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Artists inspiring Artists

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

I think I was first awakened to musical exploration by Dizzy Gillespie and Bird. It was through their work that I began to learn about musical structures and the more theoretical aspects of music. ~ John Coltrane

This week I have been thinking about artists finding inspiration from each other -- from the wonderful exchange of ideas that happened when performance artists Lavinia Salano and Omar Olusion worked with Advanced Studio in-person at BWAC to the poignantly beautiful song my friend saxophonist José Carlos Cruzata Revé wrote as a response to my painting Inside Outside Recovery, Rain (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn), it happens all the time at ART YARD and it is a remarkable gift.


On Monday in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Teaching Artists Iviva Olenick presented a session inspired by the Bodega Flowers series of artist Abby Goodman, mixed media collages of flowers, some using the paper wrapping from bouquets one buys in New York bodegas.

Abby Goodman, Bodega Flowers (for Angela Merkel), 2018 painted and colored hand torn paper, silkscreen ink

Iviva explains: “After looking at two of Abby Goodman’s artworks, I invited students to think about how bouquets, flowers and plants relate to healing. Vera showed us her grandmother's plants, which bring some of the Dominican Republic to NYC, and Meridith talked about gardening, and therapeutic horticulture programs in prisons.

Artworks included Ed Rath's collage of a view out a window with flowers and hummingbirds, Vera Tineo's digital collage of people's faces inside leaves, Pat Larash's collage bouquet for an artist's sister (in progress), Abby Johnson's painting of a sunflower, Naya Jackson's collage of a vase with flowers, Wayne Gross' gold chocolate wrapper reinterpreted as a Matisse-inspired collage, Meridith's a bee garden with watercolor and collage, Zeke Brokow's collage of a house plant, and Marilyn August's two lush collages of orchids, inspired by the artist's cultivation of orchids.” Iviva's used her recycling bin for materials. We loved her sewn detail.

(Artists works are in the order described in the paragraph above.)

I sent the lesson plan to Karla who was unable to make the Zoom session in real time. Karla wrote this morning: “Thank you for sending the lesson. As I was doing my occasional “studio straightening” last week, I set aside a paper sleeve that had contained a portable vase, a gift from a museum store. The sleeve was a cut-out of a vase. I liked the shape and decided I might someday use it. Well…timing is everything! The lesson noted the importance of the floral wrapper or container. This became the starting point of my piece.

Torn cover of old sheet music, cut out shapes from images of artworks in a museum newsletter and a touch of colored pencil. The motion in the work references both the upward and downward motions of living and the joy and beauty in color and nature.”

Karla Prickett, Healing Bodega Bouquet

And what a beautiful piece it is!


Teaching Artist, Resident Artist at Coney Island Museum, renown Side Show Banner painter and professor Marie Roberts treated us to a fantastic session of ART YARD Advanced Studio in-person at BWAC!

Marie asked talented magician Omar Olusion and balloon sculptor/face painter Lavinia Salano to perform for us as ART YARD artists used Marie’s method of working from observation of live moving models.

Omar and Lavina performing for Advanced Studio in-person at BWAC

Marie reports: “I hoped the experience of drawing two live models would allow the participants to observe gestures, persona, costume, props and how they integrate into a visual experience. The evening with Lavinia and Omar became a magical experience. We began with a quick overview of 4 artists: Jackie Ormes, a pioneering syndicated comic artist, Tōshūsai Sharaku, the Beggarstaff Brothers and Toulouse Lautrec, who made drawings of performers onstage.

Omar started doing magic while Lavinia made balloon sculpture - so quickly we had to watch or we would miss the creation. ART YARD people were chosen to assist the magician and like magic, we all became one big family and concentrated on our drawings.

Our materials included white paper and black paper, Sharpies and felt tip pens, pencil and color pencil. This produced a variety of work! Robin Grant and I made multiple drawings, while Naya Jackson, Nayarit Tineo, and Vera Tineo concentrated on slowly bringing drawings to life with color. Meridith drew the performers singly, while Abby Johnson, Ed Rath and Candy Heiland and some made compositions of the two models. Elizabeth Morales made a Vuilland-like painting of the duo onstage, including props and the many balloon sculptures Lavinia made over the course of the evening, Everyone in the session concentrated on work while the mods gave us a glimpse of how they practice perfecting their crafts at home and they were generous in answering questions.

(Artists works are in the order described in the paragraph above.)

The evening became a fluid experience between ART YARD participants and models. It was indeed a special session.”

From our performers perspective -- Omar tells us: “I felt very welcomed and enjoyed the energy of the room” and Lavinia says she was “Humbled… I loved seeing the very different perspectives and interpretations of “us”… a tangible kinda artsy love. It was fun 😁”

Lavinia's Face Painting Kit

You will find us here in-person on Tuesday evenings!


This week at ART YARD Art Matters at BNS Teaching Artist Fatima Traore worked closely with those students who missed last week's lesson on watercolor pencil/water brush pen techniques - while Dennis worked with those who were ready to move on.

Fatima's lesson for these BNS students had them thinking of not only healing powers found in nature but people who help others heal (including essential workers). Some ideas, aside from medical professionals, were gardeners, supermarket staff members, and teachers.

Fatima teaching at BNS cafeteria

Walsh incorporated the healing powers of animals into his drawing by anthropomorphizing a pig as a medical doctor (or a vet?), complete with a Piggly Wiggly logo on his/her coat.

The sudden change in the weather had us relocated into the school's cafeteria - nearby to the well-lit windows - which helped students work classroom style .... with tables!

At work on the tables inside at BNS

During critique, students expressed their love of the water brush pens!


Turn up your volume and take a listen to this original piece for tenor saxophone by José Carlos Cruzata Revé (inspired by my painting):


I hope some of the work created in ART YARD programs inspires YOU!


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