Our Thursday Spotlights often feature the multitude of painters, ceramists, and cartoonists in our colorful neighborhood. But Greenpoint’s cultural scene reaches far beyond visual artists, and florist Grace McDonald more than proves that with her small business, Flower Clvb. A sustainable, creative medium, floral designs are a vital part of many a celebration, as Grace below outlines. Get to know her work — and favorite flower — below!
Greenpointers: How long have you been in Brooklyn and where is your businesses based out of? Grace McDonald: I have lived in Brooklyn since 2013 and I am a studio florist based in Greenpoint.
Flowers is such an interesting and lovely medium, how’d you get into this type of artistry? I come from an arts administration background where my primary duties involve connecting contemporary artists with youth. Floral design combines my love for art, nature, and coordinating as I administer an experience for clients that brings out the full expression of who they are. Working with my hands and in a medium that grows from the earth is deeply satisfying to me.
What kinds of requests would you say make up the bulk of your business? Most of my clients are brides, however I am beginning to receive more inquiries from companies who are interested in planning a fun team building activity or who need flowers for corporate events.
Where do you source your flowers from? During spring, summer and fall, I try to source as much of my flowers as possible from local farms and supplement with beautiful blooms I find on the 28th Street Flower Market. There are also great local blooms at certain wholesalers at the market as well. During the winter months, I primarily buy from the 28th Street Flower Market or from a local wholesaler in New Jersey that is often able to find me blooms that are American-grown, if not local. I have also found the Union Square Greenmarket to have really incredible and affordable local flowers in the summer.
Are there any kinds of projects you love working on? I love experimenting with challenging large-scale installations. I am always looking for interesting alternatives for installing without floral foam since floral foam is so bad for the environment. There is almost always a foam-free solution, it just might take a little time, creativity, and the hands of a great team.
One more question: what’s your favorite flower? I absolutely love poppies. I love how hairy the stems are and how their blooms are often covered in little pods when you buy them. They are a flower that surprises you when they emerge from their pods and I think there is something mysterious and whimsical about them.
These are dark times, there’s no denying it. From political unrest and environmental crisis to smaller gripes like seasonal allergies and MTA woes, it’s easy to get bogged down in this concrete jungle we call home. But Buket Savci, this week’s featured artist, is here with a salve in her magnificently colorful and fantastically buoyant works. Buket’s paintings, along with Jacob Hicks’, will be the inaugural works at Wrong Side of the River (67 West Street, Suite 312) now through May 3. Their exhibition, Wonderland, is a welcome balm to our times and a stunning exercise in collaborative creativity. Below, we get to know Buket and her work, but most importantly her contagious and relentless optimism.
Greenpointers: How long have you been in Brooklyn?
Buket Savci: I live and work in Brooklyn; I’ve been in Bushwick for a little over three years. Before that I lived in Astoria for almost 10 years. But I’ve had my studio in Greenpoint since I received my MFA from New York Academy of Art in 2012. I also studied painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
I am so glad to hear you enjoy our title for the show. I have been working on these series of paintings for a few years now, which are about the fleeting moments of pure joy and happiness. I create paintings addressing the ephemerality of happiness while using objects like balloons as a metaphor for our short lived contentment.
I really enjoy using saturated vivid colors, and I think everything else is so negative and dark so at least my paintings should be colorful and fun. That’s why I use the colors that makes me happy, and I enjoy including humor in my art. But actually I am not that joyful. Life is not easy and I had my share of traumas. Unfortunately a few years ago I had a major depression and even my psychiatrist was constantly telling me that my art will save me. Painting is my passion, and it is this wonderland where anything can happen, so I choose to make it fun and colorful like a playground.
There is this profound quote from a Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet; he asks to Abidin Dino, who was a famous Turkish artist. “Could you make a painting of happiness?” So all these led me to question what is real happiness, when and how we feel real joy, and how do I express this through painting.
Painting lets me live these fleeting moments in detail and throughly over a course of weeks even months. I want to create a niche of fantasy, where both the figures and I as the painter can be just like a child — innocent and playful, carefree and bold. A visual playground far away from all the darkness enclosing us outside and inside, blossomed through sincerity and trust.
