Monthly Archives: April 2013

Attic Graffix

Fabian DeJesus, Attic Graffix

Attic Graffix, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery. Fabian DeJesus

First Friday in Old City is a Philadelphia art tradition that has taken on a life of it’s own, check out the Old City facebook page. The arts district attraction is vibrant and exciting, if a bit exhausting, with street art vendors, musicians, even a magician, mixed with the art openings 2nd Street is like an ersatz art festival. Many of the galleries are having their own artists set up tables on the street to control the activity at their storefront, setting up a feedback loop taking advantage of the street art to draw people into the actual galleries.

Bluestone Fine Art Gallery hosted an exhibit of art created by Attic Graffix, the design arm of The Attic Youth Center, had a table of super-kawaii Tee-shirts, bags and pillows with pop designs out on the street. Inside the gallery, the space is totally activated with vibrant graphics created by the young artists paired with artwork created by established fine artists.

Attic Fraffix, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Attic GraffixBluestone Fine Art Gallery

DoN met the art director of Attic Graffix, Beth Pulcinella, of The Attic Youth Center.

Beth Pulcinella said, “We’re sort of thinking of it as how to build sustainable youth reach out project that young people can have really regular income. I mean the way with the high school job market is, I mean the job market in general, but high school youth…a lot of the kids at the Attic are helping their families with rent and bills and stuff. So, they’re really having a hard time. I think, a lot of us are like, ‘How can we be creative with whatever funds we can get or our own creativity.”

Fabian DeJesus, Attic Graphix

Fabian DeJesusAttic GraffixBluestone Fine Art Gallery

“How can we create things where young people can have, like, jobs that they enjoy. With dignity, to support their dreams and their future artistic aspirations.

The Attic Youth Center serves folks 14 to 23 but Attic Graffix tends to be a project for older youth. Those who are out of high school. My youngest is 19 and my oldest is 22. And there’s six of us, we’ve been meeting now for over a year, twice a week, it happens more in the afternoon and the evening, because we don’t have the space in the morning. But, we have a print shop we can pull out of closets and last year with all the money they made they got to figure out what new equipment they wanted.

So, we have a really fancy light table, it’s a pretty state-of-the-art silk screen shop. We can do custom orders for your team or organization. Tee-shirts, we can print them for you.”

DoN bought a deep orange skinny T with a Fabian DeJesus design of a tiger head on a kitten’s body with an op art zig zag background. The prolific young designer’s bold, Dadaist designs draw on pop culture and pop art simultaneously and effortlessly. And make the perfect statement to draw attention to the efforts of Attic Graffix.

 Attic Graphix, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Attic GraffixBluestone Fine Art Gallery

“We’re working on getting a store on-line. We have yet to make that happen, but we’re out at a lot of the art festivals. It’s The Attic Youth Center‘s 20th year. And it’s an amazing place, it provides a ton of programs, there’s counseling, there’s life skills, all sorts of programming from dance to cooking to video. You know, it’s a lot of stuff, in terms of housing support, we don’t have housing but connecting youths. We do testing, we have a peer support prevention project, sex education stuff, there’s a lot of stuff happening there.” said Beth Pulcinella.

DoN wondered how they connected with Bluestone Fine Art Gallery?

“Well, Rex, he’s an interior designer and artist in Philly, wanted to organize a fundraiser and a show. The initial idea was youth would submit an unfinished idea then it would get paired with a local professional artist. But, I was like, we have a lot of other great stuff. Is there a way that some of our other work could be part of the show? There are these triptychs that are collaborations, a youth piece that an artist received and then created a new work. And then the youth can have a piece in the show and the artist can have a piece in the show.”

MASHUP, Jackson & Hipple, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

MASHUP, Jackson & Hipple, 40″ x 32″, $150.00, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Attic Graffix, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Attic GraffixBluestone Fine Art Gallery

The long-term goal of Attic Graffix is to create a sustainable and profitable business that reflects and supports The Attic Youth Center’s mission of assisting LGBTQ youth in developing valuable workforce development and leadership skills.  Currently, Attic Graffix is using two specific marketing strategies:

  1. Distributing and selling Attic Graffix merchandise at community events such as Pride, Outfest, art fairs, and youth events.
  2. Accepting print orders from nonprofit organizations, schools, community groups, and individuals. Attic Graffix will work with your organization to print silk screen merchandise that meets your specific needs.  Recent customers include Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project and William Way Community Center.

Attic Graffix strongly values sustainable practices and innovative and compassionate business models. For more information, or to place an order, please email – The Attic Youth Center website.

Read more about Bluestone Fine Art Gallery at

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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Library of Life

Richard Berlingeri, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Richard Berlingeri, Ode to a Dear Old Friend, newspaper and glue, 80″ diameter, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Sean Stoops, one of the jurors for the Library of Life exhibit in the art gallery in Philadelphia City Hall, explained to DoN how he came to be part of this monumental exhibition.

I’m on the Art in City Hall Committee, so when there’s an open call jury, usually one of the jurors is a committee member and then we try to invite an outside person, a guest juror. In this case, Jennifer Santchi of the Academy of Natural Sciences, their exhibits person. So, she come’s at it from a science and art background.

