For many of us, when we think of the word ‘art’, ideas related to fashion and design may come up, and for others perhaps, music and dance. Other individuals may think of the visual arts. However, at CBC or Can’t Buy Cool, the answer is all of the above. Creatively emerging all realms and facets of art itself into a sensational collective, CBC makes sure that their artists transcend what they are meant for and create intangible works beyond what we see.
Name: Vinay Umapathy ‘19
Major: Dramatic Writing at Tisch
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Name: Charles Du Manoir ‘19
Major: Entrepreneurship in Gallatin
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Name: Antowan Wallace ‘19
Major: Marketing in Stern
Hometown: Bronx, NY
HC NYU: What kind of work does CBC produce?
Vinay: We create all sorts of art. We try very hard not to be restrictive to any one facet of art. CBC took a lot of inspiration from other art collectives, but unlike them where they focus specifically on music, we expand beyond just that one realm. We’ve expanded to comedy, (which is in my interest), fashion, photography, dance, acting, film. We want to place emphasis on each part of art, on each individual artist. To add, we want each of our artists, whether they are singers or the stage designers, to all be rockstars. And we’re going to make them all rockstars.
We create the art, we don’t want to be one of those widely existing “sharing” accounts. We don’t want to get recognition off of something that is unoriginal content. Everything we do, we want it to be ours. CBC scouts artists through social interactions because that’s how artists meet. In other words, it’s the most natural way artists work. You want to work with people you would get along with outside of an artistic environment. We want to work with people who are our friends.
Each person at CBC is handpicked by Charles, Antowan, or me. Our artists must be specific to their own identities and are chosen based on their chemistry with the fellow CBC members within and outside a workspace environment.
Charles: We primarily recruit NYU based artists. This allows every member to share a form of community, and meet other artists who are striving for similar goals. There is so much diverse talent at this university, and so this is a great way for these young artists to meet other interesting creative minds. In addition to the art produced by our artists, we create unique and immersive events that demonstrate the work of CBC and our vision. I am very excited to announce that our first event will be on April 21st.
Antowan: At CBC we stand for being cool. That is what we pride ourselves on, we want everything to be cool. We want to bring creative control back into entertainment and add the authenticity of being yourself instead of a cookie cut artist. We are the inclusive exclusive; you are able to be apart of us, but you must be yourself. Entertainment is far too repetitive and we want to build a realm of art that comes from the soul, which is authentic, and that is what I define as cool!
Photo by Noah Benus
HC NYU: What is CBC’s main goal as an art collective?
Charles: Because most of our artists are in the very early stages of their careers, we are providing a platform that will help them gain more recognition. We want to create a team of upcoming artists who understand our vision as a collective and company. We truly believe in our artists, and that is why we are working so hard to help them succeed. Everyone is on the same team, so we all look to help each other out. We put our minds together to think of how we can combine all of the art forms together through our work and particularly in the events we host.
HC NYU: How many people are involved in CBC?
Vinay: Currently, we have about 20 artists, with the three of us running and managing the collective. We are definitely looking to expand though. The artists working with us create their own content, but we are the creative voice behind them supporting them. Whether it be album artwork, looking for fitting venues, general management, or trying to connect with other artists in the area, that’s the work we do.
As mentioned before, we don’t want art to be restrictive to one genre or form. We want to be able to say that artists can transcend what they are meant for, and we want them to believe that they can do anything and influence many voices– not just the ones they choose to.
HC NYU: Expanding on that, what kind of artists do you look for at CBC?
Antowan: People who are different, someone who would set a new trend– not people who are following a certain type of trend. We want originality and authenticity.
Vinay: And to add on, diversity. We are “Can’t Buy Cool”; we want someone who naturally embodies, resonates coolness– not someone who needs to literally buy it. When I say ‘cool’, I don’t mean popularity necessarily, but rather just who they are and how confident they are in themselves. And that’s what matters most to us.
HC NYU: What are your respective roles and responsibilities at CBC?
