Saro Debuts Video Series for 'Boy Afraid' Accompanied by an Audiovisual Exhibition
On the second floor of the Think Tank Gallery, a warehouse-turned art gallery in DTLA, I found myself hypnotized by the immersive audiovisual exhibition Saro constructed for the debut of his full 5-part video series for his EP, Boy Afraid.
Saro already garnered a gaggle of swooning fans after the release of his EP, In Loving Memory. His mournful lyrics and honeyed tunes attract listeners with the same willing vulnerability that characterizes his oeuvre. The LA native had a busy 2017 touring schedule that included performances at SXSW, Day for Night Festival and Northside Festival. In conjunction with the release of his recent EP off his own label, Mateo Sound, he secured himself a slot at this year's Bonnaroo Music Festival.
His recently released sophomore EP, Boy Afraid, is a coming of age story. Saro's growth as an individual stemmed after many impermanent relationships shaped his outlook on the world. For the neo-R&B singer, he finds empowerment in his sadness and strategizes accordingly to create melancholy music and visually stimulating videos. In the third released video for his EP, Boy Afraid, Saro is alone at first with nothing but his own shadow and a familiar light. Through his movements we can grasp a sense of anger and frustration that is most likely due to his own distraught thoughts. His struggle is an attempt to break free from his demons and reach the light to reflect on his individuality and progress in his life.
As Saro soars, he has found a way to combine his love for the arts with his music to create events that successfully convey his vision. Last Thursday night, Saro a.k.a. Evan Windom transformed the Think Tank Gallery into an artistic playground, recreating moments from his music video by displaying interpretive dances, beaming lights and stunning visuals. Individuality and expressionism was a common theme throughout the night as mostly everyone sported extremely fashionable outfits and original pieces that added to the overall artistic atmosphere—not to mention a special appearance from Saro supporters Stormi and Laverne Cox. The event featured multiple rooms each representing different videos from the series, where intimate performances from both Saro and his backup dancers took place.
In one section of the exhibit, a video accompaniment to Boy Afraid sprawled across the wall while the audio echoed through the speakers. Interpretive dancers were placed accordingly around the room accompanied by beige spandex giving the illusion of nudity. As they twisted and tumbled around the floor and among each other, viewers couldn’t resist pulling out their phones to record. Once the crowd was warmed up to the act, Saro gracefully entered the room and all eyes darted to him. His presence was both alarming and tranquil, never breaking character.
As the rising singer scrambled from room to room, he offered glimpses into his life and art through his facial expressions and choreography. In another one of his performances, a pair of ropes hung from the ceiling as Saro proceeded to tie his wrists, allowing his body to dangle in distress—mirroring a scene from his video. Inside the crowd-favorite ‘red room’ Saro created the illusion of being trapped behind a frame while moving to the rhythm of his own music.
At the end of the four-hour exhibition, attendees left with a wave of emotion and gratitude. The next time you are feelin' some rainy day blues or heartbreak, give a listen to Boy Afraid and bask in the sorrow—because, as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes it's just downright necessary. Saro is releasing the rest of his 5-part video series from Boy Afraid later this month and you can find them here.
Written by: Allyson Borunda
Directed by: Merlin Camozzi
Produced by: Linda Christina Riedmann
Director of Photography: Julia Swain
Executive Producer: Kyle Draper, Julia Swain
Line Producer: Hannah Byers-Brown
Production Design: Lauren Ivy
Hair & Make-Up: Lauren Uptegrove
Creative Consultant: Joshua Nixon
Special Appearance by: Stormi