Blue returns for Alumni Masters Week
calendar icon04 Mar 2019 user iconBy Mekita Rivas for the Nebraska Alumni Association
Lincoln, Neb.--Last May, Anthony Blue (B.F.A. 2011) nearly missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I was taking a nap, woke up to check my email, and got this message asking if I could do this shoot and be there in 40 minutes,” recalled Blue, a freelance photographer and multimedia artist based in New York City. “I felt bad because I was napping and not even prepared. I had to stop at a camera place and rent some more batteries because my camera wasn’t charged.”
The event Blue was racing to was the Met Gala, a fundraising extravaganza benefitting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. The lavish affair takes place every year on the first Monday in May, and it’s often referred to as the “Oscars of fashion.”
His task? Photograph Solange Knowles, a singer-songwriter who just so happens to be Beyoncé’s younger sister, as she prepped for the gala.
“Getting the call and then being able to follow through and execute it was very crazy because you just never know what could happen,” he said. “I could have been doing something else, or I could have slept 30 minutes longer and missed that opportunity. The whole day was so surreal.”
Blue, a Dallas native, bonded with Knowles over their shared Texas roots.
“She’s also from Texas and does amazing work,” he said. “When I met her, it just blew my mind. She said, ‘So you’re Anthony?’ And I thought, ‘Wait, you know me already?’ It was a beautiful blessing.”
And it’s one that he never imagined experiencing back when he was an art student in Nebraska. Blue had arrived at the university on a football scholarship and was determined to play professionally.
“I was such an athlete,” he said. “My only plan was the NFL — that’s as far as my vision went.”
When football didn’t pan out — “I got hurt and didn’t recover that well,” explained Blue — he shifted focus to the artist who was, in his words, “growing within.”
“I remember going to critiques and having the worst stuff up on the wall,” Blue revealed. “I would learn so much from the art students who said, ‘If you tried this, maybe you can get this effect.’ Listening to how people viewed my work helped me grow so much.”
Still, if you had told him that he’d someday fill the role of personal photographer to one of the biggest names in music, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.
“I didn’t see any of this coming,” Blue said. “So I feel like all the success I’ve had is about following your heart — it will never guide you down the wrong path. I don’t take any of this for granted because I never planned to be this deep in it.”
Each year, a selected group of exceptional alumni return to campus to share their experiences and knowledge with the UNL community. Known as the Alumni Masters, these individuals are proven trailblazers in their respective fields. Now in its 55th year, the program showcases the best that each college has to offer. Blue and the other Alumni Masters will be on campus March 6-8.
Blue is an avid photographer, animator and DJ. He has hosted numerous residencies in New York City while also playing various venues globally.
He has also shot for Milan fashion week and has become a favorite among Influencers for his easy-going approach and keen eye. His resume spans a range of clients including Nike, Revlon, B.E.T. and Zegna to name a few. He has also DJ'd parties with many popular artists including Migos, Virgil Abloh, Soulection, Big Boi, and more.