art

SheeRo

In a world where men are consistently idolized, Id like to use my platform not to idolize woman

but to appreciate their everyday

fight to do something more than what the norm expects of them.

They say its a mans world

But it would be nothing without a WOMAN’s touch.

To put Woman on a pedestal highly, back where they belong

Is for nations to never suffer again!

Today my SheeRo is

Ty Black, also known as Queen Blizzy age 27 from East New York, Brooklyn,

known for her Hip Hop, activism, and community work.

1503472_1588309571441846_1688456853_n

Here are a few questions i asked to help get to know her better.

BWB

How do you use what you do to create social justice awareness to your people?

QB

By placing social topics in my music, activism, and community work. Spreading awareness, knowledge,

and solutions for social justice in all avenues I embark on.

11117850_1588309578108512_962379243_n

BWB

What does culture mean to you ?

QB

Culture means a way a life. A bond with communities and race.

11356315_1588309564775180_21486694_n

BWB

How do you feel about the current white washing of black and brown communities? And what

message/advice do you have for white people moving in?

QB

I feel, just like damn near everything else in America, gentrification is a way to keep black and brown people

oppressed. I also feel that after years of this, we should be tired of the cycle, and fighting harder

then ever against it. I don’t have any advice for white people moving in. I do have advice for the

black and brown people being pushed out. Unite and build.

Understand that all this oppression is coming from the same source. The people united can never be defeated.

11356109_1588309561441847_1291541024_n

BWB

What are some of the projects you a are currently working on?

QB

June 17th makes 11 months since the murder of Eric Garner. Im assisting Jewel, the mother of

Eric’s 1 year old daughter with an action. This action is powerful and creative. People will be organizing

together to spell out Eric Garner on the ground with  their bodies. This is something I encourage everyone to partake in.

For more info like the page facebook.com/LegacyGarner.

Another program I’m working on is “Warrior Queen Wednesdays”. Stay updated on facebook.com/TyBlizzyBlack

11311883_1588309581441845_1748032695_n

BWB

As powerful as your voice is, is their anything you fear?

QB

What I ultimately fear is staying still. Not growing and progressing. Life is constant and about evolution.

If you aren’t growing, your dead.

11279993_1588309574775179_2103604890_n

BWB

What does black and brown success mean to you ? How does it look ?

QB

Black and brown success is black and brown people being Creatively great and powerful. No oppression, and no

boundaries of fear. Peace and unity among one another.

11291786_1588309568108513_69452788_n

Brooklyn Queen Reppin

Leaders Look Like This

Stylin on Them

 

Advertisements

EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY DECEMBER 19TH

2837442_1418753006.2569

AMG MUSIC GROUP AND LABEL WILL BE DOING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR 3 KIDS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES 

A BIT ABOUT THEIR PROJECT 

We understand that a lot of good children are growing up in negative and poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and for this reason we will like to lend a helping hand to the family that want to give their child whatever their heart desires but can not do so because of their financial situation. Avenue Music Group (AMG) would like to be some what of an aid to the parents by offering their child a “dream day” which consist of various exciting activities throughout the day, followed by a trip to Toy-R-Us where the child can choose a toy of their choice.

DONATE HERE 

SATURDAY DECEMBER 20TH 

Holiday-Market

Every month Silent Barn hosts a big Open House (OH!) party to celebrate all of our
Stewdios (http://silentbarn.org/stewdios/working),
Artworks (http://silentbarn.org/about/gallery), and
Residents (http://silentbarn.org/stewdios/living).
This is a great opportunity to meet all of these members of the Silent Barn community, and stock up on some sweet gifts for your friends and family!
Records from Deep Cuts!
Local and Underground Music labels!
Synthesizers from Casper Electronics!
Guitar Pedals from Lo Rez!
Band T-shirts from Merch & Destory!
Jewelry from Wax the Duck!
Art, Clothing, Jewelry from Rebel Designs!
Martha Moszczynski designs + installation in Big Law Country Club!
G Lucas Crane as Santa Claus!
Party Lab Workshop (sign up to be a certified Lab Technician)!
Visit the Silent Membership corner to join Silent Barn! JOIN EVENT CLICK HERE

