September 1, 2021 | Patron Stories
Multimedia artist DeShawn Smith, known as 2B, began drawing as a student at Navarre Middle School. Inspired by realism, he grabbed a number two pencil and drew his first portrait: a replica of one of his own baby photos, which was featured in a showcase at Washington High School. 2B went on to win the Hoosier Art Award, and now shows his work at Art Beat. Though he considers himself a graphite artist first and foremost, he has recently transitioned to digital art because of the speed of using a tablet and smart pen.
2B found Studio 304 while looking for a place to print his work. He not only found a printer; he says he found a wonderland for artists:
“I felt like a kid walking into Chuck E. Cheese. I started looking around and seeing studio rooms, computers, 3D printers and all this crazy stuff, and I was like whoa, everything you love about artwork can all be summed up in one little area, locally? I was like, wow. This is the place to be.”
Recording artist Emac the Great, or Eric McDaniel, also grew up using the library. He first visited LaSalle Branch as a child, and later used library computers for social media as a teen. Today as a “preacher who raps”, Emac mentors youth through musical engagement.
Emac uses Studio 304 to save money on his recording projects. “I’m taking a class through the library right now on how to record music. I’ve been paying somebody for the last three or four years to record me, and it’s cost a couple thousand dollars. I have a newborn, and I have a family and I can’t keep paying that. It’s saving me money, it’s saving me time, and it’s giving me a safe, friendly place [to record].
Views from the new Studio 304 space at Main Library
Patrons visit Studio 304 on November 14, 2021
The new Studio 304 has multiple recording booths, dedicated podcast room, and a green screen room.
When the new Studio 304 opens in the fall with longer hours, it will boast a variety of upgrades, including state-of-the-art, soundproof recording booths, a dedicated podcasting room and new digital drawing tablets.
E-mac is looking forward to using the improved audio recording rooms and is excited about the possibility of collaborating with the library on songwriting workshops and recording programs for the youth he mentors: “They need to see something nice, they need to see what a nice studio looks like, and the library would be a great place. I got plenty of kids who just want to learn.”
2B encourages all local creators to visit the library and see what Studio 304 has to offer. “Locally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so targeted to creativity. I’ve never seen everything in one spot to this degree,” he says. “If you’ve got a creative side in you, and you’re a local artist or a local dreamer trying to jump into something creative, jump right in. There’s something here that can get you started, for sure.”