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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




From the Web

Arts and Entertainment, Profiles

Local Performer Leads Sensorial Journey Through “Farm to Table” Process

April 26, 2012

Dance and performance artist Carrie Ahern brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat” with her current project that delves into the connections between humans and the animals that many of us consume.

“For years, this question about sustainable food had been bothering me,” says Ahern, a Wisconsin native who moved to Brooklyn 17 years ago and currently resides in Ditmas Park. “I just felt so disconnected from going into a grocery store and buying a piece of meat and not really understanding where it came from.”

A growing interest in the origins of her food prompted Ahern to seek hands-on experience in the “farm to table” process back in 2010. The undertaking resulted in a bicoastal journey that involved hunting for Sika deer in the swamplands along the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the autumn of 2010 and then heading to Seattle, Washington a few months later to learn the art of butchering at Rain Shadow Meats. Ahern eventually spent a day slaughtering chickens at Stokesberry Farm in Olympia, Washington before returning to Brooklyn. Here, she has continued to perfect her butchering techniques at Williamsburg-based Marlow & Daughters.

Ahern’s forays into hunting, butchering and slaughtering serve as the main basis for her new work, “Borrowed Prey.” Though Ahern initially set out to better understand her own relationship with the “farm to table” process, the project took on a broader dimension during the course of her research.

“I felt like I really needed to be able to kill an animal if I was going to eat it… I really was so curious about what that experience would be like and if I would be able to eat meat after it,” Ahern notes. “But what ended up happening right away is I realized it is a project about empathy, more than anything. And it is a project about connection.”

The performer is creating “Borrowed Prey” as a diptych, with part one focusing on human-to-animal empathy and part two centering on human-to-human empathy.

Ahern began choreographing the first part of “Borrowed Prey” during her stay in Seattle last year, often walking straight to her studio after a shift spent carving up carcasses at Rain Shadow Meats. There, her roles as researcher and dancer became fascinatingly intertwined, as Ahern explains. “I started making the movement when I started the butchering,” she says. “So it comes directly out of my experience with all the research… putting it in my body and seeing what would come out.”

The result is a stunning work in which Ahern embodies both predator and prey, right down to her costume by Naoko Nagata that pairs a woolly, pointy-eared hood and furry shrug with a butcher’s apron splattered with fake blood. During a rehearsal at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in Park Slope, Ahern skillfully shifted from the limp stillness of a carcass on a butcher’s table to the playful strokes of a cat toying with a mouse to the skittish hops of a scared deer. Her movements were accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful score by composer Anne Hege that eventually gave way to an eerily distorted recording of Ahern reading text by Dr. Temple Grandin.

Grandin, an autistic and renowned animal behavior scientist, played an important role in the creation of Ahern’s new work. The scientist’s published findings serve as the fourth strand of research (along with Ahern’s hands-on studies of hunting, butchering and slaughtering) that informs part one of “Borrowed Prey.”

“Temple Grandin helped to answer some of the questions that we have about us versus animals,” Ahern notes. “Do animals think? Do they feel?”

Ahern hopes to get people thinking about these questions and many more by taking them along on a 55-minute sensorial journey filled with dance, music, spoken word, interactive touch experiments and open dialogue that leads up to the butchering of a lamb at the conclusion of the work.

The setting for Ahern’s upcoming performances will also provide rich stimuli, as the show will take place inside an actual butcher shop – Dickson’s Farmstand Meats – complete with pungent orders, a massive sausage grinder and a hefty butcher block that will serve as the dancer’s stage at times. Ahern plans to add her own touches to the space with the help of set and lighting designer Jay Ryan. Even such simple decorations as rawhide bundles dangling from the ceiling will serve to further Ahern’s examinations on the inescapable cycles of life and death, as she plans to fill them with decomposing flowers.

“Every aspect of the project is trying to get people more connected,” Ahern says. “It’s not that we just don’t ethically understand where our food comes from, it’s also that we’ve lost something in culture because we don’t participate in that process… by having a connection and empathy, there is more of a wholeness to our lives.”

Ahern will be performing part one of “Borrowed Prey” at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market on select nights from April 26 – May 13. Tickets are available for purchase at Brown Paper Tickets.


Photos by Lori Singlar for the Brooklyn Bugle


From the Web

Around Brooklyn, Bloggers, Food

Brooklyn Brewery’s "Sorachi Ace" beer.

