Singer Bloom and illustrator ArtCultureKing are an artsy couple, but when it comes to their crafts, they have very different perspectives.
They’re coming together Friday for their first joint event, the Clothesline 314 at Blank Space, and it’s proven to be a task for the pair.
“It’s tough working together,” says ArtCultureKing (aka Cameron Williams). “We have two different outlooks on art.”
Bloom (aka Kalyn McNeil) says she likes art that’s dark and grungy; his artwork is bright. She prefers abstract; he doesn’t.
“You have to accept each other’s differences,” he says. And “not try to change them,” she adds.
It’ll all play out at the Clothesline 314, an occasional event started in 2014 by DJ Agile 1, Gina Martinez and Lina Fasano. It’s a one-night-only experience that transforms space through audio and visual collaborations.
The event’s name was inspired by Martinez’s grandmother’s hanging laundry out to dry. For Martinez, that represented “being vulnerable and having everything out in the open,” Bloom says.
ArtCultureKing and Bloom are the featured artists Friday at the Clothesline 314. They will transform the space to represent their combined aesthetic.
“We want to show people our talents together rather than separate,” he says.
“It’s just something different,” Bloom says. “The Clothesline 314 provides a platform for artists to put on shows that are collaborative and for artists who don’t necessarily get the exposure they deserve. We get to deck out the venue and combine art, performance and a party with a DJ.”
She says it’s difficult these days to separate from all that’s going on in the world, which forces her to be more introspective.
“It’s hard to not be affected by it,” she says. “But this is our way of saying, in order for change to happen, we have to come together.”
Bloom is currently working on “Androgyny,” the follow-up to her 2016 EP, “[Sin]ses.” “It’s dark, and it’s about liberation and not being afraid of who you are,” she says. “And I’m playing on the title, saying, ‘I am everything. ‘I am a woman, I am a man, I am Earth, I am love.’ This release is mixing the human experience with the spiritual experience.”
Bloom discovered she could sing when she was 3 years old, and she realized early that she wanted to be “a famous singer. That was my childhood dream. But I grew up super shy.”
She grew up in a musical family; her mother, Lisa Ross, sang jazz and performed with Ralph Butler and Ptah Williams. Her grandmother played piano, and her grandfather played saxophone.
By age 16 she was calling herself a jazz singer. The first time she auditioned for “American Idol,” though, she was told she was a pop singer and was dismissed in the first round. (In 2011, she made it to the Hollywood rounds.)
“Jazz is the basis of everything I do,” says Bloom, who started out singing with groups before going solo two years ago. “I gave myself that name. It was symbolic of me really loving who I was. I know it’s kind of cliche, but it’s like a flower ... being this seed and nurturing it and watering it.”
She says her sound is hard to categorize, but she describes it as “experimental EDM.” Her influences include Evanescence, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Amel Larrieux and James Blake.
“There’s really so much more to me than that, that no one has ever seen,” she says. “People have to mix in all the genres and other singers to describe me.”
ArtCultureKing has been doing graphic illustration since he was a freshman in high school. A friend gave him his moniker.
“I didn’t have a set discipline. I just like to learn,” he says. “My friends said I do everything, that I’m the king of art. I was just trying to figure out my identity, who I was.”
He considers his colorful artwork to be in contrast to “the world we live in being a dark place.” Women make frequent appearances in his work.
“Women are powerful,” he says. “Women are queens of the world, and I show that in my art pieces.”His first solo exhibition, in 2016, was “Don’t Touch My Hair,” which was on view at the St. Louis Hop Shop (which still displays some of his work).
“That really caught people’s eyes,” he says. “There’s just something about the hair that’s so powerful to me. I’ve always had an obsession with women’s hair, their crown, no matter the race or culture. And the bigger the hair, the more powerful the hair.”
He currently is working on his next solo exhibit, “Filling the Void,” which is about filling an empty space with brightness. It will be dedicated to Aden Xavier Williams, his son with Bloom.
What The Clothesline 314 with Bloom and ArtCultureKing • When 9:30 p.m. Friday • Where Blank Space, 2847 Cherokee Street • How much $7 • More info instagram.com/theclothesline314