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Arts and Entertainment

Omission Accomplished: Five People Left Off BKMag’s 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture List

March 15, 2014

BK Mag’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture should have just been called an Ode to Gatekeepers. Some felt it was a roll call of monied, privileged gate keepers summed up in two words: Mikhail Prokorov. Still others will claim it’s a tribute to gentrifiers, carpet baggers and outsiders.

But, hey, any and all lists like BK Mag’s are subjective. So why not pile on with our own completely subjective list of the 5 Brooklynites we felt should have been part of the 100.

Jake Dobkin, Gothamist: Everyone you know reads Gothamist. Dobkin and company have successfully recreated the water cooler for real New Yorkers (and the well assimilated) who want to share their irritation, bemusement and “outrage” over the daily grind that is living in this crazy city. You don’t get more “Brooklyn Culture” than that.

Otis Pearsall, Preservationist – Without Pearsall’s leadership in the landmarking of Brooklyn Heights 50 years ago, none of this “brownstoning” would have been possible. Much of Brooklyn would look a lot more like Queens by now.

Adam Suerte, Artist: A Cobble Hill native (pictured above), the tattoo artist and gallery owner is one of a small handful of folks who represent real Brooklyn Culture. And, he’s the designer of our “remixed” logo above too.

Jim Carden and Andy Templar co-owners, The Bell House, Floyd, Union Hall: Forget the fact that they created the most awesome idea ever – BOCCE IN A BAR at Floyd and later Union Hall. Carden and Templar opened the Bell House which is arguably the epicenter of the best of “Brooklyn Culture”. From DJ Steve Reynold’s Party Like It’s 1999, the annual Kentucky Derby Party (hosted by Michael Boyd), hosting many podcasts, the NPR show Ask Me Another, John Hodgman’s Ragnarok, and the list goes on. They have created a venue where the creative and unpretentious can thrive.

Jeff Strabone, New Brooklyn Theater, #SaveLICH : The educator and former president of the Cobble Hill Association has been a tenacious warrior in the effort to save Long Island College Hospital. At the same time as chairman of the New Brooklyn Theater, he staged a production of Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith INSIDE Interfaith Hospital.

Who else do you think should be on this list of The Omitted? We encourage you to add your own thoughts about who we missed in the comments below.

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Arts and Entertainment

Suerte’s Creation of Nu Hotel Room Mural in Time Lapse

October 14, 2012

CHB pal/Cobble Hill native Adam Suerte recently revealed his mural in Room 302 at the Nu Hotel. This is the latest in a series of artist-friendly events at the hotel. After the jump check out a time lapse of Suerte in action shot by CHB’s Official Photographer Jason Shaltz.(Photo: Adam Suerte)

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

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Arts and Entertainment

Brooklyn Tattoo Gets a Visit from Man Vs. Food’s Adam Richman

June 2, 2012


Brooklyn Tattoo’s  [99 Smith Street] Adam Suerte reports that fellow Brooklynite/TV star Adam Richman visited the shop this week to stock up on t-shirts.  His new show, Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America premieres on the Travel Channel on Wednesday (6/6) at 9pm. 

Adam For the last 3 years, Adam Richman, the host of the tv show Man vs. Food, has been stopping in once a year to stock up on our shirts. He has been seen wearing them on his show (Thanks Adam!). I truly appreciate it, and think his show is awesome. My 10 year old mimics his challenges (proportionately of course) His new show ‘America’s Best Sandwich’ just wrapped and will be airing soon, check it out!


Source: Cobble Hill Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Kids

Urban Folk Art Gallery Shines Spotlight on P.S. 8 Students

May 13, 2012

Creativity has spilled forth from the classrooms of P.S. 8 and found its way onto the walls of the Urban Folk Art Gallery, thanks to the “How’s the Weather?” exhibition that features dozens of landscape paintings and drawings by first-grade students from the Brooklyn Heights elementary school.

The group show marks the end of a 14-week workshop held at P.S. 8 in conjunction with the Manhattan-based teaching arts organization Studio in a School. Teaching artist Belinda Blum collaborated with P.S. 8 teachers Carolyn Saffady, Sjene Kendrick, Mackenzie Field, Sandy Long and Matthew Levy to provide a comprehensive visual arts program shaped by concepts from the students’ first-grade curriculum.

“We thought about what we were teaching in our curriculum and then what naturally lends itself to artistic expression,” Saffady explained.

Science became a focal point of the workshop, as the students learned how to portray different types of weather conditions with pencils and paint. The program progressed from simple pencil sketches to painted landscapes with horizon lines and varied brushstrokes.

