• Sarah Choe


Updated: Apr 13, 2019



Let's first relive the Holy Hell Art Show.

Now we'll a step back to the beginning...

Support Your Friends

Alvin and I were friends in SIXTH GRADE, and then I moved out of state. 15 years later (wow), we randomly reconnected and talked about good times, bad times, some REALLY bad times, and ultimately the benefit that we had both just recently found through creative expression.

Then came the question, out to the ether: "What do people even do with their art?"

At the core, both of us pour so much of our internal conflict and personal identity into our art, that it was SO intimidating to share those expressions of ourselves with the public, or more endearingly, "strangers." But regardless of how introverted you are, or how fragile your ego can be, who wants to sit on their art for nobody else to see? For me personally, the only thing more fulfilling than learning how to channel myself into a visual art, was when my friends "got it" and were able to relate to me on a deeper level because of my art.

So I joked that we should just make our own event for our friends to show and enjoy each other's art.

People take my jokes too seriously.

The Friends we Made

Through a slightly maniacal spurt of motivation, I messaged 3 people: Martin, Prestin, and James (did you guys know you were the first?). I had a simple concept for the show, that anyone who was friends with the 5 of us could display their visual art at some sort of intimate, quirky venue-turned-gallery for one night. Friends told friends and soon I had a solid list of about 15 artists and had to start turning people down because I had DEFINITELY bitten off way more than I could chew.

On top of that, James and Alvin offered to play sweet acoustic sets which opened up the show to live music performances. Soon enough there were 6 musicians on the ballot and I was turning bands away too.

I went through another tough time, as we sometimes do so suddenly and inexplicably -- I was stuck in a deep, dark hole. Oscar from The Escape Agency consistently messaged me, asking for updates on the show, until I was forced to commit to a date - April 6th. Thank you Oscar, truly.

I proceeded to feel helplessly overwhelmed, and truthfully, didn't think I could pull this thing off. It was about 6 weeks before the date and I was starting to consider an exit from this big talk I had talked and preparing myself for the inevitable embarrassment that would come with that. Then Brent messaged me out of the blue and in the most unpretentious and authentic way, gave me guidance and suggested next steps, all while somehow making me believe I was fully capable of identifying and completing those tasks myself. He never takes credit for being SUCH a strong force in the background, but the world must know - this dude has the most genuine, selfless desire to "do it for the art" (and is purely awesome)!


I booked the venue, which took a lot of self assurance, and a lot of self re-re-re-reassurance as I went back and forth. I closed my eyes and kind of cringed as I committed to booking Unity SF as our space.

I chose Unity SF for a few reasons. Obviously the logistics were there(BIG space, existing sound engineering, cool location, etc.), but it was also about the concept. Unity is a spiritual center, accepting of any particular religion or creed, with three principles that stood out to me: LOVE. INCLUSIVITY. JOY. Things were fitting together.

I texted Brent, "HOLY HELL. I booked the venue!"

He responded with that church emoji (you know the one, the pink church emoji with a heart!)

And so we had a date. We had a venue. And most importantly, such a great cohort of visual artists and musicians for the show.

I can tell that we are gonna be friends

At this point, I felt like something was at least going to happen, but I was not super confident that it'd go off without a hitch. I reached out to each artist individually and tried to meet up with as many of them in person as possible.

Through each conversation, we danced around logistics and updates for the show, space planning, but most importantly, connected! So many offered to help and people were so open to being involved.

I had planned an installation night at the venue the Friday night before the event, and it was perhaps the most heartwarming part of the whole event planning process. Over a way-too-abundant spread of tacos, gluten-free flaxseed muffins (um, who brought these anyway? hah), and drinks, the group bonded over art trades and jam sessions.

The night of

You had to be there! The night was a success. Over the course of the event, we had over 300 attendees enjoy our music and art, and raised over $1000 through suggested donations! It's through the support of our friends that we'll be able to keep on going. Check out these photos from talented friends Yangdy Chen and Kaz Lewis:

Serendipitously, Justin from 2223 Media happened to show up to the event to capture some footage of Blue, Indeed's set. Through the most quick, productive conversation, we had agreed to work together to create content to recap the whole night. It was the start of a damn good partnership.

What's next

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked at the event, "What's next?," we may have doubled the total amount of donations for the night (at least it felt that way!).

Mulling over the buzzing momentum of the night, I decided that the best way I could continue to support the community was to keep forging connections between artists, musicians, galleries, music venues and general patrons of the underground art and music scene in the Bay Area. SYF Collective will continue to stay active through two efforts:

- CONTENT: Creating content (partnering with 2223 Media) to continue highlighting new works and music from the artists and musicians in our group.

- NETWORKING: Making the connections between artists/musicians, galleries/venues, and the general public EASY so that everyone can stay involved with the scene, support each other and build each other up.

So here we are, SYF Collective! Making the scene ACCESSIBLE. SUPPORTIVE. POSITIVE.

Stay tuned for more content and upcoming events.

Much love,



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