*DIY spring planter: clay hand building class @ Manic Ceramic (395 Graham Ave), 7pm, $50, Each student will receive a slab of clay in which they will be taught special techniques in pottery wet clay hand building. No experience necessary, Buy Tix ♫ AfroBeats @ Bembe (81 S. 6th St), 9pm, FREE, the best of AFROBEATS and GLOBAL RHYTHMS with live percussion all night long, More Info * Intro to Vermicomposting: A ‘WORMshop’ for New Yorkers @ AgTech X (40 Bushwick Ave) 630pm, $29, Buy Tix ♦ DOOM! the show we are hosting @Muchmore’s, 6pm, FREE, DOOM! (the last improv team you’ll ever see) is hosting a night of variety performance, More InfoTHURSDAY 5/16Continue reading →
Whimsical, precise, and meditative, Deniz Ayaz’s illustrations and watercolors may make you hungry. She often creates tempting portraits, though her skills reach far beyond illustrations of food. Deniz has had works featured in leading outlets including The New York Times, Print Magazine, and more, and below we get to know the Greenpoint artist who dishes not just on her drawings but her favorite places to get baos, ice cream, and more.
Greenpointers: You mentioned you’ve lived in the neighborhood for a few years! Any favorite spots? How has Greenpoint treated you? Deniz Ayaz: I remember the first time I went to Greenpoint. It was a small field trip with my illustration class to Pencil Factory in 2011. Meeting some of my favorite illustrators there was very inspiring and I can say that this neighborhood has always treated me well.I’ve met inspiring people (including my husband), discovered new spots, and never felt like I was not in a concrete jungle.
Some of favorite spots in the area are Lot Radio for Saturday afternoons, Baoburg for yummy baos in the backyard, Polka Dot for homemade apple pie, Van Leeuwen for coffee ice cream, Maha Rose for soundbath, and Magick City for dancing, which I’ve recently discovered and been amazed by the space and events.
You dabble in a few different mediums: watercolor, ink… any favorites, and why? I love the fluidity and unpredictable nature of watercolor. In the past, I’ve painted with various mediums including oil, acrylic, and gouache and it was great to experiment with all of them before finding the “one.” I enjoy creating abstract patterns in watercolor and most of the patterns I like tend to be the ones that are less structured.
Nowadays, it’s quite common to see people planning every second of their lives and try to control every little thing. As a result, it becomes hard to enjoy spontaneity. For me, painting with watercolor is a great way to let go, and it’s quite meditating. Continue reading →
On Saturday, May 11, Atlas Obscura will present Ascend Ascend with Janaka Stucky at the San Damiano Mission Catholic Church (85 North 15th Street) in Greenpoint.
Written over the course of 20 days coming in and out of trance states while secluded in the tower of a 100-year-old church, Janaka Stucky‘s new book ASCEND ASCEND is rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition of Hekhalot literature, which chronicles an ascent up the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to witness the “chariot of God.” Equal parts Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain,” this long poem documents the ecstatic destruction of the self through its union with the divine.
Janaka will be presenting this new work in its entirety as an immersive, multidisciplinary performance involving light, scent, and sound to create a visceral interpretation of ritual that invokes mythography across cultural and corporeal boundaries.
Atlas Obscura and Third Man Books will be taking this on a seven-city tour with D.C. up next. The May 11th Brooklyn appearance will kick off the tour with a special appearance from Mark Korven playing an instrument of his own creation, the Apprehension Engine.
Tickets, $38 each, include a copy of Stucky’s book, with an option available to acquire a deluxe, limited-edition only available on this Atlas Obscura tour. Tickets available for purchase here.
ABOUT JANAKA STUCKY Janaka Stucky is a mystic poet, performer, and founding editor of the award-winning press Black Ocean. In 2015 Jack White’s Third Man Records launched a new publishing imprint, Third Man Books, and chose Janaka’s full-length poetry collection, The Truth Is We Are Perfect, as their inaugural title. He is the author of four poetry collections, is a two-time National Haiku Champion, and has taught or performed in over 60 cities around the world.
* We Got You: Meeting Your Guardians and Guide @ Devi Collective (191 Nassau Ave), 8pm, $40, experiential group healing circle that uses gentle breath work and movement to open into an expanded state of awareness—to sense and feel the presence of your guides in your field, Buy Tix ♫ Dervisi@ TROOST (1011 Manhattan Ave), 8pm, FREE, Bittersweet melodies of passion and hashish from the old-time Greek Rembetika underworld, More info ♫ MatchaFam Summer Monthly Disco 001 @ POnyboy (632 Manhattan Ave), 8pm, FREE,the fam gathers in the name of matcha, and the eternal disco energy it inspires within us, More info ♫ Come Get Sum: Dance Party & Cipher All Style Battle @ Silver Factory BK (270 South 5th St), 10pm, $15/20, a dance battle and party all in one with the best of hip hop, dancehall, afrobeats, breaks, deep & tech house. 10 slots sign up list to battle for cash prize, More Info
Starting Thursday, May 2nd raise a glass to Greenpoint!Take 25% off at local restaurants, bars and wine stores from May 2-12 with code TOAST25 when you pay with Cinch, a neighborhood exploration app. Discover a new cuisine, try out a new wine pairing, enjoy a local craft brew, and do it all within walking distance. [sponsored]
GOS is an un-curated event where local artists and creatives open up their studio doors to share their work with the public. Last year more than 400 artists participated and tens of thousands of art lovers swarmed our beautiful neighborhood to weave in and out of art studios and spaces. And again this year, throughout the inspiring weekend there will also be parties, artist-led workshops, talks and guided tours.
