Femella Presents: “Female Business Owners”

Femella is  a new series of interviews dedicated to women: their multifaceted, diverse and epic accomplishments!  The goal is to celebrate these women, while enabling awareness of each other through a non-competitive lens. Femella is the Latin origin of the word Female. It is actually not related to the word male, which comes from the Latin word masculus.

Thus Femella stands on its own. No comparison or competition. 

To be a part of this project  please email us at thelivinggallery@gmail.com

For the first batch of interviews I reached out to epic women to discuss the Positive and Negative aspects of being a Female Business Owner:

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BRITTANY FERNACKER

My name is Brittany Fernbacker and I am the creator of Occult Kitten Collection. I was inspired to create OKC out of my deep love of magic and traveling the world. Growing up as a kid in New York City can leave you feeling like you grew up in the fast lane and it wasn´t until the first time I traveled to England back in 2011 that I felt time and space open up before me. I remember feeling completely spirited away, in awe, as if I opened my eyes for the first time. In 2012 I went on to back pack my entire way through 7 countries by myself using only CouchSurfers.com and car pooling on a very restricted budget. My life was never the same after this experience. I radically changed my views about myself, my beliefs and the world.

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I became completely enchanted with how a sense of adventure guided by a deeper connection with my magical self could carry me to places I never dreamt of being possible. I´ve gone on to live in-between NYC and London for over 2 years and now am currently living in Brazil for the past 10 months actively creating my business. I think I´ve been hoarding since I was a child, so it was no surprise to me that I began collecting treasures and adornments from my travels. The collections I offer are inspired by the particular place I´m visiting and their occult traditions, which I then make available through my shop on Instagram and Storenvy. I truly wanted to bring this sense of wonder and beauty I saw to everyone. Opening my business as a woman has been the most rewarding experience of my life because I know all the hardships it took to get to this point. I´ve been mocked, questioned relentlessly and filled with doubt by many because they believe its nothing but fantasy to read Tarot, sell crystals and travel the world. In the end though, it only empowers me more to live my dream, share my truths and hope it inspires others to do the same.

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RACHEL NELSON
Secret Project Robot– Director and co-founder 2004 to present
Happyfun Hideaway co-owner 2013- present
Flowers for All Occasions Gallery co-owner… 2015 to present
I think a major benefit to being a female business owner is that it gives you a specific status as being a female business owner…No one would ever say how does it feel to be a male business owner, and from that status you are able to present a platform that
fits outside of specific boxes.  Running spaces as a women has made it possible to not conform to certain ideas of DIY, for instance male dominated spaces often have narratives of punk rock or indy, whereas, as a woman I feel free to say my space is just a space that tries to be inclusive.
Limitations of ownership stem mostly from a world in which the rest of the world is shocked and sometimes tries to divert your success, so many reps ask, “oh are you the owner,” “Oh cool you are a business woman…” LOL,  I never feel like a business woman I feel lucky that I have been supported by a community… I guess sometimes I wonder if men think that they made a community and women feel like they have contributed to one. I imagine it is a bit of both, but as a female I feel fortunate that my world isn’t limited by perceptions of white male success. I can fail freely as much as I can succeed freely…

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CHANTAL SAVARESSE

My name is Chantal Savaresse and i’m the owner of Tomahawk Salon in Bushwhack, Brooklyn. I’ve had my own business for close to 20 years.

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First as a yoga and massage therapist in both Europe and the United States. I started by running a studio out of my flat in Prague, Czech Republic 1996-2001. I offered small and private yoga lessons to ex pats and worked with The American Health Clinic as a massage therapist. After 9/11 I returned home to NYC and worked freelance as a massage therapist in the Upper West Side. I decided to open a brick and mortar store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the fall of 2005. I called my shop Femme Fatale focused on vintage and noir style clothing. It was the sexy, experimental part of me. I sold bullet bras, 60’s schoolgirl dresses, lipstick vibrators, prim and polished nostalgia. My mon helped me 3-4 days a week while I continued to see my clients. In 2009 i shuttered my shop to focus on opening a hair salon. I went back to school for barbering and within a year I was ready for Tomahawk Salon. We opened in 2010 in The Loom with just 2 stylist me and Kristin. By 2011 I was ready to let go of my old career as a therapist and move forward full steam with Tomahawk.

