Have a passion for photography? Performance arts? Comedy? Local painters? Sculptors? Musicians? Bands? Electronic Artists? All of the above?
If you fall into any of these categories hopefully you made it to Oranje last weekend. For the past twelve years Oranje has strove to “share the talents of a growing creative scene in Indianapolis” and it has succeeded with resounding success. One is always hesitant when approaching an event for the first time that is so hyped. However, the event definitely lived up to the hype. Hosted in and around the Centennial Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the event featured three floors of art exhibits, one music stage on every floor and two outside.
Each artist was given a certain amount of space to which they were able to do whatever they wanted with the space as long as it didn’t damage the existing structure. As you can imagine, giving artists this type of free rein results in a vibrant and exciting landscape for the night.
Many of the artists had a standard setup with their art displayed on temporary walls. Others took a more interactive approach. For example, artist Quincy Owen who works with many different mediums brought his work in the form of hundreds of drink coasters. He then laid the coasters out in a grid and placed a number of empty drinking glasses sporadically in the grid. You could then pay to take a number of shots with ping pong balls in a beer pong-type fashion. Make a ball in and you get a coaster for free; however, if your attempt was unsuccessful you were, of course, able to purchase the coasters as well.
There were also artists that created their own personal viewing rooms for their work, such as Iggy Arana. A lot of Iggy’s work revolved around using 3D paint on flat surfaces to add another dimension to the work. In order for this dimension to be viewed correctly, part of the exhibit was in a room with special color changing lighting that, in addition to the 3D effect, added a slight moving effect to the pieces as well.
One of my personal favorites was Philip Ramilo a local tattoo artist and painter. Three of his featured works used red and white acrylic paint on a screen similar to what you would see on a screen door. His other paintings on display were very striking and the use of colors and realism made some of the work haunting, even.
The lower floor of the event played host to a new part of Oranje, the Record Lounge. Local record stores Indy CD & Vinyl and Luna brought in a selection of vinyls, including local artists, for sale. In addition to this the area also featured the all-vinyl DJ stage. From the word “go” this stage featured some serious heavy hitters in the local DJ scene: DJ Hollow Point opened, followed by DJ Indiana Jones, Indy Star A&E reporter David Lindquist moonlighting as a DJ, Cool Hand Lex, and Jin-XS, who closed out the night.
The music stage on the main floor was much more compact with each artist getting half an hour to do their thing. Having spent a lot of time exploring and meeting visual artists, I was only able to catch bits and pieces of some of the sets including Anita Vokill, Bangs Nicely, and Indigo Child. The top floor featured a wide range of acts from singer/songwriters to spoken word and comedians.
Outside on the main stage I was able to catch most of the Shadeland set. Shadeland is a local band that consists of vocalist and guitarist Allen Kell, bassist and vocalist Tony Vibbert, keyboardist Jacob Zimmerman, and drummer Brad Hudgins. They are a true local band that has been active in some form or another for at least 15 years. This writer remembers seeing them at a battle of the bands event at the Fountain Square Theatre under a different moniker sometime around 2000, long before Fountain Square had been built up to its current state.
Bringing a close the main stage, Midwest Hype brought the same high caliber of performance that they are known for. By the time their set started, the crowd had started to die down a bit, but the energy was high and those still in attendance got down to their funky, powerful sound.
Check out our review of Midwest Hype’s latest album The Time is Now here.
Ghosthouse on the tent stage brought amazing energy as witnessed by their pre-performance huddle session reminiscent of many “hands in” moments you see prior to sporting events. Closing out the night in spectacular fashion, duo Mutiny had the crowd with them until the very end.
My only small complaint about Oranje was that there was so much going on you were guaranteed to miss something amazing. Although that is not even close to being a bad thing as you are going to be completely inundated with all the culture you could handle in one short five hour period. If you missed Oranje this year make sure to be there next year. It will be worth your time and money.