New Documentary Shorts Series Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists Explores the Lives of Artists During Pandemic Lockdown
- Nationwide: Premieres Mondays and Wednesdays, February 22-April 14 at 12 p.m. ET on the free ALL ARTS app and org
- New York metro area: Premieres Wednesdays, February 24- April 14 at 8 p.m. on ALL ARTS (channel lineup)
Limited space and high rent were common challenges faced by artists in New York City before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the evolving artist population faces the increasing challenges posed by the pandemic: resulting unemployment, show cancellations and high anxiety. The new short documentary film series Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists a explores what it means to be an artist in the northern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick during summer 2020. Series hosts Ralf Jean-Pierre and Sophia Kayafas visit 16 artists in their homes and studios, looking at their gritty, inner worlds, and engaging in sincere conversations with a range of emerging, mid-career and established artists from diverse backgrounds.
Sophia Kayafas is a working artist with a studio in south Brooklyn. She is a figurative oil painter that addresses her religious beliefs with vibrant narratives and introspective curiosity. Kayafas currently teaches drawing at Pratt University’s Foundation Department and Hudson County Community College in NJ. Kayafas lives with her partner and their two fish in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Ralf Jean-Pierre is a Haitian-American rapper-songwriter, actor, and comedian from Brooklyn. Jean-Pierre earned a Performing Arts BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007. He’s studied at Dance New Amsterdam, People’s Improv Theater, and clown with Christopher Bayes, Virginia Scott, and Eric Davis. In 2012, Jean-Pierre Ralf rode his bicycle around the USA performing Shakespeare and developed a solo show with an original blues-rap score called WHAT SHOULD BE THE FEAR.
- For many of the artists, the filmmakers were the first people they had seen since quarantine advisories began and they started living in isolation.
- There is a rich history of artists being active in the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg since the 1980s. In search of cheap studios and living spaces, over time, artists came to inhabit these neighborhoods alongside the existing Latino, Polish and Italian communities.
- Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists touches on the complicated topic of gentrification and how artists unintentionally influence the onset of gentrification, then themselves experience the negative consequences of it when rent prices go up and new development changes the culture of the area.
Series TV Listing: Sophia Kayafas and Ralf Jean-Pierre explore the artists and neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. A sincere, conversational look at the gritty inner workings of what it means to be an artist in north Brooklyn during summer 2020.
Runtime: 15-minutes episodes
- “Fred Tomaselli”
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.
- “Fara’h Salehi”
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits metalwork artist Fara’h Salehi to talk about art and their ever-changing Williamsburg neighborhood. Salehi has managed to hold onto her welding shop despite the changes brought on by real estate development in the area.
- “Dave Choi”
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits emerging artist Dave Choi in his Bushwick studio, a punk-infused wonderland of art. Choi’s upcoming show was cancelled due to the pandemic, but that didn’t deter him from making his zany and spontaneous flavor of art.
- “Damien Davis”
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.
- “Matthew Benedict”
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.
- “Buket Savci”
Sophia Kayafas discusses the isolation of quarantine with Buket Savci, an immigrant whose paintings portray the joy of contact.
- “Coby Kennedy”
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.
- “Jilly Ballistic”
Ralf Jean-Pierre travels back in time to tour Jilly Ballistic’s street art of WWI gas masks and government imagery, work which questions social control and our current politics. Ballistic discloses the risks and rush of putting up work in the NYC subway system.
- “Naomi Okubo”
Sophia Kayafas visits Naomi Okubo, whose work explores patterns and fashion. In her work, 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.
- “Joey Parlett”
Ralf Jean-Pierre visits Joey Parlett’s Bushwick studio, where he makes intricate ink drawings in a disciplined time structure. Adhering to his mid-western roots and freelance work, Joey clocks in and out every day to keep track of the hours he spends painting.
- “Carlos Vela-Prado”
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.
- “Amber Hany”
Under lockdown, artist Amber Hany observes Bushwick through her window, recreating its ever-changing houses and details in miniature dioramas. Ralf Jean-Pierre explores what motivates this Normal, Illinois, native and her persistent urge to re-use materials in her work.
- “B.D. White”
“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 his street art beginnings stenciling lamp post bases in Williamsburg.
- “Sophia Wallace”
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. Sophia Kayafas and Lisa Corinne Davis compare notes on how artists can do it all.
- “Derrick Adams”
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 radically political act for Black people.
ALL ARTS New York metro area Broadcast Schedule (channel lineup)
#101 “Fred Tomaselli & Fara’h Salehi” – Premieres Wednesday, February 24 at 8 p.m.
#102 Dave Choi & Damien Davis – Premieres Wednesday, March 3 at 8 p.m.
#103 Matthew Benedict & Buket Savci – Premieres Wednesday, March 10 at 8 p.m.
#104 Coby Kennedy & Jilly Ballistic – Premieres Wednesday, March 17 at 8 p.m.
#105 Naomi Okubo & Joey Parlett – Premieres Wednesday, March 24 at 8 p.m.
#106 Carlos Vela-Prado & Amber Hany – Premieres Wednesday, March 31 at 8 p.m.
#107 B.D. White & Sophia Wallace – Premieres Wednesday, April 7 at 8 p.m.
#108 Lisa Corinne Davis & Derrick Adams – Premieres Wednesday, April 14 at 8 p.m.
All broadcast episodes are 30 minutes.
Flowstate /North Brooklyn Artists is a production of Cyprian Films, New York for ALL ARTS. Created by Minos Papas. Hosted by Sophia Kayafas and Ralf Jean-Pierre. Directed by Minos Papas. Produced by Minos Papas and Liz Sargent. For ALL ARTS: Kristy Geslain is Senior Producer. Joe Harrell is Senior Director. James King is Artistic Director. Diane Masciale and Neal Shapiro are Executives in Charge.
Leadership support for ALL ARTS is generously provided by Jody and John Arnhold and the Arnhold Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Anderson Family Fund.
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Hosts Ralf Jean-Pierre and Sophia Kayafas.
Artist Sophia Wallace with Flowstate Host Sophia Kayafas.
Artist Sophia Wallace.
Artist Dave Choi.
Artist Dave Choi.
Artist Dave Choi.
Artist Coby Kennedy with Flowstate Host Ralf Jean-Pierre.
Artist Coby Kennedy.
Artist Damien Davis.
Artist Damien Davis.
Artist Fara’h Salehi.
Fara’h Salehi with Flowstate Host Ralf Jean-Pierre.
Artist Matthew Benedict.
Artist Matthew Benedict.
Artist Buket Savci.
Artist Buket Savci with Flowstate Host Sophia Kayafas.
Artist Fred Tomaselli.
Artist Fred Tomaselli with Flowstate Host Sophia Kayafas.
Artist Fred Tomaselli.
Artist Jilly Ballistic.
Artist Joey Parlett with Flowstate Host Ralf Jean-Pierre.
Artist Joey Parlett.
Artist Lisa Corinne Davis.