April 14, 2012
I’d had a taste of Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace beer at Borough President Marty Markowitz’s presser for Dine in Brooklyn (indeed, several tastings, as the Brooklyn Brewery folks were kind about refilling my little cup as I went around tasting food), and I wanted to try it again. This afternoon I spotted it at Lassen & Hennigs, and decided it would be an interesting accompaniment to my temporary bachelor (my wife is at an archivists’ meeting in Cape May, New Jersey) dinner of Trader Joe’s barbecued pulled pork on a bun accompanied by a mixed green salad with tomatoes and mushrooms topped with T.J.’s sesame soy ginger vinaigrette dressing. Above is a photo of the impressive 25.4 fluid ounce bottle, with its Champagne-style cork.

Here is a closer photo of the label. “Sorachi Ace” is the kind of hops used in making the beer.

When I pulled the cork, there was a nice little “pop.” I made the mistake of pouring a bit too fast, which resulted in a huge head. After allowing it to collapse enough to pour more beer, I settled down to drink and eat. Here are my tasting notes:

Color: deep amber.

Head: big, creamy, long-lasting.

Aroma: citrusy, hoppy, with floral overtones.

Taste: rich, not overly bitter, toasty, suggestion of apricots in the finish. After I wrote those tasting notes, I did a web search for “sorachi ace hops” and got this. While the article stresses a lemony quality of the hops, the comment by Ben (scroll down) refers to ” a really creamy, cloying, buttery element” that seems to agree with my “rich” and “toasty.”

Bottom line: an interesting, well made beer that stands up to flavorful food like BBQ pork. It would also be good to savor on its own.

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

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Brooklyn Bugle Book Club: “The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke” by Timothy Snyder

January 13, 2012

Before they became independent countries in the 20th century, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and parts of Poland and Ukraine were territories, or provinces, or sometimes principalities, of the Habsburg empire. The Habsburg family was large and connected, all the more so because cousins often married. (A Habsburg sits on the throne of Spain today.) Habsburg Archdukes governed the various provinces under the Emperor. This book tells the story of one scion of the branch that governed Poland, or tried to. Wilhelm, born in 1895, rejected his father’s efforts to make him and his siblings Polish, and threw his lot in with the Ukrainians.

This was not a simple thing to do, given the complexities of 20th century central-European politics. It was a Habsburg Archduke who was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914. Wilhelm served in the Habsburg army during that war, then became involved in Ukrainian politics, hoping to become king of an independent Ukraine. The war ended the Habsburg empire, and Wilhelm spent the interwar years in France, until he was forced to leave after a scandal, and then Austria. He flirted with fascism, and ultimately took up the cause of Ukrainian nationalism once again. After the war, once the Soviets moved in, he was arrested in Vienna and died in Soviet custody.

Snyder traces the development and clashes of nationalism, imperial ambition, religion and ethnicity, showing how they played out in Europe through the century. He makes a confusing and complex history extremely clear. Snyder suggests it is not far-fetched to think of modern Europe as fulfilling Habsburg ideas. Indeed, Otto von Habsburg, whose father was the last Habsburg emperor, was a member of the European Parliament for 20 years. He died in 2011, at the age of 98. The Central and Eastern European history before World War II was something of a blank for me, and this book does an admirable job of filling it in. Snyder’s most recent book is called “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.”

Have a book you want me to know about? Email me at I also blog here about metrics.

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Events, Tech

Mingle with the Brooklyn Bugle and Discuss Social Media December 14 in Brooklyn Heights

November 26, 2011

Brooklyn Heights Blog and The Brooklyn Bugle present a holiday mixer December 14, 6pm at Vineapple!

Share some holiday cheer and then join us at 7:30pm for a special panel discussion: Flossing Your Personal Microbrand: Using Social Media Wisely for Self-Promotion. For anyone interested in using social media to raise awareness about their business, a project or anything else this is a must-attend event.
We have assembled a group of digital thought leaders to drive the conversation. Continue Reading…

From the Web


Brooklyn Bugle Book Club: Courtney E. Smith Discusses Record Collecting for Girls

November 18, 2011

Author, music maven and former MTV programmer Courtney E. Smith discusses her book Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Timein the premiere edition PacMan Sessions. Smith has enraged some feminists with her book while also garnering praise for encouraging young women to enjoy and embrace music beyond their comfort zone.

Find out why you should never date a Smiths fan and why musicians make lousy boyfriends to why Boz Scaggs should never be on anyone’s playlist all while the author tackles a game of PacMan.

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment

An Eclectic Mix at Steampunk 2011

November 1, 2011

Designers conjured up an eclectic array of fashions at the magic-themed Steampunk 2011 event held in the DUMBO Loft on October 23, which attracted a few hundred curious locals and long-time fans of the subculture and its imaginative aesthetic informed by Victorian styles and elements of science fiction and fantasy.

“I’m a science fiction fan from way back and steampunk is just another genre within the genre,” said Park Slope resident Presley Acuna. “This show was a lot of fun last year, so I was inspired to come again. In particular, the fashion part is really adventurous.”

