St. Petersburg- Every year on the first weekend of October, Creative Clay hosts their annual art festival- Folk Fest. They feature a select number of artists each year who have spent months working on a project for this special event. This year, Marquise directed and starred in his first of many movies to come, Armstrong & Beanie.
Marquise has been a part of Creative Clay for a number of years, or ‘really, really a lot,’ in his words. Creative Clay is a non-profit organization located in downtown St. Pete. They open up the world of art to disabled people in the area, supplying them with everything they need to fulfill their passion for art. With multiple studios and a growing population, Creative Clay has featured many artists in local museums, such as the Dalí Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts & History, where Marquise has had multiple pieces displayed while attending Creative Clay. This year, he has the opportunity to display them at the Folk Fest art festival. Prior to the festival, I interviewed Marquise about what it means for him to be featured in Folk Fest.
Me: Hey Marquis, what’s up? What are you drawing?
Marquise: Warriors. I like drawing warriors and angels and dragons.
Me: That’s pretty intense! Do you draw stories in your pictures, then?
Marquise: I write stories after my drawing; my mom writes them for me. She supports me, my mom supports me. I have one [story] in my bag about my piece.
Me: I bet that’s a crazy story. You must really like superheroes then, don’t you?
Marquise: I call myself superman without the cape.
JJ, another artist at Creative Clay, walked up and handed me a portfolio of pictures showing his artwork displayed in museums.
Me: Thanks JJ! Have you ever been a featured artist in Folk Fest before, Marquis?
Marquise: Nope, not like this
Me: Do you like the publicity?
Marquise: Yup, it makes people happy; what I do makes people happy.
JJ: Marquise does good things.
Me: Are pieces from this portfolio in Folk Fest this year?
Marquise: Stuff like it and my movie and angels. Some pieces [in the back of the studio] are gonna be there. Everyone at church is asking for my movie. Its ten dollars- you can do a ten, or a five and five ones, or ten ones. I even autographed them all for you.
Me: I saw your movie at opening night. It was awesome!
Marquise: I am a superhero with Lindsey and I’m figuring out how to use superpowers. It’s my favorite movie, I watch it every day. What is your favorite part?
Me: I’d have to say the parts when you’re flying. It looks so real.
Marquise: I like the war part. It was fun.
Me: That part was pretty cool too. It all looked professional. Have you ever made a movie before?
Marquise: Nope, this is my first time. I want to make another. I want to learn to teach kids to make movies, I can go to school for that, I’m good at photography, real good at it. It took a long time to put everything together, when you get all the pieces together and everything.
Me: I’m sure it did, you have to have put a lot of effort into it. Do you remember how long it took?
Marquise: I think we started last year for Folk Fest. I asked Charlie about it. Me and Charlie hooked up and got together and made it, I was the director. A makeup artist came in, I met her. Her name is Shannon.
Me: So it was professional, ah-ha!
Marquise: One day I want to make a movie in a movie theater for people. In movie theaters it can be right there, right where I can see it. When I go to Hollywood I would have to come back and bring y’all back to Hollywood. Everyone wanna be like me. I can see that happening right about now.
Me: Well you are famous now in movies.
Marquise: Famous now! Newspaper, TV, did you see the news?
Me: Not yet, but I recorded it.
Marquise: From home?!
Me: Yeah, from home! I can record it and watch it again later when I have time.
Marquise: Wow… Kim was nervous for that. Kim was nervous, but I calmed her down. You see, I’m the guy that can calm people down. I’m the guy. I’m the guy for everything. (changes CD in radio) I’m the DJ. I’m the everything around here. I’m the DJ person.
Marquise’s work can be seen on display at the Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center located at 1124 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. You can also view Marquise’s work and several other creative clay artist’s work at www.creativeclay.org
All photos Courtesy of Charlie Barri Bachmann