“Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem…” is what comes to mind when you think of this month’s cover artist Gemynii. The Bull City native is a self-taught artist, writer, poet and community activist. She, like her astrology symbol the Gemini suggest, is very artistic, creative and expressive, all of which are widely displayed throughout her art. Most of her pieces feature abstract portraits of people of color, and her artistic expression is influenced by the overall Black experience of social issues, body/gender acceptance and music.
Gemynii’s work has been showcased all over the place — Pitch Media Gallery, The Market Street Coffeehouse, Durham’s People’s Channel, Duke University Hospital, Golden Belt, Winston Salem State University, The Brooklyn Swirl, Blue Coffee Cafe and Busboys & Poets, just to name a few.
Her portrait of the legendary Grace Jones adorned our Oak City Hustle cover back in March 2015. Now she’s back for the second time with this month’s cover of Grammy nominated group, The Internet, who are headlining this year’s Art of Cool Jazz and Alternative Soul Music Festival, here in Durham.
Gemynii’s decision to illustrate the R&B soul band was based on the band image of coolness, which is what Art of Cool is all about. Originally from Los Angeles, the group features Odd Future affiliates, Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians. Even though they made their debut in 2011, it’s their 2015 release of Ego Death, which debuted at the in the top ten of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart, that’s given the group a recognizable name. all-genre Billboard 200.
Interested in seeing this dynamic duo? The Internet is performing live Saturday, May 7 at Art of Cool.
In fact, Art of Cool, featuring more than 60 talented artists over a three day period, will spotlight great music from Rapsody, 9th Wonder, PJ Morton, Thundercat and Moonchild just to name a few. And according to Gemynii, festivals like the Art of Cool are needed here in the region.
“Black culture is what brings people to Durham; this festival bridges the gap between music and art,” she says.
And Gemynii is more than a fan of the festival, she’s also an artist. She has previously participated in its downtown music events and appeared in the festival’s first commercial.
She believes it’s important for Black people to attend this festival because it not only celebrates Black artists, but Art of Cool also supports and gives awareness to another group — non-mainstream artists. Make sure to check out Art of Cool Festival, downtown Durham, May 6-8.