One of the fun things about hosting an exhibit covering the nomadic nature of artists is having their work move in and out of the space and be a part of other shows and exhibits. At the top of Nomadic Studio, were were loaned this portable mural by Lavie Raven and Kat entitled “Resistance”. It was maybe ten feet across and 3 feet high, and the colors just vibrated. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Kat, but Lavie is a legend, and possibly the closest I’ve met to a modern-day prophet.
Jim Duignan introduced Beth Wiedner and I to Lavie around the time that we were doing “Musical Chairs” in 2008. He’s a world-class teacher and spray-paint artist, among many other things. Simultaneously intense and inviting, Lavie is an explosive force for good. I recall the moment when I realized that he was ‘Raven’, one of the graffiti artist featured in the seminal book by William ‘Upski’ Wimsatt, Bomb the Suburbs that I had read over a decade prior. “Wait a minute, you’re that Raven?” Sure enough.
In addition to teaching Social Studies, Art Education, and pretty much any socio-cultural topic you can throw at him, Lavie is also the Prime-Minister of Education for the University of Hip-Hop. There, he facilitates programs that teach all four pillars of Hip-Hop (deejaying, emceeing, graffiti, and b-boying). A renaissance man in a day-glo track suit, a pedagogue who can breakdance with the best of them, Lavie Raven is someone who is impossible to forget, and foolish to ignore.
Bio: With twenty years of experience teaching in the Chicago public school system and working in community arts since he was a teenager, Raven creates strategies for integrating hip-hop into community service projects and classroom education. As one of the co-founders of the University of Hip-Hop, a multi-disciplinary school of the street arts, Raven helped create a dozen charter branches that serve youth across Chicago and throughout the nation.