“Everyone who comes in here for the first time, all they can say is, ‘Fuuuuuuuuuuuck.'”
Daniel Weintraub is creative director of Greenpoint’s newest art gallery and events space, Succulent Studios, located in a century-old warehouse at 67 West Street. The room is a monster: it clocks in at 3,000 square feet but feels three times that size because of what Weintraub calls the “urban barn” effect of the vaulted ceilings. In the afternoon, sunlight pours in through west-facing windows.
Weintraub and owner and founder Sek3 have clearly thrown a ton of their considerable energy and love for all things street into the project: during the grand opening blowout this Saturday night — from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. — you’ll see large-scale pieces from more than 30 renowned urban artists (old-school and new). Folks like Alice Mizrachi, Daze, Gilf!, Steven Lopez, Ket, Icy & Sot, Greg Lamarche, Bisco Smith, and Hellbent were told to go as large as they wanted.
But Weintraub and Sek envision Succulent as being more than just an art gallery (or a cool place to throw parties). Moveable walls within the space will allow for a multitude of uses, from drawing classes and yoga workshops to what they’re calling “ongoing meaningful shenanigans.” The opening party, for instance, will feature live classical music, “bikini-clad balloon muses” and crazy balloon sculptural pieces via Addi Somekh and Cern. Oh, and tons of free beer, thanks to Brooklyn Brewery.
You’ve spent a lot of time and energy (and, most likely, a fair amount of money) to open this huge new space in what has become something of hotspot for urban culture and general creative shenanigans. What it is about the concept of Succulent Studios, that made it seem worthwhile to you?
Sek3: The concept of Succulent Studios is inherent in my way of life. I live a life of creativity, and I love to facilitate or inspire creativity in other peoples lives. I’m an artist myself, most of my friends are artists or major fans, and this is what we would be doing even if we didn’t get paid for it. I am honored to be making this happen.
Dan: For me Succulent Studios is about working in an environment, within the gallery, the art world, and the community, where creativity and expression are encouraged and needed, rather then muffled and ignored. Like Sek, I am embedded in the art world as a fan, collector, facilitator, and friend. Succulent Studios and Sek’s leadership are giving me the space and the path to future success in the art world. I am grateful every day I show up to work.
How do you see Succulent interacting with the Greenpoint community? Are there plans to incorporate long-time neighborhood residents into your process as well as the area’s, shall we say, more recent arrivals?
Sek: Because art programs are being cut from public schools, we are working on developing free art classes for the local kids, taught by professional artists. My hope is to make art more accessible. I love art, I think it’s amazing. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible. Also a small percentage of all our profits will be donated in the efforts of fostering dogs and finding them forever homes.
Dan: Sek loves dogs, and dogs love Sek. In our inaugural show on March 29 we chose to go with mostly locals. Some of the artist live in Greenpoint, and many in the surrounding neighborhoods and boroughs. We try and buy locally for all of our needs even sourcing supplies within our own building when possible.
Dan: If I wanted to check out a nice mix of legal and illegal work I would check out Bushwick, the Welling Court Murals in Astoria, Williamsburg and the Bowery/Chinatown area. These spots feature work from prominent NYC artists as well as many international artists. As far as catching the more secretive and fun stuff, I just recommend walking around everywhere you can and keeping your eyes peeled. The more you pay attention to where artists like to place their work the easier it gets to scope out. If you go to one of the “street art hot spots” in NYC and then proceed to get lost in the surrounding areas you should be pretty good.