Gowilla - Spring 2015

Page 1



Spring 2015



I live in Gowanus. That makes me a:

#   Gowanussian #   Gowilla #Gowillan #   Gowander #   Gowanderer #   Canalero #   Dredger

This Spring in Gowanus YOU’LL FIND…

– Sports You Didn’t Know You Liked – Perfect Date Ideas – Your Horror-Scope – The Top 3 Drinks – A ‘Cue Crawl – The Venice of Brooklyn? – Some Pickles WHAT WE…

GOWANUS: A place and an aggregation of folklore, industry, and layers of material accrued from New York City’s harbor, the result of which has been a slow evolution in creating a distinct neighborhood.

“I’m goin’ back some day, gonna stay on Blue Bayou… Where the folks are fi ne and the world is mine on Blue Bayou”  — Roy Orbison

– Overheard on the Canal YOU’LL BE INTRODUCED TO…

– Lee Weintraub – Simona Prives AND MORE… INSIDE

02 The Gowanus Gowilla: “Bubblin’ Beneath”

The Gowanus Gowilla

The Gowilla is a mythical creature born in the Gowanus Canal. It is resourceful, energetic, and powered by mystical creativity. The Gowilla’s beauty is natural and industrial; it is the fusion of human ingenuity and grace, the building up and breaking down that makes New York City an exciting habitat for humans.


This newspaper/zine explores, meditates on, and projects upon the character, quality, and spirit of what was, and is, Gowanus. Sponsored by 365 Bond—a new residential community with the same vision. We want to pause on the Gowanus of today, collect what is here, and create an active record of all things, people, and places that make Gowanus, Gowanus. Enjoy the voyage…

An Exquisite Corpse


365 Bond


Adam Turnbull Scott McCracken


CO OP Brand Partners


While we try to ensure that the information provided in this newspaper is factually correct, mistakes do occur and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of our material. If you do notice any mistakes, please let us know.

Brandon Schulman WRITERS

Ilana Manaster Abigail H. Smith-Hanby Dave Shanfield Pete Widry

The design of the newspaper is a copyright of The Gowanus Gowilla and material from the newspaper can not be reproduced without written prior permission. Photographs have either been commissioned, purchased, or sourced directly from employees, and ownership is that of the photograph’s original creator.

The Gowanus Gowilla



The Neighborhood

A Gowanus Timeline 1600

1700 1636 Site of the first settlement by Dutch Farmers; Gowanus is formed as one of the first of four Brooklyn hamlets

1664 Brouwer led several Breucklen residents to petition for permission to dredge a canal in order to supply water to run the mill

1645 Adam Brouwer built and operated the first gristmill, patented in New York at Gowanus


1699 The Old Stone House is built along Denton’s mill 1700 Nicholas Vechte built a farmhouse of brick and stone now known as the Old Stone House

1869 Canal Completed 1889 Carroll St. Bridge was constructed (the oldest of four remaining retractable bridges in the country)

1704 Gowanus Road created



1911 Installation of the Flushing Tunnel

1946 John Flaherty, President of Grain Handlers Union, found floating in Gowanus Canal 1955 Last Dredging of the canal

1931 Tony Gubitosi, Brooklyn Racketeer, found Slain in Gowanus Canal 1935 Old Stone House is rebuilt at its present location in Washington Park

1849 New York Legislature authorized the construction of the Gowanus Canal

1776 Battle of Brooklyn

1975 City of New York established a Gowanus Industrial Renewal Plan 1979 Frank Shifreen began hosting open-studio party-art shows at his apartment in the 19th Century Munitions Factory on 3rd Street

1998 Lavender Lake, documentary film by Alison Prete about the Gowanus Canal and the discovery of a suitcase full of human body parts

1981 The Monumental Show art exhibition opens in the munitions factory; Gowanus Canal Memorial Artyard created

2100 2018 Gowanus dredging concludes; Superfund now just friggin’ super

2010 Gowanus Ballroom founded 2014 Signs of herons, egrets, bats, Canadian geese, small fish and crabs around the waterway

2020 Shuffl eboard, archery and rock climbing joined by everyone’s favorite new Gowanus sport, sustainable fishing? 2029 It finally becomes fashionable to not have facial hair. Finally 2030 Facial hair is back. Oh well, we enjoyed 2029 while it lasted

2066 After years of debate, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is relocated to Gowanus

2100 Nothing critical happens, but it’s a great number for a year

2088 We look back 100 years and find that the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack topped the charts. We drink to progress


The Gowanus Gowilla


On a date in Gowanus? Gowanus has it all. Art, music, yummies. This could be the start of something great...