“They were studying weather and cloud formations so the teachers and I decided that we were going to make this really about the process of mark making through drawing and painting,” Blum noted.

Blum, who is a Gowanus-based oil painter, has conducted Studio in a School workshops at P.S. 8 since 2006. However, this year marks the first time that her residency has culminated with a group show in a local gallery. The idea came from Saffady, whose boyfriend is Urban Folk Art Gallery co-owner/curator Adam Suerte.

“She is very art-inclined and was just thinking of a way to end it on a great note,” Suerte said, noting that the gallery setting gives the students a “nice context” in which to see their art.

“I think it is amazing that the kids get to see their work outside of the school,” Saffady added. “It is really special for them.”

The young artists seemed truly thrilled to tour the gallery and view their artwork when they stopped by on a class outing last week.

“I’m excited,” said P.S. 8 student Numa Fiorentino, who was accompanied by his mother, Emy Gargiulo. He described his painting as “very rainy and stormy,” an effect he achieved with a technique taught by Blum during the workshop. “She said we could use the back of our brushes to make the rain,” he explained.

“Belinda (Blum) is particularly good with bringing out the best of their skills,” added Gargiulo. “They are starting to be little artists and are really proud of the work.”

Several students enthusiastically spoke about their paintings during a group discussion led by Blum on the morning of their gallery visit. These moments of reflecting and sharing together have been another integral part of the program, as they have given students the opportunity to practice new vocabulary and observe each others’ work. The children also had occasion to express themselves through writing during the workshop, as each penned a short paragraph that is on display alongside their work. This exercise was formulated to help them strengthen their literacy skills and provide them with a channel to describe their creative process.

“It’s amazing – these kids have so much to say,” Blum noted. “They wrote about the process a lot and the choices that they made.”

The gallery exhibition has added yet another layer of learning to the workshop this year, as it has allowed for the students to experience the community beyond their classroom in an innovative and engaging way.

“At this age they’re really trying to understand their community, so it helps them learn that their community expands for them outside their school,” Blum said.

Gallery visitors can even provide the young artists with feedback via a signing book that will be shared with the students at the conclusion of the show. “How’s the Weather?” will be up through May 19th at the Urban Folk Art Gallery located on 101 Smith Street.


Photos by Lori Singlar for the Brooklyn Bugle




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Restaurant Workers Deliver a Creative Banquet to Urban Folk Art Gallery

October 12, 2011

Visitors packed into the Urban Folk Art Gallery on Friday night to feast their eyes on a visual banquet served up by creative talents from the eateries and bars along Brooklyn’s Restaurant Row (aka Smith Street) at the opening party for the “Guest Check” collective exhibition.

“I think it’s great that businesses on this street came together to support the people who serve the community,” said attendee Betsy Wise. A sales associate at the nearby Soula shoe store, Wise stopped by to congratulate her friend Danielle Onesto, one of the 11 artists featured in the show.

Portrait by Danielle Onesto

Onesto, who was celebrating both her birthday and her first public exhibition, said she had never shown in a gallery before because her work is so personal to her. But when a colleague at Robin des Bois mentioned that “Guest Check” would be focused solely on artists who also work on Restaurant Row, Onesto was intrigued enough to show Urban Folk Art Gallery co-owner/co-curator Adam Suerte her ethereal portraits that were selected for the exhibition.

“It’s nice to see people who make art and are supporting themselves by doing the dirty work,” said Onesto, who holds a Master’s degree in art education from Pratt Institute. “Waiting tables and making drinks is how we get by. I’ve worked in restaurants for eight years and everybody is creative.”

Indeed, the pieces on display in “Guest Check” represent an impressive array of artistic talents, whose work encompasses a broad range of mediums.

“When Adam (Suerte) opened the gallery, we started brainstorming and we thought this exhibition would be a great introduction to the talent that works on Smith Street,” said co-curator Robert Bonhomme. Now an established tattoo artist at the adjacent Brooklyn Tattoo shop that Suerte co-owns, Bonhomme previously worked in the service industry as a bartender and manager for 11 years, during which time he organized exhibitions similar to “Guest Check” in Portland, Oregon. By bringing this same concept to the Urban Folk Art Gallery, Bonhomme opened up the opportunity for him and Suerte to delve into the well of creativity located just outside their door.

“They’re right across the street,” noted Pacifico bartender Jarett Gibson, whose acrylic paintings of hauntingly beautiful, bare-limbed trees are included in the exhibition. “After they’re done working, they come over here and have a bite to eat, so I got to know them that way. It’s this symbiotic relationship that I think has really helped to bring a lot of people together.”