Acuna and other intrigued onlookers crowded around the stage for the evening fashion show, which featured a diverse array of styles from four distinct designers. Kristin Costa and No Human Intentions presented elaborate fashions that embraced the steampunk aesthetic, while Alex London and Berít New York veered off into other genres with collections inspired by the Elizabethan era and the Middle Ages.


Alex London dress, Photo by Jessica Weiser

“I’m obsessed with the mystery around Queen Elizabeth I. She was so enigmatic, especially with the veils,” said London of the inspiration behind her Fall/Winter 2012 collection, “God Save the Queen” that was previewed at the show. Veils added a dramatic touch to her stunning pieces, which included full-length gowns and knee-length dresses made from extravagant fabrics such as brocade, jacquard, silk tulle, chantilly lace and velvet in regal hues of gold offset by somber shades of black. Fitted bodices and tailored jackets balanced the full skirts trimmed with lace and tulle, while the veils and dark feathered accessories added a macabre edge. Duality is at the heart of this collection that will be shown in full at New York Fashion Week. “I’ve always loved that with most women, and especially Queen Elizabeth, there is such a deep fragility that comes with the nature of being raised female,” London explained. “They’re so fragile, but they can just completely tear you apart because they’re also so vicious and powerful. It’s an interesting duality.”

Berit New York Fairy Warrior Collection

Fashions from Berít New York, Photo by Knightmare6 Photography

While London’s styles evoked the Elizabethan era, Berít New York explored the Middle Ages with core pieces for men and women from the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, “Fairy Warriors.” Streamlined capes and tunics in contrasting tones of burgundy and fawn were paired with sleek black leggings and brown vinyl spats resembling leather leg armor. “I wanted it to be very luxurious,” said Brit Frady-Williams, the designer behind the Berít New York label. She used velvet and micro-suede to bring a sumptuous vibe to the collection, which was influenced by medieval times and fantasy fiction. “I always take a historical influence and mix it with sci-fi or fantasy elements, so there is that blend of themes and styles,” explained Frady-Williams, who drew inspiration from the costumes featured in the TV series “Legend of the Seeker” and movie trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.” In addition to the styles from the “Fairy Warriors” collection, Frady-Williams showed some steampunk-inspired pieces like layered skirts and corsets that were created specifically for the event.

“It really was a mix,” the Frady-Williams noted about the range of styles that she and the other designers presented. As the fashion show organizer, Frady-Williams did not dictate that the collections stay strictly within the confines of the steampunk aesthetic. “I didn’t limit the designers,” Frady-Williams explained. “This show was meant to be artsy and thematic.”

Variations on the steampunk theme could also be found at the event’s small market area, where the focus was primarily on jewelry and accessories.


Designer Michelle Harris (left) with sister Janelle LaCoille, Photo by Kathy Malone

At the booth for Once Lost Jewelry, designer Michelle Harris showed off striking pieces made from repurposed antique jewelry and watches. Her signature pieces on display included enchanting pendants made of antique watch cases with shimmering bits of peacock feathers or butterfly wings in place of inner workings. “I’ll go out and hunt for things at antique shops and estate sales and I won’t put a piece together until I find that all the elements mesh really well, so sometimes it takes me a few years to get something perfect,” said the third-generation jeweler, who learned how to cast gold at an early age. Having produced her designs professionally for nearly 12 years, Harris was not even aware of the steampunk genre until about five years ago. “People started coming up to me and saying my stuff was steampunk, so I had to research it,” explained the designer, who started vending at steampunk shows soon after.


La China Loca headwear, Photo by Anastasia Andino

While Harris arrived organically at the steampunk aesthetic, headwear designer Anastasia Andino of La China Loca made a conscious decision to explore the genre after participating in the Steampunk 2010 event held one year ago at the DUMBO Loft. “I actually made a whole line in and around the steampunk aesthetic inspired by last year’s event,” Andino explained. “It was an opportunity to do more interesting, creative and fun pieces that I don’t normally do,” said the designer, who incorporated ruffles, metal bugs, pinwheels and cranks into the specialty line. The steampunk aesthetic has continued to influence Andino’s creations, although she has modified it somewhat to suit the clean lines characteristic of her brand. “I make it my own,” said the designer, whose sleek wool hats on display were punched up by feathers and metal adornments such as dragonflies and spirals.


Lori Nelson(left) with son Boone Campbell, Photo by Kathy Malone

While longtime steampunk fan Acuna was disappointed that there were no ray guns in the mix, event attendees like Park Slope resident Lori Nelson were pleased with the selection. “I like this event because I feel like it is unique, but at the same time, accessible,” Nelson said.