SEE ART… at Gowanus Ballroom. Appear cultured and cool. 55 9th Street, (347) 460-2687

EAT DINNER… at Pickle Shack. Get your own fries. 256 4th Avenue, (347) 763-2127

LISTEN TO JAZZ… at iBeam. Seem deep and open to new experiences. 168 7th Street

SHARE… two pieces of pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ irresistible seasonal menu. 439 3rd Avenue, (718) 499-2917

ENJOY… Breuckelen Gin cocktails and a handsy game of pool at Halyards. 406 3rd Avenue, (718) 532-8787

THE BEST 3 DRINKS… to imbibe while engaging in deep conversation about the universe.

1 “River’s Edge” at Lavender Lake 383 Carroll Street

2 “Positively 9th St.” at Lucey’s Lounge 475 3rd Avenue

3 “Beer Flight” at The Roof @ Whole Foods 214 3rd Street

Sports you didn’t know you loved. CANOEING Gowanus has become the go-to destination for sports venues that are — not surprisingly — off the beaten path. Here are some ways you can play.

ARCHERY WHERE: Gotham Archery, 480 Baltic St. (718) 858-5060 WHAT: 7,500 square-foot facility with classes, a pro shop and more. Bow rental will set you back $10, plus $15 per hour for a lane. You will also need to take a one-time $25 intro class. ENTHUSIAST: Geena Davis

FENCING WHERE: Brooklyn Fencing, 62 Fourth St. (718) 522-5822 WHAT: Experienced fencers can enjoy open bouting anytime for $25 ($35 with equipment rental). Want to learn to fence? An intro class runs for $240 and there are competitions for adults as well as kids. ENTHUSIAST: Inigo Montoya

WHERE: Gowanus Dredgers, 2nd St. Launch Site (718) 243-0849 WHAT: Free tours (yes, free) on the Gowanus in a dredgers canoe with life jacket. ENTHUSIAST: Your Camp Counselor

SHUFFLEBOARD WHERE: The Royal Palms, 514 Union St. (347) 223-4410 WHAT: A walk-in shuffleboard court with lanes going for $40. You can also book a cabana for parties of 10 or more, with a lane and an unlimited drinks package. ENTHUSIAST: Your Grandparents

ROCK CLIMBING WHERE: Brooklyn Boulders, 575 Degraw St. (347) 834-9066 WHAT: Scale the walls here for $25 a day or sign up for an affordable $99/month auto-pay membership. Key: they rent equipment, so you can try before you buy. ENTHUSIAST: Kristen Bell

The Gowanus Gowilla



’Cue Crawl Nothing hits the spot like a slab of succulent slow-smoked meat. And luckily for us, expert pit masters seem to be opening up shop in Brooklyn faster than you can say “pass the toothpick.”

We took some real Texas Longhorns out to sample the wares at Dinosaur BBQ, Fletcher’s and Hometown. Here’s what they had to say:

DINOSAUR BBQ This long-established, Syracuse-based chain opened up on Union Street in June 2013, and the crowds have been coming ever since. With a warm, friendly ambiance and a huge menu, it is sure to have something to please anyone. Even vegetarians! MUST HAVE: Everybody agreed that the ribs at Dinosaur BBQ were the best we had all day. Nice and fatty St. Louis pork ribs, dry rubbed and smoked, then fi nished with a light glaze of sauce, this was fall-off-the-bone, fi nger-sucking, good time ‘cue. We also loved those vinegary turkey-neck greens. SPECIAL PLUS: With its big tables, plenty of high chairs, a kid’s menu, a changing table in the bathroom, plus fun extras like crayons and temporary tattoos and custom sippy-cups—Dinosaur BBQ is just about as kid-friendly as it gets. But it’s big enough that you won’t feel like you’re in somebody’s play space, especially if you are looking to have some adult fun sampling from the extensive beer list.

