Gowanus Open Studios!

Here are some photos Fisk took of Gowanus Open Studios during the weekend of October 18/19th!

Work by Justin Whitkin
Véronique Gambier
Myla Seabrook
A couple of my drawings
Brandon & Myself
A detail of a work by Fisk!
A work by Mary Negro
Ashley Alioto next to her work
A sculpture by Jen Dwyer
John Azelvandre in his studio

Kristen Haskell representing Haskieville
J.J. & Fisk

This was my second year participating in Gowanus Open Studios and I had a blast. I spent the good portion of both days talking about art and socializing, which meant that the weekend was great.  I loved catching up with my artist friends - all of whom I never spend enough time with.  It was a great experience, though next year I will definitely have a studio of my own, as I don't really feel like being in a hallway is the best way to view artwork.  After the first day Gowanus Swim Society hosted a party for all the GOS artists and that was fun. I can't thank Brooklyn Art Space & Arts Gowanus enough for making the weekend such a success to so many people. 


Breasts and Breastmilk

A lot of my dear friends are having babies and as it's given me a small dose of baby fever. The result has been to read Breasts; A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams and to watch the documentary Breastmilk by Dana Ben-Ari

This book was perfect for satisfying all the questions you didn't know you had about the female breast.  Breasts begins with origins about how the breast could have evolved and for what purpose, before going into a number of chapters on the nutritional value of breast milk versus formula. Breastmilk contains invaluable probiotics that help baby develop strong and healthy gut flora. However, babies who drink formula end up consuming more protein and stay full longer.  What ever benefits breast milk has to offer are equally ruined by the amount of chemicals your baby is getting from those lovely breasts of yours. That being another big chapter- the amount of chemicals that are in every bath product, hair product, make up product, house hold cleaner, food container, computer and so on forever, that your breast tissue just loves to absorb and then pass to your new born baby. Also, formula is getting much better - so there is really a lot less harm in supplementing than people think. Williams did many tests on her own blood, only to discover that women in the United States have more chemicals in their blood than any other first world country - mostly because many products and companies are not regulated.   Williams also spent a great deal of time talking about breast cancer and how difficult it is to make a direct connection between what chemicals are causing the growth of unnatural tumors. A great deal of time was spent on male breast cancer, because it is so rare and can therefore paint a more clear picture of where cancer might be coming from. There was a fair amount of personal narrative, enough to give this research project a place to live and keep the story moving forward.  This is an excellent book for women who want to know about their breasts.

Breastmilk, by Dana Ben-Ari, is a documentary solely about the complicated and sometimes precarious relationship between mothers who breast feed and mothers who bottle feed.  A lot of guilt is placed on mothers who can't breastfeed or can't produce enough milk by lactivistas who believe that it's wrong to bottle feed at all. The documentary felt sad at points, mostly because the women who were really good at breast feeding were not so sympathetic to women who really tried to make breastfeeding work.  There were a number of great scenes where breast milk was shooting out of a variety of nipples. I was a bit squeamish the entire time but it was worth the watch!   


NU MURAL: Room 406!

Painting for 4 days in a row definitely has its challenges. Normally when I paint I have time to take breaks, consider options and live life - each of those being important components in finishing a work of art. Mural work is different in that it requires a set plan, then the space can sometimes dictate the terms, and you have a limited amount of time to work with. 

Before getting started I was really excited about painting this mural. Once I started painting, the amount of work this would take really hit me. After about 5 hours in, it was smooth sailing. At hour 35, I was pretty much over it in every way. Pushing through the last few hours is always the most difficult because you already have the mural finished in your mind and you're just ready to take a long break. 

I love my level.

Under painting and background started!

After I finished I was super relieved that it was over.  Cleaning everything up felt great and I couldn't wait to go home and sleep in my own bed. (The beds at NU are so comfortable though!) Now that it's been over 24 hour since I've finished, I'm finally able to appreciate the work that was done.  It's always fun to look back and see how much time and effort was put into creating a lasting work of art. 

Nu Hotel will be taking professional photos of the mural later on, as well there will be an opening in late October where people can come check out my mural and the recent murals of a few other artists.  All in all it was a lot of fun and I can't wait for another opportunity to paint a mural again. Funny enough, this time last year I was painting a mural in room 424 at the Ace Hotel in Midtown. 

As always - MANY and ALL the thank you's to Fisk for being so supportive during the entire process. When it comes to painting day after day, I need great company to keep me going - and he was definitely the most amazing company. 


The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

About four months ago Fisk had a dream that he went to Tibet.  It was a lovely dream that moved him to purchase a few books about Tibet and this was one of them. I picked this book up for a change of pace, since I hadn't really read much about Buddhism, though I knew this was the most current response to the well known; The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

There were phases in the process of reading this book. As with most things, at first I was overly illuminated, reading each page eagerly. I felt like I was learning a lot about ideas I had yet to consider - it was very exciting.  Rinpoche states "We often wonder what to do about negativity or certain troubling emotions.  In the spaciousness of meditation, you can view your thoughts and emotions with a totally unbiased attitude. When your attitude changes, then the whole atmosphere of your mind changes, even the very nature of your thoughts and emotions.  When you become more agreeable, then they do; if you have no difficulty with them, they have no difficulty with you either." pg. 78!

