Saturday, August 31, 2013

Boynton Beach Art District Drops Burning Man Live Feed But Parties on Anyway!

Cultural Council of Palm Beach: 
Call for Nominations for prestigious 2014 Muse Awards Due November 15th, 2013.

Please consider ActivistArtistA Gallery/ Rolando Chang Barrero for: 
Outstanding Collaboration withThe City of Boynton Beach in the developement of the Boynton Beach Art District and contributuitions to the arts in Palm Beach County.

Outstanding Festival for KeroWACKED ART and MUSIC Festival 2013and The Boynton Beach Art District Art Walk (awarded Best Art Walk 2013), both of which were recognized by the press and the public, as new refreshing and vibrant.

TODAY, Saturday, August 31, 2013
7p.m./ 1 a.m.

ActivistArtistA Gallery
Boynton Beach Art District
422 West Industrial Ave.
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

Curious Josh via LA Weekly

Boynton Beach Art District Drops Burning Man Live Feed But Parties on Anyway

From: New Times

Rolando Chang Barrero, the inspired eccentric and mastermind of ActivistArtistA -- the gallery at the heart of the Boynton Beach Art District -- had a great idea. Some time ago, he got in touch with organizers of Burning Man, the annual alternative festival/freak show/transitory community in the Nevada desert, and arranged for a live feed of events there to be shown at a companion party in the warehouses of Barrero's Boynton Beach artists' enclave.
That part of his plan for tomorrow night's gathering has gone up in smoke, like a parody of the famous desert festival's iconic concluding act. Barrero says higher-ups in Burning Man's corporate structure sicced their lawyers on him, raised questions about copyright and put the kibosh on his plan. (Burning Man's come a long way, for better or worse, since its DIY founding days.)

Barrero's bowing out gracefully. "I decided not to fight it," he told New Times. "My whole thing is about community." He could have done a bootleg feed, he said, but "I didn't want the District to reflect that lack of principle."
The show must go on, however, and it will, Barrero being a cat who rolls with the punches. Still on tap for the Saturday event are all other aspects of the event he planned: Fire pits (all in accord with the directions of the Boynton Beach Fire Department), DJ Professor Chaoz (Daniel Wander) of Beat Thief, Inc. ("Drop bass, not bombs"), bellydancing and more by the Vanya~E'dan Dance & Entertainment Company, avant-garde hula hoopery byPhilosifiresRat's Mouth playing tunes, and, inevitably, drum circles.
Vestiges of the original, proposed Burning Man connection remain. The party's headline is "Waiting for John Frum," a reference to the cargo cult avatar which also serves as theme of this year's Burning Man. As a result, a costume and effigy contest along those lines is still a possibility. "If people show up and make it happen," Barrero told us, "we'll do it." Which pretty much sums up the ActivistArtistA philosophy.
Waiting for John Frum. 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday, August 31, Boynton Beach Art District,
422 West Industrial Ave, Boynton Beach.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Artists of Palm Beach County September Meeting at ActivistArtistA

M   O   N   T   H   L   Y     A   R   T   I   S   T   S
S   H   A   R   I   N   G     M   E   E   T   I   N   G
Meetings begin at 7:00pm on the second Monday of each month unless noted.


will be held on Mon, Sep 9th, 2013, starting at 7:00pm and ending at 9:00pm

If you're planning to attend, please RSVP.

The meeting will be hosted by Rolando Chang Barrero

The September meeting will take place in the ActivistArtista Gallery in the Boynton Beach Art District. For members who have been hoping for a meeting in the south end, this is the one to attend!

Gallery Director, Rolando Chang Barrero, has created a vibrant art scene in the warehouse enclave of galleries and studios on Industrial Avenue where an artwalk takes place the last Thursday of every month from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. In addition to socializing with artists, the APBC September meeting offers the opportunity to see the gallery’s current exhibit, "Valyn Calhoun: Retrospective with Rita Baum", which opened on August 22nd and runs through September 27th. One of South Florida’s most controversial artists, photographer Valyn Calhoun, incorporates fashion, fetishism, homoeroticism and nightlife into his highly stylized imagery.

Admission is free for members of APBC, but the general public is invited to attend the event for a $5.00 admission fee. Payment will be collected at the door and will be applied towards the membership fee, if one wishes to join at the meeting. Artists are encouraged to bring a work of art for sharing/critique as well as refreshments to share with the group.

The meeting will be held at:
ActivistArtistA Gallery/Studio422 West Industrial Ave.
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Phone: 786 521-1701
Here's how to get there:

I 95 to Boynton Beach Blvd.
West on Boynton Beach Blvd. to Industrial Ave. (First right turn)
North to 422.

