Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Artist Feature: Andrea DeFelice

Andrea DeFelice

Much of my recent work appears as a hacking together of disparate objects that weren’t built to work together in the first place. I explore interactions between the objects, reducing forms to basics, and responding to subjects of interest, such as proclaimed value/power placed on things, alienation through technology, significance, boundaries, and uselessness.

– Andrea DeFelice

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AD: I was born and raised in New York. I grew up in Smithtown, later moved to the East Village, and then bounced around between Queens, London [the English one] and Brooklyn. I’ve been in primarily in Brooklyn since 2007 and my husband and I recently bought a home there.

I’ve been working as an Assistant Professor for three years and a visual artist for I’d say a solid decade. Drawing and printmaking were my first mediums. As a younger, darker me, I remember being very drawn to literary and medical illustrations, as well as art by the Romantics and the Dadaists. Into later years I shifted into moving image, sculpture, as well as increased incorporation of new media technologies. The work’s remained multi-disciplinary for the greater bulk of the time.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AD: Mirror-smashing? Reflection’s inward and subjective. It varies under the influence of someone or something [like Absinthe mixed with Tequila]. Regardless of how it’s directed, it’s examination and a human form of internal processing. It can be a healthy thinking process if not taken too far. Response is more of reflection’s counterpart. It’s outward and active. Response is reflection with… balls? Can I say ‘balls’?

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How does your work fit in with that definition?

AD: I suppose there’s some congruency in the relationship since the work is very driven by controversy and interactions. It’s from what I’d find to be generative of questioning—particularly in overall actions and doings in the world. Not that I’m asking, ‘Why oh why..?!’ about everything, or that my work is politically driven. But there’s consistency to attempt to decipher what doesn’t make sense, or to re-decipher what does. This examining tends to come out through the subject matter and through the media. Much of my recent work appears as a hacking together of disparate objects that weren’t built to work together in the first place. I explore interactions between the objects, reducing forms to basics, and responding to subjects of interest, such as proclaimed value/power placed on things, alienation through technology, significance, boundaries, and uselessness.

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What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

AD: I’ve been working on a series of mechanical sculptures. With these I’m mixing functioning components with occasionally disparate objects, then embedding them into shaped geometric forms. These forms are composed of layered substrates and various filler materials such as dirt, clay, rock, plaster, and metals.

I occasionally do work with an artist’s collaborative, The Institute For Wishful Thinking. Forming in 2008, this collective has developed projects in the U.S. and internationally including The Austrian Cultural Forum, Momenta Art, Center for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade, Contemporary Art Center in Thessaloniki, Pori Art Museum in Finland, and Periferic 8 Biennial for Contemporary Art in Iasi, Romania.

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I’m thrilled to be doing Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn with awesome visual artist Michela Buttignol. I’m also working with another great artist, Jennifer Murray, on getting an upcoming show together for Porter Contemporary Gallery in Chelsea. Lastly, I’m looking forward to an artist residency in Harfnarfjordur, Iceland coming up for 2015.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Gavin Dunaway

Libel

Standard operating procedure. When something stimulates a reaction, we must reflect – on our personal feelings and experience as well as all available information – before formulating our reaction.

– Gavin Dunaway

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

GD: I was born outside of Washington, DC, in Northern Virginia, and spent 27 years trying to get out. I kid, but it’s very hard to get away from the DC area – there are good schools and government jobs; the suburbs are safe and comfy. And a little dull. On a professional (for a living, I’m an industry journalist) and on an artistic level, I needed something more, something bolder. I still love my hometown, and the choice to move to New York (really Brooklyn) was a tough one, but I’ve been here six years and have never felt more at home. A few years ago, I found an amazing deal on a big apartment in Bushwick near the Jefferson L, and I’m sitting pretty near my rehearsal studio as the neighborhood rapidly transforms.

 The main reason I migrated to Brooklyn was to extend my rock’n’roll dreams: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 7 and jammed in bands for longer than I can remember. While I jumped around from band to band for a while, my main focus now is the group I lead, Libel. I try to blend my love of 70s glam (e.g., David Bowie) with 90s post-punk (e.g., Fugazi), while sprinkling socially conscious lyrics on top – examining the contemporary state of identity; the decay of the middle class and domination of the plutocrats; the slide into hyper-reality; and even the volatility of love amid cultural confusion.

