Proust: B-Wade

Words: Jessica Williams

IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT: you on a surfboard, facing Venice Beach from the Pacific Ocean. The sky slowly brightening from its orange dawn to a clear blue daybreak. The only thing you hear is the rhythmic swoosh of salt water against your board. It’s been over 20 minutes since your last big wave — do you find yourself at peace and content or impatiently scanning the ocean?

That’s the metaphor B-Wade uses for describing the ebb and flow of his creative process. The artist-designer-DJ picked up surfing while living in Venice and likens the feeling of waiting for the next wave to waiting for artistic inspiration to find him.

B-Wade sitting on the floor looking through recordsB-Wade's camera collection, book collection, and skateboard

“Some days, I would go out and I’d be sitting on my board for 20 minutes and nothing would come. And out of nowhere, a really big wave comes. Sometimes I’d catch it. I’m learning creatively, that’s how things come — in waves. So in the ‘between time,’ I can just be living life. There’s times where nothing creatively has come to me for three months. That shit just comes in waves.”

Viewing B-Wade’s vast and diverse body of work, it’s hard to imagine him not catching the wave. His oeuvre includes photography, graphic design, video direction and editing, space design for built spaces and stage design, animation, and music production. He’s notably self-taught in each medium instilled with a “just figure it out” philosophy. And while each creative output pulls from influences independent of each other, he finds his variety of mediums helps rouse his creative energy.

“Maybe I did a DJ mix and now I’m inspired because of the music to draw while I listen to the mix. And because I’m drawing, I’m half ass dancing, half ass scrolling through the internet because I can’t just do one thing. All these different mediums are just different elements of myself to tap into. I get to play these different characters within myself and they motivate me to do the next thing.”

And if you thought B-Wade’s portfolio was extensive, he approaches his personal hobbies with the same curious nature and range of outlets he attributes to having “only child syndrome”, or constantly keeping himself occupied and entertained. To name a select few, he surfs, motorcycles, skateboards, and rollerskates — the last of which, unsurprisingly now knowing a bit of his nature, has led to another personal project with his friend Daniel, a DJ collaboration “curating sounds for the roller rinks and dance floors.” The joint project, aptly named The Bounce Distribution Co., combines their love for music and rollerskating with a side-intent of educating newcomers on the cultural richness of the activity starting with the community and progressive movement that stems back to the Studio 54 days.

B-Wade making tea in his kitchen wearing a robe and Mr. Leight Sofia S

So with an extensive repertoire and interest in diverse fields, what’s the common theme that drives B-Wade’s pursuits?

“I’ve realized the things I gravitate towards... these are all atmospheres where it’s like, ‘Come as you are.’ There’s no judgment. I love being in environments where the focus is just on the love for whatever that thing is. I love being in spaces where it’s not anything too cool or wallflowers or anybody trying to be in the VIP, it’s about a safe space.”

B-Wade's artwork