1098196_644346062251715_1194164220_n

10540560_909321489087503_2136144116617837338_n (1)

Join this candlelight tree lighting and mural unveiling in observance of the lives of the members of the community recently lost to acts of police brutality. There will be performances by spoken word collective swag. There will also be a healing march around the East NY community making stops at Boulevard & Pink Houses.

RSVP HERE

SUNDAY DECEMBER 21, 2014

10422288_10203609125532454_2062614322302627465_nHOME DECOR

photo (5)1386362652505-1242656407

BODY PRODUCTS

1

2

FOOD

10698672_10203397420959972_1762847440242087276_n 5 6

ART

1904119_10203248861166070_7571933953982234056_n s.

JOIN FACEBOOK EVENT HERE

10847960_602709586528009_5822424467374397298_n

FA LA LA LA LUZ HOLIDAY+ VEGGIE POT LUCK & MUSIC JAM

Now!
Its that time of year!!!
For some Fa La La La Holiday Cheer
To laugh so hard, you shed a tear.
To feel inspired, for the new year!

La Luz 135 Thames StreeT Brooklyn, NY 11237

Directions: L to Jefferson or Morgan!
“La Luz is a gathering place for performers, artists, and healers. It’s intention is to bring forth sustainable growth and understanding in the world.” ~La Luz

Bushwick Events This Weekend

10849775_780321173404_7223193549726335136_n

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

This march is going to be massive and is organized in a very short time, we can use all the support we can get. So we would like to reach out to all of you who are able to step up and fill support roles.

TODAY 6-9 PM

RSVP HERE

neak flyer 2

For those art lovers. Come on out and support a dope underground Graffiti Movement by Brooklyn Artist

All art will be for sale.

1 718 Collective will be donating 25% to Educated Little Monsters Youth Group

All info on Flyer

*Music

*Drinks

Join The EVent on Facebook

10422547_861952443855599_6850617369285597799_n

No one should spend the Holidays Alone

Swerve Church a local ministry will be putting a community potluck together

Saturday December 13th at Express Yourself Cafe 

82 Central Ave, Brooklyn New York

Join their Facebook Event Page

Click Here 

10690081_481818095290391_4695286024549506894_n

#FeministsOnTheMove Contingent at Millions March NYC

Led by AF3IRM NYC and the Sister Circle Collective.

The meetup location is at Washington Sq North and 5th Avenue at 1pm. Wear as much purple as you can!

All signs, chants etc should be in honor of the women, girls and LGBTQ, gender non-conforming folks who have lost their lives to state and police violence. In particular, we will honor Black women, girls and LGBTQ folks such as Aiyana Jones, Kayla Moore, Nizah Moore, Rekia Boyd, Shantel Davis and more.

RSVP HERE

Behind the Scenes of Bushwick’s Most Inspiring New Mural

by Sarah Quinter

girl in front of mural

This summer, “Guided Gateways,” a 22’ by 109’ mural designed to spark dialogue about reproductive health in was unveiled on Wyckoff Avenue and Putnam Street. The mural was a project of lead artist Crystal Clarity in partnership with teen participants in Groundswell’s Voices Her’d Visionaries leadership development program.

I visited the mural site several times and spoke with the young women working on the mural. They told me that they started in the spring by discussing issues of teen pregnancy and women’s empowerment. They came up with five issues they wanted to address through the piece: consent, the restriction of access to reproductive care, the shaming of teen pregnancy, accessing knowledge around women’s well-being, and communication between generations of women. They then did word association sketches to generate images for the mural. Crystal then helped the young women unify their ideas into a single composition, and the team got to work. They told me that the feedback they got from passers-by was mostly positive, though some males questioned why there were no males on the team or depicted in the mural. This sparked dialog about how women’s perspectives were rarely given center stage, and the importance of providing venues for those perspectives. The teen artists spoke to me about how the project not only helped them strengthen their skills, but gain confidence in their voice and community. After the unveiling ceremony on August 28th, I interviewed Crystal via email about her work as an artist and educator and her connection to the neighborhood:

 IMG_6946

What’s your connection to Bushwick? What are your feelings about this neighborhood?

