As we’re approaching the one year mark of the pandemic, the effect it’s had on the city’s cultural energy is palpable. Despite this, art — often the only respite in times like these — is more important than ever. The upcoming docuseries, Flow State/North Brooklyn Artists, filmed in its entirety during the pandemic, follows sixteen artists in North Brooklyn and how they’ve adapted during this challenging time.
Throughout the eight episode docuseries, hosts Sophia Kayafas and Ralf Jean-Pierre take a close look at what it meant to be an artist in the pivotal summer of 2020. Sophia, who is a figurative oil painter in Brooklyn and teaches at Pratt, was cold called by the director, Minos Papas, when plans with the original co-host fell through. He’d heard her on the podcast Art Grind.
“I started working with the podcast about two years ago hoping to give it more edge and direction. It centers around the art community and storytelling — the ‘Grind’ of being an artist and the sacrifice, beauty, and wisdom that comes with it. Papas and I had some overlapping visions for candid yet intimate interview styles, and it perfectly fit the bill for what he needed for the project.” said Kayafas.
When asked what it was like to film in Greenpoint, Kayafas emphasized how important the location was to the vision of the project.
“Greenpoint has a rich cultural and historical background, with beautiful architecture, but the history of artists moving through this area is at the heart of its robust culture. Artists tend to move into the most affordable places, and because of this, the pattern of gentrification is constantly trailing behind them, whether we want to admit it or not,” Kayafas said. “Artists tend to cultivate community and culture from the inside, and this often brings about powerful ideas, change, and even more people to the area. Eventually there’s a Starbucks on the corner and a Whole Foods on the other, and some artists can’t even afford to live there anymore. This has always been the case, but it was eye opening to see it through a geographical lense and see the artist’s part in it, in this specific neighborhood.”
The artists featured in the docuseries will be Derrick Adams, Jilly Ballistic, Matthew Benedict, Dave Choi, Lisa Corinne Davis, Damien Davis, Amber Hany, Coby Kennedy, Naomi Okubo, Joey Parlett, Fara’h Salehi, Buket Savci, Fred Tomaselli, Carlos Vela-Prado, Sophia Wallace, and B.D. White.
Tune in to support Greenpoint’s local artists, a resilient community at the heart of Greenpoint’s culture, and learn more about how they’ve adjusted to creating and sharing their art in a socially distant world.
Flow State’s first fifteen-minute episode, following painter Fred Tomaselli, is now available to stream via PBS. New episodes will be released weekly, available on demand and to stream for free at allarts.org and on the All Arts app.