Photographer Bxlyfe is more than his camera. While he’s captured shows by JID, Bas, Juice WRLD and others since he was a teenager, the 22-year-old multi-faceted creative has also put on his own art galleries meant to highlight disparate artists. He’s also had a firsthand look at how artists evolve onstage.
“There’s a huge difference. This run included a live band,” Bxlyfe told REVOLT about JID’s progress on tours. “It was like a hip hop rock show. Ending the show on ‘Stick’ was crazy. They would just go all out and rock out until Devontae couldn’t even drum anymore (laughs). And then they just throw the sticks.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the New York-bred photographer explains what the craziest Dreamville show he ever shot was, what it was like shooting Juice WRLD in Sweden, and how he plans to use art to connect creatives around the world.
You’ve been photographing live shows since you were 17, and the last four years have been some of your best work. What’s the best show you’ve photographed in that timeframe?
Dreamville’s show at Red Rocks is one of the craziest shows I’ve ever shot. It was beautiful from start to finish. It was a once-in-a-lifetime show. It was a perfect day. You’re under the stars, man. That was probably the highest elevation I’ve ever shot at (laughs). Before shooting, I like to get a good scope of everything. During the show was crazy because I didn’t even know how tall the top seats are in Red Rocks. But, it took me a good 30 minutes to get up there and 30 minutes to get back down. But, it was worth it.
How has JID’s live show evolved from his “Catch Me If You Can Tour” from 2019 to his latest “Luv is 4ever Tour”?
There’s a huge difference. This run included a live band. Shout out to my boy Sam and Devante. Sam was on the keytar, and Tae was on the drums. They elevated the show to such a crazy aspect. It was like a hip hop rock show. Ending the show on “Stick” was crazy. They would just go all out and rock out until Devontae couldn’t even drum anymore (laughs). And then they just throw the sticks.
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You also went on tour with Bas. I remember seeing you capture an insane photo of him and J. Cole performing in Paris.
Yeah, that was a part of the whole summer tour. We were out there for about two or three weeks. That specific moment came about when Bas was doing his rollout for “The Jackie.”
What shots do you like to get of him?
I really like to get shots of him in the moment. It’s just capturing in the moment. There’s also a lot of fan love. It’s all about storytelling and showing people my world and perspective.
Who’s another artist you really enjoyed photographing?
Not going to lie. Photographing Juice WRLD was crazy. He was one of the most special people that I’ve captured. I found out about him early when he didn’t even have 4,000 followers or whatever. He was just putting out song after song after song after song after song. And he was talking about a lot of the stuff I was going through then too. I remember shooting Juice performed at [Smash Fest on July 2, 2019] in Sweden. He was one of those people who was larger than life.
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Your tour photography is only one part of what you do, correct?
Yeah, before I left for the “Luv Is 4ever Tour,” I did a gallery show at AM + PM Gallery in Brooklyn. Shout out to my boy Joseph. It was a collaborative gallery. What I’ve been trying to do within my community and the art world is expand it and allow ideas to flow between different artists. The gallery was called “The Subway Series.” The idea behind that was bringing two different creatives into one room and showing off both sides. I did the gallery with my boy Kyzer, a phenomenal painter. One side was just dedicated to all of his artwork, and the other side was all of my photos. Before we did the gallery, we collaborated on a piece. That was my first time painting ever. We were creating new techniques like burning through the canvas or distorting it. Distortion is character.
My other friend Omi was also part of it. We collaborated on a photo I took prior of the Clermont twins and brought it to life in a painting. I’m also a huge fan of Omi’s work. Omi also worked on the mural for the visuals for Metro Boomin’s “Superhero (Heroes & Villains)” music video.
Any other creative projects from you?
My friend and I are brainstorming this new idea I have that’s a pop-up art gallery, but everyone is selling out of their trunks. I want to build the community around that. I want to have maybe 20 or 30 cars with everyone selling different stuff out of their trunk. I’m also going to do a softball game as well. During COVID in 2020, I did a giveback derby with my boy Brian. That was beautiful. Seeing everyone come together and support a place where I grew up playing baseball was fire.
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What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
I’m really trying to expand the art community within my city and really bring a whole bunch of creatives together. This is bigger than me, and I feel like New York needs to see it, and L.A., Atlanta, London, Australia, and the whole globe. I think this is really something that can be impactful worldwide.
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