“It’s an event for everybody. You can just be an onlooker and be curious and walk in to see what is going on,” explained Frady-Williams, who has produced annual steampunk happenings for the past four years with organizer Kathy Malone, owner of Clementine Events and founder of the now-defunct Brooklyn Indie Market.

The Steampunk 2011 event also featured a sideshow act by magician Nelson Lugo, a musical performance by Psyche Corporation and a photography booth by Tsirkus Fotografika. The lineup of vendors included 19 Moons, Absynthe Jewelry, Ami Nyitray Designs, Barker’s Herbs & Heirlooms, Dark Side Customs, Izile’s Oddities, Mechanique, Nemesis Jewelry, Sultana Maria Jewelry and The Sideshow Soap Co.

From the Web


Brooklyn Bugle Sessions: We Are Augustines

October 21, 2011

Our latest session features Brooklyn based We Are Augustines.

Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson formerly of the critically acclaimed Pela formed the group with drummer Rob Allen. Their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships was released in June. The collection chronicles the emotions and challenges faced by McCarthy over a year where he lost his mother as well as his brother James. In our interview, he tells the story of how his James’ struggle with schizophrenia led him deeper into the complicated web of the criminal justice system.

McCarthy also discusses working with Emmy Award winning director Matt Mills on their video for “Chapel Song”.

The band is playing several CMJ 2011 showcases this week before heading out to the U.K. to support Glasvegas on their tour.

Also out this week is the video for the band’s next single, “Book of James” which tells the story of McCarthy’s brother.

From the Web


Catch The Kin and other Brooklyn Bugle Sessions Bands This Week at #CMJ2011

October 17, 2011

The CMJ Music Marathon is this week and while other folks are racking their brains about which bands to see, we here in the Brooklyn Bugle newsroom have it all figured out. You see, we’ve already featured many of the best artists playing this week’s fest in our Brooklyn Bugle Sessions.

First up – The Kin. The NYC based trio featuring Aussie brothers Thorald and Isaac Koren along with percussionist/legend Shakerleg (he’s Kanai Dutta meets Buddy Rich while channeling Animal) have the distinction of being our most viewed Brooklyn Bugle Session.

The band have also been generating quite a buzz recently. Along with We Are Augustines, they made the NY Daily News’ list of 15 Bands to See at CMJ 2011. Last week, Thorald and Isaac staged Dinner with Thieves, part dinner theater and part showcase at Australian restaurant Kingswood in Manhattan.

Bon Appetite writes about the experience:

Guests, who had signed up in advance, were told to order a special drink at the bar, at which point they got a packet of papers with a warning not to open and to await further instructions scrawled on the outside. It may have been the drink working its magic, but by the time the band burst in from the back stairs, angrily strummed an acoustic guitar, and demanded that its hostages march down to the basement (or else), I was actually down for some musical spectacle (rare for one as grumpy as I).

And they did not disappoint! No pyrotechnics, since that’s usually a bad idea in basements, but during and between courses, the band managed to happily distract me from the serious business of eating with an interesting mix of storytelling and songs. Their music, driven by acoustic guitar and two-part harmonies, fit the intimate space well, and they didn’t even make us help solve a murder mystery.

Also in attendance at the dinner, legendary producer Tony Visconti best known for his work with David Bowie and T-Rex. Seems that he’s got a thing for gifted musicians with a theatrical side – he’ll be producing The Kin’s new album. Not only that but Visconti, who regularly took bands to his mother’s Brooklyn home for dinner must also appreciate the fact that the Koren boys feature their mother in their performance piece.

The Kin

The Kin perform at Rockwood Music Hall Saturday (10/22). Details here.

One of our favorite sessions was with John Michael Rouchell aka MyNameisJohnMichael. The New Orleans based singer-songwriter usually appears with his full band – featuring a brass section – but his stripped down performance here will have you thinking about Tom Waits or Tim Buckley in their heyday. MyNameisJohnMichael perform at the Living Room on Friday (10/21). Details here.

Locksley lit up our studio with a performance of their hit “The Whip” as well as a Bob Marley cover song. They’ll be playing CMJ 2011 Wednesday (10/19) at the Rockwood Music Hall. Details here.

Brooklyn Bugle Sessions: We Are Augustines from The Brooklyn Bugle on Vimeo.

Last but certainly not least is We Are Augustines. Our interview and other music from the band will be posted later this week but we couldn’t hold back on sharing their performance of “Strange Days” with you right now. They’ll be performing Wednesday (10/19) at the Ace Hotel. Details here.

Are you hitting CMJ this year? Who are you seeing? Comment below!

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment

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

From the Web