by Tausifur Osmani
Local filmmaker Michael Tukes orchestrated the Tukes Art Expo in his hometown of Moreno Valley on May 21, showcasing various talents from the Inland Empire and attracting a massive turnout of 150 people.
This was the second annual expo that Tukes and his team including assistant coordinator Ronald Meza Jr. have coordinated, but it was impressive how sophisticated the expo was considering the fact that this event was initially just an annual movie night that Tukes would throw exclusively for his friends a few years ago.
It was quite astonishing to see how a simple gathering of friends transformed over the years into an all out art expo where everything about the event was aesthetically organized to the most molecular detail, all for the purpose of establishing an environment where attendees would experience a sense of entrenched elegance in a setting that resembles a high end New York art gallery with the liberating vibe of a California music festival.
Moreno Valley isn’t exactly synonymous with producing world renowned artists. Many aspiring artists in the area may be discouraged to continue to pursue their future endeavors in the creative industry and feel the urge to face an ultimatum that may result in the sacrifice of their initial dreams. This epidemic provoked Tukes to gather his team and organize this expo to motivate any artist out there suffering from waning inspiration.
The goal set for the Tukes team revolved around the principle of networking,
“Collaboration is how you really bring people in, that’s how you really build an audience and brand yourself,” Tukes said.
The Tukes Arts slogan is to “create, innovate, and network,” which is indicative of the goal for the Tukes Arts Expo. The event ultimately garnered in over 150 patrons comprised of art connoisseurs from all backgrounds.
Derrall Brownlee, who is a Corona based hip-hop artist, experienced the first hand effects of the networking potency within the event,
“The atmosphere, the talent, and the people made the expo a really great experience,” Brownlee said. “It was great meeting new people and connecting in a positive environment.”
Brownlee’s experience from the event allowed him to vibe with other musicians who shared his same enthusiasm for producing music that utilized 1990s element beats coupled with an R&B flow and therefore instilled extra motivation for him to grow in his craft as well as accumulate a larger audience to his music by sharing his website (Iamd-wayne.com) with other artists who were interested in his work.
The event essentially took place in the backyard of a home, but many of the attendees wouldn’t realize that because they were pre-occupied admiring the various art displays, engaging in intuitive conversations, or just viewing some of the live performances that took place on the stage. The continuous social activity amongst patrons at the event resembled a bunch of neurons firing information to each other, there was never a dull moment at the expo.
Once again Tukes’ team of coordinators must be applauded for strategically placing the art displays in all the crucial areas of the venue to keep patrons constantly entertained as well as organizing the performances to where every musician received an adequate and appropriate amount of time to resonate with the audience.
The live performances featured many Moreno Valley natives including Darian Houser (soundcloud.com/darehouse), Mellow Lando (soundcloud.com/mellowlando), and headlined Elijah Perkins who debuted his mixtape and film “Nightfall” which willbe available everywhere June 10 on Elijvh.com. The consensual response from the crowd suggested that they were stunned by the amount of quality talent that Moreno Valley has to offer.
The co-headline of the expo unveiled the premiere of “Star Wars: Wrath of the Sith,” a short film directed by Michael Tukes, but was also a project that featured many talents including the contributions of music producer Steven Alvarez, assistant director Sungkha Kaine Hel, as well as Shaun Lee White who is a Los Angeles based student director currently attending the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood. White is essentially responsible for all the costume designs in the film as well as other vital production pieces.
White has been a frequent collaborator with Tukes and opened up about the financial perseverance that goes into completing a well organized short film.
“You are your own currency. It’s your talents that will pave way for your future,” White said. “Networking is the key ingredient to being a successful artist in this modern digital age.”
The crew had a shoe string budget, but released a project that resembles big money material since they had a knack for stretching out every dollar to bypass any financial impediments, essentially using passion to fuel creativity.
As echoed by many of the Tukes coordinating staff the goal was not to merely promote themselves, but everyone who came to the event so that they realize establishing allies in the creative world is key to achieving success for their artistry. People familiarized themselves with the social principle that it’s not necessarily about what you know, but who you know as well.
Promotion of the arts is an ingrained value in the Tukes family as personified by his brother Joshua Tukes who served as a coordinator at the expo and is also an established webcomic designer who launched his own superhero webcomic series called “The Fusion” which is now available to read on thefusioncomic.com. Joshua also utilized his artistic prowess as a tool for public service to his community by offering painting and art classes at the Moreno Valley Recreation Center and various other events.
Joshua Tukes’ strive for serving the community, is indicative of what he believes the art expo signifies.
“This event can bring all creative types together while showcasing the best the Inland Empire has to offer in the arts within our generation of creatives,” Tukes said.
Although the Tukes Art Expo was a success, the focus is still on growth and hopes to gain traction by reaching out to the LA and San Diego talent pool as well as prominent celebrities
“I’m looking to pull in big name actors to showcase the event, however I never want to lose sight of the little guy so that they can show their stuff too,” Tukes stated.
All in all the expo exceeded its goal by attracting a massive turnout from artists that extended beyond the Inland Empire and anticipates a larger attendance next time. Not bad for an event that was initially just a movie night for friends.
The next Tukes Art Expo is forecast to launch this upcoming fall. Any aspiring artists looking to showcase their talent can go on TukesArts.com to discuss arrangements.