FLETCHER’S BROOKLYN BBQ There’s a reason why Brooklyn is right there in this intimate joint’s name: of the three stops, Fletcher’s seemed most in touch with what has come to be known as Brooklyn cuisine. Their meat is all sourced from farm-cooperatives who raise their animals humanely, without hormones or antibiotics. The result? You’ll spend a bit more here, but from the ribs and brisket to the mac+cheese and beans, you can taste the quality in every single bite.


MUST HAVE: Our tasters loved the ribs here, too, but the real standout was the burnt ends. Cut from the pointed end of brisket that’s been smoking for twenty-four hours, these fatty, meaty morsels are dry-rubbed and decadent, with a rich texture not unlike butter—only, you know, meatier. SPECIAL PLUS: The food here is beautiful. Seriously. Our plates were ready for their close-up. Also, the watermelon cooler has tequila in it, which was unexpected, like a watermelon Jolly Rancher went for a dip in a margarita.



While not exactly in Gowanus (as one taster suggested, Red Hook is bayou-adjacent), we could not resist trekking across 9th Street to this waterside Texas BBQ mecca. And we were not disappointed. Started by a Brooklyn native (hence the name) who worked with pit masters across the country, Hometown offers peppery, smoky options that range from lamb belly to beef ribs, jerk baby backs and pork shoulder greens. Walk up, place your order and get ready to eat some delicious, authentic BBQ. And maybe you’ll get lucky like one of our tasters and get a free sample of a burnt end. “Best thing I ate all day,” he said. MUST HAVE: Texas BBQ is all about brisket, and this place does it right. Thick-cut, with a perfect balance of smoke and chew, you’ll fi nd the real deal here, complete with bright pink smoke ring. Nothing lean about it. As one Longhorn said, “This is what you want.” SPECIAL PLUS: The space is huge, it’s right on the water, and there’s a large selection of American whiskey and craft beer. So if you have to take a snooze before heading back to civilization, you can do it in the shadow of Lady Liberty. 1. Full serving of Burnt Ends, ribs and delightful sides 2. Just one rib left 3. Everyone is satisfied!



The Gowanus Gowilla



CAPRICORN | DEC. 22 – JAN. 19 Your sign is half fish, half goat… Maybe it’s time to lay off the canal water.

AQUARIUS | JAN. 20 – FEB. 18 You’re a progressive individual, and you pride yourself on your original style. But no matter what you wear or where you shop this year, you can expect to run into someone wearing the exact same outfit as you. Soon you’ll see “#twins” all over Instagram.

PISCES | FEB. 19 – MAR. 20 You give a lot of yourself, and over the years you’ve graciously invited your out-of-town friends to crash at your place should they ever fi nd themselves in New York. Well, this year the chickens will come home to roost. You’ll fi nd yourself running a bed and breakfast, free of charge, caught in an endless cycle of washing sheets and towels, writing transit instructions on Post-It notes, rambling off restaurant suggestions, and being forced to “celebrate” your friends’ visits with them.

ARIES | MAR. 21 – APR. 19 Your quick and competitive energy may help get you navigate the city, but will not be appreciated by the Sunday shoppers at Whole Foods. Like the kind, old woman taking 15 minutes to pick out three perfect grapefruits, the trains this year will be slow-moving. Expect delays, and try to keep your cool.

CANCER | JUN. 21 – JUL. 22 This season will bring you face to face with old friends. Well, more like old acquaintances. After awkward greetings and half-baked embraces, you’ll spend many a minute wading through mindless small talk and reminiscing over the few, insignificant experiences you shared together. Soon enough you’ll be wishing for winter to return, just for an excuse to wrap a scarf around your face and live like a hermit.

TAURUS | APR. 20 – MAY 20 Patience is a virtue and confidence is key, but an excess of both can outweigh common sense. Here’s some advice: after waiting for an hour and 47 minutes, you can probably assume that the G isn’t running, even though you’ve spent most of that time trying to convince your friends otherwise. Swallow your pride, pull out your wallet, and take a cab.

GEMINI | MAY 21 – JUN. 20 Curiosity is your greatest strength but also your fatal flaw, as your indecisiveness leads to you biting off more than you can (or should) chew. As befitting your sign, your fate this year will come in pairs: two drinks too many, two sizes bigger, two terrible Tinder dates.

LEO | JUL. 23 – AUG. 22 Ted is going to receive that promotion, not you. Sorry, that really sucks.