I started teaching at the El Puente Bushwick Center around 2002. It was my first art teaching gig and I found there a community I had been looking for for a long time. I taught there for about five years and watched a lot of young people grow up there. I grew up there too! My first apartment as an adult was in Bushwick on Jefferson Street – it is a very special neighborhood to me. It’s full of families and people like my parents who are here in the US trying to raise their babies the best they can. Working class mostly Latino peoples – my peoples. I feel very much at home here.
The first large-scale community mural I ever painted is here in Bushwick – “Time Flies: A Brief History of Bushwick” on Knickerbocker Avenue and Woodbine Street. I was part of a huge crew of amazing community-minded artists working with El Puente. My mentor Joe Matunis, a serious muralist, gave me the centerpiece to rock and it was everything! I became a muralist here.  I became a teaching artist here – this was the foundation for the rest of my life’s work. Now I feel I have come full circle with this mural I have led and given other young artists space to rock – it is my/our best work to date.  I will always have tremendous love and respect for Bushwick.

IMG_6438
Please describe your current project. What has been the process for the mural, and what do you hope to communicate?

This project is a Groundswell Program called Voices Her’d . It was started by Katie Yamasaki and is designed to give voice and stage to critical issues that young women are dealing with. It is led by women artists with a theme chosen by youth. This year’s theme was teen pregnancy and female empowerment. We started by looking at how this conversation is being held in public space. We looked at the recent PSA’s of crying babies with shaming narratives blaming young mothers for the ills of society. We talked about how this conversation is held at home and in schools if at all and concluded the base of all these conversations was coming from a place of shame, fear and judgment. We decided to construct our narrative addressing that and also expanding the narrative socially, personally and politically. The politics of men making decisions for women’s bodies is addressed — advocacy for reproductive justice is encouraged. Access to sex ed, contraception and abortion should be issues where women have full autonomy. Shaming is present in the mural because it’s a reality, but it’s dwarfed by images depicting the kind of positive and powerful relationships young women need to have with older women to initiate safely into womanhood. Conversations with partners and consent and mindfulness is encouraged. A young woman is shown balancing a child with her school books and talents while standing on an alarm clock, and conversations with families about sex is encouraged.

IMG_6410

In fairness – art has a way of meaning different things depending on the viewer. I’ve noticed people on the street pointing and talking to each other – they talk to us and tell us what it means to them. Some get precisely to the letter what we are saying, some misinterpret, some are offended (mostly homophobic men petrified of being excluded in a woman’s vision of power). Or just afraid of women’s power.
IMG_6491
What themes have you explored in your work over the years? Who are your audiences and what kinds of messages have you aimed to convey?

My work primarily serves and celebrates women of color – women of the Afro-Caribbean and indigenous diaspora. I aim to decolonize the image of black and brown bodies and return us to the throne of our original power and dignity. I want to create images that counter the spiritually and mentally damaging visual culture that surrounds us and programs us everyday.
crystal-Clarity
You’ve worked with young people for a long time as an artist and an educator. What values and skills do you try to impart to them? What principles or values inform how you interact with youth?

