Tag Archives: artist

Apollonia NYC Gallery set to open in Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside will soon be home to a new antique shop, also serving as a gallery and cultural event space, looking to showcase emerging, established and local artists.

The Apollonia NYC Gallery, located at 48-14 Skillman Ave. and named after owner Garry O’Calloghan’s late dog, will hold its grand opening on July 20 starting at 4 p.m.

The site is expected to feature handmade and distressed furnishings, lighting, paintings, prints, photos, record collections, antique cameras and other home décor items.

Along with being an antique shop, Apollonia NYC Gallery is expected to also host “salon-like” gatherings for musicians, poetry readings and artist talks through the year.

“I wanted to create a mythological and magical place like the shop in the Gremlins that gives guests the feeling of being in a secret place where they can find one-of-a-kind treasures,” said O’Calloghan, who is also an artist. “This is also a wonderful way to meet interesting people and celebrate the vibrant local arts scene.”

In June, the space held its first preview event for the unofficial afterparty for the annual The Queen of Angels Art Fair, organized by Sunnyside artists.

Apollonia’s grand opening, which according to organizers coincides with the ancient feast day honoring the Greek god Apollo, will feature music by Le Petit Pepinot and The Sunnyside Social Club. Guests are welcome to dress in their favorite vintage clothing.

The opening will also include samples from Murphy’s Lobster Grill, meet-and-greets with Apollonia’s owners, and international and local artists, and the debut of a new mural on the space’s ceiling.

Apollonia NYC Gallery will be opened Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m., and weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/ApolloniaGallery.

 

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Looking into the artwork of LIC artist Luba Lukova


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Aeroblue © Luba Lukova


What was only supposed to be a one-week visit to New York for an international exhibition has turned into about 25 years of success for Long Island City artist Luba Lukova.

As a young girl in Bulgaria, Lukova never had a doubt as to what she wanted to be when she grew up. Influenced by her grandmother who was an artist, Lukova began to attend art classes and then graduated from an art academy.

Through an invite from Colorado State University, where school officials had seen some of her early artwork, Lukova came to New York for an organized exhibition featuring artists from all over the world.

Her initial idea was to stay in New York for a week and then return to Bulgaria, but she decided to stay indefinitely, and in 1991, she began drawing illustrations for the book review section of The New York Times. She then moved on and drew for the publication’s Op-Ed section covering subjects such as the Middle East.

These illustrations opened up doors for Lukova, exposing her to a larger audience, which got her into theatre work creating posters, and years later she even got a call from then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign to use one of her images months before his inauguration.

“It was just a miracle. I never went back [to Bulgaria],” she said. “For a young artist, it was a mind-blowing experience and when I saw the reaction of the people, it was really very exciting for me.”

Lukova’s pieces, whether they are on a canvas or theatre poster, all convey social and political issues in what she calls a “simple and accessible way.” She tells a whole story with just a few colors and images and creates visual metaphors for viewers to take in.

“[My artwork] involves thinking and the viewer’s participation,” she said. “All of my work is like that — it’s always provoking stuff. I try to make it accessible and bring something to the contemporary viewer that can stop them and make them think.”

Her “Social Justice” poster portfolio, the first publication from her own publishing company, has gotten her national and international acclaim. Currently some of her work is part of a show at the Museum of Modern Art and Denver Art Museum.

After moving out of Manhattan following 9/11, Lukova has been working and living in the booming art scene found in Long Island City. Last year she took part in the LIC Arts Open festival, which introduced her to a community she has now become a part of and loves.

“I think it’s a great group of artists with a lot of energy,” she said. “The art community here is growing and it is so huge.”

This year Lukova designed the poster for the LIC Arts Open, and her exhibition “Drama on Paper: Posters for the Stage” can be found at The Local at 13-02 44th Ave. throughout the festival.


     LIC ARTS OPEN POSTER © Luba Lukova

“I’m excited to be a part of it again,” Lukova said. “I think what [the festival organizers] do is very admirable and I hope we will keep the community here and we will expand. Because New York without the arts would be a very sad picture. We don’t just want New York to be the city with museums; we need the real art here.”

 

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LIC plumber uses tools of the trade to create unique art pieces


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

When Long Island City resident Cristian Torres is on the job as a plumber, he sees more than just pipes and pressure gauges.

The 41-year-old Argentinian native has been a plumber since he was 17 years old. He made his way to the United States for the first time in 2001. Since then he has been creating pieces of art from material he knows and uses on the job.

“When I was young enough I was doing little things: I always had the [desire] to build little stuff,” said Torres, who remembers first building small pieces for his nieces and nephews. “Every time I see something I think, ‘with that thing, I can make this, I can make that.’”

When he isn’t plumbing, Torres, who has been living in Long Island City for the past four years, is an artist/sculptor specializing in pipe design. He used to work out of the Davis Street building shared with 5Pointz.

The father of two uses materials such as pipes, aluminum shields, copper coils and gauges to create lamps, light fixtures, sculptures and other art pieces.

Yet Torres creates these pieces with more on his mind than just adding to his collection. The artist said he uses the struggles he personally faces or sees happen in life to influence his various pieces.

“I create things always with the concept of not just using the plumbing material, but having the concept of anxiety,” he said. “I’m trying to express what I’ve seen in my life. It’s more than what they look like.”