VIRGO | AUG. 23 – SEP. 22 At some point this spring, your apartment is going to lose Internet access, instantaneously and irrevocably, and chaos will ensue. The strong personal relationships you’ve worked so hard to maintain will dwindle in accordance with your social media presence. No email, no Netflix, no Seamless, no Facebook, and no Instagram! You’re virtually dead to the world.

LIBRA | SEP. 23 – OCT. 22 You’re socially conscious, hardworking, and prefer to avoid conflict at all costs. Which is why it will come as a complete surprise when, upon checkout, you’re informed loudly and publicly that you’ve been suspended from the Park Slope Food Co-op (how embarrassing).

SCORPIO | OCT. 23 – NOV. 21 This year you’ll be brought closer to your family than ever before. Literally. You know that woman who emailed you about the sublet you posted on craigslist? The one who described herself as “quiet and lowmaintenance with a penchant ginger for snaps and Mark Ruffalo”? That would be your grandmother, and you’ll think twice about rejecting her application if you still want to receive that nice crisp $20 in your birthday card.

SAGITTARIUS | NOV. 22 – DEC. 21 Your charisma and sense of humor often make you the life of the party, but watch out — in the next few months, one of your jokes is going to fall flat. Like, unbelievably flat. Not a single laugh. And it will likely be offensive, too. You may even lose friends. Keep your social gatherings to a minimum, and avoid open-mic night at all costs.

All day long I dream about: “The new home for the Kentile Floors Sign. I’m afraid I’ll get lost without it!” —Willow, 24

“What the dredgers are going to fi nd at the bottom of the canal!” —Peter, 29

“A scoop of ‘It Came From Gowanus’ salted chocolate ice cream on a pretzel cone from Ample Hills.” —Leslie, 33

The Gowanus Gowilla



The Venice of Brooklyn? Brooklyn is a Boomtown right now and the question remains: What will become of Gowanus? Let’s take a moment to reflect on all the references used for describing this Canal: Mafia Dumping Ground, Perfume Creek, Lavender Lake, Thorough Fare, Workshop, Superfund, G-Slope, Gowanus Village, Brooklyn’s coolest Superfund Site, Place for Reflection, Little Gowanice, Home of Gowanda. Former Borough President Marty Markowitz coined Gowanus “The Venice of Brooklyn”, this led us to wonder, what if Gowanus became a Venice? Or a Bayou? Or maybe the next Highline?

GOWANUS AS VENICE CANAL If the Gowanus Canal does become Brooklyn’s Venice, which Venice is most likely to manifest — the LA or Venice kind? Will their be black caped hooded wanders of the night floating along dark, dank, foggy cobble stone streets? Or, will there be oiled, tanned body builders flexing and flaunting along a broad sidewalk lined with palm trees? Will you smell fresh tomatoes simmering or salty ocean air? Will you hear Andrea Bocelli or Jim Morrison? Along the canal’s edge do you see yourself sipping Bellini cocktails or dodging skateboarders? Will it be gondolas or Range Rovers? If Gowanus does become a Venice it would likely be a simulation of what already exists. But this won’t be the case. A Gowanus Venice would be a Brooklyn Venice!


GOWANUS AS A BAYOU Now imagine this: the Gowanus Canal becomes a slow moving, lush, bayou; the Gowanus Bayou. Water that was once contained by a hard canal edge, now seeps into low-lying areas throughout it’s banks. The edge erodes and becomes a soft organic line that blurs into city blocks with no distinguishable limit. Spanish moss drips from swamp cypress, bull frogs moan, crocs and single-engine fishing boats troll the waters. Everything on the canal’s banks slows down: slow-cooking, slow talking, slow moving. An absolute contrast to the hyper-speed cacophony of Manhattan. The Gowanus Bayou becomes a new park typology within New York City’s open space network.

GOWANUS AS THE HIGHLINE Like the Highline, the Canal is a linear piece of industrial infrastructure that connects a variety of urban conditions. And just like the Highline, the Canal becomes a highly designed esplanade where tourists flock and models pose. It will be an urban oasis, most literally, offering inland water access. Think about the monumental effect the Highline has had on the last decade of development along Manhattan’s West Side. Is it a coincidence that new developments along the Highline are highly desired pieces of art or architecture? Think: Gehry, Novel, Hadid; never before has there been an influx of buildings designed by ‘starchitects’ in the United States. Could a similar situation unfold along the Gowanus? Could designing along the Canal be the next step for emerging architects after winning MoMA’s Young Architect Program? What kinds of ideas about urbanism, community, infrastructure programming and would emerge from Gowanus?



