Calling All Artists: A Conversation With Arrington Fleming
By: Whitney McArthur
Calling All Artists…
Our generation is one full of creativity. But our economic situations have not allowed us all to flourish in our artistries as quickly as we would like. The cost of living an adult life gets in the way. So no, we do not have the luxury of playing with our toys all day. Our instruments, sewing machines, sketchbooks, and plans go unattended for a little bit. And the problem is, we love our work so much, we don’t want to begin to fully commit to it unless we know we can give it our absolute all. Why start if we cannot sit there and finish our masterpieces? I don’t want to stop in the middle because my 9-5 demands I press a few buttons, document a couple spreadsheets, and tuck in my shirt when applicable.
I say all this to bring attention to the current struggle between having substance and having stability in a world that’s telling us we have to pick one or the other for now. We cannot be great because we have to: be mediocre in the workplace, give up the pieces of ourselves that don’t get us paid, and take our places among the ones before so we can make money. To get the good credit we need to get the good car and the good house and the good 401K, we are being told to transition quietly and without grief to the monotony known as fiscal responsibility.
Meanwhile, artistic traits are seen as negatives that yield little to no money unless you’re famous. So now all the creativity must be marketed online for free with the hopes that it is noticed by one of the few who has enough power to pay you for making people laugh for 15 seconds at a time.
So what happens to the bottled up talent while we work our 9-5? It seeps out in our clothes. In our hair. In our music. In our style. There is gold we’ve been sitting on or sharing with the world bit by bit. Producers bide their time in their basements. Photographers shoot their friends to cut costs. Labels are branded and the market grows slowly as we become more independent and get jobs that match the degrees we were told would make everything easier…and enable us to move out of our parents’ houses, FINALLY!
We can focus solely on our masterpieces…finally.
Arrington Fleming is the CEO of Snapback Nation – #SnapAholics, #SBN, #SonnyVisionary…and this is his masterpiece.
So what is Snapback Nation?
Arrington: “It’s a brotherhood, a family organization focusing on the #newpowerment of my nation.”
How’d you get into the business?
Arrington: Looking for a plan C that wasn’t on the list of basketball plans A & B, Arrington begins to collect vintage baseball caps with his brothers. We built a social media outlet on Instagram and all of a sudden classic snapback wearers considered themselves apart of Snapback Nation. We came out with the brand just for them. I wanted to have shirts just for these people. We sold out of our first collection almost immediately.”
So what is your definition of style?
Arrington: Classic vintage, Street clean, Foreign urban…selective. I select basic stuff and I just wear it in a way where it doesn’t look basic to people.
What do you have for us?
Arrington: The goal is to bring attention to how important it is to learn your worth. The goal in life is to be happy and once you’re happy, anything goes because you’re staying positive. We’re bringing in a new society.
Well, who’s supposed to care?
Arrington: Everybody. Because I believe this is the way we all can live the same level mentally. Everybody’s worried more about income, but if we focus on the mental, we can be over all the other material things. The world would be different if we could grow as a people. It’s population control vs. freedom right now. And to be free, you have to be open-minded….literally open minded.
What can we expect from you?
Arrington: April 25, we’re dropping a collection with M&&B and GoonMilk. #TheSteamSociety: a collection for Four Twenty. We’re doing this together to promote unity and you can expect many things from the Society. I also have a paper issue magazine dropping for people in the DMV area to network. It’ll be based off the needs of the groups in search of photographers, models, actors, artists in general. It’ll drop as a series, launching monthly for a 5 month cycle.
This magazine idea bloomed working with fellow creator, Jasmine, discussing where they were heading in life. They decided to collide on this project. Homage is due her for her distressed and stitch work styling for previous Snapaholics shoots.
Speaking of shoots…
Arrington: People are not doing concept shoots anymore. Models are just taking shots for brands. We were able to create demand for our style of shooting, our concepts, and our message. And we’re definitely about to begin shooting again soon.
That’s where Sonny Visionary comes in…
Arrington: I thought it was smart to invest in equipment we needed as a whole [nation] to be much more effective. This meant purchasing a camera and a sewing machine. The concept centers on eventually being able to sell visual work for artists. But we needed to build. Shout out to
(@ReWrite_History). We had to cut out the middleman and bide our time for the budget. Be patient. Use our tools for our purposes only.
What is Sonny Visionary?
Arrington: I got Young Sonny from one of my favorite films, The Godfather. But Sonny wasn’t enough. Sonny Visionary is everything you can envision. I got the logo from Uncle JoJo: a fellow DMV artist who’s coming with a lot of spoken power for the path we’re on. Everybody should be working off each other for the full benefit of the community, seeking our creative culture more fully.
As a clothing line, do you recognize cultural appropriation?
Arrington: Yes, I recognize it. And my line targets it.
What style are you claiming has been appropriated?
Arrington: I want people to explore themselves as the individual entity instead of as a corporation for qualification. It is each of its citizens that makes the one whole citizen man, woman, and child of the world. Everyone is so focused on the name brands of these clothes, they’re forgetting to brand themselves.
This is only the beginning of light being shown on the talent in this area. We have clothing lines, photographers, tattoo artists, painters, producers, rappers, social workers, and activists just to name a few. Arrington is an example of that light being shown on others and all parties benefitting simultaneously. Collaboration is key. Individuality is key. Money will come. Build your own brand. Build your own people. Build your own nation.
This is a call to the artists seeking stability in their substance.
If we cannot get paid for our craft by the world, we will find ways to pay for ourselves. Follow them on Twitter to stay updated:
SnapBack Nation > @snap_A_holics
GoonMilk > @GoonMilk
M&&B > @MandBclothing
Uncle Jojo > @UncleJoJoSoul