There are four buildings with painted walls. The gallery is on the north side of the northernmost of them. 

Members: $0.00

Non-Members: $5.00
Payment will be collected at the door.
If you join at the meeting, your payment will be applied to your membership fee.

If you're planning to attend, please RSVP.

Monday, August 26, 2013

From Cancer to Creative! A Very Short Story....

Seeing Clearly, Acrylic on Wood by Rolando  Chang Barrero
 Freedom from illness, drug addiction, apathy and hate 

As of late my life has be scrutinized a bit more then usual, so here it is....
3 videos recently released about artist Rolando Chang Barrero (see below)

Rolando Chang Barrero, ActivistArtistA Gallery Director may supports many causes, but his experiences with brain cancer, drug addiction, and homophobia give him a voice and a tale worth considering.  If you too find yourself in the throws of an inexpicalabe downward spiral you can solace in the fact that we do recover, we do get better and that giving time time life balances out.

Honesty, an open mind, and the willingness to accept that there is alot of ingnorance in regard to illness, and addictions helpped me survive the most challnging derailments in my life. That the brain cancer I had was not punishment for a carefree life, it was simply a disease for which there was no know cure for (at that time), only treatmetments and eventullay surgery --with little chance of surviving.

 I obviously made it through the surgery and was faced with all too many complications. It was made clear that I would eventually die or live with deficits that would worsen as time went on. I thought I was not capable to live this way, I could not accept it, I was wrong, I am going on 30 years living with residual tumors, tremors, seizures and the like...most only visible to those closest to me. I have leaned to ask for help in my daily life, refused being on disability, I live, I work, and I handle with my limitations as they come.

 It was not easy to get here.

 My successful careers (plural) came to a halt at 34, The following 10 years would dark and painful, Cancer survivorship was something I did not choose, nor did I want it! At first I would not sleep out of fear that I would not wake up. Eventually sleep would come and I would wake up damming God and every saint that I was not allowed to die peacefully in durning the night. The anger did not subside, so I kept rereading the Elizabeth Kubler Ross book "On Death and Dying" to see what I was doning wrong, My prescrptions for pain, for seizures, --for this and for that stopped working.

 Eventually I took to the feel good drugs I was familiar with from my better days of celebrating good fortune and success hoping I could put together at least 2 days of releif. Booze helpped a bit, then came cocaine, then heroin, crystal the came the asylums, the jails, and eventually prison. My charges were all over the board, but the basis of them all was selfloathing, and apathy toward everything. I had lost all affect...I was souless and incohearent, a danger to myself and everyone.

I eventually found my way into treatment to deal with the many life issues that once alluded me.... Here is the video created By Jacques de Beaufor that was recntly relased on my present life:

Studio Vérité: Rolando Chang Barrero from Jacques de Beaufort on Vimeo.

Amoung the many sources that provided assistance for me were: Hospitlization, Detox Centers, Rehabilitation Centers, 12 Step Programs, and Relgious Affiliations.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Prime Time For A Nice Contorversial Art Exhibition," Says Reviewer of ActivistArtistA's New Exhibit

Valyn Calhoun: Retrospective

with Rita Baum

ActivistArtistA Gallery

422 West Industrial Ave.,

Boynton Beach, Florida 33427

8-22-13 thru 9-27-13

By John Thomason, Boca Magazine

There’s nothing wrong with a family-friendly art show, and South Florida’s museums are filled with them – especially as summertime peters to a close. Now that the kiddies are back in school,

 it’s prime time for a nice controversial art exhibition,

 that kind for adults only, the kind that will provoke, shock, energize and inspire. Least of all will it spawn indifference, that shoulder-shrugging death knell for many an artist.
I’m talking about the ActivistArtistA Gallery’s new retrospective of works by Valyn Calhoun, a confrontational, expressive fine art photographer based in Fort Lauderdale. Last night, the Boynton Beach Arts District warehouse gallery unveiled several dozen Calhoun works, in all of their blood, guts, nip slips and general boundary-pushing angst.
For example, Calhoun’s most recent series, presented in half-dozen or so photos, shows the artist in a number of agonizing self-portraits, his hands, arms and tattooed chest caked with blood while he clutches his skull in abject torment. In one of the shots, we can see only the whites of his eyes, and in another he stares directly at us, forcing us to return his gaze – implicating us in his pain.
According to Rolando Chang Barrerro, who curated the exhibition, Calhoun discovered in February that he had contracted AIDS, and this bloody series is his response to the diagnosis. (Thanks to a fundraising campaign by his colleagues, he’s receiving treatment now and appears to be OK).
Other, older collections are less in-your-face, but just as memorable. One series shows his muse, Rita Baum, posing in fashionable boots, colorful pants and a police hat, showing the occasional bit of tasteful nudity while patrolling the sort of heavily graffitied, abandoned buildings that defined urban dystopias in ‘80s sci-fi films (Cornered away from Calhoun’s art, the gallery is also showcasing five unique portraits of Calhoun by Baum, exhibiting for the first time). From steampunk to post-punk, another series features saturated visions of punk rock bands and dancehalls – fevered distillations of countercultural visions.

