Gowanus Open Studios! and New Work

Lifeworld 48, 2022.

Hello everyone, wow I can’t believe it’s already October! And October means it’s time for this year’s Gowanus Open Studios, October 15-16.

I did my first Gowanus Open Studios in 2007, and each time I’ve done it I’ve enjoyed showing my work, seeing the work of my neighbors and meeting all of the interesting art-lovers who come out to support art in our neighborhood.

Hosted by Arts Gowanus, Gowanus Open Studios is Brooklyn’s largest celebration of local art and artists. More than 300 artists, businesses, and venues in Gowanus will open their doors, giving the public a rare glimpse inside the former factories, warehouses, and studio buildings of this vibrant neighborhood. Artists will be on hand to discuss their work, share their processes, and showcase their latest projects; this event also offers visitors the unique opportunity to purchase work directly from local artists.

Lifeworld 47, oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2022

New Work

This year I will be showing new work created since last year’s open studios (I may have a few older pieces on hand as well). It’s been a productive year. I’ve completed four new Lifeworld paintings, another Dharmadhatu piece and several small studies.

Lifeworld Study, oil on canvas, 10×10″, 2022

And, if you’ve been following me on Instagram (and I hope you are!) you know that over these past few weeks I’ve been completing some new landscapes which I will be debuting during open studios.

So I hope that if you are in New York City the weekend of October 15-16, you’ll stop by!

Lifeworld 48, oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2022

The Logistics

Gowanus Open Studios is happening October 15 and 16 (Saturday and Sunday) from 12 to 6pm. I will be opening my studio at Trestle Art Space – Greenwood, at 62 18th Street, off 3rd Avenue. You can find a map, details about various exhibitions, installations and events at artsgowanus.org

Lifeworld study, oil on canvas, 10×10″, 2022

An Exhibition, and Other Spring News

Good afternoon friends, Spring is popping here in Brooklyn and there’s lots going on!

“Dharmadhatu 3″ oil on panel, 18” diameter, 2021.

Opening this weekend! Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal

I’m pleased to be included in this multi-site exhibition organized by ArtsGowanus and the Old Stone House & Washington Park (OSH). Opening April 9th and 10th, the exhibition features over 200 artists considering what a “Utopia” (or ideal place) would look like for the communities of the neighborhoods bordering the Gowanus Canal. 

Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal consists of an indoor exhibition at The Old Stone House (OSH) and two public outdoor art exhibitions of artwork printed on banners hung on the fences surrounding J.J. Byrne Playground and Coffey Park featuring a diverse group of local artists.  Opening events on April 9, 12-5pm at Coffey Park and April 10, 12-5pm at J.J. Byrne Playground/Old Stone House will include outdoor bazaars with art and performances by local artists, with a gallery opening at the Old Stone House from 4-6pm on April 10. All exhibitions will be on view from April 10-June 26.

My piece “Dharmadhatu 3” (pictured above) will be among those reproduced on banners adorning J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope at 3rd Street between 5th and 4th Avenues. Dharmadhatu is a Sanskrit word that means “realm of absolute reality.” My utopian dream is that the absolute reality of Gowanus is as a place where sky, earth, water and all living things can co-exist in harmonious balance, like this sphere dancing on the horizon.

“Dharmadhatu 3” is also for sale on Artsy.

Other news

Lately I’ve been doing to retooling of my social media presence. This has resulted in some broken links, which I think should be all fixed now. My twitter page, formerly ZephyrusNYC, is now JohnAzelvandre, and similarly my Instagram has also been re-christened johnazelvandre. I’ve been leaning heavily into the Instagram of late, and right now it is the best way to stay current on my artistic endeavors.

These current endeavors consist primarily in settling in at Trestle Art Space on 18th Street in Brooklyn, where I am preparing several canvases for upcoming works in oil and also doing a deep-dive into learning techniques of Japanese moku hanga – woodblock printmaking.

Common Grave Complete, and Gowanus Open Studios!

Happy Friday everyone! Well, the big weekend is nearly here! If you’ve been following along on these pages, you know that Gowanus Open Studios is happening tomorrow (Saturday, October 16) and Sunday (October 17). It’s been a busy, busy couple of weeks getting ready.

I’ve moved into my new studio, unpacked, hung art on the walls, and most significantly —

I have completed the Common Grave painting project! In previous posts (here and here), I detailed this project. I have also created an Adobe Spark presentation that gives the whole story. (I do think the Spark presentation came out rather nicely – take a look!)

I completed the final panel (what I’m calling panel VI) last week, and by now the paint should be (mostly) dry to touch.

