Hawaii, RAW provides the platform for the world to see their amazing talents,” he said.
With art being such a broad topic, Carnate said RAW caters to a diverse demographic of audiences by matching people with artists of their interest but at the same time expanding audiences tastes by exposing them to undiscovered talent.
RAW not only helps expose artists to different audiences, but also helps them create a fan base and teaches about the business aspects of branding. RAW helps artists create a media package to add to their portfolio and posts an artist portfolio on their website. This creates an accessible database of talent for the public to see.
“My job as showcase director is to continue to find more opportunities to showcase my RAW artists,” said Carnate. “Our journey together doesn’t just end at our showcase, we will continue to support our RAW artists.”
Here is a rundown of nominees competing in this weekend’s semi-finals:
» Fluro Swimwear
» Charisma Industries
» Genuine Guava
» H&K Handbags
» Anchor My Love
» Leilei Aloha
» Delayed Resistance
» Da Push-O-Verse
» Local Uprising
» Sean Clealand
» Autumn Complex
» Blank Canvas
» Kalani Basketball
» Allison Rae
» Melissa Rivera
» Cheryl Lynn Membrere
» Lauren Roth
» G.R.M. Powell
» Xisco Ponce Jr.
» Kari Geha
» Namaloa HI
» Gilbert Ines
» Merrick Daligdig
» Prints Charming Hawaii
» Face Art Beauty
» Stacy Ann Artistry
» Desire Salon and Spa
Semi-finalists for this year’s RAWards will be determined by a live vote from audience members who attend, plus the votes by judges Rasa Fournier of Midweek, independent filmmaker Angela Laprete and Yelp Honolulu community manager Emi Hart. Voters will be entertained with a full night of art, music, dance, fashion and more. Winners will then participate in the national RAWards against winners from other cities.
Carnate said he has seen so much success with the organization but finds it more rewarding to see artists succeed.
“Success to me is when RAW artists expand themselves because of their experience with our organization,” he said. “We have had bands booked by venues, fashion designers placed in stores, artists hired and media doing stories on our RAW artists.”
Carnate added one of his best responses from an artist was when they said, “It is because of RAW, I found who I truly am as an artist.”
Tickets to this year’s RAWards Honolulu semi-finals are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Visit the RAWards website for more information and to purchase tickets online.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.