Avantist is more than just a band. For these four brothers from Chicago, it is the basis of their entire familial relationship. Having little prior musical experience, they found inspiration in everything ranging from films, family fracas, and the sounds of their father's classically trained Mariachi voice. Fernando (Vocals), Erick (Bass), David (Guitar), and Luis (Drums) eventually eased their ways into the roles that encapsulate their personalities, creating a sound that is new and unpredictable.
Jory Drew was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.
NIC Kay is from the Bronx, currently occupying several liminal spaces. They are a person who makes performances and creates and organizes performative spaces. They are obsessed with the act and process of moving the change of place, production of space, position, and the clarity and meaning gleaned from the shifting of perspective. NIC’s current transdisciplinary projects explore movement as a place of reclamation of the body, history, and spirituality. NIC has shown work spoken on panels and hosted workshops at numerous venues throughout the United States and internationally. In 2016, they developed a web series called the Bronx Cunt Tour around their debut solo performance, "lil BLK for Open TV," which premiered in April 2016. NIC Kay is currently a 2017 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence Van Lier Fellow in New York City.
Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet, Cave Canem fellow, and graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He has received three scholarships from Bread Loaf as well as scholarships from the Millay Colony, Poetry by the Sea, Ucross, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Keith serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. Find him on Twitter @RobottoMulatoo and at keithwilson.com.
Derrick Woods-Morrow (b.1990. Greensboro, NC) is a conceptual artist working in photography, sculpture, installation, and performance. He is the recipient of the 2015 Professional-Development Fellowship in the Visual Arts by the College Association of Art, the Carol Becker Merit Scholarship (SAIC), the Graduate Dean Professional Development Award (SAIC), and is a Terry Plumming Scholar. He has attended the ACRE residency, the Fire Island Artist Residency, Latitude Residency Program (March 2017), and was accepted into Ox-bow residency. He has shown work at Xpace Cultural Centre in Toronto, The Sullivan Galleries, The Kinsey Institute, The Maier Museum of Art, the Center on Halsted in Chicago, the Student Union Galleries, Hyde Park Arts Center, ACRE and The Bureau of General Services – Queer Division: BGSQD (Feb 2017). He recently completed his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently is an Adjunct Professor of Photography at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Joelle Mercedes is a pájaro from El Bronx, NYC, currently nesting in Chicago, IL. Joelle’s artistic practice is a flight interrupted by a chaotic thirst for departures. In this detour a circular path unearths, the tart nectar of saudade. A curiosity with distance.
Aricka Foreman’s work has appeared in The Drunken Boat, Minnesota Review, RHINO, Day One, Phantom, shuf Poetry, James Franco Review, thrush, Vinyl, PLUCK!, and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation by Viking Penguin, among others. She is the author of Dream With A Glass Chamber from YesYes Books and the Art co-editor at The Offing. Originally from Detroit, she currently lives in Chicago.
Christian JaLon (pronounced: Juh-Lon), is a 19-year-old Chicago Native. She has been singing since the age of seven, but has been active in her craft since she was 13 years old - she started out posting YouTube covers. When Christian was a junior in high-school, she began attending open mic nights, including Young Chicago Authors, Chance The Rapper's Open Mike, & more. Christian released her first project, "SELF EP," in the summer of 2016. You can find Christian on SoundCloud, Twitter @ChristianJaLon, & Instagram.
Zachary Nicol is an artist and performer based in Chicago. His work is concerned with ethnocultural lineage, the moving body, and the resonances of colonialism. He is a graduate of Northwestern University with a B.S. in Theatre.
Amina Ross is an undisciplined artist engaged in the reevaluation of visual and written language. As of late, Amina’s interests have led to an exploration of conceptions of Body and Beauty within communities dedicated to alternative modes of healing. Amina’s process is consciously constructed and highly collaborative. Amina is committed to creating spaces that foster thinking, conversation, growth and love. These ambitions manifested in the founding of 3rd Language (2011-2015), a queer arts collective which has received the Propeller Fund grant and Davis Foundation awards for its summer workshops series. Currently, these ambitions manifest themselves in Beauty Breaks, (beautybreaks.info), a participatory art project and workshop series developed during Amina’s fellowship at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Amina is currently Co-Lead artist of Teen Creative Agency at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
A.J. McClenon is a writer, performer, and interdisciplinary visual and sound artist based in Chicago. Their work sets personal narratives alongside empirical data, leveling hierarchies of truth. They work across media incorporating aspects of sound, film, video, drawing, animation and collage throughout their work. They hold a Masters in Fine Arts with an emphasis in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park. They have also studied at Eugene Lang College. They are currently an educator at the Montessori Academy of Chicago and co-organizer of Beauty Breaks, an intergenerational beauty and wellness workshop series for black people along the spectrum of femininity. They have received numerous awards for their writing and artworks. McClenon received the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) MFA Writing Fellowship award in 2014 and SAIC’s MFAW small grant in 2012. They are also a recipient of the Paula Santan Scholarhip for Art and Stephanie E. Pogue Memorial Award. Their writing has been published widely; most recently, their works have been published in the South Side Community Art Center Anniversary publication, 3rd Language, and Stylus Literary Magazine.
Photo credit: Sheila Pree Bright