Gianni Lee is indeed the jack-of-all-trades. Not only is he a visual artist but he is also a DJ, producer, and the owner of clothing brand, ‘Babylon Cartel.’ Having such a thriving, unparalleled clothing brand, Lee was able to have major influences like Kehlani, Rihanna, and Iggy Azalea, model his clothes. To boot in, Lee also has a mixtape called ‘Trillwave,’ which is a trilogy of mixes that features artist A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Space Ghost Purp and many more.

With Lee accomplishing a myriad of milestones, The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) therefore acknowledges and are also honored to host Gianni’s Solo Premier Art Exhibition: ‘Why Won’t You Hear Me.‘ The Exhibition includes various mediums such as acrylic on canvas and on denim as well as a custom display of acrylic work on a Nike Tech Bounded Bag.

“Painting is a language I use to tell the story of a people fighting for their home and their existence. This story takes place in a distant dystopian future. My canvas and my color choices are a platform for me to express inner-feelings on issues I can’t put into words,” Gianni proclaims. “It’s time to recognize the problem and hold ourselves accountable for contributing the the solution. I hope people find courage for themselves through my vivid story-telling.”

With the exhibition being opened to the public on March 25th, you can still view his notable pieces through April 16th (Saturday’s and Sunday’s ONLY) from 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition – 499 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231. 

With the exhibit being one of the many things Gianni has going on under his belt, Gianni was just recently featured in a Nike Sportswear Campaign for Air Max Day, DJ’ing alongside DJ Drama at the Museum of Natural History, and hosting/ DJ’ing at the Central Park Boathouse for a networking event that BWAC in the weeks to follow.
We got the chance to chop it up with Gianni himself about his artwork, his fashion, movement overall and here is what he had to say

1. When did you begin painting?  Have you had any formal training, or was it just a natural-born talent?

I started painting last year at SXSW. Random, but that’s when I got the courage to really go out and make my own mark in the world using my own colors, my own shapes, my own palete. I went to a charter high school for Architecture & Design in Philadelphia. It’s a school that specializes in everything under “The Arts”. We would have intensive training with professionals who came in as teachers to guide us. I learned how to sketch from a medical illustrator named Micheal Reingold. I always had dormant abilities that I learned in high school , I’m just now bringing them back out to aide me in painting. 

2. What can you attribute to creating your particular canvas?

I need a good subject. Right now the Black Woman is the attribute or my subject. The rise of the woman all around the world fascinates me and pushes me to paint images of Women holding their own. Outside of the skeletons which are more masculine, I like to take the image of the woman and put her in the more “traditional” male gender roles. The warrior , the scholar , etc. 

3. With fashion, explain your style, and some of your influences. 

Imagine it’s the year 2235 , you are a visual artist living in Neo Tokyo. You travel alot and you visit thrift stores to find fashion from the year 2132. Thats my style. I like to take layers and cuts and figure out interesting ways of wearing them. I don’t have a real style , I just like to stand out on my own and have some sort of progressive aesthetic. Honestly I hate fashion and “hate” is a strong word so take it how you want. 

4. Being a triple threat, talk about the importance of all three art forms in your life, does one influence another? 

I don’t think we really need to discuss that I do three things. I don’t do anything. I do as much as the next person , or it could be more. Point is , we all do more than one thing. I think we should focus more on the quality of the mediums we jump in between vs. the number of mediums we work in. At this point we all are triple threats but how good are we? Are we practicing ? Are we around people better than us? Are we constantly searching for new source material and inspiration? 

Since we are on this subject I can say that all three art forms are equally important to me. They all influence each other and that’s the only way that I can live. 

Continue to shift the culture Gianni!

@iamthelizg