In the short time we outgrew our space took over another storefront and expanded. Our location was a bit of a hardship we lacked autonomy and had a municipal waste plant directly across from us. In 2013 we closed down in The Loom and moved down the street. Today I employ 4-5 women. Tomahawk isn’t just my shop but also the ladies that help me day in and day out. I guess thats the biggest difference I started solo and the greatest gift has been running the salon with these ladies. My journey hasn’t been difficult. I always knew I had to create the world I wanted to be a part of and working for someone wasn’t for me. I need the flexible to call my own shots, listen loudly to my music, to be my own boss lady. It’s never good enough, the shit hits the fan  often but at the end of the day i’m pretty damn happy. 

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DAILISHA EVE RODRIGUEZ 
My name is Dailisha Eve Rodriguez. My business is Hey There Beautiful Inc. 
The positive aspects of being a business owner are having the freedom of choosing upcoming projects. It is fun to see something go from an idea to the outcome. Furthermore, people make being a business owner fun.

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Meeting new dynamic people with different views, opinions and backgrounds is such a treat. For me, there are no negative aspect of being a business owner. I only see the opportunity to make things better and grow from the lessons I learn on a day to day basis. There are no problems in the world, only opportunities!

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NATALIE FRAGOLA

Business: Obra Obscura : textiles, pattern, design.

There are many challenges running a business and maybe even more being a female business owner. After a couple 9-5’s within the fashion industry, I knew I was not meant for that world. However, I did not know what world I was meant to be in. It is very empowering to say “fuck it…I am just gonna start somewhere and just see where it leads me.” Male or female that is positive.

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The number one negative thing to me as a female trying to build my business is equal pay. I also rely heavily on social media, networking, and events to get new clients and advertise my services. Unfortunately all those outlets and opportunities are superficial. People love good looking people, sex still sells, and I feel torn on how to get my foot in the door if it is not for sheer talent and respect. I desire to show my work and not my face and see if I can still win over clients, acquire projects and get more press. In order to not get wrapped in the whirlwind of negativity and inequality, I find that having a good mentor, surrounding my self with strong, like-minded, and inspiring women is extremely rewarding. Female strength is very enduring and yet still very nurturing.

(photo by Joe Miller )

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JOI SANCHEZ

My name is Joi Sanchez. My business is Art LovHer LLC. An artist co-operative that focuses on supporting independent artists in the creation of autonomous platforms of visibility and economic opportunity. With a primary focus on women, queer, and black/brown identified artists, we have existed for almost 4 years in New York City.

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As a woman who owns a business, the greatest challenge by far is being taken seriously by my male counterparts without being a “typical female”.  I operate heavily in hip hop culture which is heavily dominated by men. Even the most enlightened men, often unconsciously, challenge the validity of a woman operating in this culture. However, I found that when you are about your business and focused, following up, being a woman in this field can be a great advantage as well. You are something unexpected. You often have outside the box ideas that pique interests. People will often [try to] steal your ideas without giving you credit. If you’re doing a good job, it will be noticed even if you never hear the compliments. Once you gain the respect of male counterparts, they listen and take your feedback into consideration this changing the culture. My advice is have patience, stay focused, and don’t listen to the haters.

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BLUE JUNE

The Broom Closet : Magical Cleaning Products & Cleaning Service in Bushwick/Bedstuy

When you’re starting a small business you tend to lean on those that have experience in entrepreneurship.  Not everyone is ready to take on the risk of advocating a magically minded maid and the pitching process is a challenge when speaking to certain men about the concept of my company.

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In our first year we have locked in our market and are growing each day which is a great deal due to the endorsements we receive.  When other small businesses show you support by recommending your services, it’s the best platform you can ask for.  When I started out I read over and over how female business leaders fail to support one another.  I’ve been amazed and so grateful for the supportive women who have been down this road that still play an enormous roll in the growth of my company.

product line available at Catland Books

 

We will continue to interview more women based on this theme as well, so please contact thelivinggallery@gmail.com if you’re interested!

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My name is Anthony Rosado

1) Please tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from and what you’re passionate about!

My name is Anthony Rosado and I am a Queer Afro-Puerto Rican born, bred, and living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This neighborhood is my passion. It has been and still is my only connection to my Puerto Rican-ness. As a second generation Nuyorican, I spent my high school and college years accessing every resource possible in effort to learn my native language and cultural history. Following my graduation from Trinity College in Hartford, CT I moved back home to Bushwick. The careers I accessed post-college privileged me to afford to live in this rent-spiking neighborhood.