GOWANUS AS GOWANUS! Indeed, there are a number of directions future development of the Gowanus Canal. Most likely the future Gowanus won’t manifest from a singular vision but will hopefully be an aggregation of voices and ideas of local residents, designers, and developers. Right now, Gowanus represents potential and with this—a hope for the next iteration of urban progress. We are incredibly excited to see what is to come. 1. Venice Canal, Italy 2. Muscle Beach, Venice, L.A. 3. Bayou, Florida 4. The Highline, N.Y.C.



The Gowanus Gowilla

Spring in Gowanus DAY-DRINK It’s getting warmer out, which means your affi nity for drinking in the daylight has too. Mission Dolores opens at 2PM. Bloody Mary time! 249 4th Avenue, (347) 457-5606

VEG–OUT Eat dinner at the Pickle Shack (make sure you get the fries). 256 4th Avenue, (347) 763-2127

GROOVE-OUT AT IBEAM Seem deep and feel sophisticated with some live jazz action. 168 7th Street

HELP THE HUNGRY Chips has been serving up food, shelter and hope for people in the neighborhood since 1971. 200 4th Avenue, (718) 237-2962

SALVAGE New York Old Iron satisfies far more than your scrap iron needs. Broken bicycles, gorilla masks, mannequin legs — you name it, they’ve got it. 118 2nd Avenue, (917) 837-3039


Comfort, Italian Style BUCATINI CU SARDE Tomato season is approaching at the farmer’s market, but who said Italian cuisine is all about tomatoes? We asked Nico Daniele, chef at Bella Gioia if he had a favorite recipe to enjoy while the basking in the spring sun. Bucatini cu sarde, or straw pasta with sardines, is a sweet and savory pasta dish he calls, “a Sicilian staple.” We are sure that the combination of salty fish with sweet raisins and crunchy pine nuts will delight your palate and invigorate your soul.

INGREDIENTS 6oz of bucatini pasta 2 1/2oz of sardine fillets (scaled and cleaned) 1/4oz of raisins 1/4oz pignoli (pine nuts) 1/4oz of panko bread crumbs 2 cloves of garlic (smashed) 2oz sicilian olive oil 3oz of white table wine. 1oz chopped Italian parsley. 1/8oz of bottarga (tuna roe) Salt and pepper to taste

Nico Daniele

INSTRUCTIONS Bring water to a boil and cook pasta for approximately 9 minutes or until al dente. Cut sardine fi llets into cubes. In a sautée pan, heat olive oil over medium flame. When oil gets hot, add smashed garlic and roast until golden brown. Once garlic is golden, add cubes of sardine and cook for 2 minutes. Once sardines are cooked, deglaze the pan with a drop of white wine. Once wine is cooked out, add a tablespoon of the pasta water to the pan. Bring pan to a simmer for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pan, combine the raisins, pine nuts, parsley, and bread crumbs. Over a high flame, add two tablespoons of olive oil and toast the ingredients until golden. Add cooked pasta to pan with sardines and toss for 30 seconds on a low flame. Plate pasta in a deep round bowl. Top with toasted bread crumbs, raisins etc… Shave bottarga on top and enjoy!!

What I’m Brewing

Gowanus Futures

We asked Jeff from Brooklyn Homebrew how amateur beermakers can handle the warmer weather. His suggestion? Saison. “It’s a farmhousestyle beer from Belgium and France whose yeast strains are more resilient to hotter temperatures,” he explained. Get everything you need to brew up a batch today at their retail location. 164 20th Street, (718) 832-2739

Today, there is a public discourse around water, both the destructive lack of and destructive abundance. Projections for how our society should respond have been cultivated through federal and non profit reports and design competitions. The Gowanus Canal has become a piece of this conversation. Its Superfund designation, vulnerability to storm events, post-industrial landscape, and status of being one of the last undeveloped waterfront neighborhoods within rapidly developing Brooklyn, has made Gowanus a topic of interest amongst politicians, real estate developers, and designers.