Libel

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

GD: Standard operating procedure. When something stimulates a reaction, we must reflect – on our personal feelings and experience as well as all available information – before formulating our reaction. Technology has encouraged us to respond without reflecting (I’m looking at you, Twitter), turning so much of our culture into a series of knee-jerk reactions with little depth. Indeed, I think many of us are so lost in the flood of information that we desperately seek guides to follow and allow them to tell us what to think – about politics, art, etc. Reflection withers, response dominates – we’re all desperate to be heard, and ultimately validated, in an ocean of voices.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

GD: I tend to let songs gestate for years; crafting both music and lyrics require a great deal of reflection before finalization. For example, I’m finishing up lyrics to a song focused on gentrification. When I finished the first draft, I thought, what is this trying to say – gentrification is bad? No, it’s more complicated than that. Am I just merely describing what I’ve seen in Bushwick the last few years? If so, is there a message below the straightforward chronicle? In the end, I realized the lyrics reflected the callousness of the gentrifiers (which includes me) to transform areas without any – wait for it – reflection on the environment they are disturbing. And then we move on when we get priced out or just… bored because the area turns into something we don’t recognize (or like).

 So my creative work feels much more dedicated to reflection, and encouraging others to reflect and develop their own responses.

Libel

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Annie Rigney

Annie Rigney

[As a dancer] I enjoy putting myself in physical situations where I’m not sure how my body will respond. For example, allowing myself to be perpetually off balance, no matter how subtly,  in order to be in a constant state of fall and recovery, where each action that follows is a response to the previous one.

– Annie Rigney

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AR: I grew up in Berkeley, California on sunshine, meyer lemons, and an infinite number of ballet classes. I majored in dance performance and choreography at SUNY Purchase, in New York and after graduating, moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, to follow my dreams of dancing with the Batsheva Ensemble. This led me to a contract with Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack Dance Company, the following year, with whom I had the opportunity to tour and travel the world. We performed in theaters in Israel, Norway, Macau, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Malta and the U.S.. After almost 4 years abroad, I’m finally back living in Brooklyn, New York, a place that is home to many of the people I love.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AR: I think that reflection and response are the essence of the artistic process. An artist reflects on his or her experiences and feelings, and then funnels them through whatever medium he or she chooses, be it music or paint or movement, in order to create a piece of work: a response.

What interests me most about this question, is understanding the ways in which I use reflection and response in my body when I dance. When I think of the word “Response”, I think of my nervous system and my sensory system and how they respond to stimuli. How this response of the nervous system creates an instantaneous action; a movement. I’m interested in making myself available for things to happen to me when I move– for my body parts to affect and respond to each other. For example, if I rotate my forearm far enough, the rotation of the shoulder and the twisting of my spine are both almost inevitable responses. It’s a chain of events that happens out of necessity. I enjoy putting myself in physical situations where I’m not sure how my body will respond. For example, allowing myself to be perpetually off balance, no matter how subtly,  in order to be in a constant state of fall and recovery, where each action that follows is a response to the previous one.

Similarly, “reflection” can be a look back or a processing of something that has already occurred, but it has another meaning–it can be an echo. The act of reflection in sound is when a sound wave bounces off of a surface and returns. Movement can behave in the same way. It can create an echo. I’m interested in riding this echo; listening to the memory and resonance of an action in my body and allowing my whole sensory system to process it. I often ask myself “What does the movement feel like?” while I’m performing, to help keep me in the moment. Cold, tense, empty, sweaty, or powerful, these are all physical sensations that have abstract connections to emotion. I guess the ultimate point of it all in dance, is that an audience gets an emotional response to viewing the physical events happening within the body of the performer. Ideally, it makes the viewer feel something. Feel alive.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AR: I’m in the very early stages of a solo for myself…it’s untitled at the moment.  After becoming so deeply embedded in the community and aesthetic of Israeli modern dance, I now find myself back in New York, with an ocean separating me from the dancers and people who formed and defined most of my professional career thus far. Now I feel I can begin the real process of reflection. From this distance, I can decide what in my dancing I want to hold on to and take with me. What was someone else’s vision of me, and what is my own? I think in the research for this solo, I’m trying to understand myself in this new context of NYC. How will I chose to move, now that I am filled with  knowledge that I didn’t have 4 years ago, last time I was New York? It will be a solo about sorting and searching and re-searching. Unwinding myself and my habits or familiarities. The time I’m spending in the studio is really just an exploration of how I want to move now. I hope that the solo will be some sort of  response or answer to the questions I’m posing for myself. But we’ll see! I’m more interested in what I don’t know yet…

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

AR: I’ve been working as a practitioner in a method of therapeutic bodywork called the Ilan Lev Method. I am very excited to introduce the Ilan Lev method to New York as it’s mostly being practiced in Israel and is fairly unknown over here. I fell in love with the work during my time in Israel, and I find it to be revolutionary in the way that it can help people who are suffering from pain, as well as being a source of never-ending inspiration for my work as a dancer and choreographer.

