Illusive and Karma; two adjectives that create a tingle on your corneas when you race your eyes across them. Ironically, they’re being fused together by several infamous local creative business men (and woman) and a hip online video channel. Virginia Beach based, Illusive Media and online video channel, KarmaloopTV are joining forces to birth a cable television show, KTV, that will throw back to airing music videos and Indie flicks like MTV used to do. Creative Director for KarmaloopTV, Pharrell Williams commissioned Illusive Media’s team to produce and shoot a pilot called “That’s What I Wanted” for the TV network. It’s a play on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” but a more hip and urban version. Illusive Media is currently working on pilot for the TV network.
“Reclaim Your TV” is KarmaloopTV’s motto and it kind of clues you in on what they’re trying to achieve with the creative collaborations with Illusive Media. In a world of YouTube and cable TV, they are taking a stance against the lack of quality programming on cable and they’re reaching out to celebrities, along with, ordinary people. They want to have programming that includes 80’s and 90’s movies, cult classics, horror flicks, kung-fu movies, hip-hop / skate documentaries, exclusive content with celebrities, and user-generated content. Since launching in early 2008, KarmaloopTV has featured segments with artists, cultural personalities, and performers such as Diddy, Pharrell, Russell Simmons, Steve Aoki, Kid Cudi, M.I.A., Slick Rick, Tony Hawk, Mobb Debb, and many others. They are quickly becoming a hot bed for youth culture. They are set to launch the 24-hour cable television network in 2012.
KarmaloopTV is an off-shoot of Karmaloop.com which was founded in Greg Selkoe’s parents’ small basement in 2000. The website has over 4.5 million visitors a month and carries over 500 limited edition streetwear brands including Vans, Converse, Cheap Monday, New Balance, LRG, Reebok, Puma, Adidas, Freshjive, Artful Dodger, Married to the Mob, and various others. They are referred to as the global leader online for street fashion retail.
But who is Illusive Media? What has attracted Pharrell and KarmaloopTV to their Hampton Roads-based multi-media company?
Since 2004, Shomi Patwary, Robert Elliott Simmons, Charley Feher, and Abraham Vilchez-Moran, have molded and cemented their creativity, originality, and keen sense of style within the video, interactive design, and multimedia outlets. Their works have appeared on MTV, Pitchfork, The New York Post, New Musical Express (NME), and SPIN Magazine. They’ve had the pleasure of working with Atlantic Records, Clipse, Fam*Lay, Pharrell, N*E*R*D, Capitol Records, Lupe Fiasco, Norfolk State University, ODU, Newport News / Williamsburg Intl Airport, Sean Paul, Pepsi, We Are Trees, Days Difference, and scores of other elite clientele. Their unique style and fearless approach has attracted artists from far and wide to use them to market their products, music, or videos.
In simple terms: they bring it.
Instead of shooting a music video with a large studio, nationally known artists choose Illusive because it’s like hanging out with friends. The band Days Difference (also from Hampton Roads and currently touring with Owl City) chose them to shoot their video for “Down With Me” because it was a better experience, with a better result. The band We Are Trees utilized their flare for the “ I Don’t Believe In Love” video which got rotation on MTV and press in NME Magazine.
Who are Illusive Media? What makes them so “cool?”
Producer / Creative Director Shomi Patwary is quickly becoming the industry’s hottest music video directors. Graduating from ODU in 2006, with a B.A. in Computer Science, he utilized his talents by starting Illusive Media. He shares his obsession with international cinema with Robbie and Abraham, which gives them many inspirational outlets to pull from for their projects. In 2010, Shomi and Illusive formed a joint-venture with Eleanor Earl and E. L. Earl Entertainment that focuses on the development of film, TV, music, and management. His future grows bright as he is planning on directing feature films, commercials, and KarmaloopTV’s programming.
Co-founder / Producer Professor Eleanor Earl has been an Assistant Professor of English and Cinema Studies Program Coordinator at Hampton University since 2003. In 2010, she was selected by the President of Hampton University to create and executive produce “The View from Hampton U” for the school that airs weekly on COX-11 and COX-9. Before joining Hampton University, she was a professor in Malibu, CA where she established E.L. Earl Entertainment Inc., a company that develops film, TV, theatre, and music projects. Earl has also managed the co-founder of HBO’s Def Poetry, Bruce George, and Illusive Media’s Shomi Patwary. When she’s not being a super woman behind-the-scenes in the entertainment industry, she’s an accomplished actress, poet, and singer. Earl has shared the stage with Carol Maillord, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez. She has composed and performed music for short films, been commissioned to write feature-length screenplays, and has been a Festival Director to two film festivals. In other words, Professor Earl is an entertainment and arts guru.
Art Director / Visual Effects / Designer Robert Elliott Simmons was initially intimidated with digital art software until he became enamored with computer graphics while pursuing a conceptual arts degree in college. He took courses in all forms of computer arts including video and non-linear editing, 3D animation, 2D animation, typography, graphic design, web design, and programming. Simmons began outpacing his lesson plans and dropped out to focus on freelancing full time. He joined Illusive Media as a flash designer, as well as, web and print design. After devoting four years, he shifted his focus to animation, motion graphics, and video production. He is a frequent guest to local art exhibits, concerts, and a huge fan of films or video games that immerse the viewer. Simmons says that, “Video games were originally my inspiration and without them, I’m not sure what I would be doing today.”
Designer / Editor / Web Developer / Cinematographer Charley Fehner is the jokester out of the Illusive Media team. He started out as an intern and quickly became a permanent part of the Illusive family. During Illusive’s first art show in 2007 that was hosted at their old studio in Virginia Beach, Fehner hung a small rubber ducky painting up on the wall with a handwritten price tag of over a million dollars. Sadly, no one bought his painting but he quickly became known as the comedian at Illusive. Besides designing, Fehner has a skateboarding website, sevenfiveseven.org which was featured in Skateboard MAG. His humor and love for skateboarding has provided a unique point-of-view to music videos, websites, and designs.
Producer / Co-Director Abraham Vinchez-Moran is the newest member to Illusive’s team, has added his keen eye for directing and producing to the business. His debut short film “Almost Human” received rave reviews and was featured in both Moviemaker and The Mace & Crown. He’s worked behind the scenes in production on The Hip Hop Honors, The Metal Show, Making the Band, and The Biggest Loser. His filmmaking and production background add a new level to what Illusive Media can create.
As the New Year approaches and the launch for KarmaloopTV draws near, we can only imagine the impact these two creative forces will make. Separately, their experience and talent pulls us in with awe, but together, it may change the way we choose to spend our free time, the way we watch TV, and watch movies. Illusive Media and KarmaloopTV may be on their way to resurrecting and preserving a channel dedicated to music and art. The year 2012 may just be the year to “Reclaim Your TV.”
For more information please check out their websites: http://www.illusivemedia.com/ and http://www.karmalooptv.com.