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy envisions an open, clean and alive Gowanus Canal Watershed. Check out their 2015 line-up of volunteer days, walking tours, lectures, and other events! www.gowanuscanalconservancy.org.

The Gowanus Gowilla



Lee Weintraub Making Landscapes Lee Weintraub grew up in the Bronx and as a child gained an acute understanding for how open spaces bring people together. He has used his 40-year career as a Landscape Architect to create democratic open spaces throughout New York that have become much loved places for communities.

In late 2014, Lee shared his thoughts with us on designing public spaces along New York’s post-industrial waterfronts as well as the importance of creating an inclusive public design process. The text below includes excerpts taken from this conversation that focus on 3 Brooklyn waterfront parks designed by Lee: Erie Basin Park and Coffee Street Pier both in Red Hook, and 363 – 365 Bond’s waterfront in Gowanus.




Erie Basin, an abandoned shipyard in Red Hook, was a very strange place before IKEA. Our initial walk was through these enormous disheveled abandoned buildings — abandoned and now filled with years of abandonment. Which you want to try to save because it’s terrific, it’s like you’re walking through film. You’re an actor — this light that comes through the open windows, and the dust motes — it was fabulous. There were pieces around that we were able to save, and IKEA was supportive when we wanted to save the remaining cranes on site. We wanted to try to save whatever we could from the shipyard. We scrambled around and tagged things, and incorporated them into the story we were attempting to tell at Erie Basin. We saved four out of the six cranes we inherited. This is kind of the irony of this process (designing landscapes along New York’s waterfront) — we could have saved two more, and they would have been fabulous. But since the shipyard had been ignored for a such a long time the cranes were sitting on a foundation that had been severely undermined. One morning the cranes just tipped over in the water.



We did another Red Hook project, something called the Coffee Street Pier. Long, long, long time ago. The design was done out of a storefront on Van Brunt Street. We worked in that storefront, met in that storefront, and met on one of the piers. We would have meetings that would just last for hours. We would try desperately to establish some measure of consensus with this group of people. Then somebody would walk in — usually it was this guy Frank and his dog. They would walk in and they would say something, and the order and consensus that you had tried to conceive (and we would be getting close to achieving) would just completely fall apart. In a report we did for the EDC, Frank and his dog are acknowledged as one of the important contributors to the plan for Coffee Street.

363–365 BOND WATERFRONT PARK AND ESPLANADE, GOWANUS We were presenting the Lightstone project (then a Toll Brothers project) to the community board and it was a typical community board meeting, with the “you’re this, you’re that — you shouldn’t be doing this, you shouldn’t be doing that.” Some guy gets up and he says. “Are you the guy that did the Coffee Street Pier?” And I said, “Yea, I was the guy what did Coffee Street Pier.” And the guy said, “He’s alright!” I think that the project feels right and I think Gowanus is going to be developed. At some point, the community has to realize the return on the risk. And at the end of the day, I think it’s right. And my hope is that a legitimate and wise plan for Gowanus emerges from this process.


