art


15
Jun 12

Minako Yoshino, artist

Minako Yoshino, artist ©Tony Gale

Minako Yoshino

My precious friend Minako first visited New York from her native Japan in the summer of 2001. While attending classes at The Art Students League; her keen eye for color matching and mixing of paints caught the attention of a fellow student. He was in need of help with the painting portion of a landmark building restoration job for the City of New York in the financial district of Manhattan. Minako happily and very successfully complied.

The following day at JFK, bags checked and awaiting her departure flight back to Japan, she received a call on her cell phone. The construction company wanted her, and made a considerable job offer.  A whirlwind trip back home to say goodbye to friends and family, she found herself returning to NYC, just days before the 9/11/2001 tragedy.

Toward the end of the restoration project Minako noticed large blocks of beautiful marble being trashed as part of the demolition of the building. This proved to be the source of raw materials for her initial attempt at sculpture.  Incredibly her first finished piece sold almost immediately and brought her an award from the National Sculpture Society, and birthed her career.

She has since successfully restored the landmark sculptures of the Hearst Tower façade, and was featured in the New York Times. Her paintings have been commissioned by the United Nations.

Minako lives and works in her Bushwick, Brooklyn studio, carving marble sculpture and painting. She has received a letter of recognition from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2012 she completed the marble statue series “For Japan”, a tribute to her mother country following the 3/11/2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. Her compassion and warm smile add to her amazing gifts she freely shares with all the people she encounters.

Nominated and described by John Dessereau Sr


17
Jun 11

Josh Hadar, metal designer

Josh Hadar in his studio. ©Tony Gale

Josh Hadar

I first met Josh walking by his Broome Street shop in my neighborhood many years ago. Seeing the flashes of light in the early winter night emitted from his welding torch lite up his sculpted gate made me curious to see what was inside. Looking in I saw all of Josh’s creations, his bikes and trees all around the shop. Using solar power to provide energy to create his art and to power his bikes is a testament to him as an artist and activist in the art community. Being a new Dad has given him a different way to look at the future.

nominated and described by Tommy Flynn


27
Jan 11

Austin McCormick, artistic director

Austin McCormick, director. ©Tony Gale

Austin McCormick, director. ©Tony Gale

Austin McCormick

Wow. Austin McCormick. The multi-talented Artistic Director of the Neo-Baroque theatrical dance group, Company XIV. A one-of-a-kind dynamo. Without question, Austin’s the most wildly creative genius that I’ve met in the 21st century. He’s been establishing himself as one of the top choreographers, directors and dancers in NYC. Austin’s shows feature the most original, imaginative and over the top performances that I’ve ever seen on a NY stage. Erotic, sensuous, risqué, dramatic and sumptuous are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about a show of his. It’s no wonder that his work has been praised by the likes of The NY Times, Black Book Magazine, Dance Magazine, The NY Post, Metro NY, and many others. Austin’s name should appear as the definition of original in the Oxford American Dictionary.
For more information about Austin and Company XIV visit http://www.CompanyXIV.com

Wow. Austin McCormick. The multi-talented Artistic Director of the Neo-Baroque theatrical dance group, Company XIV. A one-of-a-kind dynamo. Without question, Austin’s the most wildly creative genius that I’ve met in the 21st century. He’s been establishing himself as one of the top choreographers, directors and dancers in NYC. Austin’s shows feature the most original, imaginative and over the top performances that I’ve ever seen on a NY stage. Erotic, sensuous, risqué, dramatic and sumptuous are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about a show of his. It’s no wonder that his work has been praised by the likes of The NY Times, Black Book Magazine, Dance Magazine, The NY Post, Metro NY, and many others. Austin’s name should appear as the definition of original in the Oxford American Dictionary.