Annie Rigney - Ilan Lev

In the method, we use gentle movement to create a rich and thoughtful dialogue between the patient and the practitioner. In this way, new maps and pathways are formed between the body parts and movement is restored to parts of the body where communication was cut off or blocked, due to pain, injury, or emotional obstacles. From Ilan, my teacher, I learned that the body has immense capabilities to heal itself, that pain is not an enemy but an indicator that there is a problem, and that movement can surpass physical limitations, break down emotional barriers and undo old patterns or habits. The possibilities are endless when you learn to let go, and when you release yourself into mess (“Ballagan” in Hebrew) and chaos. From chaos we can find the things we didn’t even know we didn’t know; a possibility will arise that wasn’t there before, a possibility that is usually the solution to the pain. The method has also taught me the value of laziness—something that many years of dance instruction was specifically designed to combat. Now I understand that laziness is a wonderful tool we possess to actually become more efficient. To do less, and with less effort, and to get bigger results. It’s something that’s very important to hold on to and remember in a city as busy and hectic as New York.

I recently started dancing for LeeSaar the Company, and I’m happy to see where it will take me. Lee Sher and Saar Harari are a couple of Israeli choreographers who started a dance company in Israel, and in 2004, brought their company here to New York. Beginning to work for Lee and Saar has made many things in my life come full circle. I left New York immediately after graduating to dance with the Batsheva Ensemble, where they train in Gaga- a movement language rooted in sensation-based improvisation, with no mirrors and no pre-determined form. When I joined Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack Dance Company, the work took me into a different direction entirely. Pinto and Pollack’s bizarrely imaginative and magically twisted aesthetic allowed me to explore my theatrical side. I found parts of myself hidden in mysterious characters and ways to stretch my body’s ability to tell a story. Working with LeeSaar feels like a sort of strange homecoming. I’m coming home to the States, where I can speak the language more fluently, and I’m returning to the movement language of Gaga: the raw and textured aesthetic that first grabbed my imagination and ripped me quickly away from the world of ballet. It’s a welcome comfort for me in this new chapter to wake up each morning and begin the day with an hour of Gaga- or a meditation on my bones, my flesh, and my groove.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Liz Borda

We welcome photographer Liz Borda to the Collective! We met Liz through friend and fellow photographer Lou Rouse. Born and raised in the New York City area, Liz currently makes her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Her photography represents a powerful look at the variety of the human experience and the stories that stem from these images contain deep Reflection and Response. Liz is active with her craft and is working on several new projects, including a piece about a young woman in the Bronx and the New York Dream Act. Liz drops some dope knowledge throughout this piece. Make sure to read her ideas and peep her work below!

Liz Borda

Something may trigger me to reflect on a moment, my life and my work. As a result I am active or inactive in my response. Being inactive is a response as well.

– Liz Borda

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

LB: I am a born and raised New Yorker. I grew up in Inwood, Manhattan and later moved to Flushing, Queens. Both places make me super nostalgic when I hang there. I enjoy going back to these neighborhoods and hanging out in my old spots, I love visiting my friends and family. I live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn now and dig it as well. All these places have incredible energy, people and eateries!

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

LB: I feel like reflection is a constant ongoing thing for me. Something may trigger me to reflect on a moment, my life, my work. As a result I am active or inactive in my response. Being inactive is a response as well. Will you act or not after the said reflection? I ponder this more with age.

How does your work fit in with that definition? 

LB: My work ranges from street photography, long format documentary stories and essays to doing assignments for not-for-profits, organizations, to shooting events and portraits. I feel like reflection and response happens in all these types of photography. Theresa from a project named Ladyride had panic attacks for twenty years and she felt her learning to ride motorcycles helped her overcome this. We talked extensively about it and we reflected on that time. She shared with me how she changed her life. I met her after she overcame this. The images I have captured of her you would never guess she had this earlier problem. To me these images show her response to her fears now.

Liz Borda: Theresa Takes the Lead, Ladyride Series

Theresa Takes the Lead, Ladyride Series. Theresa Thompson had a twenty-year history of panic attacks where she couldn’t drive very far in her car or truck. She believes riding was therapy for her and the panic attacks stopped after she started riding. “I think most of my life and relationships I felt pretty trapped, you know, wanted out but was afraid to leave and so this was probably the first major thing I did in my life for me that I was pretty much in control. Started my road to independence.”

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

LB: I am working on a project about a young woman from the Bronx named Janet and the Dream Act as well as the New York Dream Act. I am looking to keep working on long format stories, working with more organizations as well as to keep learning and trying new things with my photography. I want to keep pushing myself and enjoying this crazy journey I am on.

