With twenty years of experience promoting and curating design, music, and art in Hawai‘i, Ara Laylo brings a deft style as the creative director of NMG Network. Between deadlines, Ara periodically serves as a design and typography lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and can often be found volunteering for local non-profit groups who support Hawai‘i’s arts and culture community.
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Art and Design Thinking
Naturally, the nature of storytelling has a way of romanticizing truth and fiction. As a designer, I think it imperative to consider the lens of the reader. I put myself in their shoes and together we ask: Why was this particular narrative introduced to me specifically? What medium are they using to convey the message? What is the tone of the message? What message did I receive? Where does Truth lie?
Conversely, as an artist, I want to manipulate my intentions behind a variety of tropes, hoping to reach out to a broader audience, bridging a language of solidarity; moving away from a nonlinear perspective utilizing different mediums most especially through video and live impromptu installations. In my past work, I’ve dabbled in blurring the lines between work and play. Currently, my obsession lies in which groups have access to power. What is power? What is success and who gets to define these conditions?
Her work in the local music scene started in 2001 working with Avant Pop. In 2004, Avant Pop booked the Mates of State, The Thermals and Davey Von Bohlen thanks to funding by UH Manoa.
In 2006, Ara started a DIY promotions company called The Enterprise and promoted live concerts featuring Mirah, The Blow, Calvin Johnson, Jokers of the Scene, vitaminsforyou, Menomena and Of Montreal and curated first Friday art shows called The HAC (Honolulu Art Collective.)
Enterprise also booked the only regular independent music and local-band showcase called Kaleidoscope at thirtyninehotel and Next Door in the heart of Honolulu’s Chinatown.
In 2009, Ara founded a three piece electronic group called Clones of the Queen. COTQ has opened for Toro Y Moi, Menomena, Diplo, Little Dragon, Of Montreal, Warpaint and The Cure.
Ara has also been invited as Mr. X for Redbull Music Academy from 2010-2013.