Intention: Building community through art

To do something with intention can be described as creating a plan with a purpose behind it. This makes Intention a fitting name for an artist collective run by Cal Poly Pomona alumnus Will “MC Prototype” Bissic and cousins Brian “SuperB” Oliva and Nick “DJ Nickyboi” Ilagan, along with the help of Oliva’s wife Alex. 

Oliva, Ilagan and Bissic are no strangers to the arts — each is a seasoned artist. Ilagan has been deejaying for about 17 years, while Oliva and Bissic have both been poets for almost 20 years. 

The trio started off hosting a local open mic event over 10 years ago that put them on the map in the local artist community. Once the open mic show came to an end after four years, the group was continuously asked what it was going to do next. 

It was in 2017 when that “next thing” came to light. A mutual friend of theirs worked for the Flyaway at the Fox Theater in Pomona, and was looking to bring in new talent to their venue. He was in search of something fresh and different to fill the space, with a classy vibe. Oliva, Ilagan and Bissic immediately came to mind, and Intention was born. 

“We have always been about building community … and we had been throwing it into the universe that we wanted a space to do that, and we were approached with this space and it was literally an answered prayer,” Alex Oliva said. 

Astyn Turrentine and her band enchant the audience with her smooth soul songs.
(Courtesy of Brian Oliva)

Intention is a showcase of talented local artists ranging from poets and singer-songwriters to bands and hip-hop artists.

 The name “Intention” stemmed from the group “intentionally putting the whole night together,” as Ilagan puts it. “From the cocktails, to the performers, to the music that’s being curated, it’s all intentional.”

“It was intended to showcase both emerging and established artists, and build a community of support and inspiration,” Bissic said.

Oliva and Bissic host the monthly show, while Ilagan spins on the turntables throughout each event.

Intention has featured a huge catalog of gifted artists, including Pomona-based talent such as indie-rock band Insecure Alex, and rappers Neil “Jook the First” Cantu and CPP alumnus Tyrone “Lyrically Twisted” Stokes. Each artist that touches the stage is guaranteed to bring a unique sound and experience to the audience. 

Oliva, Ilagan and Bissic’s friendship dates back almost 20 years. With such deep roots, the group has a clear, family-like bond. That family feeling and combined passion for art transcends their decades-long friendship and is reflected in every event they put on. 

DJ Nickyboi keeps the audience pumped up with his soul mixes on the turntables.
(Courtesy of Brian Oliva)

“We want our audience to feel like it’s their night. Like we are an extension of their families or friendship circles,” Bissic said. 

Intention recently moved to Covina and its loyal fan base followed — and rightfully so. Each Intention show is meticulously planned in order to provide an unforgettable experience for its audience.

“First-timers should anticipate walking into a place that has been created with them in mind,” Oliva said.

“They will be welcomed when they walk in by friendly faces, and at the very least they’re going to listen to some great music, great art and hopefully at best, (they will) build community in a space they didn’t expect.” 

Intention takes place on the last Tuesday of each month and is now located at Lincoln House in Covina. The show is for ages 21 and over, and the price of admission is $10, or $5 with a student ID. To keep up with Intention and see who will be performing at the next show on Sept. 24, follow the group on Instagram @showintention.

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