1. – 3. Erie Basin 4. Aerial of Coffey Street Pier 5. Sketch of 365 Esplanade



The Gowanus Gowilla


Interview with Simona Prives ArtBridge  ›

Simona Prives  ›

A. B. ›

S. P.  ›

A. B. ›

S. P.  ›

A. B. ›

S. P.  ›


A. B. ›

S. P.  ›

A. B. ›

S. P.  ›

ArtBridge is a Chelsea-based nonprofit that specializes in transforming NYC’s ubiquitous construction fencing into art exhibitions featuring local, emerging artists. The idea is that these exhibitions replace the blight of scaffolding with provocative art, while emerging artists receive tremendous public exposure. We see thousands of submissions every year, and have never seen any art remotely like yours. Please briefly describe your latest series, which was included in our last exhibition. My latest series is called Supernova 1-5. Each of the 5 compositions resemble what I envision the end of the world to look like—mini remnants of the aftermath of a grand explosion in space. So what better title than the largest explosion of all, one that outshines an entire galaxy. How have your jet-setting residencies (two in Italy, and one each in Greece, New York, California, and Vermont) affected the shape of your work? This series is a fusion of many different locations. The residencies allowed me to collect a wide range of site-specific elements. For example, the geological/botanical textures were produced in fantastic locations like Skopelos, a Greek island in the western Aegean Sea, Valdottavo, in the hills of Tuscany, as well as in other closer (but just as amazing) natural environments like the mountains in Vermont. During these stays, I produce bits and pieces that are completely inspired by their environment. Later, when I bring them back to Brooklyn, they transform into something totally different. Here, I start mixing it up with what I see everyday on the streets—construction sites, buildings, garbage, etc. I like that tension between totally opposing feelings. The details contained within your work are phenomenally meticulous—every time I look at one of your pieces again, I see something new and intriguing. Can you describe the methods and materials you’ve used to create this series of work? The work is constructed from several different mediums. I use scraps of my screen prints, monotype, drawings, photos, found material (sometimes literally garbage) to build each composition. There is a big mix of elements that are layered within each assemblage. For instance, the inky shapes are monoprints that were inspired by rock and plant textures, and some of my line drawings and silk screens are remnants of topographic maps and geological elements. I juxtaposed these organic materials with urban industrial elements that just don’t belong: utility poles, power plants, radioactive waste, electrical turbines, car engines, construction sites, that sort of thing. There is also a certain level of OCD: sometimes I will literally spend hours on two square inches of a collage. I love the physical process. The act of recycling parts to make a new whole reflects the themes of urban decay and regeneration. Do you precisely plan each piece in advance—or is there spontaneity in the composition? There is total spontaneity. Even when I try to plan something, it is pointless. I just don’t think that way, unfortunately (or fortunately?). Since all of my work is cut-and-pasted collage and photomontage, I start by piecing two elements together and seeing where that takes me. Sometimes it happens like magic, and sometimes it is a rough ride to nowhere. Where in Brooklyn do you live and create your art? How does living in Brooklyn impact your work? I live and create my art in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The post-industrial environment that characterizes the neighborhood strongly impacts the work. For instance many of the representational elements are actually fragments of photographs that I shoot while walking on the street. For example, the construction site renovations of the aboveground subway on 9th Street were a big inspiration. I love the lines and patterns formed by the scaffolding and train tracks. Another amazing thing about this area: I am surrounded by an incredible mix of artists. It’s constantly inspiring to see what others around me are producing—there is some really great work coming out of Gowanus! You teach at Parsons and The Art Institute. Does teaching help or impede your art? Both. Teaching definitely helps on the collaborative level. What I enjoy most about the classroom/studio environment is the exchange of ideas and the mix of personalities and perspectives. It is always a learning experience on some level. It is extremely satisfying to watch students’ work change and grow as a result of feedback and collaboration. On the other hand, would I enjoy having more time to work in my studio? Absolutely!

2. www.art-bridge.org 1. ‘Supernova’, Simona Prives 2. Detail of ‘Urban Modulations’ at 363–365 Bond Street

The Gowanus Gowilla



Check-out these spots…

and don’t forget our friends at… 4th Avenue Pub 718 Cyclery Ample Hills Creamery Avlee Greek Kitchen Bagel Pub Bar Tano Bella Gioia Black Mountain Wine House Brooklyn Fencing Center Brooklyn Homebrew Brooklyn Lyceum By Brooklyn Café Regular Chips Claireware Showroom Delilah Salon - Brooklyn Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Dominicks of Carroll Street El Nuevo Portal Everybody Eats Film Biz Recycling Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue Four & Twenty Blackbirds Fumi Brooklyn Ghenet Brooklyn Golden Stone Bodywork Gotham Archery Gowanus Grove H20 Flow Halyards Housing Works Thrift Shops Hunter’s Interference Archive J+B Design and Café Jolie Cantina

JPan Sushi Juice Haven LLC Lavender Lake Littleneck Lucey’s Lounge Makeville Studio Mission Dolores Monte’s Natural Plus No Relation Vintage Oaxaca Taqueria Pickle Shack Proteus Gowanus Reyes Deli & Grocery Runner & Stone Salsa Salsa Dance Studio Sara June Sonia Restaurant Soon Beauty Lab Stone Street Coffee Company Table 87 Coal Oven Pizza Taco Santo The Bahche Cafe The Bell House The Morbid Anatomy Library The Owl Farm The PINES The Rock Shop The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club The Sackett Triomph Fitness, Health, & Wellness Triple Diamond Tattoo Twig Terrariums Union Street Cafe Inc Victoria J Natural Hair Salon


The Gowanus Gowilla



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.