“Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists” catches up with 16 artists living in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick during the COVID-19 pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in New York City last summer, artists faced mounting challenges. In addition to issues of limited space and high rents already plaguing many living in the city, the health crisis resulted in widespread unemployment and show cancellations.
The new ALL ARTS documentary series “Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists” explores what it means to be an artist during the summer of 2020. Debuting Feb. 22 on our broadcast and streaming platforms, the series focuses on 16 artists based in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick.
Hosts by Ralf Jean-Pierre and Sophia Kayafas take viewers into the northern Brooklyn studios and homes of the featured artists to discuss their work, gentrification and the consequences of rising rent prices. Episodes debut every Monday and Wednesday at 12 p.m. Eastern from through April 14.
Below is a full schedule of artists and films. Check back here for more updates as the series rolls out.
It’s July 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. Psychotropics and politics meet when host Sophia Kayafas visits Fred Tomaselli to talk about art and his ever-changing Williamsburg neighborhood.
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits metalwork artist Fara’h Salehi in Williamsburg, where she has managed to hold onto her welding shop despite the changes brought on by real estate development in the area.
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits emerging artist Dave Choi in his Bushwick studio, a punk-infused wonderland of art. Choi’s upcoming show was canceled due to the pandemic, but that didn’t deter him from making his zany and spontaneous flavor of art.
Sophia Kayafas sits down with Damien Davis to talk about Blackness, language, lexicons and lasers. In Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park, they discuss gentrification, how artists can control their own narrative and understanding the business side of art.
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits Matthew Benedict, whose work deals with nostalgia for old friends and lovers, drawing from mystical sea-faring tales and exotic adventures. A resident in Greenpoint since 1988, Benedict doesn’t believe in the construct of time.
Sophia Kayafas discusses the isolation of quarantine with Buket Savci, an immigrant whose paintings portray the joy of contact.
Ralf Jean-Pierre enters Coby Kennedy’s futuristic worlds to discover sci-fi demons, manufactured Thuggernauts and racial social control. A former car designer, Kennedy fuses concept design and political art in Kevlar-mounted dioramas and diabolical portraits.
Ralf Jean-Pierre travels back in time to tour Jilly Ballistic’s street art of WWI gas masks and government imagery, work that questions social control and our current politics. Ballistic discloses the risks and rush of putting up work in the NYC subway system.
Sophia Kayafas visits Naomi Okubo, whose work explores patterns and fashion. In her art, the female subject turns away from the viewer, melting into the intricate background. Okubo prepares to move back to Japan, leaving her beloved Greenpoint neighborhood.
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits Joey Parlett’s Bushwick studio, where he makes intricate ink drawings in a disciplined time structure. Adhering to his midwestern roots and freelance work, Joey clocks in and out every day to keep track of the hours he spends painting.
Sophia Kayafas visits Carlos Vela-Prado, a conceptual artist living and working in Greenpoint. Vela-Prado strives to remove himself from the execution of his art, hence giving agency to the idea and eliminating the preciousness of the artist’s hand.
Under lockdown, artist Amber Hany observes Bushwick through her window, recreating its developing houses and details in miniature dioramas. Ralf Jean-Pierre explores what motivates this Normal, Ill., native and her persistent urge to re-use materials in her work.
“Astronauts are cool-looking,” according to artist B.D. White, who gilds a disconnected, floating spaceman out of gold leaf while Ralf Jean-Pierre discusses White’s street art beginnings of stenciling lamp post bases in Williamsburg.
Sophia Kayafas visits Sophia Wallace, an artist whose “Cliteracy” project seeks to change the way we think about female pleasure. Wallace creates art that depicts the entire clitoris in order to understand this vital part of the female body.
Lisa Corinne Davis
Unsettling abstract art, definitions of identity, teaching through the pandemic and managing motherhood while being an artist are on the lineup for this episode. Sophia Kayafas and Lisa Corinne Davis compare notes on how artists can do it all.
Ralf Jean-Pierre explores Bed-Stuy to find artist Derrick Adams in his studio for a behind-the-scenes look at his series “Floaters.” They discuss working in a residential neighborhood, hip-hop and how relaxation can be a radical political act for Black people.