 

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As I create and curate in my community, I engage with native domestic businesses, community organizations, and new arts collectives to bridge connections within our community. I have faith that through unity and solidarity we will be able to comprehend negative effects of gentrification, ideally working together to dismantle outcomes like the physical relocation of native residents, tax breaks for luxury homes, and the erasure of the hirstory of a culture that worked hard to culminate the Bushwick we communally inhabit.

Most importantly, the passion driving my creative and curatorial forces are youth. Specifically, Bushwick youth. They are inherently the future and it is up to us to remind them of their value. Furbished streets, homes, and businesses in response to the presence of a white community within Bushwick will reduce feelings of value for youth who’ve lived in our community pre-furbishment. On top of the Eurocentric education we had to learn, Bushwick was for me (and I’m sure it is for native Bushwick youth today), and still is, the sanctuary that holds my connection to my Puerto Rican-ness.

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I believe through conversation, honesty, and love we will cultivate a New Age for Bushwick that considers and offers to resources & aide to all members of our community.

2) What do you think some of the positive things are that exist in Bushwick right now? (art, humans, events, organizations)

My abuela is still here, living on the same corner I grew up on: Wyckoff & Greene.

I have met incredible organizers & artists who are down for bridging the community (The entire Make The Road NY staff, Julian Padilla, Bianca Perez, JenDog LoneWolf, Danielle De Jesus, Jazo Brooklyn of Bushwick Vendors Market, Jordan Melendrez, Nyssa Frank, Lindsay Cornelio, Kunal Gupta, Christopher Stout, Sarah Quintor, and many more names I can’t remember at the moment). These humyns affirm my hope for the New Age of Bushwick.

Summer is time for the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Although Puerto Rican communities who attend the annual event have depleted by the hundreds in the past eight years, those remaining still engage with the Parade.

Summer in Bushwick is the most positive. It is time when people are out, able to encounter one another and bridge connections. Our connections encourage access to all spaces, native & new, in Bushwick.

3) What are some important things that people who just moved into Bushwick should be aware of? 

In effort to raise my own awareness on changes that happen within our community, I ask myself “What do I not see?” Much of our perception of place is considering that which we see day by day. When visiting new galleries & cafes & restaurants, what do you not see?

If I do not see native members of our community and/or or black & brown bodies in either of these spaces, I ask myself “Is this space inclusive in its efforts to invite all of the community it resides in?”

 

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To raise my awareness further, I ask myself “What is the hirstory of the community I live in and directly affect?” I then seek to learn it.

Most importantly, I ask myself “Does my existence harm more than help the community I live in?” I think about the ways I engage with and fight for my community.

I love Bushwick. Ask most native residents and we will tell tales of a Bushwick not too long ago, that was enriched with black & brown bodies unable to afford rent elsewhere, so they made it home.

4) What advice would you tell someone who has lived in Bushwick his/her whole life and feels anger toward the newer residents?

I would tell her/him, “I understand. I feel you. The reality is we can not go back. We can not kick them out. We can not relocate families who have been moved out, and find the ways to aid them in affording the current Bushwick prices (We can do this, of course. But it would not be fast enough.). There are now apps to find apartments, and Vogue has deemed our community 7/15 ‘Coolest Places to Go in the World’.

As condos pop up by Myrtle-Wyckoff and luxury homes with tax breaks name themselves ‘Colony 1209’, we need allies.

I believe if you take the time to consider their lack of knowledge of the way Bushwick was before the day they moved in, then they will consider your feelings. If we share our stories, they will inevitably gain knowledge of what Bushwick was and a glimmer could spark in their eye.

This glimmer is not similar to the one they had when they decided to move to Bushwick. This glimmer shines light upon a New Age of Bushwick, one where we work together to make sure the remaining families, community centers, and native businesses are not gentrified from their home.

I know it is scary. If we are vulnerable to them about our experiences, I believe they will gain courage enough to vulnerably confirm their privileges with those who are similarly privileged. This affirmation of privileges will increase their awareness on they ways they directly impact our community.

I believe through patience, a deep breath, and inherent love for each humyn, we can really listen to one another.

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Listening will incite a revolution of natives & allies. One aiming to dismantle the negative effects of gentrification and live up to the now popular slogan “Bushwick is a Movement!” Listening will also lead to more conversation, which will expand all our knowledge on the many restaurants, galleries, community centers, and all other spaces in Bushwick we have access to.

