If you’re in the Columbia arts scene, it’s impossible to not know about Demetrius “6ixx” Similien. The Haitian American and Benedict College alum has been at the helm of some of the most innovative art installations in the city, which incorporates video collaging and live performances. We got a chance to speak with him when he took a break from his busy schedule.
Q: For the people who don’t know you, tell us who you are.
My name is Demetrius “6ixx” Similien. I am a Haitian American artist who represents Lil Haiti and North Miami, Florida, I’m a graduate of Benedict College Columbia where I earned a degree in political science. I work primarily in video collaging and performance art. This process began as an educative tool for workshops and speaking events, then grew into independent immersive environments incorporating performance, poetry, music, and collaged video narratives.
Q: Tell us about what you love about the art scene in Columbia.
What I love about the Columbia music scene is the genuine love and connection that you can make as an artist! The community is supportive and nurturing to the creative process. I feel that there is a want and respect for those who dare to express and share their art in whatever form it exists. The artist community has a family feel and energy, artists support artists, which is important because that is a form of mentoring and coaching.
Then there’s this code of selflessness to celebrate others — I think this is rare and only happens in very specific regions, areas like Atlanta, New York, The DMV and Austin and other artist communities like that helped develop the developing artists. Columbia is special because the city and the senses all meet in the middle!
Q: As a writer and performer, what advice would you give to young people looking to express themselves?
My advice to young people is simple. Give it your all and go for gusto! Tell your truth and share yourself without fear and be UNAPOLOGETIC! Be brave enough and just see what happens, you never know until you try! No journey is easy and without setbacks, so believe in the process — do your best to plot and plan. I’m a firm believer in you get what you give, so don’t be afraid to do different things and touch difference crowds.
Q: What’s next?
There’s so much that comes next, my first film and documentary is coming out titled “Some Assembly Required,” which is about the safe places and different communities that exist within Columbia. The film is dealing with how we acknowledge and find allies in nontraditional places and people. The film is about the power of the private citizen and how private business and community do go hand in hand to support and develop and protect art and culture in the communities that they serve.
I’m also ready to debut my website www.Iamsixx.com, which have will have all my lecture and videos starting from “6ixx and The Ugly Truth” to now.
Preach Jacobs, special to GoColumbia