Coming Out of the Shadows

Coming Out of the Shadows

Who or what inspires you?

LB: I am inspired by many things around me. At times it can be a piece of music, walking around the city, a show at a gallery or museum, people in my life or reading/listening to a news report. I love listening to Morning Edition on NPR.

Stoop Life

Stoop Life

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

LB: Thanks Lou, Vicken, and The Lifestyle for this platform and for featuring me. Much love.

Shout out to …?

LB: My husband Joshua Auckenthaler, he is a talented retoucher and photographer. He is my rock. He is such a supportive partner. I also would like to give a shout out to my mother, sister, buddies and loving folks in my life. They offer another level of support and cheer me on. I love them all to pieces! Thank you!

Check out the following links to keep up with Liz’s photo projects:

Reflection and Response.

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Artist Feature: Linda Wartenweiler

We met actress Linda Wertenweiler recently through some friends of ours in Brooklyn. Linda has been living in New York since 2006 working on her craft, performing, and acting on camera. In this interview, she discusses her journey from a rural setting with a distinct culture to the fast-paced and eclectic city she now calls home. She cites the importance of dedicated moments of Reflection to provide breaks in the rapid pace of life, and she considers the data gathered from Reflection as necessary input when Responding via the dramatic arts. Recently, this artist appeared in a 1980s-style horror short film, Imprisoned Souls, and is filming another short entitled Canvas, set to shoot in May of this year. We are excited to have the unique perspective of this active craftswoman who is consistently dropping dope projects!

Linda Wartenweiler

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

LW: I was born and raised in beautiful Switzerland (Amriswil TG), right at the border to Germany, Lake of Constance. In 2006 I left my banking career at “home” in order to chase my childhood dream: ACTING! New York City has been my residence ever since and I am loving my new chapter and my life fully!

Being from such a different continent, culture and being from the country side, New York has enriched my life, perspective, lifestyle etc. tremendously! Lots had to be learned, lots had to be explored, lots had to be understood, lots of adaptations needed to be made…. Looking back today to where I was 8 years ago…. WOW, how much growth has happened in me in this fast paced city!!! I am truly grateful and happy with every single experience and lesson that currently is in my back bag. I am looking forward to fill my bag with many more adventures and experiences.

The transformation from the banking world into the acting one was quite an interesting journey! My acting experience was very small, my desire of my heart and soul to pursue it was and still is super strong. Looking back on my growth and path as an actress/artist/human being makes me very happy and evokes a satisfying feeling all over me. It was THE PERFECT decision that I made back then!! “Don’t dream your life, live your dream!” is what is driving and pushing me. The future is unwritten, it will be what we are making out of TODAY and the NOW. Anything is possible if you believe it is! 😉

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

LW: Reflection definitely is a very, very important part of my life. It shows me all the colors of my past, it shows me where and who I was then, who I became and where I am heading towards. To me response contains sort of a reality check. I get to see if I am still on the “right” track or if there needs some adjustments to be made. In general I believe that whenever someone intentionally stands still for a little while and starts his/her own reflection process then it means to me that this person cares about himself/herself. It means that this person was running and running and doing and simply functioning without being aware anymore of its initial intentions. Or this person is focused on his/her way and is simply checking in if everything still is ok with what is going on. Sometimes we come off track because of many distractions in our lives or our needs and wants simply change as we do daily.

How does this definition fit in with your acting career?

LW: All the knowledge about myself is more than essential for my work as an actress! The better I know myself, the more I feel myself, the better my work will be as my inner life always reflects my outer life after all. As an actor you need the understanding of your behaviors first, you need to be able to see life in general from a psychological point of view. You need to have the understanding of yourself, your surroundings and of the whole world in general. With your own interpretation of it all you then will be able to use all that data in order to let it flow freely into your work. Reflection will be your helpful guide and director in order to grow faster if you are willing for this exciting adventure to happen…

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

LW: During the past few months I have actually given a lot of my time and focus to myself and to my inner world. Reflection was and still is a big thing in my life and will always be. So it is truly funny to me that I am doing this interview about this subject with you right now Peter! That’s just how the Law of Attraction works after all. 😉

One of my last exciting acting projects was the 80s horror slasher short film “Imprisoned Souls” in which I am portraying the villain “Jeanne Wrayy”. My talented writer and director friend wrote this part for me. Thanks to this character I had a true breakthrough in my craft and that character opened up a whole new dimension in my acting reality. It’s absolutely inspiring to me and I am now applying all the new knowledge into my work.