Have patience. I have love for you, and I am here for you.”

5) What advice would you tell someone who just moved here and wants to be a part of the community, both old and new?

I would encourage them to ask their selves the questions I ask myself (response 3).

I would encourage them to support native domestic business.

I would encourage them to encourage new businesses to hire native residents, so we can return to a flow of capital from the community for residents within the community.

I would encourage them to get to know their neighbors; to have patience with residents who feel animosity; to make a large effort (in light of the negative effects of gentrification) via baking cookies or inviting neighbors to a barbeque.

I would encourage them to learn Spanish. There are free classes at Make The Road NY and many other organizations in Bushwick.

I would encourage them to refrain from exotifying the name of Bushwick further. If your organization, collective, or magazine uses the word “Bushwick”, please make clear the ways in which your organization, collective, or magazine engages with all members of the Bushwick community. What does it do for the community of Bushwick? Let the name be more than cultural capitol. It will pain me to see Bushwick as cool as Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, which also experienced a mass depletion of native Latin@ & Black residents.

I would encourage them to consider Bushwick before the population of Latins & Black peoples. Italian peoples fully populated Bushwick pre-1940s, however they fled as soon as the community’s population of black & brown bodies increased. Prior to the Italians, the Dutch were native to Bushwick. The land we live on has strong hirstory, wherever we are in the world.

I encourage the value of the importance and relevance of all our ancestors’ hirstories.

I encourage you to consider inherently having love for each humyn you encounter.

6) Tell us about some of your own projects, past and future!!

I curated a live performance, visual, & multimedia art series in November 2014 at Make The Road NY on Grove & Knickerbocker. It is titled Universal Humyn Love and will return to Make The Road NY late June 2015 (exact date soon to be posted on my website).

I am curating an Artist Lecture Series at Brooklyn Fireproof on June 17 in collaboration with Bushwick Art Crit Group. The series will present work by Native Bushwick Visual Artists.

I am curating a live performance, visual, & multimedia art series in collaboration with 7 artists at Loisaida Center in the Lower East Side early June (exact date soon to be posted on my website).

I am performing a solo curated by Jaamil Kosoko of ‘Dancing While Black’ for Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance’s ‘Boogie Down Series’ at 8pm on May 1st and 2nd.

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I am in the process of continuing to collaborate. Please stay in touch through my website:

http://www.anthonywashrosado.com

Meet Danielle De Jesus, born and raised in Bushwick Brooklyn

1) Please tell us who you are, where you’re from and what you do!

My name is Danielle De Jesus. I was born and raised in Bushwick Brooklyn in what is known as Killerhull (Woodhull hospital) by locals. I am an artist working in various mediums including photography, painting and Etch a sketching.

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2) Please tell us about your mother’s fight for her home, along with any advice for someone who might be in a similar position.

My mother and I moved to Jefferson Street when I was 4 years old. I lived with her on Wilson ave from birth until then. It was during my senior year of high school in 2005 when we first started noticing the changes occurring. A few months later my neighbors and friends all began being bought out of the building and the surrounding buildings. $5,000 was what they settled for. Consisting primarily of very low income immigrant latinos, it seemed like a good deal at the time, but I refused to let my mom settle for it. I knew something was up, and I wasn’t going to let her give in so easy. Then after months of the slumlord calling and randomly showing up at our apartment asking when we were going to move, harassing us constantly, upping his offer, court dates and fighting, my mom was able to stay in her apt. With the help of the city and free legal aids, she is able to stay put. Although, still today, Mr. Slumlord calls occasionally asking if she has found a new place and offering a larger sum of cash, only to get the phone hung up on him.

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3) Could you tell us about the sign you made in your window and its effects? 

I once put up a lime green poster on my mother’s window that read “STOP GENTRIFICATION” and the definition of gentrification. For two months the slumlord could not rent the empty apartment that was next door. He then took my mom and I to court, where I made his lawyer look like a complete jackass, The judge decided that it was totally legal for the sign to be there as long as it was not on the front door of the building. My mom later made me take it down due to being overwhelmed with stress from the slumlord dirtbag.

 

4) What are your own personal struggles regarding gentrification right now? You described to me feeling somewhat torn regarding where you are currently living, could you elaborate on that?

