INSPIRED BY MUSIC:
Breathe in Deep. Sing out Loud!
Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Nashville
Opened March 22, 2022
To create Breathe in Deep. Sing out Loud!, eighth grade students from Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts collaborated with music therapist and songwriter Kyshona and visual artist Elisheba Israel Mrozik, combining music and visual art into audiovisual expression.
Students first chose an existing song that reflects an aspect of their identity or experience and created a visual representation of the music and their connection to it. During a group songwriting session with Kyshona, the class then co-wrote the exhibit’s companion song, “It’s Ok.” Mrozik watched that collaboration unfold in real time and began sketches of an original piece of art that visually represented “It’s Ok.”
The title of Breathe in Deep. Sing out Loud!—a lyric from “It’s Ok”—represents the full creative collaboration. The exhibition showcases the voices of bright young Nashville artists and songwriters, framed by the mentorship of seasoned artists.
Listen to "It's Ok"
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Art Inspired by "It's Ok"
Life Uncharted Inspired by “It’s Ok” Written by 8th grade students at Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts with Kyshona Armstrong and Elisheba Israel Mrozik
The life of a middle schooler is already one full of challenges like becoming yourself, learning about the world and understanding how to function in life. When coupled with a global pandemic, these young people experienced unprecedented upheaval and societal changes, leaving their certainties uncertain. However, in only the way a child can, they used their imaginations and creativity to sustain themselves, becoming centered in the Universe of Self. Staying connected and grounded in the instantaneous ways of this generation, they were able to remind themselves, their families, their teachers and their communities that at the end of every dark night, is the dawning of a new day.
MEET THE ARTISTS
In both her professional career and personal songwriting, Nashville-based artist, songwriter, lecturer, and music therapist Kyshona has focused on imparting empowerment, encouraging hope, and giving voice to those who have felt silenced.
As a therapist, she’s connected patients with music and songwriting as a means of emotional expression and presented three TEDx Talks about music’s therapeutic power. As a songwriter and recording artist, she’s created “a musical treatment for social ills, a unique prescription that only works if you listen,” according to No Depression (among the many outlets praising her 2020 album, Listen).
Since 2017, Kyshona has guided hundreds of students in finding their own voice through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s flagship education program, Words & Music.
Elisheba Israel Mrozik
Multi-disciplinary artist and award-winning tattooist Elisheba Israel Mrozik melds fine art with community purpose, her wide-ranging body of work encompassing classical painting with mixed media and tattooing fine body art, with a specialization in realism, watercolor, illustrative realism, and anime.
A Tennessee native who has called Nashville home since 2007, Mrozik earned a BFA in Computer Arts from Memphis College of Art, and in 2011, became Middle Tennessee’s first licensed Black tattoo artist. She opened One Drop Ink Tattoo Parlour and Gallery—a founding member of the North Nashville Arts Coalition—with the goal of “providing ink for all,” sponsoring events, teaching classes, and providing support to artists of color in underserved communities.
Mrozik’s work has been exhibited at the Frist Art Museum, Fisk University’s Carl van Vechtern Gallery, on walls and buildings throughout Nashville, and on human forms around the world.
Inspired by Melanie Martinez’ “Strawberry Shortcake”
My artwork is a representation of sexual harassment awareness. The song is about how women are usually told at a young age to cover up because men can’t control themselves. I wanted to show a ribbon over the woman’s body to resemble that. The black part shows fingerprints to represent rape/sexual assault victims.
Inspired by Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer”
I wanted my art to represent a dystopian Earth: global warming, pollution, factories butchering and killing animals, littering, and a rocket blasting away from the planet to symbolize people wanting/having to escape from the planet because they destroyed it. I cut out a patch of stars and glued it in a hole I cut out of a guitar because some people use music to escape and forget.
Inspired by J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile”
I wrote the lyrics on the sun because it represents the light that shines on him, and he’s out living in that light. I intentionally made it look unfinished because it’s talking about how you can be a work of art but not finished. The demons represent bad things, like insecurity.
Black Ice Inspired by Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black”
I put in black clouds and black stuff because I wanted to represent his darkness. I used wet on wet watercolor technique to make the clouds drip like they were raining black. Johnny Cash made the song around the time the Vietnam war was going on. It was released in 1971 but still has to do with our world today.
Inspired by Kaden MacKay’s “Time Passing Through”
I used IBS Paint on a school ipad and a Logitech stylus to create this piece. I made the environment and overall feel of the artwork sad and gloomy because it could be interpreted as a dark topic. This piece is about how you don’t have enough time to do what you want in life.
Inspired by Alec Benjamin’s “Demons”
My artwork is a woman fallen to the ground at night. The woman’s shadow has turned into a demon because she let negative thoughts get to her. I made digital artwork with Procreate. The drawing represents people that are struggling with depression.
