Walking through the Chelsea Market concourse has been even sweeter than usual since our group art show, "Why NY?" went up last month.
As the title suggests, artists from our New York A&F family answered the question, "Why NY?" through various mediums. It's been a pleasure hearing the stories behind the artists and their work and to get a glimpse into a different, more personal side to vendors that shoppers may not always get to witness at the markets.
We enjoyed this aspect of the show so much, we thought we would ask the artists to share some more about their work and their time in NY. For the remainder of the show we'll be profiling featured artists who we've had the pleasure of interviewing.
Were you born in NY? If not, where, when and why?
No. My older brother and I were born in LA.
It was the sixties and my parents were life-long freelancers and travelers.
since I had my first birthday here (and since my dad and grandparents were from Bed-Stuy) I consider myself a native New Yorker.
Has NY inspired your art/ creative process? How?
Always. when I was in junior high and high school. the city was going through a historic budget crisis and and facing bankruptcy. music and art classes were being cut left and right.
When I was 14 my entire grade would be herded into the school auditorium on Wednesday and Friday and told to "study quietly” for the last two periods of the day.
I saw my chance and I took it. I cut classes and wandering the city on foot.
first stop Times Square (ca. 1977) pinball arcades, triple features for a buck and hustler bars. I felt like Christopher Columbus discovering a new world.
One time I saw the world trade center from 42nd St and 8th Avenue and decided to walk there.
as I passed through soho I started following this weird graffiti. Long run-on sentences in red (paint? ink? crayon?) full of terms like, “artsy-fartsy three for a dollar” and all signed, SAMO SAMO.
that was Jean Michel Bastiat.
then I started sneaking out at night— The Dead Boys, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, James Chance and the Contortions, James White and The Blacks, Alan Vega (and Suicide), Lydia Lunch and( 13.13, the Devil Dogs, Eight-Eyed Spy, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, etc.) Stimulators, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Misfits.
What is the most significant change to you in NY?
Smartphones. I grew up in a city where people made eye-contact. people connected. thoughtful glances, romantic looks, fist fights— it wasn’t perfect. but it was what made New York, NEW YORK.
there is something genuinely shifty about someone avoiding eye contact and something very present and noble about looking someone in the eye.
just as human animals I hope we start making eye-contact again. exchanging looks, then words, then ideas.
How does your piece answer the question, "Why NY?" / tell us a little more about your piece
My piece is called, We Will Not Be Stopped. that is something I learned growing up here. you NEVER GIVE UP.
this city can be scary. like an ogre squatting by a river. it can also be seductive, wonderful, beautiful and free.
My piece is a old-fashioned 3D viewer of King Kong towering over the city skyline layered with sky-scrapers. it is basically about my own need to find balance between wild untamable thoughts and urges and the parallel lines and right angles that keep me civil.
I truly believe if you never give up, you get everything.
that’s why NY.