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Columbus creatives, especially young black creatives, are constantly talking about a resurgence felt here in the city.

When you live in a city like Columbus, the “Biggest Small Town” according to some, it’s easy to get distracted by the attraction of bigger cities like New York and LA, be discouraged by what some creatives consider a “lack of support,” or be sucked into High Street and Campus culture.

Dirty Canvas, pictured left to right: Jay, James, B. Scott, Wyze. Shot by Annie Noelker

Talking to Dirty Canvas, the collective made up of Wyze, Jay aka @jaypexvisuals, B. Scott and James aka @YungBlkCreative, you can tell they’re leaders in an emerging school of thought: embracing Columbus and it’s talent, but not letting the city consume them. They’re not trying to die local.

Now gearing up for some major positioning in the city’s fashion and music scenes, Dirty Canvas is ready to start shedding some light, if only a little, on what they’re cooking up for 2018.

* * *

Jay and Wyze are the photographers and visual creatives of the group, both aspiring to get more into into videography and filmmaking; B. Scott is the graphic artist and fashion designer; James kind of has his hands in everything, including fashion design and music production. “I’m West Indian so I got mad jobs,” he says.

Dirty Canvas, pictured left to right: James, Jay, Wyze, B. SCott. Shot by Annie Noelker

“Everybody thinks we’re Instagram friends that linked up,” James says. But it was B. Scott that originally brought the group together. He met James in high school at Pickerington North, Wyze at Columbus College of Art and Design, and as a fellow Ohio transplant, he met Jay online. When Jay moved to Columbus, they connected at a photoshoot. Eventually their mutual interests in music, fashion and skateboarding naturally progressed into moving as a unit.

“Jay’s apartment was definitely the hub, like where everything started materializing,” James says. “That was before everybody necessarily had everything going individually. And we surely didn’t know what the fuck we was gone do as a group.”

We were all black kids from the city, who all kind of ended up going to school in the ‘burbs, and we were all into the same type of sh*t.

2016 was when they first really popped up together at events. No one really knew what they did; they saw them on High Street, at Sole Classics, at Kingsrowe, just around.

This was when five members had become four, after a minor Twitter disagreement involving @ names.

“You ever seen The Temptations? It was Al. He was in the bar when The Temptations was on TV performing ‘My Girl,’” James says. “He’s Al, in the bar mad. That’s the homie though.”

 

Their individual ventures are what people usually know them for. B. Scott’s clothing brand General Public Streetwear (Formally Urban Hooligan) has an exciting release coming up, while Jay and Wyze continue to do amazing photography work. James’ Studio 103 clothing line has something up in production as well, but more details on that are to be released in time.

As a team, they’re working on a major partnership with some “familiar faces in the city,” putting together ambitious video content, and vlogging every step of the way. DirtyCanvasTV, the name they’re putting on this media venture, is also set to include interviews with rising Ohio artists.

James says 2017 was the year of just trying things out for the collective. They’ve been perfecting the product behind the scenes, which leads to people questioning what Dirty Canvas is doing.

“You don’t even know our end goal,” Jay says, “so why are even worried about it?”

Because they all have the same mission and mindset of creating the best quality content, without the need for flexing constantly on social media, they do admit things have been quiet on their end. But Wyze says that what you don’t see is the constant critiquing they do of each other’s work; the 10,000 being put into developing their skill set.

Dirty Canvas, pictured left to right: B. Scott, James, Jay, Wyze, Shot by Annie Noelker

 

“We’ve been coming together and pushing each other as a unit more. And just learning and growing more with these opportunities,” Wyze says. “Seeing what we can do, and seeing that there is no limit. There is nothing stopping us. We just gotta believe in ourselves and keep making these moves.”

“If you’re sick of seeing us now, hold on tight,” James says. “It’s going to be a tough year.”

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