On July 4, 2016 the BxArts Factory participated in their 2nd event of the summer. They were one of the many artisans who came out to the "I am Longwood Arts Festival". The event was a success as they "celebrated and promoted cultural vitality of the arts in the South Bronx".
BxArts Factory had the opportunity to talk to many community members about how they bring art to their homes, what type of art they do and how they feel this has benefited their lives. The community activity facilitated by awesome volunteers, encouraged participants to have fun with art, stimulated teamwork and promoted creativity without competition. This was displayed as children, parents, and siblings worked together for a common goal. They all contributed their time and talents towards a community collage which will be displayed at PS 333. Members of the community continued to return to the table to see the evolution of the project. Many commented they were excited to have been a part of the project as it reminded them of the space they live in. It also bought them a sense of pride and strength to know that, as a community, they are resilient despite individual challenges.
This past Monday we began what we hope to be an exciting collaboration with WHEDco and the Bronx Music Heritage Center! We will be working together to engage the community in a series of workshops and group discussions about music in the Bronx! BxArts Factory has selected a trio of amazing artists to work with. The artists will be facilitating the community engagement conversations and also creating individual mural projects inspired by their work with community members. The 3 murals will beautify the Melrose area in The Bronx where the new BMHC home will be! Our 1st project began with artist Ralph Serrano and the students from the WHEDco After School Proram in PS/MS 218. Ralph worked with the students to define what they value the most from the music originated in the Bronx and the music that is present within their communities. We will soon begin the work on this mural which will be located at the Melrose Building Materials Company on 163rd! Our following 2 projects will take place soon after with artists Sharon Lee De La Cruz (UnoSeisTres) and Crystal Clarity! We will keep you posted on all the work and on the unveiling activities!
Today we are featuring the story of how two artists met via our Newsletter! At BxArts Factory we love when we hear stories of collaboration and new relationships formed as a result of the artists meeting through us!
We have heard many awesome stories like this and we thank Ijeoma and Gia for letting us share theirs!
I live a stressful life. As everyone reading this knows - behind every struggling artist, is a stressful day job! I also live a blessed life as I am actually able to make use of the degree I am still paying for! This summer those two adjectives - stressful and blessed - collided in my backyard. I'll back up a bit. As part of the blessed part of my life, in my mid-twenties, I was able to survive on Top Ramen for a year to save up to purchase my home. Since then, I have been ever so slowly renovating my 115+ year home. This summer I finally landed on decorating my back yard. After endless trips to Ikea, and bleeding on said Ikea furniture, as I put it all together myself, I finally got to the point where I needed to address the huge concrete patio. Being a child of the 90’s I of course wanted to do some old school graffiti! Why not tag my backyard?! I reached out to all of the Bronx based graffiti artists I could Google. Unfortunately, they did not reach back. So I was left staring at this concrete patio that was staring back, daring me to make it something beautiful.
A few stressful days later I am checking my email and stumble upon the BxArts Factory newsletter. Of course I scroll through to see what I have missed while bleeding over my Ikea furniture, and there it is! It was the love child of Francis Bacon and Georgia O’Keefe. It was a picture of a mural painted by Giannina Gutierrez! I found my artist, now if I could only convince her to take on my small project. Out goes the slightly frantic email asking her to consider the project. Thankfully, it only took the 748th refreshing of my email for me to see Gia’s reply that she was interested in coming to see the patio. If she thought I was both a bit weird and the size of the patio (roughly 20’ long x 9’ wide) was a bit much, she played it off well. She was interested in flexing her creativity on more than just a vertical canvas. We settled on the price of the commission (pay your artists people, even if it means living on box macaroni and cheese for six weeks!) and the time table to create the piece. I made a sure to have the space prepared ahead of her begin date. Working nights and weekends, armed with industrial strength bug repellent, she made art where there was once only concrete. With dogged determination and unceasing creativity Gia created the beautiful piece that I am now once again blessed to live with every day. You never know what amazing opportunities will arise from the BxArts Factory newsletters!
Ijeoma D. Iheanacho
Meet KayLove and Kacer171, the other team part of the Mural Match happening during the Food Truck Extravaganza
Kacer171 has been involved in the aerosol art movement since the mid 1970's. In 1981 he formed and established "UMXS" ™, the first four letter dominating graffiti crew in the history of writing to cross all seven continents. He is also a cartoonist, illustrator, metal wire and clay sculpture artist. Kacer171 is also an advocate for human rights and social awareness.
Karen "KayLove" Pedrosa
Karen " KayLove" Pedrosa is a Bronx born and based, first generation Puerto Rican artist who draws her inspiration from the vibrant, gritty, soulful streets of New York City, the lush campos of Puerto Rico and all the places in between. A child of the 80's she was inspired by the rolling museums the trains provided, the roof murals, tags and colors that brightened up a once dirty and dingy Bronx. A graduate of the legendary High School of Art & Design she continued to study painting at Lehman College. Her work is colorful, passionate and loose. Her style draws from the streets, culture and her emotions; impulsive, vibrant, raw and at times reckless.
Click Here for more information about the Food Truck Extravaganza event.
Giannina Gutierrez is an artist based in NYC, working out of East Harlem. She is of Colombian origin, raised in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Self taught at an early age, Giannina went on to study in various arts programs, is a member of The Art Students League of New York & majored in Fine Art at Pratt Institute. In 2004, she started painting lives at various nightclubs, charity events in addition to hosting a monthly ongoing live art & music event in East Harlem. Giannina has also gone on to curate art exhibits, is currently working on her second show. She currently also works with high school students in both schools & privately in art instruction & developing portfolios.
Her love of music & color is evident through bold shapes & brush strokes. Years of figure study & appreciation of form shows in the organic, erotic style in which she depicts figures majorly female. Giannina works in a variety of materials & mediums, including found objects, acrylic, and oils. Her work can currently be seen in various nyc galleries & venues.
Bringing Art to Every Household.
Chief Editor/House Blogger
Natalie N. Caro is an editor, writer, and professor. She graduated from Lehman College, Magna Cum Laude, with double major in English Literature and Philosophy. She earned a fellowship and an MFA from City College. In 2013, she was awarded the Bronx Recognizes Its Own Fellowship by the Bronx Council on the Arts for excellence in Poetry. She was nominated for The Pushcart Prize, one of the most honored literary projects in America, in 2015. Currently, she's a doctoral candidate in CIAS- Center for Inter-American Studies, Bielefeld, University, where she will.