Another series features black silhouettes of Baum in front of motley butterfly wings; Calhoun has turned his muse into a mysteriously angelic figure. 

"One of my favorite series shows human body parts – usually from Calhoun’s own emaciated frame – doubled, tripled and quadrupled them in all directions, creating vaginal vortices: intimate kaleidoscopes of human flesh." 

One of Calhoun’s most similarly provocative collections depicts women, dressed for fetish parties, whose bodies are tired down with rope, their breasts “censored” by black plastic tape. Is this the voice of the kinky, or the voice of the speechless and repressed? Part of the pleasure of Calhoun’s work is its inscrutability, its lack of speechifying. You draw your own conclusions.
And just went you think you’ve seen it all, there’s a series of benign photos of insects and birds, close-ups from the Nat Geo cutting-room floor. It’s proof that this underground voice can rise to the surface whenever he wants. Or as Barrerro puts it, “He has a language like everybody else who experiences life. We go to McDonald’s as well as five-star restaurants.”

There will be a VIP reception of “Valyn Calhoun: Retrospective” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. Call Rolando Chang Barrerro at 786/521-1199 for details. The exhibition will run through Sept. 27 at ActivistArtistA, 422 W. Industrial Ave., Boynton Beach. Admission is free.

BOCA Magazine Review for Valyn Calhoun Retrospective at ActivistArtistA Gallery

Thank you, John Thomason for taking the time to visit ActivistArtistA, and
preview the Valyn Calhoun Retrospective.

Review of

Valyn Calhoun: Retrospective

with Rita Baum

ActivistArtistA Gallery

422 West Industrial Ave.,

Boynton Beach, Florida 33427

8-22-13 thru 9-27-13

VIP Grand Reception will be held on
Saturday, August 24, 2013
For invitation to the VIP reception please RSVP.


Opening of “Valyn Calhoun: Retrospective” at ActivistArtistA Gallery, 422 W. Industrial Ave., Boynton Beach; 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday; free; 786/521-1199
Under “religious beliefs” on his Facebook page, artist Valyn Calhoun lists “necromancy.” Under “political beliefs,” he professes “anarchy.” These two insights should prepare audiences, somewhat, for this controversial Fort Lauderdale-based photographer’s mindset, which will be vividly explored at this retrospective at the Boynton Beach Arts District. He’s a portraitist as well as an experimental artist, with penchants for homoeroticism, fetishism, nudity, eyes wide open, Rorschachian doubling, superimpositions and unnecessary censorship or, rather, commentaries on such censorship. Rolando Chang Barrero, curator of the ActivistArtsistA Gallery, is expecting this show to be the summer’s most-attended exhibition, with two opening dates: the first, at tonight’s monthly District Art Walk, and again on Aug. 24 for a VIP Grand Reception; for admission to Saturday’s show, email Rolando at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NEW TIMES: Photographer Valyn Calhoun Holding Retrospective for Boynton Beach Art Walk

Photographer Valyn Calhoun Holding Retrospective for Boynton Beach Art Walk

Valyn Calhoun's camera is his therapist, he says. And one need only look at his photographs to see what he means.
An often jarring assortment of random limbs soaked in bright, harsh colors, his photos can feel discomforting at times, like a bondage, big-top circus. Combating the chaos, ostensibly at least, is his incorporation of a mirroring technique, which creates a symmetry in his work: a sort of kaleidoscape.
But trying to rationalize his pieces defeats the purpose. The discordance is his point.