“Common Grave” panel VI; oil on canvas, 16x20in., 2021

The full polyptych is now installed for viewing for the first time (and — who knows? — perhaps the ONLY time) in my studio! It is not to be missed!

So come on down tomorrow or Sunday. I’m at 62 18th Street, Trestle Art Space, 1st floor. I’ll be there 12 to 6pm on both days.

Visit arts.gowanus.org for details on the event and a map of all of the open studios. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend!

Lifeworlds Update, and Gowanus Open Studios this Weekend!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks settling into my new studio space on 18th Street in Brooklyn and getting ready for this weekend’s Open Studio tour. I’ll have several recent works on view during the studio tour, among them several recent Lifeworld paintings.

So, I’ve been looking at my writing about this long-term project, and massaged it all into a nifty Adobe Spark presentation. It’s all based on a pretty nerdy essay I’ve been working on for a while (I have to try to put the philosophy PhD to good use somehow, right?).

Lifeworlds flourishing in the studio

I’ve pared it back some for the Spark presentation, but the gist is about how I have been informed and inspired by Edmund Husserl‘s writings on phenomenology. Nerdy but fun! I really didn’t know much (well, nothing) about Husserl until I chanced upon the term ‘life-world’ (“Lebenswelt“) a few years back. But it’s been a happy encounter — this is a rich vein to mine! Perhaps I will publish more of this writing here in the future.

So, please do check out the Spark presentation (Lifeworlds: Painting as Phenomenological Investigation) and please do visit me this weekend during Gowanus Open Studios!

You’ll find me at Trestle Art Space, 62 18th Street, Brooklyn.

You can visit artsgowanus.org for a map and list of all of the participating artists. It’s going to be a great weekend!

Upcoming event! Join me at the Circle Show!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be participating in a group show in Brooklyn which opens November 9th.  “The Circle Show” will feature work that is entirely circular!

I created some circular pieces back in 2014 for a group endeavor I participated in on Governor’s Island, and I was just thinking earlier this year how interesting it would be to create some more paintings on circular supports.  Coincidentally (are there really any coincidences in the universe?), shortly thereafter, my friend Jonathan Blum approached me about his idea for a Circle Show.

“Dharmadhatu 1″, mixed media on canvas, 20” diameter, 2018

So it is happening! It will be at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, New York.  The show opens this Friday, November 9, 6:30pmto 12 midnightand the artwork will be up through January 11.

I hope to see you there!  You can read more about the pieces I will have in the show on my Patreon page.  And, by the way, my Patreon experiment is just a little over one year old now. Have you visited?  Stop by, say hi, and earn how you can support living artists on Patreon!

Curated by Jonathan Blum.

Something very last minute — My art during Gowanus Open Studios

Hello everyone!  I had not planned to show any work during this year’s Gowanus Open Studios (happening this weekend, October 20-22), but a last minute opportunity presented itself.

Abby Subak, Director of Arts Gowanus, reached out to artists who formerly had studios in Gowanus, and asked us to participate as “Gowanus Emeritus Artists” in the “Silent Auction & Garden Party: One Piece Per Artist GOS 2017” show at 313 Butler Gallery.

So — my piece, “View from beneath the surface #1” will be included in the show.   The event, a silent auction, happens Saturday night, October 21 from 5-9 at 313 Butler Gallery, at 313 Butler Street in Brooklyn, New York.  The art remains up through November 13.

“View from beneath the surface 1,” oil on canvas, 12″ diameter, 2014.

The full event description can be found on Facebook, here.

Artworks: A Benefit for Arts Gowanus

I’m pleased to announce that, once again, I will be contributing to this year’s ArtWorks — a benefit for Arts Gowanus!

This year’s event happens Thursday, May 11, 2017, 7 – 10 pm at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215.  I will be there!

So join me in celebrating the arts and artists of Gowanus and take home a piece of original artwork from a local artist!  I’m donating my painting Lifeworld 10 (2013):

“Lifeworld 10,” oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2013

Need I say that this is a rare and amazing opportunity to obtain one of my Lifeworld paintings at an amazing price?

By buying a ticket to the ArtWorks event you are buying a chance to “win” this fabulous painting along with 74 other great works made by artists working in Gowanus.  Plus you’ll support the critical mission of Arts Gowanus to promote, support and advocate for local artists and a sustainable arts community in the Gowanus neighborhood. Here’s a link to some of the other artworks available.

In case the art isn’t appealing enough, don’t miss the food, drink and revelry.