One series Torres has been working on for the past seven years follows the theme of expressing anxiety, and was influenced by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The artwork in the series is set on copper shields, with pressure gauges and other metal pieces welded on to form the screaming face.

Torres also creates light fixtures and sculptures with sewing machines from the 1900s and temperature/pressure gauges, which he uses to symbolize time.

“I felt like I was liberating myself from a lot of stuff,” he said. “One of the major traumas [of] the [human] being I think is time because we think we are never going to die or get old. That’s why I’m trying to use gauges all over.”

Torres currently works on his pieces in a building shared with numerous other artists, as part of the nonprofit Long Island City arts group known as Local Project, located at 11-27 44th Road. He plans on showing his pieces at upcoming art shows, but dates are still to be determined.

“I hope people just appreciate it [my art],” he said. “It’s not just something functional, because when you buy something like this, handmade or created by someone, it’s always a little bit more than that.”

Even though he has created various pieces of artwork with meaning behind each piece, Torres said he calls himself a plumber before an artist. 

“I enjoy what I do,” he said.

To see some of Torres’ pieces visit his website and if you are interested in purchasing an item, contact the artist at plumbingart1@gmail.com.

 

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Elinore Schnurr goes from artist to curator in LIC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

IMG_0585w

After 52 years as a painter in New York City, Elinore Schnurr has a new profession in the art world—curator.

And her experience as an artist helped her land the gig.

She has been renting studio space in Long Island City from Diego Salazar for over 20 years. When he decided to move his antique frame business from his building at 21-25 44th Avenue and open an art gallery in its place, he knew Schnurr should curate it.

“She is a wonderful artist and is truly the perfect person to help with the show,” he said.

The inaugural exhibit, which opened in May, features 30 artists that have studios in the same building that houses the gallery, including Schnurr.

“It was just so much fun to go around and see [the work] other people were doing,” she said.

Schnurr moved into her current art studio a year-and-a-half ago. Previously, she rented a loft at another of Salazar’s buildings for two decades. Then, when he sold that building, she moved to a studio in Greenpoint for five years. When that building was sold, she again rented from Salazar.

On September 20 the gallery will have a Latin American show, featuring local emerging and established artists, with another curator.

But Schnurr will curate the next show, which opens at the end of October, featuring longtime Long Island City resident and painter Arthur Hammer, who passed away in March, and a holiday show with mostly artists from Long Island City, including some from the gallery’s first exhibit.

She will also likely continue to curate shows for the gallery on an ongoing basis.

What’s interesting about being a curator, said Schnurr, is seeing art on the other side.

“I’ve always been asking to show my work and now, here, I am asking other people to show their work, and there’s a different dynamic,” she said.

Passionate about painting since she was 10 years old, Schnurr attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. A post college trip to Europe further inspired her to become a figurative painter.

She moved to New York City in 1960, which was the right and wrong place to pursue that style of painting.

“I was quite fascinated by the movement of the people on the street. I always painted people on the street or in bars and cafes, places that were public,” said Schnurr. “I painted them in a way that expressed a certain disconnectedness between them,” she continued.

Though New York City was full of “disconnected people” to paint, the art scene was not initially accepting of figurative painting.

But in the late 70s the market changed, and she started selling her work.

For the past six years Schnurr has been working on a series called “Outside Looking In.” A little more abstract than her previous work, the paintings depict the various reflections in the windows that look onto Times Square. Some of those pieces are currently on exhibit at LaGuardia Community College’s Atrium Lobby Showcase Gallery East.

The artists in her building, like her, are established professionals that don’t fall into one of the two categories of artists that frequently have shows in New York City—big names with high-priced art, or younger, up-and-coming artists recently out of school who show at smaller galleries.

Older, established artists that never made it to the high money market, but are talented need a chance to show their work, said Schnurr.

Filling that gap is what she wants to accomplish as a curator, while showcasing Long Island City’s artist community.

Joel Shapiro Receives LIC Arts Open Lifetime Achievement Award


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Jesse Winter

World-renowned sculptor Joel Shapiro was honored with the inaugural LIC Arts Open Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shapiro, whose work has been on display in galleries across the globe, was born in Sunnyside and has a studio in Long Island City.

“[Shapiro’s] work is iconic,” said Richard Mazda, director of the LIC Arts Open. “There is something about his work that speaks very directly to art lovers, but there is also a common touch to it. It is very distinctive.”

Mazda went on to say that Shapiro was one of the pioneers of the art movement in L.I.C., keeping his studio in the neighborhood and leading by example.

“There are false impressions of Queens which are beginning to be altered,” he said. “Queens is not the Queens of 50 years ago. We have inherited a lot of art institutions, but it has taken along time for people to realize Queens is a borough that is more than a place filled with people. A lot of it is driven by the arts community, including Joel. By putting his large studio in LIC, Joel indirectly influenced many other artists to do the same.”

The award was presented during a fundraiser for the LIC Arts Open on March 26 at Manducatis Rustica, located at 46-35 Vernon Boulevard. The fundraiser was a quintessential L.I.C. event, with the award donated by Green Mountain Graphics, the food provided by LIC Market and M. Wells and a sizable donation made by the Court Square Diner.