Who are the Visual Artists behind the first ever Black Star Line festival?

PAX&Q is a visual arts team that creates digital and interactive visuals for various events and performances. They are known for their ability to create vibrant, colorful and impactful visuals that enhance the overall atmosphere and experience any event. The team consists of a duo who have a passion for art and strive to bring their creative vision to life through their work. They aim to bring together different artists and collaborate on projects to create unique and memorable experiences for the audience.

Most Recently PAX&Q were involved in the first ever Black Star Line festival. We had a chance to speak with the duo briefly about their experience. The Black Star Line Festival is a festival that brings people from all over the world together to celebrate black culture, heritage and togetherness. It took place in Accra, Ghana on January 6th 2023 and was a huge success with 52’000 people in attendance. As the festival’s visual artists, the duo was responsible for creating and showcasing the visuals displayed on screens throughout the festival.

How did you get involved with the festival and who approached you for the collaboration?

We learned about the festival on Instagram and we knew we wanted to be part of it. It’s in Ghana, come on! After seeing posts by Chance and eventually connecting with Rudolph, the Head of Production, we pitched our idea of bringing local artists together to create a collaborative effort for the visuals. Rudolph appreciates our art and was excited about the idea, so we got the process started asap.

How did you come up with a visual concept for the festival?

The theme of the festival was the Black Star Line, Marcus Garvey’s vision & ship line that aimed to bring black people from all around the world back to Africa. So, it was intuitive for us to create visuals that aligned with this theme and our beliefs. We also received artwork from other artists involved in the festival (Marvin, Chris & Pius), and used their pieces to create a flow that showcased everyone’s contributions.

Can you describe the atmosphere at the festival and how your visuals contributed to it?

The atmosphere was lively and energetic, with everyone dancing and having a great time. Our visuals added to this energy by creating a colorful and uplifting environment that elevated the mood even further. When people look at the photos and videos everyone should remember it as a beautiful day.

What was your experience of having Erykah Badu perform with your visuals in the background?

It was dooooopeee!! It was getting late about 5am and people started to get tired from dancing all day, but then Erykah Badu took the stage and shifted the entire atmosphere again. She formed like an energetic bubble around the whole place! We didn’t expect it to happen but created a piece specifically for Erica with digital fashion, her jewelry, and the whole environment. Also Marvin did a piece on Erykah Badu and to him she is one of his most influential artists ever. Just special!

How do you see yourself contributing to the growth and development of the festival in the future?

By collaborating with more artists and finding new and innovative ways to bring the visuals to life. We believe that the festival has the potential to make a big impact, and we’re eager to be a part of that growth and development.

How did working on the Black Star Line festival influence you as visual artists?

So for us personally, This experience has given us a great deal of creative energy and motivation to explore the possibilities. It’s not just about our personal growth, but also about the power of bringing people together on one screen.Everybody that we’ve talked to has responded really, really well to what they’ve seen. As we move forward, we are motivated to create even better work that stands out on any stage. So no matter if it’s the Black Star Line festival in Ghana or digital art work on the phone, it inspires us to truly create visuals that bring people together.

What do you see as the future direction for PAX&Q’s art and design work?

We definitely see ourselves doing more festivals and more installations, because we truly want people to be able to interact with art as well. And also breaking boundaries when it comes to commercials and advertisements. Always pushing people to think outside the box and to create something that might have not been seen before or they can barely imagine at this point.

How do you plan to continue pushing the boundaries of your visuals?

Honestly, these computer programs are in depth and we can learn and learn and learn and just keep going for years probably. And that’s only the tools that are out yet, but there’s a whole future with AR glasses and things that we’re really interested in. Tools that will help us make people interact with our art. So with that being said, we’re pushing ourselves by making it a point to learn new things every day. The goal is to get whatever vision we have in our head, bring it to real life, and have people have a good time when they interact with it.

Are there any new technologies that you’re interested in exploring for future projects?

Yeah, of course, AR is a technology that we really think that we can utilize to have people interact with our artworks. Especially when the glasses are dropping, it’s exciting! Then for sure projection mapping, because that will add a whole other level to their experience. By utilizing trackers and such things, you can have people interact with the artwork as well. And recycling technologies; we want to be more involved in recycling!

How do you envision the role of PAX&Q in shaping the future of visual arts?

Well, we truly have a passion for teaching. The future of visual arts is us to an extent, but also the future generation. So whatever we can pass on to people will be awesome. We imagine a future where people are not afraid to push themselves beyond the limits and create what’s in their mind and figure out a way to get there, even if it takes three programs, four programs, or whatever.. lol

The Black Star Line festival in Ghana was a massive success, with 52,000 attendees remembering it as a day filled with happiness and positivity. PAX&Q collaborated with local and international artists to create a seamless flow of visuals that would appeal to a multicultural audience. The festival aimed to bring black people together to celebrate and uplift each other. Moving forward, PAX&Q hopes to continue their involvement in the growth of the festival. The duo plans to push boundaries by constantly learning new things, utilizing new technologies such as AR & projection mapping while incorporating recycling into their projects. PAX&Q envisions a role for themselves in shaping the future of visual arts by passing on knowledge to the next generation and inspiring others to not be afraid to push themselves beyond their limits and bring their creative visions to life.

Photos courtesy of @brave.creatives

Featured in BELLo Style April 2023 issue.