Who should register?Artists of all mediums, designers, crafters, fabricators, performers, and anyone who has work or work-in-progress to show inGreenpoint.
Today (May 1st) is the last day to get the $15 Early Bird Registration price! After today, the cost to sign up will go up to $40.
Your address will be on the publicly available GOS online map and a printed guide that is distributed all over North Brooklyn
Registered artists open their doors on June 8th and 9th to visitors, from 12pm-6pm each day
*Note: You can also sign up if you are a Greenpoint artist without a space to show your work. A few local venues have generously offered up their space to show artists’ work during GOS. You can let them know you’re interested by signing up on the forms here.
Just across Newtown Creek in Long Island City stood an abandoned industrial site that many considered the world’s greatest treasury of graffiti art. Tragically demolished in 2013, the world-famous Five Pointz consisted of twelve factory buildings ranging in height from a single story to five floors. The name Five Pointz referred both to the five boroughs of New York City and to the notorious 19th century Manhattan slum of the same name. Five Pointz grew so famous that tourists from around the world journeyed to Long Island City to photograph the amazing examples of graffiti art that adorned its many exterior walls, but the famous complex would not have a long life and would die a tragic death.
Located at 45–46 Davis Street, the buildings, which were constructed in 1892, once housed a water meter factory, but the water meter plant was long by the early 1970s when developer Jerry Wolkoff bought the abandoned factory and leased space inside to industrial firms. In 1990, hungry for new tenants, Wolkoff granted permission for artists to cover the exterior walls with art and by the 1990s artists attracted to the area by the low rents began to rent interior spaces in the building. Soon, aerosol artists began to cover the exterior walls with their colorful and creative murals. Initially called the Phun Factory, the building was renamed “5 Pointz” in 2002 when graffiti artist Jonathan Cohen began curating the exterior murals. The murals’ fame spread and Cohen even conceived plans to turn the huge complex into a museum of graffiti art. The former industrial complex attracted elite aerosol artists who arrived from all over the United States and even around the world, including famous graffiti artists such as Stay High 149, Tracy 168, Part, SPE, Dan Plasma, CORTES and TATS CRU.
While Five Pointz fame was spreading around the globe, Long Island City was also changing. Due to its proximity to Manhattan, the area started to become a magnet for high-rise residential towers and Wolkoff became increasingly aware of his site’s multi-million dollar real estate value.
Hard times makes for progressive art, and boy is Erik Jacobsen having fun with our current political bonanza. His small business, Erik’s Paper Route, takes the litter of candy wrappers and transforms it into something that — all at once — is vibrant, quirky, and pointed. Below, he explains the birth of his company and his hopes for the future, but to see his work in person, join him at the upcoming Greenpoint Open Studios!
Greenpointers: You’ve lived in Greenpoint for a couple years. How has the nabe and community treated you?
The neighborhood felt like home immediately. My downstairs neighbor Jean had, until recently, lived in the same apartment for 50 years, and her love for Greenpoint was infectious. She was the first to welcome me and my fiancé to Brooklyn, and she always insisted on giving us fresh bread every week from a local Polish bakery.
I’ve met lots of wonderful creatives in the studio space at 108 Bayard who have been incredibly supportive and friendly. It’s inspiring seeing people pursue their passion full heartedly in the fields of fashion, photography and design.
Erik’s Paper Route is such a lovely name. This may seem random, but did you have a paper route as a child?
Sadly no! Having grown up in the Jersey suburbs I did ride my bike constantly as a kid to get around and there was always a freeing feeling associated with it. “Paper route” is a play on words for me as I head in a new direction with a new medium. Paper routes exist to spread the news and Erik’s Paper Route was created out of a need to express my reaction to it.
Can you discuss the origin of your company?
Moving to Brooklyn three years ago was a pivotal moment for me and represented a dream fulfilled. Having lived in DC for 10 years prior, I was surprised by the volume of discarded candy wrappers on the sidewalks and streets of NYC — and I loved it. DC was an amazing city to live in but my old neighborhood didn’t offer me the grit or beautiful chaos I found in Brooklyn.
Erik’s Paper Route started in January 2018 as a reaction to seeing a lot of perfectly filtered photos and influencer social accounts on Instagram after a long day at my day job. As great as social media can be at giving people a platform to share their work, it can also be overwhelming and make you question, “Am I doing enough creatively?” or “Why am I the only one who hasn’t been to Costa Rica?” It’s all really silly when you think about it but it was a natural response for me. Sometimes you just need to take a break from your phone and that’s when I saw a stack of multi-colored paper staring at me on my desk. I started to rip it up into letters that spelled out the phrase “Stop Comparing Yourself to Everyone Else” and that’s the moment when everything changed for me and this new route began.
