Art

Taking it to the Streets

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How Two Friends are Taking a Modern Approach to Uniting Pittsburgh

Many people think that Pittsburgh is a small town with a metropolis atmosphere but do not see its enriching potential like that of other cities such as NYC, Chicago or Philadelphia.  Although plentiful with culture and opportunity, Pittsburgh is still looked at as just a steel town.  But two friends have made it their mission to show that Pittsburgh and themselves have what it takes to conquer their creative dreams.

So, who are these two friends?

Chance Humphrey and Cody Baker both grew up west of Pittsburgh and like most, migrated into the city to continue their education.  They met last year through a mutual friend downtown at Social Status, a local clothing store, where they bonded through a love of photography and decided to start collaborating on work together.  Over the past year, they have taken their passion and made it into a fulfilling career.  Chance created an internet sensation, Keep Pittsburgh Dope, that shows the beauty and rawness of the streets of Pittsburgh.  With over 10k followers, many people have been seeing our city through his lens.  While Chance has been working on his virtual project, Cody has been working on another similar project to help young creatives unite with intentions for collaborating to make their visions come alive.  To understand their projects a little bit better, we went right to the source and got answers from the two.

Maniac Magazine:  What exactly is Keep Pittsburgh Dope?

Chance Humphrey: Well, it started from previous work, but I decided to make it into a brand for myself and Pittsburgh.  It was a way for me to have a lifestyle site different than most.  I have always had a love for NYC street style photography, so I decided to take that approach for my website in order to encompass all of the raw truth of the day-to-day life of the citizens of Pittsburgh.  We have been named one of the worst dressed cities in America, but no one has seen the beauty in the love for our city until now.

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Maniac Magazine: How did your idea of Creatives Drink (CD) start?

Cody Baker: It actually started from photo galleries I coordinated.  The first one was called “NINELIVES” and the second was called “sip”.  I would develop a photo gallery and then obtain sponsors from local businesses that ranged from venue, beverages and food.  From there, I promoted a free gathering environment with complimentary food and drinks for creatives to mingle.  People were inspired and seemed to take a jump into their own work.  We noticed this and realized we could strike that inspiration more often by holding these networking events frequently.  The goal is to bring together the people, introduce them to how great our local businesses are, and also have it reside in a local business.  It’s a big circle of Pittsburgh’s best.

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Maniac Magazine: How did you come up with the name Keep Pittsburgh Dope?

Chance: I am a big fan of Portland and got the idea from this show called Keep Portland Weird. I combined this title with the word Dope, which is a word I catch myself saying often.  It is a slang word to describe something that my peers and I think is awesome, cool, or uniquely creative. I felt this connotation was  perfect for how I wanted to capture Pittsburgh’s lifestyle.

Maniac Magazine: What is your mission with these events?

Cody:  My mission is to provide a free space for young creatives to enjoy, network and become inspired to pursue their dreams. While using local places and products, we promote local, reside local and establish local. Too many of us are super busy with school, new careers and new technologies that we have steered away from traditional means of communication and socialization. I believe it will help bring different residents together, spark innovation and promote local consumerism.

Maniac Magazine: Why did you choose social media to use as a platform to promote your website and idea?

Chance: By utilizing the powerful publicity of social media, I was able to reach a greater audience of people and it is super easy to use. I chose Instagram because it made sense since it is primarily a platform for pictures and I was using photography to capture my vision.  Here I was able to let my street style angle thrive and induce curiosity in the millions of followers available on Instagram. So from there I directed them to my website where they can get the full details of what I as doing.  I honed in on the growing social media movement and used it to be the first of Pittsburgh that was really photographing the streets. I believe it is all about timing and the growth of social media has brought me to so many different people and opportunities. It has also allowed for many others to get a better understanding of what people really look like and how they interact in our city. I have been able to truly personalize it to Pittsburgh and show all of the good, bad, weird and so called “yinzer” qualities we see everyday living here.

Maniac Magazine: How do you think these efforts are changing the community of Pittsburgh?

Cody: So many professors and specialist have mentioned how my generation is the hardest to understand because we are not motivated or incentivized like older generations. Working for money is not our prerogative (as much as it use to be). It is passion and freedom of creativity that drives us. With changing values in the younger generations, I am trying to show that it is possible to be successful and happy with that unconventional work mentality.  So many young professionals are strapped financially to student loans, so I want to make a way creatives can have fun, meet new people and progress the efforts of young professionals that make are making the city thrive.

Maniac Magazine: What is your mission with this project?

Chance: I would really like to see this turned into a business as a lifestyle brand. I have been working on a separate rebranding and social networking company along with this project but that comes second. KeepPittsburghDope is more focused on fashion and lifestyle from unique people that have made our city so amazing. This project is like my baby, and I would like for it to show my potential and the skills I have to offer.

Maniac Magazine: What are your goals for these events now and in the future?

Cody: The events are a series so I hope to continue them for as long as possible and each time, enhancing it to better help others. It is a way to motivate a plan for those that are starting out or lost in their vision and need help.The Creatives Drink series are networking events for people that we know via social media to personally become familiar with them and build a relationship. With new technologies comes new methods and opportunities of business, and I am capitalizing on the publicity of these new technologies (social media) for myself and others alike to progress and attain a job they love to do. Pittsburgh is a great city with so many different people, if i can bring them together to collaborate with one another, it could really make amazing things happen.

Maniac Magazine: How do you think you are evolving the city creatively and culturally?

Chance: I believe that many people are unaware of the available resources Pittsburgh has to offer. Many people think they have to move to a larger city such as NYC, Chicago or LA in order to be successful in the arts of any sort. I am trying to show with this project and the other works Cody and I do, that you have the same potential to be successful here in Pittsburgh that you do in any other city. I know this may be cliche but I believe it is accurate about Pittsburgh; I would rather be the big fish in a small pond, then a small fish in a big pond.  With less competition and originality, anyone can be successful no matter where they live. I love this city and I want this project to demonstrate its worth.

 

Check out the latest event at creativesdrink.com that is scheduled for February 4, 2016!

Follow them on Instagram as well @keeppittsburghdope and @tehbakery!

Don’t forget to like our page and follow Maniac Magazine as well!

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