City of Alchemy

Visual Artist & Filmmaker Brandan Odums

Brandan “B-Mike” Odums believes when you see boundaries as opportunities, the world becomes a limitless place. This power of positive thinking paired with undeniable talent is what brought the highly sought-after visual artist and filmmaker where he is today: Studio Be, a 35,000-square foot warehouse in the Bywater, the final installment of the “Be” series and his first solo show.

The series started with Project Be, an illegal artistic act of painting in an abandoned building that was ultimately shut down, but not before all involved, including Odums himself, fell in love with the idea. “We took paint and created alchemy, took something painful and made it temporarily beautiful,” says Odums.

Odums uses his art to introduce people to narratives in history they may not have otherwise known, and also to affirm personal value for the viewers themselves. “I hope people see themselves reflected in the paintings I create,” Odums says. “Whether it’s some giant in history, or an everyday person from New Orleans, somewhere in that affirmation of value lies the solution to the issues we see everyday in this city.”

From the paintings, Odums has created a line of T-shirts, each with a different meaning for Odums, available at the Studio Be shop. “I Am My Ancestors Wildest Dreams, was first told to me by Mariana Sheppard, a brilliant artist here in New Orleans.” says Odums. “Those words have forever protected me during my darkest moments and I’m hoping they will provide the same feeling to others.”

Prior to pursuing painting, Odums was a successful filmmaker, having founded 2cent Entertainment, a company that created music videos for Mos Def, Currency, Mannie Fresh, Juvenile, and Mystikal, among others. Odums and his contemporaries focused on creating content that empowered people to use their voice and talents to create change.

The organization has since founded a summer camp, now in it’s sixth year, that teaches teenagers in New Orleans how to use digital media to speak their “2-cents,” or raise their voice in the face of issues plaguing the black community. “New Orleans is a teacher that keeps on teaching, and a lover that keeps on loving,” Odums says. “Every day I’m inspired by New Orleans’ past, present and future; the people that make the culture; the culture that makes the community; it continually informs me and equips me. We are a city of survivors… a city of alchemists.”



New Orleans artist and filmmaker Brandan “B-Mike” Odums.






Art on display

local exhibits

East of the Mississippi
Starting October 6
This new exhibit at NOMA explores the origins of landscape photography in the US through nineteenth-century American works made east of the Mississippi River.

Art for Arts’ Sake
October 7 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Art lovers will gather in the Warehouse Arts District on Julia Street, the Contemporary Arts Center and Magazine Street for the annual art season kick-off party.

New Orleans Film Festival
October 11-19
Now in its 28th year, the festival will take place citywide, featuring documentaries, Louisiana-made films, music videos and more for $9 to $35 per event, all access passes $250-$320.



Categories: Theatre + Art