Paintings by Jarett Gibson

“I love the concept that they came up with, in terms of having us show what we do outside of the service industry,” added Gibson, who studied fine arts at Cornell University. His recent paintings, which are influenced by Asian woodblock prints, are based on images of Brooklyn trees that the artist photographed during his 40-minute walks to work from his home in Crown Heights. “I started siphoning through them and finding really striking images and breaking them up compositionally… and then went from there,” the artist explained.

“This was the perfect storm,” Gibson noted of the group exhibition. “We’re all here and we’re all excited about it.”

Gibson’s sentiments were shared by many, as the night provided a wonderful opportunity to gather the local creative community together under one roof. “There has been a good turnout,” said artist Chris Kinsler, a part-time barback/bartender at Bar Great Harry, who studied printmaking and photography at Columbia College.

For his work in “Guest Check,” Kinsler utilized stippling to create abstract studies of time and space composed of up to 1,000 dots. “I just start with one dot and keep going until I’m satisfied . It’s more therapeutic for me than anything,” the artist explained.

“I have exhibited before… and I think this (show) is more fun and also successful,” Kinsler noted. “It’s a great concept.”

Paintings by Suzy Fedor

“Lots of customers and friends have come by,” added artist and Boat bartender Suzy Fedor. “I’m very happy about this (exhibition) because the people who I serve all the time get to see that there is something else that I do.”

A Pratt Institute graduate, Fedor said she used a variety of mediums in her artwork on display, including oils, acrylics, polyurethane, shellac, lacquer and spices. With a mesmerizing melange of textures and colors, Fodor’s nature-inspired abstracts seem to have sprung forth from the most fantastical of dreams.

Although Fedor has previously exhibited and sold work in solo shows, she confessed to struggling with the business side of her art. “I can sell you beer and liquor easily, but it’s hard for me to put myself out there (as an artist).”

Co-curator Suerte hopes that “Guest Check” will provide all the artists with greater exposure. “A lot of these people work so much that they don’t have time to be their own salespeople or maybe don’t have the experience to deal with galleries, so we want to get these emerging artists more of an audience.,” Suerte explained.

Photos by Michael Dulle

“It’s pretty amazing… and a little surreal, actually,” said self-taught photographer Michael Dulle of seeing his images in a public show for the first time. His photographs of urban decay capture the nostalgic allure that shines forth from the crumbling corners of the city.

“This (show) is the tangible version of what all of us do in the restaurant business every day, which is exhibit our personalities in front of people,” noted Dulle, who is general manager at The JakeWalk.

“That’s really my soul up there,” Onesto noted of her pen-and-ink portraits, in which blooming flowers, outstretched branches and other elegant elements intertwine to create seemingly celestial beings who radiate with joy. “There is a lot of connectedness,” she explained. “I create commissioned portraits because I love connecting with new people and the real essence of their characters.”

“There is a lot to be said for staying true to yourself and making the art you want to make and not just getting the career, even though that’s very commendable,” Onesto added. “For artists, it’s difficult to find the time and being a server really allows for that kind of flexibility.”

Drawing by Edgartista

This opinion was prevalent among the exhibiting artists, like Edgartista (aka Edgar Gonzalez), who left several jobs to concentrate on his futuristic drawings that meld iconic cityscapes with glimpses of otherworldly visions. A self-taught artist who began drawing seven years ago to liven up his lengthy subway commute, Edgartista eventually surrendered to his creative calling. “Art is the bridge between two different worlds – the one we see and the one we don’t,” explained the artist, who works as a part-time bartender at Chance. “It’s my passion now.”

For Fedor, her job in the service industry actually plays an integral role in her artistic creations. “I do love my (bartending) job because I need people to do my work,” Fedor noted. “I like to fashion myself as a sociologist — I’m here to represent the people who I live amongst.”

As Fedor concluded, “In history, the best way to find out anything about a culture is through the artwork.”

“Guest Check” will be up through October 25th at the Urban Folk Art Gallery located on 101 Smith Street. The exhibition showcases the work of artists Chris Kinsler, Dain Peterson, Danielle Onesto, Edgartista, Jarett Gibson, Kate Sims, Magdalena Marcenaro, Michael Dulle, Renata Marallo, Suzy Fedor and Tamahl Rahaman, representing Bar Great Harry, Bar Tabac, Boat, Chance, Pacifico, Robin des Bois and The JakeWalk.


