Eric Morrell is a Production Designer and Art Director for TV and film living in Greenpoint. He has art directed numerous feature films, commercials, reality shows, and music videos while working for four seasons as Art Director for the reality competition show Project Runway.
I recently caught up with him at his Greenpoint apartment to chat about the hyper-local film industry of Greenpoint, the value of art school, and the impending L train closure…
Greenpointers: What is you favorite thing about Greenpoint/Williamsburg? What’s a typical day for you in the neighborhood?
Eric Morrell: My favorite thing about Greenpoint how each street feels a little different and it really feels like a cohesive neighborhood even though it has a warehouse district and a commercial district and the area around McGolrick feels completely different then Franklin Avenue. Its got a lot of variety and changes a lot every few months. I really don’t need the rest of the city.
A typical day off is going out to eat somewhere for one meal, I try to go to new spots. If it’s a nice day I walk around or bike around the neighborhood and then go see a movie or go home and watch a movie. I like that we have movie theaters in Williamsburg but it’s still not close enough. With all the movie studios around I feel like they should build a big one somewhere East of McGuinness.
Ted McGrath is originally from the Philadelphia area but has become a Brooklyn fixture over the last decade plus. He has exhibited works at institutions like Cinders Gallery, Calico, and Black Ball Projects and he’s performed music under the moniker The Flag in venues like Death By Audio, Silent Barn, and Shea Stadium to name a few.
You may recognize him from behind the bar at The Diamond though he now works full-time as an art director for MTV, while working nights and weekends in his studio, a small but sunny room in a factory building next to the Pulaski Bridge.
I recently stopped by for a visit to see his latest work, some of which was created for a solo exhibition at Current Space in Baltimore.
Greenpointers: You use a large mix of mediums in your work: oil, spray paint, house paint, graphite, crayon… How does your process unfold? Do you give yourself any parameters in regards to your mediums?
Ted McGrath: Parameters, no, not really. I’m primarily trying to set up as many moments of engagement or conflict as possible between myself, the materials, and the surface. Frequently changing up the materials, layering them quickly, trying to get something unexpected happening so that I’m completely focused and totally off balance at all times. A series of planned crises, I’m mopping one up while staging the next.
Some of your work is very abstract while some works are iconic and graphic, eg. representations of figures or objects like “Sphynx” or “Fantastic Black Police Car”… What inspires you? Do the more abstract works come from a different area of your imagination than the more figurative works?
It all comes from the same place, definitely, and I think the most successful pieces are those where things get kinda blurry. I work from a constantly expanding sort of lexicon or repertoire of forms and gestures, the ones that really sing are the ones that end up in combinations that are surprising even to me. I’ve lately been a little more excited by the more figurative end of that spectrum, letting more editorial or narrative suggestions in. But that said, it’s like they’re actors, this or that shape or gesture that recurs isn’t always playing the same role or delivering the same lines in every painting.
Greenpoint’s only outdoor/online radio station, The Lot Radio, is hosting a series of events with their neighbors the San Damiano Mission. Join them this Saturday evening for a special performance of 67Yarc.info, an interactive multimedia project by Joakim, followed by an ambient live set, befitting to the pious venue.
With July 4th on the horizon, it feels like most of North Brooklyn is at the beach (or heading to Saratoga to see a band play) but there are a couple of receptions this evening, Friday, July 1st, in Bushwick, just a few blocks away from each other. Kick off your weekend with some visual art!
This collection of new tapestries, being the largest to date (some as large as 8 x 8 feet), captures traumatic moments of turmoil in the artists personal narrative, moments of her youth pre-smart phones, and images referencing a battle with Trichotillomania. A formidable depiction of self portraits and the obsessive documentation of an image saturated life.
“In more than a way, Summer Anagram is a summer show like every other summer show. It embraces its format and its season. It claims no conceptual crutch. The exhibition’s title is also there to confuse so, please, do not think too hard about it. It happens that it is summer here, as I write this.
Artworks are as strong and relevant as the more or less transparently structured algebra backing their visual, conceptual, technical and material components. The ones selected for this exhibition make no exception. Their units can be taken apart and recombined around new formulas, overlap and complement each other like the abstract-sounding, recurring letter clusters of an anagrammatic poem.”
Featuring: Cortney Andrews, Courtney Childress, Theresa Daddezio, Amanda Friedman, Rachel Phillips, Cheon Pyo Lee. Curated by Marco Antonini.
Hey guys, welcome to Summer! If you’re anything like me you’re still vibing off this week’s cosmic combo of the full moon with the Summer Solstice. Ride that wave through Sunday if you can, with a few suggestions here…
But firstly, we have to tip our hat to the good folks at Secret Project Robot who recently announced that they’ll be leaving their space at Melrose Street at the end of the summer. “We’ve moved before, from Monster Island in Williamsburg to Bushwick, and we shall persevere, and move again… In many ways, We are ourselves to blame, we’ve helped to create a hipper safer neighborhood and higher rents, as so often do, have followed… ” They’re hosting a ton of events in the coming weeks, including a series of dance parties this weekend.
The new show by Jake Dibeler featuring Ms. William “Performance artist Jake Dibeler […] uses his unique brand of disarming, semi-tragic humor to sweep us along for the ride. Like a full-throated rendition of your favorite pop song in a sleazy bar, Dibeler’s performances may have the veneer of naive optimism but they twang with the dissonance of an emotional breakdown.” -Philadelphia Weekly
The Greenpoint Gallery has bounced back from the devastating fire back in February and has been actively up and running with some cool exhibits and art shows! At this time, it is now accepting submissions for the Annual Drawing Salon Show: Deadline is tomorrow! (Thursday, June 23rd at 11pm), and “Best in Show” wins $200 cash and a solo exhibition!
Drawings in pencil, charcoal, pastel, etc, will be considered within 36″ x 48″.
Oh man, we’ve got a lot cooking this weekend… I’m not the one to usually say things like “art is all around us,” but this weekend art is all around us: in the streets, wristwatch showrooms, back room bar shows, record label stoop sales, and a Mayan hip hop show. Hell, if that’s not art I don’t know what is. Continue reading →
You may know Leon Reid IV through his street art or public art and now he has a new body of work conceived and developed in his Greenpoint studio over the last five years. Recently, I caught up with Leon at his studio to talk art, technology, and what it means to combine the two. Continue reading →
Karen Marston – Demeter’s Wrath
at Owen James Gallery
Karen Marston is a painter focused on the fundamental contradiction of natural phenomena, the pairing of powerful terror with majestic beauty. Her large-scale oil paintings portray this strength at its extremes: tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions. While many of these events have occurred naturally throughout the history of the Earth, they have also been exacerbated by the influence humans have on the environment.