You’ve probably seen her work around Instagram. And if you haven’t, Jenna Bouma of East River Tattoo (1047 Manhattan Ave) is known for her signature style illustrations – characterized by bold, vintage icons with a dismal charm… all done without the help of a machine. Her commitment to hand poking purveys a traditional emphasis on taking one’s time and doing it well, despite a high-volume clientele. In the midst of today’s mindful action concerning “faster/cheaper” output (which by the way, her Instagram handle is “@slowerblack“), it’s another admirable reason to put her on today’s spotlight.
As a local historian it always amazes me how rich Greenpoint history is and how much local history is forgotten. I wrote a book called Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past to reveal these stories, but I just came across another fascinating, but tragic local story. The tale of the great Irish born painter John Mulvany who once was the toast of the Chicago art world, but became homeless in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and ended his life by drowning himself in the East River. Continue reading
On the nippy day in January that I meet David Ellis outside of his Calyer & Diamond Street studio, men are unloading boxes into the ground level space of the three story warehouse. His studio is somewhere inside this massive complex with dusty, grey, winding hallways that faces Key Food. “I remember that this building looked derelict from the outside for most of the ’90s,” I tell David as he’s leading me into the belly of the beast. GHC Furniture and Futon Factory Outlet still have storefronts here, but most of the other space inside, David explains, now has been carved out into artist studios. “Photographers, sculptures, musicians,” he lists, as we walk past doorway after doorway on the third floor. Eventually, we reach a dead-end, where a door has been left ajar. David pushes it open. Continue reading
(A version of this interview appeared for boygirl Magazine)
Late in his life, Henri Matisse would turn to creating cutouts, which eventually covered the walls of his lofty studios from floor to ceiling inside the Hotel Excelsior Regina Palace at Cimiez in France. Matisse would direct his numerous assistants and his Russian mistress, Lydia Delektorskaya, with a 12-foot long bamboo cane from his bed, and they would all rush to adjust his colored paper compositions. Echoing Matisse in his own way, and paying homage to the beauty of industrial America, multimedia artist Michael Hambouz has created a series of 18 large-scale, cut-paper collage works called Factory Made using paper stock from the mill located in his hometown of Niles, Michigan. We met in front of The Richardson, and walked to his studio a few doors down, where his cat, Pickles, was waiting. Continue reading
When Spring time rolls around many of us get into closet clearing mode, quickly to realize we have spent a lot of time working for money that we use to buy stuff that we end of trashing. It’s a bad cycle, for our psyche and for the planet. If more of us stopped or slowed the cycle, we’d have a lot more time to enjoy our lives – rather than spending a gorgeous morning managing crap. Despite understanding this, the cycle rears its ugly head. Continue reading
White gallery walls can be sterile and uninviting, not to mention downright distracting. The first thing you will notice at the current show on view at Cleopatra’s is the unique installation of images on a long and low platform in the middle of the gallery. Presented this way, the series of eight black and white prints by Harsh Patel titled “New Typography,” invites the viewer to turn their back on the walls closing in. The aerial panoramic arrangement unites each work in an uninterrupted visual experience rather than dispersed between dull blank pauses bringing to mind the common phrase “it all depends on how you look at it.” Continue reading
With an influx of second wave of blockbuster artists ( M. D. Jackson and the like ) on the heels of first wave young hip artists, it’s easy to forget that there have been local people making work in the neighborhood since well before the first plaid clad types ventured in to a then “scary” area.
Eleanor Curran grew up in Greenpoint “when there was only one Chinese restaurant.” The lively Mrs. Curran grew up on Eckford St before moving to a house on Leonard St that still connected with her Dad’s old house.
“There was always the question of whether I lived in his backyard, or he in mine!” Continue reading
Last Spring I noticed a photocopied “Call For Mural Artists” for the Greenpoint Library. I couldn’t find anything online about it and I really thought every artist in Greenpoint should have a shot at this amazing opportunity so I transcribed the entire document and posted it on the blog. There were many amazing entries and after a final round of community votes, Leslie Wood won!
Now her mural is complete and she wrote in to tell us about it. Take a stroll down Norman and see it for yourself. Continue reading
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Our featured Holiday Market vendor Alabaster wanted to be a cartoonist and a crafter. Now that she is all grown up she says, “I never wanted to compromise, so here I am, still doing it!” Continue reading