Wow. This one is quite complicated for sure. I currently live in a building that would be considered a product of gentrification. Although my mom still lives in her apt, I myself have lived in three other locations in the past few years that would be considered gentrified. Before moving into my current location in Ridgewood, I lived in Bedstuy for about 4 months. Even though it was just 3 blocks away from the hospital I was born in, and 8 blocks from where I grew up, it was completely new to me. Growing up on my block, you knew which streets and areas to avoid, and this place was one of them so it was completely different to me. Living there I got to feel exactly what the new comers into my neighborhood must have felt. I was the enemy. Even my own people, Puerto Ricans of the area, side eyed me and snickered when I passed them. I felt so out of place and unwelcome, not to mention super unsafe. But speaking to some of the elders from the area, I realized that they were feeling exactly what my mother and I felt. It wasn’t  that we didn’t want to clean up the area, it wasn’t a racial thing, it was more of a comfort and cultural thing.

This was a place that was ours, where we knew every face within a 6 block radius and beyond, where we could knock on our neighbors door if we needed adobo or a roll of toilet paper, where we knew exactly where all of our spices were in the supermarket and could actually afford them. It was home. The problem was our environment changing and losing the culture that existed. Bodegas turning into swanky bars, supermarkets blaring english rock music instead of Salsa, Cops being called because we were “too loud”, not knowing who lives next door because they move so frequently, feeling uncomfortable in our own home, thrift shops where families would shop for their children because they couldn’t afford new clothes are now filled with over priced “Vintage” trash. I mean, how could there not be tension? It’s tough for me now though. I feel that I’m in this place where I can’t fit in with old Bushwick, but I’m supposed to. I’ve been told that I am “trying to be white” because I dress a certain way, skateboard, and have a decent job. I now find myself in this weird identity crisis because I know that I am Bushwick, everything about me IS Bushwick. I can turn the “hood” on real quick if I’m angry haha! But, I know that I am looked at otherwise. Most of my friends now are the new kids in town; artist, musicians, and one of my closest friend’s is an engineer. So I’m stuck in this place where I don’t know where I stand anymore…

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5) What advice would you give to someone who just moved into Bushwick, regarding being a positive member of the community?

I would advise you to keep your nose leveled. Don’t act like you’re better than those around you because I’ve seen it happen way too many times in the supermarket, even to my mom, and had to avoid smacking the shit out of someone. Be part of your community. Talk to the locals and befriend them. I mean that’s a street smart rule that goes way back to old Bushwick and probably any hood. Also, support your local shops that were there before you and any places that are already established with the community.

 

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6) What advice would you give to someone who has lived in Bushwick all their lives, regarding being a positive member of the community?

Know what you’re capable of doing. You can do ANYTHING that you put your mind to and are passionate about, trust me, absolutely anything. Think becoming the first latino president from Bushwick is impossible? Think again… Take advantage of every single resource you can. Free education is everywhere for us. Don’t think you can get into college? bullshit. Don’t think you can get into the college you dream of because your grades suck, give me a break! I got rejected from FIT 3 times before I got in. My grades were trash in H.S so FIT was not having it. I had to go to community college for a year, make connections with great mentors at the school even before I was accepted and even negotiate with the dean of the photography program before I was finally accepted my last try. Nothing is impossible and if you want to stay in Bushwick, hold your own. Educate yourself on what is happening, not only in Bushwick, but NYC in general. Stay focused on your goals regardless of how others see you and make things happen the way you intend them to.

7) Please share any last thoughts!! 

Thank you, The living gallery, for being so open to the community and making yourself a part of it by working with locals and opening your doors to us.

ALLEY ART completes nationwide tour at THE LIVING GALLERY

 

This article originally appeared in full on BostonMagazine.com on Aug 25 2014: http://goo.gl/xowQK9

This summer, friends Jen Charboneau and Bernie McNerney have been touring the country coast to coast, setting up pop-up art events in 14 major cities as part of their community arts project titled “Alley Art.” On Sunday Aug 24th, they made their 13th stop in Boston, where they set up shop near SoWa along Albany Street and encouraged passersby to paint on a pair of blank canvases.

“We stop people and tell them to paint with us for five minutes and take a break from their usual routine. Most of the time people really value that—getting a break from their day-to-day life to get a creative outlet,” says McNerney, who handles public relations, photography, and videography for the project. “They leave really happy and smiling. They leave recharged.”