Inspired by Rod Wave’s “How Would You Feel”
I made digital art with Ibis Paint and a Logitech Digital pen. The line that inspired me was, “I was trying to lock up my heart and throw away the key but somehow you take control of me.” My artwork is about trying to close a chapter in life, but someone opens it back up.
Inspired by Rod Wave’s “Heart for Sale”
I thought it was too easy to just draw a symbol for a heart, so I drew a real human heart with a sign saying “for sale.” The big idea of my art is that even if someone doesn’t love you, don’t give up.
Inspired by Lakey Inspired’s “Better Days”
When I listened to the song, I thought of a beach, so I drew a beach with a sandcastle. I used digital art to draw it. The big idea behind my artwork is that it’s supposed to be chill and calm. My goals were to make a beach with a sunset.
Inspired by Nightwish’s “Sleeping Sun”
I used watercolor because it always gives me a sense of peace. I layered it a little bit to make it look cooler. “Sorrow has a human heart” was the lyric I had most in mind while creating this piece. It humanizes depressive emotions, which is what I was kind of going for. I chose to depict this by using cool (sadder) colors and making them appear loose on paper.
Inspired by Motorhead’s “King of the World”
The song means a lot to me because it’s about kings and that’s what I am. I used line techniques and color details in every angle. I want people that are fake to get on their knees and bow down to their king.
Inspired by Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous”
The art was made by using an iPad using the program Ibis Paint. Mary J. Blige has always been one of my favorite music artists and inspirations. With the song in mind, I wanted to express peace and joy throughout the art. I wanted to help people realize that you’re beautiful just the way you are.
Inspired by Lifehouse’s “From Where You Are”
My artwork is my image of my home and my grandma’s home in Mexico, and I named it after the song that inspired me to draw it. I tried to make my project look “normal” on the right to represent my house, but strange, different, or less fortunate on the right side to represent my grandma’s house in Mexico.
Heart Attack Inspired by Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking out Loud”
I made my artwork by using acrylic paint. It shows a heart and a brain because it represents the heart and how it malfunctions and how it makes you feel inside. My mom and I played this song every day and it reminds me of the bond she and I had.
Inspired by Layton Greene’s “Myself”
The song that I chose was “Myself” because of the lyrics, “when you left, you let me hit the ground.” When my cousin died and when he left, it felt like I hit the ground really hard because we were close.
The Last Dance Inspired by Rihanna’s “Towards the Sun”
The big idea is the struggle of trying to overcome bad things. The sun represents happiness and shadows are the bad things. The color represents all the happiness the ballerina has when she is dancing even though she puts pressure on herself to be perfect.
Fly High Inspired by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Wing$”
This is Kobe Bryant shooting a basketball in heaven with a blue background and clouds. I drew him because he was one of the best players in the NBA. This song motivates basketball players to keep going. My work expresses me because it shows something I enjoy doing which is basketball.
Jose Fuentes Torres
Inspired by Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
My art piece took a dark purple sky, a low whining train, a funeral with 20,000 people, and a point of view of a whippoorwill bird as inspiration. The main object/idea in the painting is a giant shooting star signifying the lyric regarding a giant falling star. It lights the landscape and has a light blue trail right behind it. The piece is inspired by what I wish could happen and can be interpreted differently by anyone.
Lost Inspired by Travis Scott’s “Butterfly Effect”
I picked this song because it’s a very hype song, and I like the album cover. I was going off the title of the song.
Inspired by “Soft Core” by the Neighborhood
My art is on a black canvas with a collage of art and lyrics. I created my work by thinking about the lyrics and how I personally relate to them. The big idea of my art was to make it look like my feelings.
A Self (Destroyed) Portrait Inspired by Mitski’s “A Burning Hill”
I chose acrylic because it was something I was comfortable with since this self-portrait was out of my comfort zone. When I was planning to destroy this painting, I didn’t think it was going to be as painful as it was. It was my first painted self-portrait and took so much planning. The forest is represented by my self-portrait. The fire is represented by the destroyed aspect of the painting. I am the witness watching as I destroyed it.
Inspired by Mitski’s “First Love/Late Spring”
Having a first love is usually seen as naive and innocent. “Late Spring” suggests the difficulties of first love, as the youth of spring transitions to the harsh realities of summer. Flowers represent spring and the background is an aura color showing how you feel after love.
Inspired by Miguel’s “Sky Walker”
When I thought about what to create with this piece, I automatically thought about outer space instead of a blue sky. I wanted to spread a positive message and usually when you see positive things, they are colorful and full of personality and that is what I wanted my artwork to be for other people.
Pretty Little Phoenix Inspired by SZA featuring Isaiah Rashad’s “Pretty Little Birds”
I started by picking a song that means a lot to me and then I started to sketch it out. I decided to go with acrylic paint and put glass in the sand because one of the lyrics says, “You’ve hit the window a few times” and when I imagine a window getting hit a few times, I think it would break.