nominated and described by David Gibbs


3
Nov 10

Charles Reinhart, leader in modern dance

Charles Reinhart, photographed in his home. © Tony Gale

Charles Reinhart, photographed in his home. © Tony Gale

Charles Reinhart

For a decade, Charles
was manager of the Paul Taylor Dance Company,
shepherding them through engagements all around
the world.     In the 1970s, Charles took over the
Connecticut Dance Festival, a modern dance organization
founded by Martha Graham and others in the 1920s;
moved it to Durham, North Carolina; and renamed it
the American Dance Festival.    Under his leadership,
ADF has become the “world capitol” of modern dance.
Features:   A  2-month summer program of student instruction;
modern dance premieres of interesting new groups from
all over the world; commissions of new works; and
restoration and preservation of great modern dance works
of the past.   If you know anything about modern dance
and/or modern dancers, you know about Charles Reinhart
and the ADF.

For a decade, Charles was manager of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, shepherding them through engagements all around the world.  In the 1970s, Charles took over the American Dance Festival a modern dance organization founded by Martha Graham and others in 1934 in Vermont; and moved it to Durham, North Carolina. Under his leadership, ADF has become the “world capitol” of modern dance.  Some features:   A  2-month summer program of student instruction; modern dance premieres of interesting new groups from all over the world; commissions of new works; and restoration and preservation of great modern dance works of the past.   If you know anything about modern dance and/or modern dancers, you know about Charles Reinhart and the ADF.

Nominated and described by Ted Steeg


5
May 10

Elodie Belmar, actress

Elodie Belmar, in front of Serge Gainsbourg's home. © Tony Gale

Elodie Belmar, in front of Serge Gainsbourg's home. © Tony Gale

Elodie Belmar

Lewis Carroll is a fucking genius.

Just ask Elodie Belmar. For the past two years she’s been Alice in an original production of Alice au Pays des Merveilles (Alice in Wonderland) with the French theater company “La Petite Fabrique.” Of the experience Elodie says the best part was learning to be present every second of every performance and striving to create something new each time – instead of doing the same thing over and over, ‘like a sad robot.”

In addition to being a working actor, she recently completed her professional certification in shiatsu massage. Both theatre and her work as a massage therapist help her stay connected to the present moment and the people around her. “Shiatsu and theatre [are] very linked for me. Listening, concentration, connection with the other…always beginning a show or a massage without knowing what’s going to happen, and [discovering] little by little – It’s a bit scary, but always [results] in…good surprises!”

That’s basically Elodie’s philosophy on life – start every moment with the knowledge that anything is possible.

That’s why she travels. She’s been all over the world. Mexico, Morrocco, India, Hungary, Cabo Verde (to name a few). “There’s no better feeling than [being] lost somewhere and taking the time to discover a place, the air, the time – and the people.”

Of course, she’s a master at finding beauty in the everyday, whether it’s in Paris or…Dublin…or New York. A look, a smile, a good movie, anything. That’s why she’s equally happy cooking at home as she is traveling, acting and skydiving – which she’s tried, and she says she’d like to do once a month if possible.

No, Elodie Belmar is definitely not a sad robot.

Nominated and described by Nicole Cordier


6
Jan 10

Leonard Knight, maker of monuments

Leonard Knight at Salvation Mountain © Tony Gale

Leonard Knight at Salvation Mountain © Tony Gale

Leonard Knight

There should be more Leonard Knights in the world.

Leonard is a simple man. In his late 70′s, he is hard of hearing and becoming fragile. He lives in a 20 foot trailer 150 miles from what most of us would call a real city; in the desert, on abandoned military land. He has no electricity and brings water to his home in a 200 gallon tank. Leonard calls it paradise.

Driven by a singular passion, Leonard Knight has devoted decades to constructing a monument. A monument in paint and straw bale and mud to love and God…..Crackpot? Corny? Weirdo? Yes on all counts, by contemporary standards. But Leonard doesn’t care much about contemporary standards. Leonard has nothing to sell.