Event in Portland, OR

Following a stop in each city, Charboneau, an artist who met McNerney a few years ago while they were teaching English in South Korea, touches up the community-created paintings to turn them into more cohesive pieces. When the pair reaches their final destination in New York City, the paintings will go on display at The Living Gallery in Bushwick. Eventually, one painting from each city will be donated to the venue that hosted an “Alley Art” pop-up, while the other will go up for auction. Following the tour, Charboneau and McNerney also plan to create an art book filled with images of the paintings and photographs they took along the way of people they approached and asked to pose with an empty painted frame—”the ultimate icebreaker,” as they call it.

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The tour started in Charboneau’s hometown of Minneapolis in mid-May, funded by $10,000 raised from a Kickstarter campaign. They travel aboard a green Subaru dubbed “Scooby Doo,” packed with art supplies and their mascot “Frank,” an animal skull that Charboneau had found on previous travels in a desert in the West. Along the way, they’ve met strangers, local artists, and musicians, including Grouplove in Las Vegas and Portugal The Man in Portland, Oregon. Pop-ups usually take place in community spaces, coffee shops, or bookstores in the major cities, and Charboneau and McNerney were excited about setting up alongside the SoWa Open Market.

“It all stems from getting the community involved with the arts instead of standing back,” says Charboneau. “We try to find neighborhoods that are artistic or neighborhoods that may be lacking that community connection.”

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Charboneau and McNerney were especially pleased with setting up shop under the I93 Expressway after speaking to Elizabeth Cahill, the director of social media for SoWa Boston, about plans to turn the space into a full-blown art park.

“The potential to be involved with something that I could see growing to be a core community spot where people can go appreciate art is great,” says Charboneau. “Even if it is a little slow today, it’s a good way to be a part of something that’s growing as we’re growing as well—two newborn projects working together.”

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Friday September 12th 7-10pm [Opening Reception]

Saturday September 13th 3-9pm

Sunday September 14th 12-3pm

Full event details: http://bit.ly/alleyfinal

 

Meet Arielle Avenia

1) Please state your name and a brief description of the amazing things that you do!

My name is Arielle, I currently have a full time job as a sculpture fabricator and designer for Sean Kenney, who is a fantastic Lego artist.

I have been running the project Aftermath Supplies at the Silent Barn with my friend and co-conspirator Devin Lilly. Aftermath Supplies is a center for recycled art materials– all the items in our “shop” are sourced from donations and salvage.

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We did that for a year, and now the Aftermath Space is transitioning into a space for sewing and screen printing. We decided that we are not shop keeps and are much more interested in interacting with materials rather than just storing them. We’ll teach some classes, have open studio hours, and provide services for folks using recycled materials.

I can’t wait to print show posters!!! And I’m still excited about diverting usable materials from the waste stream. Anything that is donated to us and is unused will be put out in the Free Shelf outside of the shop instead of selling it. We should be open for creating and commissioning in mid May.

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I also do sewing work for Kae Burke, co-owner of House of Yes and main proprietor of Make Fun Studios, when she gets big projects. She’s about to start costuming for a 90’s punk space rock opera, so that will be really fun.

I’m in the process of preparing drawings for two different and somewhat gigantic mural jobs for Paint the Town, started by Nicolina , but that is kind of on the fence.

Currently, I’m part of a group show called “Resonance” at Headscapes, a warehouse in Long Island City at 26-19 Jackson Ave. I helped with the installation in the front room: The Bank of Mutual Interest, it kind of looks like a mix of a botanica and a really nice check cashing place. We practice money magic through gifts of currency, cleansing currency, and “canceling” current. There is fake money on display and work from a few different artists that are studies to be possibly made into “artbacks”- artist made currency. The closing party is on April 27th, everyone should come check it out!

I also just started working at the farmers market in Fort Greene.
So… things are a little insane. PHEW. I’m sure that I’m forgetting a few things, too. I wish sleep was optional!

When… If… I ever have time again, I really enjoy making costumes for special events and have been getting into quilt work (all from recycled materials, obviously!) I love textiles and I’m psyched to get back to my knitting machine to make some crazy sweaters for next winter.

Arielle Avenia New Quilt

2) How do you balance your creative life with the need to sustain yourself monetarily?

I free-lanced for the longest time, never had a job in NYC longer than 4 months. So I realized to pay the bills I had to become really good at being a worker and was doing pretty much any job that was offered to me. I’d save as much money as I could before quitting ’cause the work was shitty or depressing or getting fired because my boss was probably an unpleasant person or maybe the job would just end. A few times that coincided with meeting some great people and getting sucked into working on an amazing thing with them, and going full speed ahead since there was no work to get in the way… that felt great. But now I have a full time job doing fun and creative Lego model building. It’s totally sustainable to my mental health and just a great work environment in general!