Photos by Lori Singlar for the Brooklyn Bugle

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Urban Folk Art Gallery Showcases Local Graffiti Legends

August 9, 2011

The Urban Folk Art Gallery buzzed with a frenetic energy as intense as the vibrant artwork adorning the walls during the opening party for “The Usual Suspects 2” graffiti exhibition on Friday night.

Friendly shouts of greeting filled the air as visitors eagerly lined up to draw their own graffiti art alongside some of the local legends featured in this group show. Such is the notoriety of these “old school” graffiti artists that the NYPD Vandal Squad appeared outside the opening of their first exhibition together last summer, according to Urban Folk Art Gallery co-owner/co-curator Adam Suerte.

“The first “Usual Suspects” show we did was at the Last Exit and that went over really well, so this is just an expansion of that one,” said Suerte, whose gallery opened this past January. “We added more guys who were writing graffiti a little earlier, but I’d say 95% were based in Brooklyn when they started.”

The exhibition is comprised of 29 works by Suerte and 13 other artists, who are all over the age of 40 and started out in New York City’s graffiti scene during the 1970s and 80s.

“At the time I was doing it, we were inventing all these styles that they’re using now,” said artist Kenneth Durant (aka SLAVE), who was part of the infamous Fab 5 crew that covered entire subway trains with graffiti in the 1970s. “I get a lot of respect from these newer guys because I was doing it for real on the trains,” Durant noted.

Past and present collide in Durant’s untitled painting on display in the exhibition. His tag or graffiti signature looms large on the canvas, with just a glimpse of a train car in the background. Painted when Durant first returned to New York City in 2009 after a 30-year absence from the scene, it is actually a reproduction of a SLAVE graffiti piece from 1977, when “bombing” No. 5 subway trains with his work was a regular habit.

Times have changed for Durant, who now only leaves his mark on canvases and public spaces where graffiti art is permitted. “Legal stuff only,” he explained. “I don’t have time to go to jail.”

“The Usual Suspects 2” co-curator/artist Anthony Jehamy (aka DANCE) has also left the thrill of illegal art behind to work on commissioned murals, smaller canvases and photography. “I started taking it to another level,” Jehamy said. “It’s not only graffiti that I’m into… I like all forms of art.”

When Jehamy was painting “A Piece in the Sun,” which is one of his three works included in the show, he was reminded of the days when he would go out alone to write graffiti. “I was in my house without any of my friends and when I started blending the colors, it made me think of the molten surface of the sun,” he noted. His tag seems to burst forth from the canvas, set against fiery swirls looping in the background. “I wanted it to be almost like charred lava inside the sun… it’s like the sun is giving me my shine,” Jehamy explained.

Seeing his work showcased in a gallery gives Jehamy “a different type of rush,” then the adrenaline surge he felt when spotting his tag on subway trains. “Seeing it on a canvas in a gallery, it’s a good feeling. It makes me feel like I’ve upped my game and that personally, I’ve taken it to another place.”

“Back then, it was an adventure,” added artist Eric Molina (aka KC), who has three pieces on exhibit in the show. “Right now, it’s trying to keep up a legacy.”

“Graffiti is in my blood,” explained Molina, as he made his way through the throng of visitors to leave his mark alongside their tags on a sheet of paper tacked up by the gallery entrance. “I’m an old man writing graffiti, but the youngster in me keeps me doing it.”

“The Usual Suspects 2” Art Show will be up until the end of August at the Urban Folk Art Gallery located on 101 Smith Street. The exhibition showcases the work of graffiti artists ALIVE, BASIC, CHIEF, DANCE, JAMES TOP, KC, KEO, MOS ONE, POET, REBEL, REK, SLAVE, SNATCH and SUERTE.




Photos by Lori Singlar for the Brooklyn Bugle

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It’s Back! Brooklyn Bridge Tattoo Special

May 9, 2011

On May 22,  folks at Brooklyn Tattoo [99 Smith Street] will be offering $28 Brooklyn Bridge Tattoo special to celebrate the historic span’s 128th anniversary.

The stunt started last year and was so successful they’ve decided to do it again.

Brooklyn Tattoo’s Adam Suerte comments via press release, ”We had a great time last year tattooing between 60-70 bridges on prideful residents of the County of Kings, and fans of the Bridge. I tattoo at least a half dozen Bridges on people every month, I would say it’s the most tattooed homage to Brooklyn and NY there is.”

This year adding to the festivities will be an accompanying art show at newly opened Urban Folk Art Gallery on May 20 from 7pm to 11pm.

If you’re not the tattooing type, there will also be signed and numbered “flash sheets” of this years designs available for purchase as well as commemorative t-shirts.

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