Wrong Side of the River, a new gallery space in Greenpoint, will open this week with, ‘Wonderland,’ a show featuring the work of painters Buket Savci and Jacob Hicks on Friday, April 12th, at 67 West St. Suite 312 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
For years brilliant avant-guarde murals lay hidden inside a local housing project, but thanks to an intrepid art history detective they were rediscovered and everyone today can enjoy their genius. It is a local story worth recounting. In 1936, America was suffering the effects of the Great Depression. No one was harder hit by the depression than artists who watched the market for their work shrivel and completely dry up, but Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal offered artists a lifeline.
Their art would be used to beautify the massive building campaign that was at the heart of Roosevelt’s recovery plan, called the Works Progress Administration or WPA. One of the buildings that artists would beautify would be the Williamsburg Houses (164 Ten Eyck St.), which contain 20 buildings in an area around Leonard and Scholes streets. The chief architect of the project was Richmond Shreve, and the design team of nine other architects was led by the pioneering Swiss-American modernist William Lescaze, whose Philadelphia Saving Fund Society building of 1928-32 was one of the first major International Style buildings in the United States.
The design of the buildings was bold, daring and futuristic for the time and the design team wanted to decorate the interior of the complex with art that was equally bold. The four-story houses Lescaze designed included basement community rooms decorated with murals in “abstract and stimulating patterns” designed to aid relaxation.
The Federal Art Project (FAP) commissioned a series of murals, to be painted in the community rooms at the Williamsburg Houses. The head of the New York Murals of the FAP division in 1937 was Burgoyne Diller, who bravely decided to commission a series of abstract murals from avant-garde, relatively unknown artists. Abstract paintings, like those in the murals, were hard for the general public to appreciate. The artists who painted murals in the Williamsburg Houses eventually won recognition as giants in the field of abstract painting. The painters were Paul Kelpe (1902-85), Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-81), Balcomb Greene (1904-90), and Albert Swinden (1901-61). Diller, an abstract artist himself, put his own art career on hold in order to promote the abstract style in murals before it was accepted in the United States. Diller faced criticism and had to justify every abstract mural he placed in the houses, but he won and the art was installed. Continue reading →
The Other Art Fair returns for its second US edition to Greenpoint’s own Brooklyn Expo Center (72 Noble St) this week on November 9-12. Presented by Saatchi Art, the fair showcases work by 120 talented emerging artists from Brooklyn and beyond, each hand picked by a committee of art world experts.
Art lovers can visit the fair with confidence that they are buying from the very best and most promising emerging artists in a unique and immersive experience. With artwork prices starting at just $75 there is something for everyone! Alongside the exhibiting artists, visitors can discover exciting an unusual features including live hand poked tattoos by Brooklyn’s Bluestone Babe, The Guardian virtual reality, an engaging talks program by Saatchi Art and a hidden secret bar…
There are exactly 10 cool things happening and around Greenpoint this weekend. Eleven if you count Bill Murray bartending at 21 Greenpoint, but that doesn’t count, does it? There are at least 10 cool things happening this weekend.
I double dog dare you to get to more than three of these events. Choose wisely!
There’s no better draw for a cool, fun-loving crowd than art and booze. Greenpoint Gallery Night, which we are once again media sponsors for, returns this Friday (3/20) from 7-10PM to bring this winning combo to our cozy little neighborhood. Several local galleries and businesses open up their doors after normal operating hours to give Greenpoint the opportunity to start the evening immersed in art, while sampling tasty, boozy libations along the way. So join us in kicking off the weekend with great drinks in great company, while getting a glimpse of what the art world in Greenpoint has to offer! RSVP here.
While each location is in close proximity to one another, we want to be sure to hit up every spot so have strategized a route for the most efficient art crawl.
320 artist studios and arts venues will be open to the public on Saturday, October 18, and Sunday, October 19, from noon to 6pm. Get a sneak preview on the Directory of Artists. Additional special events take place during the weekend.
While real estate snooping, I spotted a 2500 sq. ft. space on Franklin St, sandwiched between the newly opened People of 2Morrow and the half block of scaffolding that will soon become even more prime retail space on one of Greenpoint’s most booming blocks.
I thought to myself this spot would be perfect for an art gallery and a few weeks later POOF! – Rekover Projects (77 Franklin St) opened – just like that. The first show titled “Before Intersections” is a solo exhibition by space lessee and artist Tristan Fitch, who runs the project space with his partner and women’s accessories designer Katie Hartsough.Continue reading →