Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finding "other venues" to exhibit

Ansonia Pharmacy Art Program Goes Kaput

"Ansonia Pharmacy"
Oil on canvas panel
4 x 5 inches

As a working artist, I am always interested in learning about places to exhibit my work. As so often happens, I find places that are outside the usual gallery environment. The Ansonia Pharmacy Windows was one such place. Located on the corner of 10th Street and Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village, the two windows of this neighborhood pharmacy offered artists a chance to exhibit their work directly to the people passing by and especially for the people living and working in the neighborhood. It became something of an institution. Many viewers would take a moment to go inside the pharmacy and jot down a comment in the artists' guest book and often, sales were made. I was fortunate enough to exhibit in the windows and it was always a wonderful experience. Sadly, the building was sold, the rents jacked up and the pharmacy was forced to relocate. They were able to stay in the neighborhood, moving just several doors down, but the art program has been eliminated as the windows do not offer the same space as in the older location. So, once again, my New York changes, and something is lost.

Here's a link to an article about the Ansonia's move.

On another note, once again I will be exhibiting a painting in a non-traditional space. This time it is a group show through OIA, Organization of Independent Artists. "Aspects of the City" will be on view at the New York Law School, located at 185 West Broadway, from May 24-June 25. Since the subject so suited my work, I decided to participate in this exhibit.

"LIC/Short Triangle"
Oil on canvas
15 x 30 inches

Monday, May 24, 2010


30th Anniversary Show and Sale

photo of one of the studio walls

Sunday's open studio event went very well indeed. A number of family, friends and collectors came by and really spent time looking, and in some cases purchasing "Florin's", which warmed this artist's heart. The trains were running on schedule, the weather cooperated and it was a fun event. I've been getting great feedback today and I'm glad I was able to pull this event together. After 30 years in the studio the show was almost a "period after a sentence." Now to do more work and continue on the tradition, here in LIC.

Monday, May 10, 2010

30 Years in LIC

30th Anniversary of SJF Studio
Open Studio and Sale Event

Photo of studio circa 1980

The place where I come to paint, a sanctuary, a space to create – my studio. In honor of this very special 30th studio anniversary, I invite you to join me on SUNDAY, MAY 23, 12-5 P.M. for a special show and sale celebrating this milestone. Browse through the paintings done over the years and take advantage of a special 30% discount on a large selection of paintings. If you’ve ever wanted to own an original “Florin” or would like to add a painting to your already existing collection, now’s the time. Payment by cash, check or credit card with a PayPal account accepted.

I will also be arranging studio visits by appointment only on Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21 for those who cannot come on Sunday. Just send me an email and I'll set up a time and give you traveling directions.

Thought I’d share my journal entries circa 1980, 30 long years ago…

May 9, 1980
Excitement! I can’t take this. Feel ready to burst. Will check out a studio in LIC tomorrow. And, if it’s halfway decent, I’ll take it!

May 11, 1980
I think I’ve got me a studio! Checked one out in Long Island City. Good feelings. A skylight. Place to work. Artist I spoke with seemed nice. Rent reasonable. Will meet other artists during the week. Hopefully get it right away!

May 12, 1980
Met other artists at studio. Paid my two months rent and I’m in and feeling much more than elated. Many ideas. Can’t wait to begin work. Light is right. Can work there after job for a few hours. Just want to get it set up and going.

Looking forward to seeing what the next 30 years will bring!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Art in a mansion and on stage

"NAC Gramercy"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Today's painting is of the National Arts Club on 20th Street on the south side of the lovely Gramercy Park. According to the NAC Fact Sheet, the mansion was built in the 1840's, acquired by Samuel Tilden in the 1870's and was given an overhaul by the famed architect Calvert Vaux (one of the designer's of Central Park). In 1906 it became the home of The National Arts Club. The building is a designated New York and National Historic landmark and I enjoy walking past this vestige of old New York regularly. I tried to capture a part of the facade, with the beautiful terra cotta work and the reflection of the trees in the park reflected in the large front window. The facade underwent much needed restoration not too long ago. Many art organizations host their annual exhibits in what was formerly the grand ballroom as well as in the downstairs galleries. The building's interior has been used in many movie productions over the years, most notably the ballroom scene in "The Age of Innocence." It's always a treat to have one of my paintings hanging on the walls of the NAC, and I felt it only right that I do a painting of this architectural delight.

Now on to the subject of art and the theater. There are two fascinating plays on view that I highly recommend. The New York Theater Workshop, located off-Broadway on East 4th Street, features a delightful new play written by and starring the very talented Claudia Shear ("Blown Sideways Through Life", "Dirty Blonde"). The play just started previews and I was lucky enough to see it this past week-end. An art restorer working in obscurity in Brooklyn, is given the rare opportunity to work on the restoration of Michaelangelo's sculpture David. Art, life, inspiration, longing...all themes are explored in this insightful, well-crafted, and often humorous play. After the play, as I walked uptown on 2nd Avenue with my friend Debbie, we found ourselves walking behind one of the actors we had just seen in the play. That's what I love about New York. An actor can be performing onstage one moment before a live audience and then just casually walk the streets unobserved and unnoticed.

At the other end of the spectrum we go from Michaelangelo to the artist Mark Rothko, the subject of "Red", currently playing on Broadway. From the opening scene, which has the talented actor Alfred Molina who portrays Rothko sitting quietly contemplating his large red canvas, one is transported to the artist's studio, listening as he expounds on his ideas about art and life to his young studio assistant, also an aspiring artist. A great scene finds both the master and the apprentice priming a canvas onstage! If you find yourself in New York this Spring, treat yourself to a show, you won't be disappointed.