by: Ali Shana
Analisia Torres and Michelle McAdams, better known as LV & LV, don’t have one 9-to-5. The duo is composed of two self-made women: 21 year old fine artist/graphic designer Lady Venus, and 19 year old photographer/visual artist Lotus Valentine. The two identify with these descriptions the most amongst their many specialties. Venus makes merchandise for local artists, Valentine makes hip hop music, and both of them have been predominant event coordinators this year.
An LV & LV event features live music of mixed genres, art galleries, quality food and raffles. They’ve been successful in reaching out to artists from different areas.
The creatives’ first event, ‘LV & LV: Night Of The Arts’, had roughly 150 people at the Jazz Gallery. “One guy was tripping and taking his clothes off,” says Venus. “Other than that, the show ran very smoothly.”
LV & LV shows are based on two principles: Making people feel welcome and being an all ages event.
“If you’re coming to our show, you’re gonna be welcomed,” says Valentine. “Obviously people are gonna remember some flame ass soul food and a free painting on their wall.” LV & LV shows have featured buffet style displays of food from local restaurants. Maggiano's and Daddy’s Soul Food, for example, were happy to donate for a good cause. “If you want people to spend hours of their time in a building, expect them to get hungry,” says Venus.
The entrepreneurs chose a great time to get involved in show booking, considering one of the last all ages venues, The Borg Ward, had shut down. They say their events typically have an age span from 10 to 60 years old. “Obviously there’s profanity,” says Valentine, “but if parents are willing to take their kids to these events, you know that this is something good.”
These events are for people of all interests. Attendees are able to gawk at their choice of clothes, jewelry, painting, photography, or music.
The Jazz Gallery, a venue best known for its monthly holdings of Freespace events, very much inspired the ladies to get involved. Freespace co-founder Janice Vogt was incredibly helpful in getting them started.
“We met Janice at the first Freespace and we really supported each others ideas,” says Valentine. “She helped us get that space and is now trying to make us a part of the Jazz Gallery committee.”
Just as Vogt supports them, they support others. It’s their dream to have other people’s dreams to come true. “If you support each other, there’s more room to grow and more people paying attention,” says Venus.
Before any title, LV & LV are artists. Yet, the duo isn’t very concerned with getting the spotlight.
“I don’t always want to be on display,” says Valentine. “I have the ability to get a bunch of people together. I want to give people that space to put on their talents.” Valentine strongly believes everyone deserves a platform to showcase their art. “I grew up on 57th and Center. I’ve seen both sides. People are great people. Milwaukee has a lot of good in it.”
The duo chose to team up because beyond being friends, they approach endeavors similarly. “Me and her are on the same page about the organizing aspect of it all,” says Venus. “We planned our first show 4 months ahead.”
Having the same initials, to my surprise, was completely unplanned.
“I got the ‘lady’ part the title from Lady Gaga,” says Venus. “She’s a big advocate in the LGBT community. And ‘Venus’ because I’m a Libra and that’s my coinciding planet.”
Venus goes to school for graphic design and printmaking, however, is most talented as a painter. While she’s an admirer of many artists, she claims her art is therapeutic and non influenced.
Her colorful painting ‘Florence’ is abstract and subjective, though it represents womanhood to her. “I wanted to embrace femininity with the colors I used.” Venus is no stranger to body art pieces, either. She painted fellow artist Bella Leibsohn in her piece ‘Radiance’. “Radiance is about battling depression but also the realization that to get better - you have to let go,” she says. “Allowing yourself to radiate in the artwork you’re supposed to be. Fun fact: I picked Bella for my model because we both have been through a lot emotionally and mentally. She really connected with the process.”
Valentine’s flower tattoo on her sternum shows just how much the name means to her. “When I was 16, I realized all the shit I’ve been through, the person that I am. I blossomed.” She was born on Valentine’s Day, in fact, it’s her middle name.
Her family has always supported her efforts. “My Aunt started crying the first time she came out to one of my shows,” she says. Growing up, her uncle was always painting, which introduced her to the craft.
Being in the business of promotion and unification, Internet is key. “In a different era, you probably could only show your art to people in your neighborhood,” says Valentine. “Now, someone in France can see your work. There’s no more ‘starving artist’. I want to be 50 in my own museum.” Venus jokes Valentine wants a museum but she’d be happy with just a studio.
Their success thus far is merely scratching the surface of their ambitions. In five years, Venus sees herself running a fully established clothing line and still making merchandise for artists. Valentine hopes to be self employed and living comfortably enough to be constantly traveling.
I can only hope the future daughters of this world will be as independent and ambitious as LV & LV. The two came from very different backgrounds but overcame several obstacles together, as a successful multi-service providing duo. An ‘LV & LV: Night of The Arts 2’ will be announced soon. Attendees can expect nothing less than perfect.