Brooklyn-based artist and activist Ann Lewis talks about:

Her recent move to Greenpoint from Bushwick, where she was kicked out of her live/work loft when the building was bought by two hedge-fund entities; the realities of living in an ever-increasingly expensive New York City, gentrification, and Ann’s experience with it both as a tenant – including negotiating with the owners for a modest settlement that helped with her move out – and as an activist (she was actually protesting at an anti-gentrification rally at the time she received a 30-day-notice warning under her loft door); her concern that New York, Brooklyn in particular, will just continue developing into a mass of suburban sprawl, with nothing that can be done from the ground to stop it, leaving only the hope of the bubble bursting; a deconstruction of New York City government’s complicity in maintaining a corrupt system that fosters unbridled development, to a large extent a system put in place during Bloomberg’s administration; how, with artists being the canaries in the coal mine, we can learn from the past problems of neighborhoods being unstably gentrified by moving into homeowner-dense neighborhoods and collectively investing in them for the very long-term, in hopes of diverting the gentrification train; how she feels we’re seeing change coming out of social activism very quickly now, through social media and greater attention being paid to issues, and how there’s been a big increase in the # of artistically minded people being more regularly engaged in social and political issues via FB and beyond; how her activist work started with street art (stencils) because she felt so strongly about certain issues (Abu Gharib, mass incarceration, etc.) that she needed to start having conversations with anyone who would listen; one of her performance pieces, a protest piece from 2014, in which she spent a month wearing a prison-issue orange jump suit in public, engaging with both strangers and people she knew in conversations about mass incarceration; how when she pushes herself out of her comfort zone, which she does in her performances, learning new things and providing ever more meaningful experiences for those experiencing her pieces; her maze wall paintings, which include subliminal messages contained within them; and she entertains the potential of Detroit as a future home and artist community, should living and working in New York become untenable, though we hope it won’t.

 

New York-based artist and comedic performer Jennifer Sullivan talks about:

Her neighborhood of Ridgewood, Queens (the non-fancy section, as opposed to the one adjacent to Bushwick), where she’s led tours; her performing, both in character as Julian Schnabel, and doing standup comedy, mainly at the Funny Hole, her local speak easy/artist hangout; her comedy about being single, and her real life being single, and how the two have dovetailed; her performance anxiety-induced nausea before standup comedy performances (and she defines comedy as courageously sharing strange ideas you wouldn’t share in normal life); the weirdness and scenester-ness of the art world; her dating life, including learning to be happy while single, which will in turn make her a better partner when she meets someone; how, through being in analysis, she’s come to a place of being very open, with her emotions very close to the surface. All this combined leads to a very intimate and deep episode, yet not without humor—classic Conversation.

New York-based painter Mark Thomas Gibson talks about:

Race in art relations; being a black artist asked by both whites and blacks: ‘where is your ethnicity in your work?’; meeting Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock; why he took 10 years off before applying to grad school (9/11); what led him to grad school (Yale) despite his reservations; and what it’s like being an artist in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

 

Austin Thomas:  “…[I feel that] everybody’s an artist: potlucks and cake and beer making…that’s who I am.”

New York-based artist Austin Thomas talks about: being a ‘gallerartist’ – a mix of artist and gallerist, and the various ways she’s engaged the art world and community through her Pocket Utopia galleries and projects; her experiences both working for and collaborating with artists as a gallerist and artist advocate; her community organizing-oriented public sculpture ‘the perch,’ which will be unveiled in the spring (of 2016); her path to living in Chelsea, despite originally trying to buy a house in Williamsburg; and her upcoming incubation period in which she contemplates her next steps as an artist advocate, booster and supporter of community-building art ventures.