Heather Garland at her studio, wearing Starhawk Designs

Heather Garland has been making art in Greenpoint since 2005, and as an artist she’s evolved alongside the neighborhood’s own transformation. Garland, a graduate of Pratt Institute, is a skilled and talented painter who blends her classic art background with the world of found objects.

Garland is fascinated by the functionality of objects and how their value changes when you consider their worth solely as art pieces. She mentioned an example: the bowl you place your cereal in literally feeds you, while an artistic bowl you might hang on a wall will feed your soul. Initially she started exploring painting on plates as a way to give herself a break from doing larger scale paintings.

Abortion, photo by Maggie Shannon, courtesy of Honey Ramka

Garland’s first plates were done quite fast, as a way to get a quick hit of satisfaction as she pursued pleasure through making artwork. Now her plates tend to be more intricate. Following this pursuit of pleasure coupled with her intellect, Garland assigns these plates a deeper value than their inherent functional one.

The titles of her works add a layer of meaning to the plates—like Abortion, a flower-like, fringe-infused plate artwork that is a part of the Nasty Woman exhibition at Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Ave.), curated by Garland’s friend, Roxanne Jackson. 

Afternoon Delight, photo by Maggie Shannon, courtesy of Honey Ramka

Before painting, Garland retains the plate’s original artwork—often the plates are gifts or bought at thrift stores—and then reacts accordingly. One of her works featured the historical building Liberty Hall, which encouraged her to view the painting process as healing. Another plate of an American flag was painted over with rainbows to bring some magic to the country’s current state. Works such as California display a loose and impressionistic painting style in contrast to a mass-produced object. Her next explorations remain in painting, but this time working with plates and colors to recreate the chakras, as Garland enjoys exploring meditation and yoga in her free time. 

Install shot of “love is like a butterfly“, photo by Maggie Shannon, courtesy of Honey Ramka.
California, photo by Maggie Shannon, courtesy of Honey Ramka.

As for Greenpoint, she considers it home base, having resided in the same studio for a decade. Garland sees good in some neighborhood changes, noting that her new love for CrossFit will coincide with a new CrossFit gym opening right below her studio. She loves the vintage stores and pop-ups in the neighborhood, citing Dusty Rose Vintage and Walk The West among her favorites.

But the best kept secret of Greenpoint Garland believes, is the decent prices for studio space; but we urge you to keep that to yourself!

To see more of Heather Garland’s work, visit her website.

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