Charles: I’m the General Manager at CBC. I am primarily in charge of business operations. My job is to build and develop the brand. I develop our marketing and promotional strategies that will help CBC expand not only as a company, but as a movement. I am also currently in the process of recruiting a team of managers that will all work towards guiding and developing the careers of the artists signed under the collective.
Vinay: I serve as the Creative and Structure Director. As a writer, I feel something art often is missing, is structure, or simply having that beginning, middle, and end that a writer is trained in formulating. I want to integrate comedy/writing with fashion, similarly to how musicians, such as Kanye influence fashion. I want to have writing or comedy, the sheer joy of making people happy, work with these other forms of art, and I really think that satire can really come to play if we want to influence the world around us.
Also, I just wanna be funny. As a comedian, I just want to keep the good vibes up. Sometimes in art, we come into conflict with one another because of big egos and bicker a lot, but that’s because we have a lot on our plate, and things can get stressful. With comedy, I can bring that joy in laughter to ease up tense situations.
Antowan: I serve as the Talent Director, and help oversee the creative process of art innovation. I work with different artists, in music, visual arts, and film. I try to help push forward our vision as well as change art and entertainment for what it is, but leave our own footprints in the arena. In short, I try to differentiate ourselves as much as possible.
HC NYU: What personally motivated each of you to work with CBC?
Charles: This was the perfect way to pursue both my interests in business and the arts. I’ve had a passion to create and innovate. I thought Vinay and Antowan had a great vision, and I wanted to work with them. They are very driven and they truly believe in this brand. I saw a lot of potential in the idea, and so I have been fully committed ever since. I want to build this brand in a new light, rather than the standard one part form. It’s going to be a parent company that runs many segments (music, visual art, photography, etc). I want to create a collaborative process within the collective, that will help further our goal to redefine how art is shared and produced.
Vinay: During my freshman year at Tisch, I started meeting a lot of artists doing a lot of different things. However, I saw that they were falling into the trap of conformity; it wasn’t very well thought out or planned. Rather, their works seemed to be done just to get content out. We don’t do that. We really want everything we do to be thought out. I knew that I wanted to integrate comedy and writing with fashion and music, but to do that we needed to build a network.
I met Antowan through a mutual friend and we clicked. I really jam with Antowan’s music, and we complemented each other in very different ways which really helped ourselves to both understand ourselves and our positionings in this industry. I met Charles through a roommate. Charles is just someone who is a natural coordinator, someone who is always there to look at the perspective, and give everyone an unbiased view of what is going on and how we should progress. With the three of us complementing each other, we knew that this would definitely go somewhere.
Antowan: Growing up, I’ve always attended a performing arts school from elementary to high school. Naturally, I was interested in the arts, but I also wanted to invent something brand new. So with time, I started creating my own rap music. I always try to look at everything from a new perspective, and make works that I love– something different, but still love it in the same way. And then I filled that desire with the CBC collective which made my vision possible. I was able to do the things I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. That’s why I’m beyond grateful for this entire experience.
HC NYU: You are planning your CBC Launch Party on April 21st. Can you tell me more about that?
Antowan: We noticed that there are different sorts of entertainments, such as theatre, music, and dance shows that fulfill different needs. Theatre which is sadly dying, music which is watered downed, and dancing became way to goofy now and we plan on revamping these by incorporating them with each other like never before. So we are trying to incorporate new trends of music, art, dancing, and visual arts to make an experience that will resonate with each individual who attends our show. There will be tons of emotional rollercoasters, competition, dancing, and of course art present throughout. To be there is a thing in itself, a thing a person should take pride in, as it will make you feel like a superstar upon entry.
Vinay: No matter how advanced technology gets, live shows are the crux of a performer and sometimes we noticed the trend that live shows tend to get repetitive. We want to create an immersive experience working with actors, writers, musicians, where people are in an environment that is so unique that it is its own little microcosm.
Charles: Definitely, and this goes back to our point that there is not one single art form. We want to bring together every single form of art, and display that through our events. CBC events are going to different, but also very fun.
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Facebook: Antowan MT Wallace