Out of more than 400 participating artists in the annual Greenpoint Open Studios this past weekend, Bedford + Bowery interviewed five zany (and impressive) artists you should definitely keep an eye on.
Check out our five artist Q+As below:
I’m a photographer for twenty-five years. Place is really important to me, as is nature. And I also shoot with toy cameras, which adds another element of fun. About eight months ago, I discovered collage. This is my work table, and I can spend hours cutting out images from magazines and see what comes together.
I can start with one of my collages. It’s called “Spring Green.” I found all of these women performing a different exercise poses. And also a bunch of asparagus. And it just kind of came together. I was cleaning up my table to get ready to go to a class, and I scooped it all up together and there it was.
I travel a lot, so these I shot with a toy Holga camera. The fun thing about toy cameras is that they don’t have any control. There’s no F-stop, no shutter speed. So it’s just a really intuitive process. This series is called ‘Sanctuary,’ and I shot it at the Okefenokee swamp in Southeast Georgia. And it was just the most pristine place that I’ve ever been. It’s never been inhabited by people.
No, not really. It kind of evolved over the years. This was a commercial space and I made it into my studio and living space and loft. So not only have I created the art, but I’ve been working on my living space for probably the last twenty-five years. And it’s still a work in progress.
If it’s colorful and geometric, I probably made it. The most recent one is actually the Plexiglass one right there. If it’s made of Plexiglass, stained glass, steel, or neon, it’s something I made recently. And the older pieces I made out of wood—like this one right here.
Some of them, like this earlier one, is actually reflected color, where the back of the inside of the triangles are painted in color. It’s a natural reflection onto the white. Now I’m moving into the twenty-first century and using LED lighting.
No, I do a lot of traveling. I’m up to 105 countries now. It’s an expensive, but wonderful hobby. A lot of them I’ve collected in my travels from Central America, South America, Asia. So that’s how the mask collection came about.
I had a friend about three or four years ago, and he collected masks too. We were always kind of joking [that] we should open the Brooklyn Mask Museum. Maybe one of these days that might be the next project, but it’s not on the front burner at the moment.
Yes, they’re part of a body of work that I started a couple of years ago. And they are imaginary landscapes that have to do a lot with my personal life. But you don’t really have to know that. I want them to be something that anybody can connect with in terms of the archetypes that you find.
So this one is a mountain I visited. In a lot of my work, I have been trying to create these mountains. These very big landscapes, open skies, spacious situations that are made out of people. I choose these people—specifically soccer players, bull fighters, some people dancing, animals, soldiers. Soccer players—I think they’re fascinating superheroes that move in a way like dancers and ballerinas. And they have also have an important presence in my culture. It’s something that unites the country where I come from.
Colombia. That’s La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It’s [one of] the largest coastal mountain ranges [on] the planet. These are coca leaves that in this part of the world—they’re a sacred plant. But it has also become a very problematic plant when used for recreational drugs. I like the duality of this painting because you see a little bit of both. It’s a beautiful plant, it’s a sacred plant, but it’s also created so much trouble.
Mindy Abovitz Monk (Creator of Tom Tom Magazine)
I’m a drummer. I’m a feminist, and I was really disappointed by the existing drum media. I absolutely love making music, and I wanted to extend the invitation to making music to girls and women everywhere. I have since thought of the female drummer as metaphor for someone who doesn’t see themselves in something and becomes that thing.
We’re online at tomtommag.com [and] we’re in print at Barnes & Noble.
John Crain (Co-Founder of SuperRare)
So the company’s called SuperRare. We have a platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. Artists can create digital paintings. They issue cryptocurrency tokens that is the digital painting, and it has an image file or a video file in it. Then the artist has the ability to sell the digital work using the blockchain, and collectors can collect the work. And we’re also working on VR [virtual reality] experiences so artists can build exhibitions with their digital tokens.
Yeah, I’m one of the founders. There’s three of us…so, you can sell someone a JPEG or something, but it can proliferate around the Internet like pretty easily. So you’re not sure, like, so how do I know this JPEG is the piece of art? By registering it on the blockchain and creating the token, you now have authentic digital representation of the painting. And you can differentiate it from someone who just copied it.