I just got cast in a short film called “Canvas”, which we will shoot in the beginning of May 2014. This time I will play a lawyer’s wife who is an avid supporter of the artistic community. It will be a very fun project that includes some of my talented friends in cast and crew. My other focus is also in taking new headshots within the upcoming 2 weeks and updating my acting reel. Within the past year I have grown and evolved a lot in my personal and artistic life. It is more than time to capture this “new” me at this point in my life/career in order to sell myself more specifically and effectively.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Perry Young

Perry Young has been a dope actor and performer since we met back in Berkeley during our high school years, and he continues to tear up the stage in NYC and around the country, having recently performed as part of the musical In The Heights. Perry talks with us about the consciousness of reflection that leads to awareness in the present, while he views response as one’s intuition to get where they want to be. The Coming World, another one of his recent works, locates its characters in deep Reflective dialogue and Responsive action as they traverse difficult circumstances. Moving forward, Perry is also looking to work on an original web series dealing with his reality of moving to NYC as an artist. Check out the interview for more insight and info!

Perry Young

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

PY: Born and raised in Berkeley, CA. I’ve had the pleasure of living and performing in several cities and countries, as well as touring all over the US with the musical In The Heights. I’m currently growing my mustache in Brooklyn, NY.

In The Heights

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

PY: Reflection to me has an inherent feeling of the past, a look back on where I was and where I am today. There’s an almost meditative quality to reflection, a consciousness that you are aware of where you’re at in the world and how you got there. Response is your own gut feeling to where you are, where you want to be, and the steps you’re taking to get there. They’re both equally important – reflection being the potential energy and response the kinetic.

How does your work in The Coming World fit in with that definition?

PY: I recently worked on a play entitled “The Coming World.” The play largely dealt with the in-between – the words on the tip of your tongue that you just can’t seem to utter, and the actions that we lay awake at night thinking about but never take. It followed three characters and how they responded to the weight of their circumstances when they were pushed to the edge of reason. What are they willing to fight for, what do they regret about what they’ve done and how do they cope with loss? In that sense, the show very much can be broken down into Reflection and Response. There was a very reflective quality to the play as the characters dealt with certain tragedies that arose and their own responses/feelings of responsibility for what has happened in their lives.

The Coming World

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Maryanne Ventrice

Maryanne Ventrice is a Brooklyn native and resident photographer. She focuses her work on live music events throughout the city featuring a range of styles and sounds. In our dialogue, she discusses goals of documenting and representing the world through the arts, along with how she uses her lens to capture the energetic and emotional feel of a live show. Her words are accompanied by many examples of her dope photos. Peep the entry below!

Maryanne Ventrice | Photo by Jessica Amaya

Maryanne Ventrice | Photo by Jessica Amaya

We strive to represent our world though an artistic medium – trying to give meaning to the world around us, interpreting what we see into what we feel.

– Maryanne Ventrice

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MV: I’m a photographer from New York City – born and raised in Brooklyn – still live there. New York is an amazing place. I have always been surrounded by the faces and voices of people from all over the world.  Sometimes it’s hard to be on top of all of these people but the pros outweigh the cons.

I shoot live music events, mostly. I began by photographing friends in bands and then moved on to shooting for various music blogs.

I never studied photography formally, I studied History. For me, documenting has a lot of potential. I hope that when someone looks back on [my] body of work they will be able to get a good feeling of the time and place of the NYC indie music scene.

In 2012, I curated my first show. It was a group show of 13 female concert photographers entitled 120dB. I’ve gone on to curate several more exhibits and look forward to continuing to showcase the work of other artists.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MV: Reflection can be about anything — people, places, objects. We strive to represent our world though an artistic medium – trying to give meaning to the world around us, interpreting what we see into what we feel. Photography easily lends itself to this idea. The live music photos reflect the energy of the band and audience at a particular show. For my curatorial projects, I usually spend some time reflecting on images of artists’ work first and then develop a concept in response to join the work and title a show so that it represents that concept to the viewer.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MV: I mainly photograph live music events. I’ve been shooting the Kidrockers music series since 2007. It’s my favorite live event. Bands come and play their regular set for children. My friends Beth and Morton founded this as a way for parents to have access to new bands since it’s hard to get out once you have kids. I believe that we are creating a future audience for live music. It’s a real labor of love and I hope we never stop.

Maryanne Ventrice - DIIV Kidrockers (Brooklyn Bowl)

Maryanne Ventrice – DIIV, Kidrockers (Brooklyn Bowl)

Maryanne Ventrice - Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice – Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice - Jesse Malin Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice – Jesse Malin, Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice - Twin Shadow, Kidrockers (Winter's Eve)

Maryanne Ventrice – Twin Shadow, Kidrockers (Winter’s Eve Festival)

The [following] images come from my first exhibit, More Guitar in the Monitor, which a friend of mine asked me to put together. I feel that these images capture the mood of the performances.