Recently, I just took a month an a half to visit Florida to learn some tailoring from my 85 year old grandmother and to experience New Orleans during Mardi Gras. So I guess I’m still doing the same stuff, just have more money to do it with now.

In general I do a lot of things I love and they also happen to pay me, so I feel lucky, but I also worked really hard to get to that place.

3) How does it feel to work within a complex and extremely prolific collective that is Silent Barn?

Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating to make yourself heard among a collection of ~60 people. But it’s also fantastic because there are people who deal with the things that I’m not interested in or capable of facilitating. For example:  booking shows with obscure female screamo bands from the other side of the US, finding someone to reroute the electrical wiring so that we have enough power in our studio, and finding a trash company that will take all of our weird huge art trash. So the collective is really inspiring in that way.  People have taken it upon themselves to care about things like that on a volunteer basis and they do an amazing job! Meanwhile, I’m tinkering around in my little office sorting bags of beads or taping tinsel onto the ceiling ’cause apparently that what I care about.

It’s also second home, I can go there at any hour and there’s gonna be someone that I want to talk to or someone that was hunting me down anyway to fix their pants or whatever. And in general, I’m pretty honored to know all those people and that they like my art enough and trust me enough to give me actual physical real estate there. I’ve met some great people through running Aftermath Supplies the last year and there are always shows that bring new faces around, you never know who will show up.

4) What do you think are some of the negative elements that surround the current Bushwick art community?

Rising real estate prices? Bad or generally mediocre art? Probably lack of spaces to show a variety of art work (spaces dedicated to art rather than music) or curators to facilitate such shows.

But to be honest, I kind of feel like I’m in a bubble with all of my stuff going on- maybe everyone else is too and that’s a negative thing. I think it’s also weird that people move to Bushwick to “be an artist”, you can live wherever you want and make art.

5) Recognizing the evolution of art communities such as the East Village, Dumbo, Chelsea and Williamsburg, how do you foresee Bushwick’s future? Do you see it following a similar path, or creating a path of it’s own?

It seems like there is a formula in place with those other parts of town.. the artists move in where it’s cheap ’cause we’re poor and accidentally make things more things interesting, then all these flip-flop-wearing random want to go where it’s “cool”, the end. And, well, a few months ago there were some vacant lots at the end of my block and now there are these mammoth ugly grey buildings that will add at least 150 people… and that’s one block. Friends are getting evicted, DIY spaces are closing, condos are being built, I don’t know.

Then there is the whole rezoning of big parts of Bushwick to allow for high-rise buildings, which a lot of the community was in a uproar about. I don’t know what else to say- words are powerful and I can only really relate what I’ve seen and not try to speculate but it’s not looking that good. If and when all of Bushwick becomes a Starbucks Disneyland Outfitters, what can you do? Artists have a history of having to move their community and adapt when the prices get too high- we do it well and that part won’t change.

6) With all the publicity that Bushwick is getting, what do you think is being unsaid?

I’m not an expert on this stuff. I think the point has been made by many people that Bushwick is an old neighborhood just like any other place in NYC and people becoming displaces because of gentrification is real. I’m sure some families have been really screwed by the influx of 20-somethings rushing to live here, but on the flip side, I think there are many folks who own buildings and businesses that have greatly benefitted.

7) How do you envision yourself influencing the future?

Through the current efforts and projects and communities and individuals I put stock into at the timebank.

8) How does it feel to know that the artwork you make will outlive you?

Assuming that it does, I guess I feel OK about that. I’ve made a LOT of stuff so it’s pretty possible that after I die there will be some stuff hanging around.

I’ve been less interested in visual objects and more interested in wearable/tactile pieces, installations, temporary art, facilitation/co-ordination/mutual-aid based projects than anything else for the last 4 years. So that way, through working with people I meet, making things to interact and live with and actively enjoy and create memories around, I think that is how my work will outlive me.

AROUND TOWN: Exhibition at Schema Projects

Exhibition at Schema Projects

Location: 92 St Nicholas Ave between Hart and Suydam Brooklyn NY 11237
Contact: info@schemaprojects.com

Owen Schuh
Accumulations: Drawings & Notebooks
Exhibition Dates: January 24 – February 16, 2014Schema Projects

PRESS RELEASE:

Schema Project is pleased to present the first exhibition devoted to Owen Schuh’s works on paper.