It is important to me when working with young people – especially youth of color – to first create a safe space and a place of mutual respect and appreciation. Non-judgment and gratitude and respect are foundation.  But best practice in anything is emphasized. They need to be prepared to work hard and I don’t give a lot of space for lame excuses that we are programmed with from birth to tame our limitless potential. They have to show up and they have to try and they have to be honest, not for me or for a program, but for themselves. I lead with them as leaders beside me. I value their ideas and objections and respect their concerns and fears, as long as they are not excuses to stop looking for a solution. My major principles are reciprocity and each one teach one and I let them know at any given moment that I have something to learn from them and that I’m not the only one with valuable knowledge and experience.
Crystal-Clarity-for-Groundswell-Mural-Project-in-Sunset-Park-Brooklyn
Do you have a memorable story to tell about being an educator?

I always tell this story about the first big mural I worked on, the one in Bushwick on Knickerbocker with the two spiraling birds on the corner. I was so intimidated by the scale, it was the biggest thing I had ever been responsible for designing. I was about to start working on the gigantic feathers with one other youth. I looked at him – we looked at each other and he says,” It’s so big, I’m scared to paint this, I’m scared to mess up.” I said, “Me too, all day, but let’s do it anyway.” We just started rocking out and overcame that together. I think it’s important to show kids that it’s ok to be scared or vulnerable and make mistakes. But it’s not ok to let it stop you from pushing forward.
Screen-Shot-2012-11-14-at-6.14.20-PM
What artistic and cultural influences have shaped your style and aesthetic?

I’m a NYC baby – an 80s baby – a child of hip hop and of the inner city. I’m a Boricua – all of these modalities shape my expressions, visual and lyrical/ poetic, etc.
What media have you worked with and what have made them important to you? (murals, printmaking, etc)
Drawing is fundamental, but I regrettably don’t do it nearly enough. Murals have been a huge part of my creative practice over the past ten years and sometimes I feel the need to expand inward from the community to my individual voice. I’m working on giving myself permission to do that. I always feel such a harsh sense of responsibility and obligation to the greater voice and vision of people in struggle. Murals are important to me as a people’s art – a democratic art form.
Printmaking is my second love for similar reasons, but I love its ability to still be a people’s art and tool for disseminating information but while retaining a space for the individual artist to flex. I love printmaking and murals – I could do it till I’m done!
2Screen-Shot-2012-11-14-at-6.14.02-PM
Where do you hope to take your work as an artist and educator in the future? What’s on the horizon for you?

I really want to create for myself the kind of artist residencies that take what I love doing and help really amazing people and organizations with their visual presence. I want to work more on my printmaking and teach silkscreen 😉

IMG_6957

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Some advice to aspiring artists?

Do what you love and love what you do. Make purpose primary and everything else will line up. Don’t chase money – it’s not real. What you do and leave behind is the wealth you seek. Everything leads to the next thing.  Be generous with your talents and heart but don’t let people exploit you. Be disciplined but live your life! Have fun. Dig deep. Integrity is everything. Say yes a lot but learn when to say no. Hydrate. Exercise. Love abundantly, create constantly.

Love ,
Clarity

IMG_1420

An Interview with Angelina Dreem of Powrplant

by Bianca Perez

pwr1

 

***Join Powrplnt this friday for an exhibition of young artists that have completed their fout-week digital art series. The work ranges from video, digital collage, and music. More info here.***

What is Powrplnt? What inspired you to create it? What are your goals for this project?

Powrplnt is a digital art collaboratory. We want to make computers and software accessible to all. We host donation-based classes, free classes for teens, and open lab hours with someone present to answer any questions you may have.

Who are you? What led you to start Powrplnt? Who are the people involved?

I started Powrplnt with the help of my friends Anibal Luque and Sophie Sofar. We each have our own specialty, but came together over a unified vision that access to computers and software should be available to all. We now recruit artists to volunteer three hours of their time. We’re connecting young artists with established artists in the neighborhood.

There’s no doubt that computer savviness is essential for traversing the modern world. How will Powrplnt aid in spreading tech knowledge locally? 

We have our doors open and are available to help anyone with anything computer-based. I went around to schools in the neighborhood and met students interested in more creative software. We are here as a resource until August and have been inviting anyone to hang out and ask questions. I’d also like to add that our specialty is creative computer use, using computers for art-making, which is essential for any professional artist.