Your work has a strong political bent, but also a nostalgic one. Can you discuss how those ideas coalesce?
Everything stems from a loss of innocence I experienced growing up — learning that everything is not what it once may have seemed. A lot of my work relates to repurposing food and candy packaging from my childhood. The sheen of a candy wrapper has lost its luster to me seeing it dirtied on a Brooklyn sidewalk, which I also see as a metaphor. I’m nostalgic for a time where I would buy airheads for 25 cents at my local pool during hot summers — but relating it to my life now — the white mystery airhead flavor represents our current president. A “what’s that airhead gonna do next” type of mentality. I try to imbue a playful and mischievous tone into my work to address serious issues that have become more apparent to me as I’ve gotten older.
A former art teacher told me that altering one minor component to a project can drastically change the meaning of something entirely. I’ve kept that in my mind as I work.
If you eat too much sugar you’ll get a cavity and I like to play with the idea that these sweetly package treats should be consumed with care. Don’t believe everything you see just because you saw it online or heard it on the news.
Politics is not something I thought of as much growing up. As I got older and went to college in DC I couldn’t help but become hyperaware of what was going on in my backyard. I am extremely fortunate to have grown up in a time where, as a gay man, I’ve seen my rights increased precisely at the times I truly wanted them. When same-sex marriage was legalized in the US in June 2015, I visited the White House that night to see it emblazoned in the colors of the rainbow. That was a moment of great hope and validation to know I was good enough to make my voice a little louder as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
With this current administration there’s a lot more at risk, and my artwork is the best route I know of to vocalize my disapproval of Trump.
Your work is on paper — what instruments do you use for your drawings? Is there a digital component?
I use an X-acto knife to cut all my pieces. Sometimes I’ll get stubborn and won’t change the blade for a couple weeks which causes it to get more blunt and harder to use — but working with my hands and the paper medium has allowed me to release myself from the expectation of perfection. And to be honest, supplies and blades are expensive so I really like to let the tools run their course til I absolutely need something new. I’ll just roll with what I’ve got til my next payday. It’s forced me to not be as wasteful and I love that. There’s no such thing as messing up to me with the medium — only happy accidents — perfection is boring.
The digital component comes only when I photograph the pieces to create prints. I’d like to experiment with a laser cutter to mass produce my pieces. The idea of creating something I first made organically by hand and then mass producing it is fascinating to me. Time is money. I’m constantly thinking, as a small business, how I can work smarter, not harder.
Any projects you have coming up? Anything else you’d like to discuss?
I am working on a new series that involves the idea of chance. I love the concept of games like checkers and chess and how the small moves you make can have a huge impact on your end goal. I’ve learned the most successful people have made lots of small moves in the right direction over time, and I want to do the same as it relates conceptually to my work.
I’m moving away from candy and food packaging at the moment and experimenting with new subject matter that involves scenes from everyday life made from paper. I’ve always found inspiration from everyday ordinary things.
Greenpoint has been the perfect home and launch pad for Erik’s Paper Route. I’ll be participating in the Greenpoint Open Studios June 8 and 9 and am looking forward to sharing my work with more people in the community.
The Lot Radio (17 Nassau Ave.), an independently owned and operated internet radio station across from McCarren Park, can resume selling drinks and snacks from its neighboring kiosk after the Dept. of Health shut it down last January.
Beer, wine, espresso drinks, and snacks will once again be available at the Lot Radio (with a few new items like sake) starting May 1st. “The kiosk is there to support the radio, so we’re excited to welcome people back,” owner Francios Vexelaire said.
“Since the shutdown, we had [a] constructive and positive conversation with the Department of Health to get some code modification approved by them,” Vexelaire said, adding that the Office of Nightlife was a major help during the process.
Paradice Palase (1263 Bushwick Avenue) is gearing up to present “Wild Animals,” a two-person painting show by New York-based artists Katherine McMahon and Kayla Camstra. “Wild Animals” will open this Friday, April 26, with a cocktail reception at the Bushwick Gallery space; the show will run through April 28. Just in time for Earth Day, this show aims to explore, celebrate, and question humanity’s limited and often troubled relationship with the animal kingdom. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from “Wild Animals” will benefit the local animal rescue, In Our Hands Rescue (IOHR) of New York City.
With this show, McMahon and Camstra aim to touch on the idiosyncrasies of animals, and therefore human. By presenting the two simultaneously as valiant hero and self destructive fool, the artists’ aim to illustrate the duality that lives within us all independently and collectively as a society. In varying measures, they try to answer the questions: How are we any different and why do we set our moralities the way we do?
Paradice Palase curates publicly funded exhibitions and accessible programs and workshops to foster community engagement, broaden visibility for artists, and build arts patronage.