Schuh describes his dense and delicate works as “seeking to illuminate the entwining relations between embodied mind, mathematics, and the physical world.” Mapped out on sheets of stained or darkened paper, his delicate geometric figurations unfold across the surface and express his concentration as their glow emanates and draws us in.

Through research, he chooses mathematical functions that model the interactions and structure of living systems. Cellular automata, circle packing, fractals, and other topics in discrete mathematics form the basis of these systems. These “functions” bear the structure of life, but operate in the parallel world of the mind: a world of simulacra inhabited by numbers and abstract relationships.

The structure of the work is handcrafted using, at most, the aid of a pocket calculator. In each piece, he strives to manifest phenomena unique to the interaction between the physical medium and the logical structure. As Schuh describes, “the mathematical formula is a virus that depends on a host to carry out its peculiar kind of life until it terminates or the medium or the artist is exhausted.” In the end, the drawing is really only the physical trace of this activity—in this case, like a shimmering shell left behind on the beach.

Owen Schuh (born 1982, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin) lives and works in San Francisco. Initially pursuing biology, Schuh earned a degree in Fine Arts and Philosophy from Haverford College and an MFA from The Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia, and Rome, Italy. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and lectures periodically on his work and algorithmic art practice. His work is included in the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. He recently completed a two year residency at the San Francisco artist collective Root Division, where he taught after school classes in origami to under-served public school students.

Schema Backspace:
Rachael Wren
Arboreal

Schema Projects

The work of Rachael Wren navigates the territory between the geometric and the organic. In this collection of work, not unlike the “Ideal Cities” of Renaissance artists, she creates an “Ideal Forest”. On a grid that maps out the forest floor, ribbon-like verticals sprout upward, suggesting a logical space. This “personal wood”, achieves a sense of air and space through the use of traditional atmospheric perspective.

However, the entire monochromatic environment seems vulnerable, as it might collapse at any moment, soft yet strong, in it’s combination of thin ruled line and pale grays. Using these sparest of means, Wren’s drawings explore the universal duality between two and three-dimensional form, structure and randomness, and the known and the unknown.

Content within this post © 2013 Schema Projects

AROUND TOWN: Wayfarers Exhibition, “Not Everyone Feels Like They Have To Win All The Time”

Not Everyone Feels Like They Have To Win All The Time
New works by
Renee Delosh and Craig Hein
Location: Wayfarers, 1109 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Exhibition Dates: January 31 – February 16, 2014
Gallery Hours: Sundays 1pm to 5pm and By Appointment
Gallery Contact: wayfarersbk@gmail.com

Wayfarers

Not Everyone Feels Like They Have To Win All The Time is an exhibition of new work by Renee Delosh and Craig Hein. Both artists share a similar approach in creating their work, lampooning the inherit seriousness of art-making and the significance of the art object, while concurrently addressing themes of faith and belief systems, death, failure and commodity culture.

Craig Hein’s small paintings and sculptures are intended to somewhat resemble gift shop souvenirs and collectables. His text-based work is also meant to reference “inspirational” posters like those that would be found on the wall of a high school guidance counselor’s office or more commonly infesting a Facebook or Twitter news feed. He is interested in the power dynamic between the “inspirer” and the “inspired,” whether it is through art, religion or the self-help industry.

Renee Delosh employs banal text and symbols in her work, exploring their relation to cartoons, cliché sayings and religious imagery. Her drawings, sculptures and paintings reference a Charlie Brownian view of the world – dashes of optimism tempered and often outweighed by sighs of grief. She works across a variety of media, choosing materials based on the idea behind each piece. The works share in common an anthropomorphic quality, through googley eyes peering outward or frames that lean toward one another like the resting heads of two friends.

Renee Delosh completed her BFA at the School of Visual Arts in 2009. She has exhibited in group shows in Brooklyn and New York City. Born in Huntington, NY, she currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Craig Hein has a BFA and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He has had one solo show in New York, and has been in group shows in New York, Philadelphia and a few other places. Craig is from New Jersey, currently lives in Manhattan and works on his artwork in Brooklyn.

Image details:

(left) Craig Hein, “Serenity Now”, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas and clay, 5 in x 7 in

(right) Renee Delosh, “It Wasn’t Me”, 2013, cement and graphite with acrylic, 5.25 in x 3.25 in x 1.75 in