 Being that it is so relevant these days, what do you think keeps schools (and other learning facilities) from focusing more on teaching computer skills? 

Cost, and lack of skill from teachers. We want to teach skills are useful when you’re trying to get your ideas across, when you are making multi-media art, and when you are experimenting. We definitely aren’t a technical school. We are by artists for (future) artists. School is bad at teaching anything that strays away from the norm.

How do you see the arts and computer technology amalgamating further in the near future?

They have already been sleeping with each other for a while, but I see more 3D printing and rendering being used in sculpture, and more conceptual interactive pieces that will use programming to dictate and emotional response.

What are some specific skills which Powrplnt will be lending training in?

We are finishing our first four-week course with a group show this Friday, June 27th, from 6 to 10pm. This will display work from students that became familiar with Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Ableton Live. Our next four-week course, beginning the second week in July, will cover Tumblr design, font and poster making, and how to build a t-shirt brand, which the students will then do and be able to sell.

We are trying to keep the structure very real-world based. By showing the student’s work at the end of the month, they are getting first hand experience that is so valuable. We are preparing young artists to be ready and successful in pursuing a career as an artist and creative. There are still spots for some of these classes if you are a teen or know a teen who may be interested.

We also have teaching artists that are leading all-ages classes in Ableton, Photoshop. and web design.

We are looking for teachers in 3D Rendering software like Blender and Rhino.

How can people get involved with Powrplnt, either to take classes or volunteer?

Everyone should follow our instagram for updates. We have a volunteer form on our website or they can just email powrplnt@gmail.com. We have a kick ass Indiegogo campaign that has really awesome perks. Check out our website at http://www.powrplnt.org/.

Also, just stop in and say hello!

pwr2

Flyer designs by Bianca Perez.

 

The Art of Interaction: A Conversation with John Ahearn about Community Engaged Art in New York City

by Sarah Quinter

“To me, and to anyone of whatever color who has lived the lives etched in the faces of these sculptures, this art says, ‘You are alive, you have lived, you are beautiful, you are worthy of beauty.’”  — From Michael Ventura’s essay Love Among the Ruins

Luis and Virginia.jat home with their 1980 sculpturepgLuis and Virginia at home with their sculpture

As an artist who has always sought to create work that strengthens communities, I have been an admirer of John Ahearn’s art since my late teens. Ahearn moved to New York City in the mid-1970s after graduating from Cornell University. A young artist seeking to connect his work to the fabric of daily life, Ahearn was casting portraits of his friends in the downtown art scene and displaying them in an experimental new gallery in the South Bronx called Fashion Moda. Rigoberto Torres, a longtime resident, happened to see the work and became intrigued. His uncle owned a statuary factory that produced religious and household figures, and Torres had been schooled in the art of mold-making. He introduced himself to Ahearn and later suggested that they cast the local residents of the South Bronx, thus embarking on a lifelong collaboration. The duo has produced numerous portraits, including full body pieces, of Bronx residents and of people all over the world. Both men paint the casts, creating vibrant, compelling sculptures that express the energy of their subjects’ lives. These pieces have been displayed on neighborhood streets and in the homes of their subjects since the beginning of their creation, a clear departure from the settings where contemporary art is usually found.

I travelled to the South Bronx to meet with Ahearn in his studio. Our conversation roamed over many different themes over the course of three and a half hours. I hope this resulting article can provide inspiration for artists who may be new to neighborhoods like Bushwick and are seeking creative and genuine forms of engagement with their neighbors.