Calhoun, a 30-year-old Fort Lauderdale native, points to sexual abuse he suffered as a child and the subsequent emotional struggle as the inspiration behind his images. A self-defined sex addict, he wants to convey the complete loss of control and loss of rationality that goes with such a condition. Calhoun is gay, but his photos show genderless bodies, demonstrating that under such an addiction an arm is a leg is a mouth is a whatever; it doesn't matter. "You can't tell who's what in the throes of a sex addiction," he says.
The past year has seen some highs and lows for Calhoun. His health spiraled out of control until he was finally diagnosed as HIV positive, for which he was promptly treated. As a result, his health improved quickly and drastically.
"My brain hasn't caught up yet," he says. "Within three months, I had gained 20 pounds back, and within six months, I'm undetectable. The meds are amazing and my body is healthier. Mainly, it's been a struggle of the mind and reconciling what just happened with me, and finding my artistic spark again because I felt dry. But when it comes to the physical part, I'm blessed, I couldn't be any luckier."
Now Calhoun is creating again, his camera right beside him, certainly helping his brain catch up one inspiration at a time.
Check out our interview with Calhoun below for his upcoming retrospective, opening Thursday, August 22 at ActivistArtistA Gallery in Boynton Beach. The reception is Saturday August 24. Details below.
New Times: What can we expect from this show?
Calhoun: Basically Rolando [Barrero] contacted me about this show. He wanted to put together a retrospective previewing and showcasing my work from the past, so basically what's going to be on display is all my photography since I started my career. I'm selecting pieces from each of my series to display on separate panels. And it's a big range: from 8x10 up to 13x19 I think is my largest print. The whole front of the gallery is going to be chronologically ordered with my series, and the back of the gallery is going to have about four or five images of me by Rita Baum, so I'll be the subject for the background, too.
Who is Rita Baum and why did you partner with her?
Rita Baum is a very good friend of mine and a great artist. She is the first person that I shot as a model professionally. [Because] she was my first model, I thought it would be really interesting for this show. She's never shown at a gallery before, and she started doing some artwork of her own after modeling, and she ended up taking some really phenomenal pictures of me. So I asked her if she wouldn't mind participating. So it's kind of like, I started with her as my model and now here we are three years later and she's putting up pictures of me at my show. It's great!
Do you feel Florida influences your work and/or creative process? Do you see Florida in your work?
I blame the Bermuda Triangle! It brings me back here every time I leave. But yes, the weirder parts of Florida particularly. When I was growing up down here I knew I was gay right from the get go. Some things happened to me in childhood, in preschool molestation-wise that definitely left an impact on my head. The guy was acquitted so I can't even say his name in press or anything because he got away with it. And that's been the main inspiration for the beginning for my artwork. Not even realizing at the time I had repressed memories and all this sexual addiction. All this sexual energy was definitely pouring out through my art and screaming and when all these repressed memories came back I found myself having to find a new muse and new medium and a new inspiration. I definitely find inspiration in the characters in Florida, the local people you see, the local flora and fauna. I can't help it but everything about here led up to the person I am today.
There's a lot of nudity in your work, but also a lot of distortion. What's the purpose of this, what are you trying to express?
A lot of people do notice the distortion or kaleidoscope aspect or a mirroring aspect in my work. That started with the "Meat" series which was a self-exploration in my sex addiction. Basically what I was trying to capture with that original series was the throes of a sex addiction, when you're so far deep into the compulsive process that you can't tell whether you're having sex with an arm, a leg, or an ass, or a woman, or a man. I wanted to bring that to people's eyes. Something about the sex act for me while I was going through this transformative process was very compulsory and lost all sense of anything visible, so I wanted to portray that through my art: how the human mind can twist up the human body. My models for the "Meat" series were male and female, but you can't tell who's who, what's what, what you're looking at, and that's kind of what it feels like when you're in the throes of a sex addiction.

[The "Meat" series was] where I really started exploring. It was when I started getting my repressed memories back really heavily, and I started realizing that I wasn't born with my sex addiction. It was something that was inflicted upon me and I hadn't realized that. So part of that process for me was getting it out onto paper for others to see. It's always really interesting to hear what other people come up with and what they see when they look at the art knowing none of the backstory because usually it's pretty dead on.
What's next for you?
A few things are on the back burner right now. I've actually been really working on getting my photos off of paper. I'm working on different types of fashion. I'm really trying to get my photography off the wall, off the paper, and on to people, on to buildings, on to other things, and that does include the potential of opening a gallery. There's some of that talk in the works, too.
What besides your camera, has helped you through some of the bad times?
Honestly I'd really like to thank the entire freaking art community. I know how cheesy that kinda sounds. Except when I was really sick and in the hospital, people were going out of their way. I was getting at least 10 phones calls and texts every single day not including emails from people I had never met before that were donating to my fundraiser, sending me positive vibes. I really attribute my will to get better so fast to that. I changed a lot of habits in my life when I got sick. I really attribute that to the amount of people who responded in such a loving way. Surprisingly, it didn't come from the gay community, it came from the art community. And that I'm most thankful for, because these are the people who buy my art and are allowing me to be an artist again.
Valyn Calhoun with Rita Baum, Thursday, August 22 during art walk at ActivistArtistA Gallery (422 West Industrial Ave., Boynton Beach). The reception will be held August 24, from 7-10 p.m. Other entertainment includes Dooms de Pop, WolfCat, and Beat Thief.