Maryanne Ventrice - The National (Bowery Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice – The National (Bowery Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice - Drink Up Buttercup (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Maryanne Ventrice – Drink Up Buttercup (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Maryanne Ventrice - Pet Shop Boys (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice – Pet Shop Boys (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Delineate was a project that’s process based. I was testing some new equipment on myself and made a photo that I thought was pretty interesting. I convinced 11 others to let me shine a bright white light inches from their faces and make these portraits:

Maryanne Ventrice - Kristin Martinez (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Kristin Martinez (Daughter)

Maryanne Ventrice - Simon Henderson (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Simon Henderson (Music Industry Professional)

Maryanne Ventrice - Jen Hirano (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Jen Hirano (Friend)

Maryanne Ventrice - Elon James White (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Elon James White (Political Pundit, Entrepreneur)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Adam Hopkins

Adam Hopkins is a composer and bassist living in the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn by way of Baltimore, Maryland. As part of thriving music scenes in his hometown and his current city of residence, Adam tells an artistic tale of people coming together to create great music and community. Some of the groups he’s involved with, such as Signal Problems, have been around for years and thereby boast a unique group dynamic and musical language developed over time, which add intricacies to their exciting improvisations. Here, Reflection serves as the collective memory of the artist, while Response is a collective sharing and exploration of each participant’s story through sound. In our dialogue below, Adam delves specifically into two tracks, Pogo Stick and We Turn Around, and presents a video of the Adam Hopkins Quartet. He stays busy in New York and has various upcoming records with the several bands he participates in as leader and sideman. Peep the conversation below!

Adam Hopkins | Photo by Michael Yu (2014)

Adam Hopkins | Photo by Michael Yu (2014)

Playing music is all about relationships and communicating with other people, so I am constantly reacting to their ideas and embracing their musical identity as well as my own…it’s that concept of simultaneously reflecting on one’s own unique experiences and bringing them to a group environment, which creates something that is greater than each individual part combined.

– Adam Hopkins

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at? 

AH: I currently live in Brooklyn, NY–Ditmas Park specifically. I don’t think I’d normally mention the neighborhood as part of a response to this question, but I really love where I live! A lot of my closest musical collaborators live within 3 blocks of me, and also there are trees. Lots and lots of trees, which is a bit different for Brooklyn.

I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. I left for college and grad school, but found myself back there in 2005. I consider that time in Baltimore until I moved to NY in 2011 to be the most formative years artistically of my life to this point. The music scene in Baltimore, specifically the creative and improvised music scene, is very small but at the same time full of talented and inspiring people. We started a bunch of bands, wrote new music for them, rehearsed a LOT (something that is much more rare in NY currently), made records, and played shows. It was the best, now that I think of it. In 2011 four of us decided to move to NY from Baltimore, and settled into a house in Bushwick with a great rehearsal space in the basement. That group of people, who basically moved up on the same day, was already a band called Signal Problems led by my former-roommate-but-still-friend Danny Gouker. We continue to rehearse all of the time, and still play regularly. In fact we just released our debut album on pfMentum records which can be checked out right here: http://www.pfmentum.com/PFMCD080.html. There are no subs in the group ever, which has helped maintain it as an actual band and not just a rotating group of potential people. So, you know…Baltimore sticks together wherever we are. 

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AH: As an improviser, reflection and response are at the very center of what occurs any time I play music, be it solo or with a group.

Reflection to me is everything that has happened in my life, musically or not, that has gotten me to where I am in that very moment. At my absolute best I am able to look inwardly and draw on all of those experiences to present a statement or vision that is uniquely my own.  

The response can be looked at from a number of angles, but primarily a response is what comes out of my instrument as a result of those experiences. Playing music is all about relationships and communicating with other people, so I am constantly reacting to their ideas and embracing their musical identity as well as my own. It’s what makes improvised music like nothing else…we all bring our experiences from vastly different places to a performance, and as a group we find a way to make it work.

How does your work specifically fit in with that definition?

AH: This first track isn’t one of my own compositions, but I think it is a great example of this concept. It’s from Signal Problems, written by Danny Gouker who plays trumpet, with Eric Trudel on saxophone, Nathan Ellman-Bell on drums, and I’m playing bass. 