So if you get lost in the desert some dark night, and don’t like scorpions, or rattlesnakes, or the cold, or the heat, or the loneliness; stop by Leonard’s. He’ll probably say, “thanks for coming by, would you like a blanket and something to drink”?

There should be more Leonard Knights in the world.

Nominated and described by David Zimmerman

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18
Nov 09

Meryl Finger, Glamazon

Meryl Finger © Tony Gale

Meryl Finger © Tony Gale

Meryl Finger,  Glamazon

I’ve known Meryl Finger, the creator and mastermind behind the plus size burlesque-pop girl group the Glamazons, for about a decade.  She’s a Jewish native New Yorker, she loves leopard print and hot pink,
she married her husband on a reality show, they both work in the Gay community which can make
dating hard…so it’s amazing that they found each other!  Meryl is one of those unassuming people who knows everyone,
who’s family members are famous (her cousin is the lead guitarist of the Bravery, her other cousin is the keyboard player
for Fountains of Wayne, and her other cousin is a comedian, and her other cousin is a gay pop star)

Nominated and described by Natalie Ferraro


29
Oct 09

Liza Lentini, renaissance woman

Liza Lentini, Photo by Tony Gale

Liza Lentini, Photo by Tony Gale

Liza Lentini

Liza Lentini is a true renaissance woman.  Most people know her as an award-winning playwright, having her first professional production in her native Boston when she was just 19 years old.  Insistent to follow all of her passions, she’s combined her lifelong apprenticeships in the arts into several prosperous businesses: writing, jewelry making, makeup artistry, photography.

But the cause that is closest to her heart is her charity, started in 2006 by cashing in her pension and diving right in, Elephant Ensemble Theater.  A few times a month, Liza and her group of actors travel around New York City children’s hospitals with uplifting performances of plays Liza’s penned herself.  Many people talk about dong it, but Liza actually did it.  Not just a little bit, not half way, but with the lioness determination she’s earned a reputation for.  And one thing that’s as legendary as her theatrical career is her dogged determination to do good work, not just as an artist but also as a human.  Now, that’s an artist with a cause!!!!

Nominated and described by  Ericka Gutierrez


30
Sep 09

Shien Lee, Patron of the Arts

Shein Lee. © Tony Gale

Shein Lee. © Tony Gale

Shien Lee

Do not let the façade of pastiche vintage fool you, Shien Lee is not someone living in the past. In fact, she definitely a product of the Twenty-first Century, and her retro sensibilities are a sign of things yet to come. Her style is so unique, a stew of the best of every fashion and period, that the events she calls Dances of Vice have become their own genre. A patron of the arts, she brings together all her favorite people: dancers, singers, painters, illustrators, photographers, musicians, magicians and whomever else she feels will cross pollinate and influence each other to create something old and new, beautiful and monstrous. Using the latest resources to promote her vision, she gleans gems from all eras like a time traveling proprietor of a dime store museum. Impossible to fit into any one category, fans of her work simply call it Dances of Vice. Look to the style of the future and you’ll find Shien Lee.

Nominated and described by Don Spiro


23
Sep 09

Kate Cusack, Costume Designer and Artist

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack

There are many beautiful qualities and interesting things I could say about Kate Cusack. One of the aspects of her personality that I find most admirable is her honesty. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, what you see is what you get with Kate. She is who she is and does not waste time pretending to be otherwise. She is more true to herself than anyone I have ever known and I admire her greatly for that. She is driven and focused and believes in herself and her creativity to an impressive degree. As well she should! She has been carving out an impressive career in the Arts from a young age and there’s no sign of her slowing down.

Kate studied fine Art in undergrad and completed her graduate degree in theater, specifically, costume design. Currently she is focusing on her ever-expanding Art jewelry collection, made entirely out of zippers. She has always had a knack for turning humble materials into beautiful works of Art and her zipper jewelry is an amazing example of her talent.

Nominated and described by Margaux Lange