An entrance inside Café Edna in Greenpoint feels like you might as well have floated in. In addition to being greeted by the smell of brewed coffee, baked goodness, there’s art at your right peripheral. Currently, some of it originates from the mind and the love of artist Danielle Calibrid. Greenpointers inquired about her pieces – black, white and full of color – and the conversation with her was a trip we welcomed.
GP: Can you share your relationship to Café Edna and Greenpoint?
Danielle: When I moved to the area, Cafe Edna became my coffee spot. I visited other places, but always seemed to return for their delicious coffee and food (chef Juan is amazing). The entire space is beautiful with the option to sit outside in the patio. But I have to admit…the main reason why I return is to visit with Samantha and be guaranteed major laughs. I am attracted to places where you feel welcomed by genuine, happy personalities.
Danielle: Yes! My drink of choice is a Vanilla Latte with whole milk. I have limited myself to one coffee per day. Besides providing the necessary kick to get the day rolling, seeing the crew at Café Edna sets the day off right. NYC can be a tough place for the sensitive soul of an artist, so it is important to interact with like-minded people who will keep your thoughts positive and thus, conducive to the creative process.
GP: When did the idea of showing your work in a coffee shop begin?
Danielle: Samantha is familiar with my work and asked me to display some pieces. I had several exhibitions in Oakland, but this has been the first here in Brooklyn. I have never been aggressive in putting my artwork out here; I prefer it to occur organically and find its own way into the right hands. I usually create special pieces for folks who have impacted and inspired me, or as gifts to those I love. I have gifted pieces to Common, to the crew of Digable Planets and Foreign Exchange, to Anna Sui and several musicians/deejays from back home.
GP: How wonderful to give a gift from ones own gift. So, tell us, what is it like to enter that space and the right see your work there?
Danielle: Initially, there were several places around the café on display, but I felt that it would look the best right by the window for the natural lighting, visible from the street and above the bench so folks can sit and appreciate it.
GP: When you are creating art, is there anything that you must have with you?
Danielle: Incense, music, tea and proper lighting. I minimize any distractions. I listen to many of my friends’ mixes Soundcloud. Healthy clean living is a very crucial element to creation and I employ various elements to ensure my well-being and longevity: meditation, exercise, laughter, generosity, plenty of sleep, water.
GP: Your art at Café Edna is mix of black and white prints and colors. Do you often work in these two styles?
Danielle: I do both, but the starting point is always pencil, then to ink, then to markers/colored pencils. I am versed in computer-aided design programs such as photoshop and illustrator, but the technology gets in my way and I prefer the feel of doing it all by hand. I also do mixed media collage work and watercolor. I studied fashion design at Parsons so I am also incorporating my illustration into textile prints to develop into a clothing and accessories line in the near future.
GP: There’s a woman in your work ,who is she?
Danielle: This woman is a goddess who represents an ideal: a strong, fearless warrior feminine spirit who fights on the side of the oppressed, one that challenges patriarchal, colonialist and capitalistic ideologies that promote social inequalities, exploitation and injustice. She promotes consciousness and awareness, liberation and above everything: LOVE. My artwork is created in response to particular events and behaviors in history, and the complex layers are peeled away to expose truths that are important for our evolution.
GP: Is your work auto-biographical?
Danielle:Yes. While not perfect in any sense, I strive to be this ideal; and have put my own stability and life on the line on many occasions, to fight for the common good. The woman in my artwork is also a multicultural hybrid, as I am, with my roots in Hawaii, the Azores and the Philippines to name just a few. She could be anyone of us.
GP: Speaking of multiple cultures, how valuable is art to the landscape of the coffee shop? And, what do you think art does for the community in the coffee shop?
Danielle: Art beautifies a space and invites folks to peer into the various worlds and perspectives of the artist. It can allow us to reflect on our thoughts and feelings regarding the subject; and start the dialogue to hopefully understand each other more clearly.
For more of Danielle Calibird’s work visit here.