It is 30-seconds or so of written music and then we immediately launch into an improvisation. This band has been playing together for over five years, and we’ve developed our own sort of group language as a result. The entire improvised section is the band responding in the moment to everything going on around us. So again, it’s that concept of simultaneously reflecting on one’s own unique experiences and bringing them to a group environment, which creates something that is greater than each individual part combined. 

This second track is a little bit older, but it’s one of my own compositions from 2011. It is a band that was started in Baltimore called Turn Around Norman, with Cam Collins on saxophone, JJ Wright on keyboards, Nathan Ellman-Bell (again) on drums, and myself on bass. 

There was a time when this entire band lived in New York as well, but life choices spread us out a bit and we don’t get to play together nearly as often as we’d like. It is a good example of my compositional approach, so I figured why not include it!? There is improvising in the track, but I think it is mostly influenced by the grunge rock of my high school years and my earliest musical experiences playing in dive clubs and wearing funny hats. There’s maybe a little disco at the end as well, and I’m not sure where that came from. It seeped into my musical being somewhere along the line. 

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Adela Loconte

We first met music photographer Adela Loconte at the same Charles Bradley show where we met fellow photographer Ken-Grand Pierre. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Adela started her own production and photography company while completing her masters’ degree in advertising. She then lived in London and Barcelona and worked as a producer for the CMYK Independent Magazine Cultural Festival while also shooting/producing at the Sonár Music Festival. She then moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where she’s been shooting concerts and musicians nonstop. Adela links reflection to introspection and learning about the self, which can lead to meaningful response through actions.  For Adela, a photograph represents a reflection of a moment, a “register of time.” Peep the interview and some of her awesome images below!

Adela Loconte | Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Adela Loconte | Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Through the camera I get to reflect the moment, atmosphere, action, and feeling of the subject. My intention through the photograph is basically making people feel that moment in case they weren’t there or, in case they were, bring them back to it.

– Adela Loconte

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AL: Hola! My name is Adela and I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela but my roots are Italian.

I finished high school when I was 16 years old and started to study advertising in Caracas. During my second semester, I started to take photography classes, and became interested in it. I went on to get my masters degree in advertising at Santa María University, and while studying, I interned at Saatchi & Saatchi Caracas. After interning, I decided to open my own company with a friend and focus on production, photography, and design. Saatchi & Saatchi became our client, along with Leo Burnett, Venevision TV, Planeta Urbe and Loquesea.com, amongst others.

Adela Loconte - Charles Bradley (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Adela Loconte – Charles Bradley (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

While I was in school for my masters degree and running my company, I decided to enroll in a photography school called “Imagomundi.” I really got into it and I spent two years there taking different types of analog camera courses.

After I finished my masters degree and my photography courses in Caracas, I decided to close my company in 2001, and head to the UK to continue my photography studies.

I chose London, because it’s where all of my favorite music was from, and I enjoyed the English sense of humor.  I started a Postgraduate degree in Photography at University of the Arts London, and was so excited that I sometimes even went to school on Saturdays!

I enjoyed London so much for 3 years. I studied a lot. I met incredible people there. I enjoyed cultural exchanges. I enjoyed amazing shows and festivals and it was time to leave, because the weather was not helping my tropical side. So, I flew to Barcelona, Spain where the weather was better and I could go to the beach as much as I wanted. I spend almost 4 years [there]. I worked there for CMYK Independent Magazine Cultural Festival, and Sonár Music Festival. I learned so much and had a blast, working as a producer for both festivals.

Adela Loconte - Courtney Barnett

Adela Loconte – Courtney Barnett

The last Sonár Music Festival I worked. I got the opportunity to do two different jobs at the time, one for Barcelona and the other one for Venezuela. Apart of working on the production side at Sonár, I got to shoot the festival for the main newspaper in Venezuela called “El Nacional”, when all of the sudden my camera got stolen in the middle of the festival. At that moment, I only had on my mind how many months of hard work were gone, instead of the camera and the films the thief took.

When I was living in London I put my self into the craziest schedule someone could have lived in. I was sleeping about 5 hours a day. Finishing my Photography Master, having a daytime job during the week at a company and during weekends at nighttime a job as a bartender, and I was also studying on Saturdays. My goal at that time was buying this amazing camera I was dreaming with, it was a Nikon F5 (film camera) and some lenses and new flash. I worked for 6 months nonstop. I was falling asleep everywhere, at the university, in the train, at the bus, and at the office. I aimed for the Nikon camera, 5 Nikon lenses and a Nikon flash and finished everything I put myself into it. All those months on nonstop work just got stolen at a festival.

