A lot more than 20 decades soon after Penobscot Country artists Jason Brown and Donna Decontie Brown 1st commenced generating and providing jewellery as Decontie & Brown, the pair have hung up their pliers for now in favor of a extra expansive, interdisciplinary way of building art.
Soon soon after the pandemic commenced, Jason Brown threw his passion driving Firefly, a multimedia general performance art venture that for the previous two yrs has reworked his artistic daily life. Via tunes, video clip, dance and fashion, Brown creates an immersive live expertise, drawing on ancestral Wabanaki new music and imagery, but with a futuristic twist.
“It’s Indigenous futurism,” he said. “Many persons believe of Indigenous men and women as one thing historic, or from the earlier. They never see us as existing, and they certain as heck really don’t see us as futuristic. But we are listed here, and we will be here. A person of the motives why I do this is to exhibit that.”
The path to Firefly was a extensive but inescapable a single. In 2016, Decontie & Brown began producing apparel and accessories in addition to jewellery, appearing in fashion shows at significant Native American artwork exhibits like the Santa Fe Indian Sector, the Listened to Museum Guild Indian Market in Phoenix, Arizona, and far more locally at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.
Brown produced his personal audio for some of individuals exhibits, spurring him to study extra about recording and building soulful digital beats more than which to sing and drum. The songs themselves were by now there, drawing on the historic Wabanaki new music he discovered yrs in the past from tribal elders.
“There’s a cause why these chants, these notes, these melodies have lasted for hundreds of a long time,” he said. “They may well have transformed a minor little bit more than the generations, but the unique electric power at the rear of them flows as a result of. We just place our individual taste on it and hand it ahead. It is all part of a continuation of this 13,000-yr-aged circle of creative imagination.”
However Brown and his spouse and imaginative associate Decontie Brown had discovered a terrific deal of results in earning great jewelry, when the pandemic struck, it altered anything for them. All the art displays they generally traveled to in the spring, summer time and drop have been canceled.
Bored and restless, Brown commenced hosting stay streams that includes himself singing and drumming more than all those beats, donning some of the garments models he and Decontie Brown built, and location up evocative lights in deep purples, blues, reds and greens — colours encouraged by the mild of fireflies, the aurora, and the night sky in standard.
His are living streams have been common proper off the bat, and Brown dubbed the task Firefly. Just after a few months, it grew to become really clear to him that this was the way he desired to go in creatively. In 2021, he and Decontie Brown produced the decision to start out refocusing Decontie & Brown absent from solely jewelry and fashion, and towards getting a “house of creativity” — a partnership that encompasses the style, tunes, and online video factors of their get the job done.
“COVID was a tragedy, but it also was a fantastic reset for so lots of folks. It created so quite a few individuals reevaluate the factors in their life,” he claimed. “I know it did for me.”
Since then, Brown has released a range of music as Firefly, releasing his debut album, “Sacred Fire,” final yr. He has executed live displays across Maine and the region, together with a number of displays in Portland in excess of the wintertime. In his stay shows, he transforms venues into shimmering nighttime wonderlands, and he encourages audiences to take part in the singing and rhythmic features.
Previously this yr Brown also done do the job as Firefly on a piece of digital online video artwork known as “WABANAVIA,” that explores not just his Wabanaki heritage, but also Scandinavian roots, as he has ancestors from Sweden. The Portland Museum of Artwork bought “WABANAVIA” in February as element of its lasting collection.
Although Brown can make his music and visible components, Donna Decontie Brown works with him to craft and complete the are living reveals and handle their company, even though operating as director of the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition. They’ve also been active reworking their Bangor home and studio into a hub of multimedia activity, and absent from staying a jewellery studio.
Not that Brown intends to give up jewellery making forever. It is what obtained him started off as an artist, and what place him on the route to Firefly.
“Just the other day I had to get my tools out so I could do a very little restore on a piece I created a several yrs in the past,” he explained. “It’s pleasant to recall that I have not misplaced my contact, even if my creative imagination is in a distinct position now.”
Firefly will subsequent conduct on Saturday, June 18 at the Bangor Arts Exchange, as aspect of WERU-FM’s summertime live performance series. For extra info, go to fireflythehybrid.com.