Once Rinpoche began to speak about the nature of ego, my own ego became defensive. I could feel my thoughts trying to discredit or feel cynical about what I was reading. My ego didn't want to let me believe that clarity of mind and happiness could be such easy things to accomplish - with dedication and practice. This didn't last too long, once the details of karma and meditation began to make themselves clear through the thoughts and examples provided by Rinpoche - I was immediately engaged again.

What was most wonderful about this text was how specifically Rinpoche describes the stages of death. A large point that he made was that only in understanding how to die, that one can truly understand what it means to live. The steps of death were clear, the strategies one needs to move peacefully through death are provided and leaves one with the wonderful idea that death is not something to be afraid of.

I could very naturally talk about this book for hours - it really satisfies a spiritual aspect of life that feels like it's missing most of the time. This text is one that I would love to read again, and I may just read it at least once a year from now on. The number of wonderful, compassionate and kind ideas Rinpoche communicates is amazing - definitely worth reading.


Véronique Gambier: Exposed Square

There's a stunning show up at Trestle Gallery this month.  I don't normally like to start a review with a compliment, but the color of this show deserves the comment. Véronique Gambier's Exposed Square is her second solo show here at Trestle Gallery, and similar to the first, her work speaks volumes about her investigations in color and brushwork.  I had the lucky opportunity to see Véronique in her studio a few weeks prior to the opening, and seeing her many works of art was incredibly exciting. Her square like formations resemble frames that allude to notions of looking out or looking within, which creates a subtle yet engaging subtext for the visual dichotomy between work that lays deep into the wall and works that float above it.  This show is up until October 3rd. 

Trestle Gallery 
168 7th St. 3rd Fl.
Brooklyn NY 11215
M-F 11AM-6PM


While My Mouth was Bleeding

Being in pain for two weeks can really dampen your attitude, here are the things I watched to cheer myself up:
American Horror Story Season 1
This was psychologically weird, a little cheesy at times (but that's okay it's TV horror!), and gruesome enough to make all the melodrama worth it. A lot of good make up and plot twists that weren't hokey. It also incorporated most Amityville style plot lines to create a series of relationships that were psychotic and engaging.

American Horror Story: Asylum
Asylum! I enjoyed this season better than the first, but only because I found it to be scarier. Electroshock therapy is one of the scariest things that can happen to a person in my opinion, and this was ripe with things like that. The writers somehow found a way to work in a plot about Nazis which I found to be hilarious for some reason, mostly because it's like the go to for any source of evil, but for good reason. Zachary Quinto is one of the sexiest killers of all time, which probably says something important about American culture - but that's a thesis project for another time. Also I'm sure most creative writing majors in LA have that topic covered.

Basket Case 2 (1990)
This was a really strange movie. Two brothers are on the run, one of which is a monster that looks like a rotten pile of skin and bones. There's an awful sex scene between the pile of skin monster and another female pile of skin monster that turns this film into something from another dimension. I didn't see the first Basket Case, nor the 3rd because this was fucking enough. *Fisk would like me to add that the these were not monsters, but that they were people. Apparently that was the point of the movie.

Frankenhooker (1990)
This was fun. Fat girlfriend gets chopped up by a fancy lawnmower, Dr. Frankenstein like boyfriend keeps her head preserved, kills a bunch of hookers to make a sexy body and attaches her head. Mayhem ensues when his girlfriend wakes up and takes the subway back to NYC to turn some tricks. There's also a great scene where a bunch of hookers blow up.

True Detective
THE YELLOW KING. If you had any doubt that Matthew McConaughey knew how to act, this will blow your mind. Full of evil and the occult with a lot of wise and hilarious one liners that really take the edge of an incredibly dark series. Lovecraftian. 



As we enjoy the 3rd weekend of September, I guess now would be a good time for me to include a couple of photos I took during the first weekend of the Governors Island Art Fair.  Most of the work was good to great, with some artists using the oddness of the space much better than others. The state of decay of the houses were beneficial to the work of some artists, however not to others who simply used the space as a gallery.  It was really enjoyable to browse each of the houses to see how rooms were tackled. There's a good lesson about creating work for a specific context in all this, but I won't bore you with details about that, I can say it's important to consider how the location of a place can dictate the way a work of art is perceived.  Also, pardon the terrible photos, clearly Fisk is the better photographer between the two of us, and I was moping around with a sore mouth snapping these.

Will Kurtz

Will Kurtz

Jed Miner

Sui Park

Sui Park

Alice Sfintesco

A couple photos from SUBMERGED by the Gowanus Swim Society:  Submerged was a group effort by the collective to create works that all related to the Gowanus Canal in some way. One goal was to bring awareness to the continual efforts made to rehabilitate the watershed area, while another goal was create a space for each of us to experiment with an installation.  Most of us went beyond our normal practices to really consider what kind of space we had been given. 

Abbie Groff

Suzy Kopf

Jen Dwyer

Natalie Lomeli

There were beautifully tall trees on Governors Island!

Installing the show with friends was a lot of fun despite all the unplanned things that happen in situations like these.  It was great to see how GSS came together to create a room that was cohesive yet informative about the Gowanus Canal.  Governors Island is just a great little ferry ride away, and really feels like you're stepping back into old world New York.  It was wonderful to be around such tall trees and rich greenery. Governors Island is in the process of being remodeled and I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's completely done.