I feel so much frustration after that episode that I went into different life phases. I did produce photographers. I did assistant photographers. I quit for some time photography and then I came back. Barcelona at that time was starting to go into their economical crisis; companies where paying really bad and I couldn’t get a new camera as fast as I did in London.

Adela Loconte - Kirin J Callinan

Adela Loconte – Kirin J Callinan

So, time to start again! Let’s leave Barcelona for New York!

First, I came to New York to visit for a month and out of the blue, the most hardcore city open its arms and super welcoming me! I never thought I was going to live here, honestly. Basically, I have been based in Williamsburg for the past 7 years. I been working for CMJ Online, CMJ Music Marathon Festival, Brooklyn Vegan, SPIN, and IMPOSE magazine.

I also worked for Vme Media/Channel Thirteen, Sheik ‘n’ Beik, and Metal Magazine as a Producer.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AL: Reflection is our own introspection and the willingness to learn more about our own nature, purpose in life and essence. Through introspection we find responses, those that make us create a plan to develop our own path and to aim our goals.

There is a wonderful quote by W.T. Yeats, that I really like, and it says “It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than is does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”

Adela Loconte - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Barclays Center)

Adela Loconte – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Barclays Center)

How do music photography and portrait photography fit in with that definition?

AL: Through the camera I get to reflect the moment, atmosphere, action, and feeling of the subject. My intention through the photograph is basically making people feel that moment in case they weren’t there or, in case they were, bring them back to it. [With] portraits I’m all about people’s essence and their anatomy.

The response will be my introspection towards music. Music is a worldwide language and Photography is the register of the time.

Adela Loconte - Franz Ferdinand (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Adela Loconte – Franz Ferdinand (Hammerstein Ballroom)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Michael Summer

Michael Summer, one of our fellow Berkeley High School alumni, is a saxophonist whose journey has taken him through Santa Cruz , Berklee College of Music in Boston, and now New York City. Highlighting the importance and strength of Reflection and Response listening, Michael stresses the centrality of using his ears in his creative process. He also brings up the beauty that can result from artists who learn the difficult task of stripping away desires to participate in creative dialogue. A recent New York transplant, he’s been working in various local musical spaces, including playing with Tiger Speak , The Love Experiment, and MoRuf. We look forward to hearing more from these bands along with Mike’s plans to record solo material later on this year!

Michael Summer

Reflection and Response really is about listening for me. It’s a hard art, and seems to be a creative tool that is being less and less stressed these days. Whether it be in music, physical or digital art, dance, poetry, or day to day conversation and interaction, truly listening and being aware of what’s out there can be a very difficult thing to do.

– Michael Summer

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
MS: Born in Oakland, CA and spent my high school years in Berkeley. Moved on to Santa Cruz for three years where I studied physics and later got involved in music and studying the saxophone. After living in a beach paradise, scooted off to frigid Boston where I went to Berklee College of Music and did jazz studies. Moved to Harlem in November of 2013 and moved to Brooklyn 2 weeks ago. I’m finally feeling settled into this glorious madness of a city.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MS: Reflection and Response really is about listening for me. It’s a hard art, and seems to be a creative tool that is being less and less stressed these days. Whether it be in music, physical or digital art, dance, poetry, or day to day conversation and interaction, truly listening and being aware of what’s out there can be a very difficult thing to do. The world of facebook statuses and twitter posts has made it easy to broadcast and yell out to the ethersphere with a minimum amount of dialogue and discourse at times. Honest interaction can be tough to come by. So whenever I’m playing with a group of musicians, or trying to help run a rehearsal, I really try to do my absolute best to listen for what the music needs and where everyone is falling into place in the moment that is being created. I love to make improvised music with friends and really create a conversation. If you can remove ego, the need to be self-satisfied, and put aside the hunger for validation, you can make some amazing things happen. It’s one of the hardest things to do in my opinion. And most people, myself included, are scared at times to open up in that honest way without letting your human desires get in the way of honest expression. It’s amazing to witness when it happens though, and an incredible thing to be a part of. This dude Thundercat gave one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed about a month ago that left me on cloud nine.

One of my favorite interviews is with Bruce Lee where he discusses honest expression.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MS: I’m in a hip hop group called Tiger Speak that I’m very excited about. We’ve been together for a bit now, and I think the concept of listening is really coming together for us. I can be a pain in the ass sometimes during rehearsals, trying to get the “mix” just right be it dynamics, fills, intonation, form, flow, or improvisation. Of course, micro-managing a piece of music or a group of musicians can be mighty dangerous artistically, so you really have to have a balance of letting people go and doing their thing and reining in the group as a whole. It’s really the collision of the technical and the artistic, the age old battle (or harmony) of the classical versus the romantic approach.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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