Tickets are on sale now, $250 single, $300 for couple, which entitles you to one original work of art… Click here to buy tickets!

Ticket sales are limited, so act fast!

Pinhole research – December chill

I’ve recently started up again with some explorations in digital pinhole photography.  How this works is: you take a digital SLR, take off the lens and replace it with a modified body cap that serves as the ‘pinhole.’  (I don’t recall where I purchased the pinhole cap, but if you Google ‘digital pinhole – Nikon‘ you’ll probably find it quickly).  Your camera needs to be sophisticated enough to have all manual settings — and most importantly, the ability to manually hold the shutter open — it’s called ‘bulb’ on my Nikon.

My old Nikon D-60 equipped with a pinhole body cap I found somewhere on the Internet. The cap is just an ordinary body cap with a hole drilled in it, covered with some film with a tiny transparent spot in the middle.

Shooting pinhole is a very different experience, and I imagine it is closer to what the earliest photographers experienced.  It requires patience and a great deal of practice.

One difficulty is that I can’t really get a good view through the viewfinder of what the shot is going to be.  It takes some practice to aim the camera body in the right direction.  Since the shutter needs to be open for a good 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds or more, one needs to be really immobile (a tripod or monopod helps).

Digital pinhole also suffers from the problem of dust on the sensor: something that wouldn’t normally happen with film pinhole technology, since each frame of film is virgin.  The digital ‘film’, i.e., the sensor, is hardly a virgin, as it gets used over and over again, and my Nikon is pretty filthy at this point.  Photoshop is a huge help at this juncture!

Prospect Park, December 2016. Digital pinhole photograph, liberally cleaned up and tweaked in Photoshop and Lightroom. A fun, ‘painterly’ process, but entirely digital.

Shooting this way is a [potentially] meditative experience.  In a recent outing, I came up with a number of really interesting shots that I can then liberally work with in Lightroom and Photoshop — it really brings photography closer to painting — and for me, provides fascinating subject matter for oil paintings I want to realize. (See Lifeworld series).  So this pinhole outing is a form of visual research.

Below are a series of abstract detail shots that were all created from the full image shown above.

Pinhole zoom-crop experiment number 1.

Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #2

Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #3

Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #4.

Which of these should I use for a painting?

Painting of the week: “Osage chiasm”

This week’s featured painting is an odd one I created way back in 2009.  “Osage chiasm” (that’s chiasm not chasm) is 20″H by 16″W, and is acrylic on canvas.  The piece is essentially a stylized portrait of one of my favorite trees: a very old Osage orange that lives on the Nethermead in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  This painting has been in my living room for the past several years, and I look at it every day.  The photo doesn’t quite do it justice: the colors are weird and don’t reproduce well.  In the real life the blues of the sky are considerably more vivid.

“Osage chiasm” acrylic on canvas, 20×16″, 2009.

October Art News: Gowanus Swim goes Natural/Unnatural

October is here and there’s a lot of art going on!

I hope everyone knows about my art at the Ploughman in Park Slope; if you haven’t had a chance to visit, my paintings (including Lifeworld 12 pictured below) will be on display through October 28.  The Ploughman is located at 438 Seventh Avenue, between 14th and 15th Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

"Lifeworld 12" mixed media on canvas, 20x20", 2013.
“Lifeworld 12″ mixed media on canvas, 20×20”, 2013.


Meanwhile back on the canal …

Gowanus Swim Society has both an exhibition of member art and an open party coming up during the weekend of Gowanus Open StudiosSaturday/Sunday, October 15-16.

First, the party: Once again this year, Gowanus Swim is hosting the official Gowanus Open Studios Saturday night after-party at Halyards Bar (406 3rd Ave at 6th Street, Brooklyn)! The party features an exhibition of video art curated by Joonyun Hwang and Keun Young Park of Brooklyn Art Cluster/Square Dot Plus Studios.

Natural/Unnatural happens Saturday, October 15!
Natural/Unnatural happens Saturday, October 15!

We’ll also have live music by the bands The Vajra Temple, Hair Club and June Submarine.

The videos will be screened during the day (1-6) with the party getting underway at 6pm.  The entire event is free and open to the public, with drink specials all night!  Join us!

Then, the exhibit: throughout the weekend of Gowanus Open Studios, see my work along with other members of Gowanus Swim Society at Square Dot Plus Studio (at Spaceworks Gowanus) 540 President Street, BB, Brooklyn (between 3rd and 4th Avenues). The show will be on exhibit both Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, from noon to 6pm each day.

I hope to see you during Gowanus Open Studios!

 

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