ahearn1Luis and Virginia, 1980

On a crisp spring day, I entered John Ahearn’s studio above a tire shop in the South Bronx. He was chiseling and fine tuning a recent cast using a photo reference, working to bring out a maximum of expression before painting it. Shortly after, a man named Kevin from the projects nearby entered. He had known John for decades and worked as an assistant for him. We sat together and discussed the casts and their significance. Ahearn pointed to a recent cast of a young black woman on the wall and told me her story. She had only been a child when she encountered Ahearn working in the neighborhood and encouraged her mother to be cast. Her mother had since died and, now an adult, the woman approached Ahearn asking to be cast. She suffered from claustrophobia, but wanted to do it anyway. She panicked while in the mold and the cast was a struggle to complete, but when the piece was finished, she was overcome with emotion. It showed an almost goddess-like aspect of herself that she had never seen before. Ahearn also cast her young daughter, thus capturing three generations of the same family.

Raymond and Freddy: Raymond is depicted embracing his beloved brother Freddy a month before Freddy dies of AIDS, 1989

The artists often make two casts from the mold, one for the subject and another for their collection. These pieces therefore have a presence in the lives of people who normally are completely excluded from the mainstream art world. Casts were often made right on the street in South Bronx neighborhoods. Torres and Ahearn would hang up previous pieces on the outside of buildings as examples, and set up a folding table for subjects to lie on. Trust, courage, and intimacy were necessary for the process to be successful. Residents would wear clothes that could later be discarded, and straws would be place in their nostrils so they could continue to breathe. Ahearn and Torres would work quickly to cover the head, shoulders, and sometimes the whole body in alginate, a rubbery substance used in making dental molds. They would then cover that with a quick-drying plaster to lend rigidity to the mold. Within 20 minutes, the subject would emerge, a bit dazed, having participated in the birth of a new piece of art. Ahearn told me that his father had been an obstetrician and he found the birth-like process compelling. He also emphasized that he saw his subjects more as collaborators who brought a vital role to the creation of the work. “Without them, I’d have nothing”, he said. His neighbors, friends, and acquaintances literally brought life to his art.

ahearn5Mad Crystal and Big Chief, 2000

The process has also profoundly affected the course of Ahearn’s life. He moved to the South Bronx shortly after starting to make art there. He met many lifelong friends, not to mention his wife and the mother to his son, due to his involvement in the neighborhood. This was at a time when the South Bronx was synonymous with urban neglect and the poorest congressional district in the US. He and Torres worked through the era of the AIDS and crack epidemics. Many residents, talented artists themselves, met bad ends. The casts often served as memorials when their subjects suffered premature deaths. Despite this strife, Ahearn feels that in the dynamic of the relationship between the artist and the residents, it was the art world that actually needed the residents the most. He feels that the art world at the time was bereft of work that dealt with the lived experiences of real people. It viewed the world from a distance rather than through genuine interaction and reciprocity. Ahearn’s whole career has been a process of seeking authentic encounters through his artistic process. These encounters hold different meanings for each person involved, but they always lead to an expanded view of those seen as the “other”, and by extension, an expanded view of the self. These expanded views are critical during moments of tension and great change in urban environments. Ahearn emphasized the sensitivity of the dynamics in the spaces where he worked. As a middle-class white man from outside the city, he was not exactly a typical resident. He was careful not to bring too many of his “downtown” friends at once, for fear of setting up a situation that felt like an invasion. He was also sensitive to avoiding any possibly exploitative dynamics in the way residents were viewed by those with more power and privilege. He described his ambivalence in relying on wealthy patrons for his work. At the end of the day, respectful, mutual relationships between artist and subject were always paramount. Ahearn thinks there is a lot for artists engaged in similar practices to be concerned with today, now that gentrification is happening so intensely. He did not offer any prescriptive statements, but emphasized that artists needed to be very socially aware. For those who look, there is a great deal of inspiration out there for artists seeking to engage with people from all walks of life as a central feature of their art. In practicing this work, artists may not only find a broadened sense of themselves and others, but also an expanded sense of what urban life can be.

ahearn4“Double Dutch” Banana Kelly Mural, 1982

ahearn6Wall in Baltimore put up for the day as a backdrop to a street casting party there, 2012