Friday, February 19, 2010

Recognizing Creativity

Today I am the featured guest "artist" on Hey Brooklyn, an awesome weekly podcast featuring, and I quote, "creative people living and working in Brooklyn."

I loved chatting with the host, Amber, who I met at a book party I threw for my friend Ken. She, like me, is trying to recognize people's efforts to put themselves out into the world in one form or another, using a small sound studio off the BQE in what was once a storage unit to offer struggling Brooklyn artists the opportunity to talk freely about their passions. Definitely check it out at

It is interesting timing, the podcast, after my night last night, spent marking the closing of artist Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen's gallery show of detailed scalpel-cut paper works in Tribeca with Wanted editor John Slattery, who had featured Ms. Gregory-Gruen in the latest issue. There is on any given day so much artistic endeavor to be celebrated in New York.

The art show, on the fourth floor of an unmarked warehouse building on Leonard Street, was packed and Ms. Gregory-Gruen was a gracious hostess, explaining her intentions with the smooth, perfectly swirling cut pieces and with those that had been shot through from behind with a 12-gauge.

Sometimes, she said, you just need to shoot at things. I knew exactly what she meant. I put on pink boxing gloves instead of picking up a gun, but there are those days. I gave her a gold star, for trying. Each of the 20 or so pieces on the wall represented, she said, three- to six-months work, a lot of effort, painstaking if the exactness of them was any indication.

She took her star graciously. "Thank you," she said. "You have to just get up the energy again, and again, sometimes every 15 minutes..." Doing one's art, doing anything, isn't at all easy. She had sold some pieces, she said, but with the recession...

Even famous artists don't have it easy these days. Her husband, Bob Gruen, is a rock photographer whose shots of John Lennon on the roof of The Dakota are some of the most well-known images of the legend. The photography business has changed, though, with the advent of digital, with so many changes in technology and the world.

"Everyone is a photographer now," Ms. Gregory-Gruen said.

They live in an artist's commune downtown Manhattan that Mr. Gruen has lived in since the 70s, since well before the area was populated with $13 million condos. Being an artist in New York has changed, a lot. Pioneers are hard to come by on the main island.

"I think you need to move to Brooklyn, that's where it's at," I said. Then, maybe, she could be featured on Hey Brooklyn...

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