The show looks very impressive and exciting, it’s really a diverse group of artists in terms of the styles of working and approaches to how they portray Nature and Science. I would say it’s more of a Nature show, than Science. There are obviously over-lapping ideas there but I kind of see it how Nature is portrayed by these people. And investigating the relationship with Humans and Nature.- Sean Stoops

Richard Berlingeri, Ode to a Dear Old Friend, is made from the New York Times and glue, using only the green paper. The paper tendrils are actually just the green pages from the newspaper twisted up like a jungle vine, loose tendrils dangle to the floor like roots.

Ted Warchal, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Ted Warchal, The Medusa and the Gastropod, assemblage, paint, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Gary Steuer, the Chief Cultural Officer, greeted the audience gathered in the halls outside of Philadelphia’s unique art gallery located on the ground floor of City Hall.

“I run the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and I want to thank you all for being here with us in this wonderful building, City Hall. I want to thank all the artists, forty artists selected from over two hundred artists. It was really an extraordinary array of art that was submitted and I just think it’s a really, really exciting show, thanks to the work of the many artists. There are too many to name but I want to thank you en masse. I want to thank the jurors, Jennifer Santchi and Sean Stoops, needless to say with all these submissions jurying this show was a lot of work.

Karen Spiro from the Academy, who worked on this project, I want to thank her. And, also, Tu Huynh from my staff, without these shows, these exhibitions in City Hall could not happen. I want to talk a bit about the gallery space and the work we do. We try to make the programming work that we do, rather than having it competing with other organizations around town, it reinforces, it magnifies their work. So, we really try to work through partnerships. The work that we do in the gallery particularly, virtually every exhibition we do in the gallery is a partnership with another organization. It uses the gallery and the visibilty of City Hall to give the opportunity to tell different stories of our wonderful organizations throughout Philadelphia.” – Gary Steuer

Elisabeth Nickles, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Elisabeth Nickles, Creature of Sea Consciousness, steel wire, handmade Abaca paper, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

“We began a conversation between our team and the Academy about a year ago about how we could be a part of the celebration of their 200th Anniversary. And, we’re really, really excited that we were able to partner with them to make this exhibition happen. I think, one of the great things about this exhibit, I was talking to Sean Stoops earlier, is that it really plays on a strength in Philadelphia.

We have an extraordinary arts community but we also have an extraordinary science sector here, as well. We have The Science Center, great teaching and research institutions and as a result of that we have a lot of artist who are really interested in exploring the inter-connection in Art and Nature and Science. I think we’re particularly strong in this aspect and the caliber of the work in the show is a reflection of that particular strength. When I tell folks what defines Philadelphia, we have a lot of artists who are interested in working this way and frankly there’s a lot of science and technology folks who love collaborating with artists.

And, so I don’t think it’s an accident that we have a Science Festival and Arts Festivals and Tech Week and all of these things happening, sometimes simultaneously. Because it is part of the truth that makes up Philadelphia right now. And I think it’s a really exciting time to be here.” – Gary Steuer

Maria Markovich, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Maria Markovich, Doll With Fish, wire mesh, birch bark, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

DoN met the artist Maria Markovich in the gallery and asked about her art making process? Doll With Fish has a found object vibe but it is very much human made.

“I work mostly with birch bark. I build the forms with wire mesh. A lot of the work is about my experience of nature growing up and the interest it’s given me in nature throughout my life. I thought a lot about my early experiences with nature. This particular piece called Doll With Fish and it’s about a fish I caught. It’s about a lot of things, but one of the things it’s about is a fish I caught when I was 18, right before I went away to college. It was the largest fish that anyone in my family had caught and it was a Salmon.

It was quite an experience, i was standing in the stream with waders on, which I’d done many times before because my father took us fishing on the weekends. But, I had never caught a fish by myself, that kind of a fish, by myself. And it was right before I went away to college and it’s always been a memorable experience.” – Maria Markovich


Nancy Agati, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Nancy Agati, Trees Are Like Water, digital photo, lightbox, articulated arm, diffusion glass, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Library of Life Juror, Jennifer Santchi of the Academy of Natural Sciences, said to DoN,

“We have an Art of Science gallery at the Academy and we’ve found there’s a lot of inspiration in these topics for people. There’s a lot of artists, especially new artists, who are absolutely inspired by Nature. I think it’s wonderful if you’re coming from a big city. And I saw that here, too. Works that were submitted, over 200 plus submissions, they’re astonsishing. They’re so different. And some of them are so naturalistic. Some of them are so symbolic and decorative, some are much more ethereal. I really enjoy it.

There’s the piece by Elisabeth Nickles that looks so boney, ghostly, a little frightening. It’s called a Sea Creature and it’s just, to come up with that when you’re thinking of Nature is wonderful. Then there’s the piece that looks like bee-hive holes, rolls of paper, it’s amazing.” – Jennifer Santchi of the Academy of Natural Sciences

Ava Blitz, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Ava Blitz, Wings, carved foam, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

DoN has witnessed artist Ava Blitz carve ethereal, sinuous shapes, crisp white, from recycled blocks and chunks of styrofoam. Mountains and piles of the common material surrounded her like chunks on snow. Styrofoam is 98% air yet is transformative and persistent against air, water, dirt and biota. Wings represents Nature’s propensity to flying by using a modern marvel material, developed in 1941when Dow Chemical researchers were able to foam polystyrene, making a buoyant material with insulating properties. But this stuff doesn’t go away when we’re done with it. Ava Blitz makes it into art.

Ava Blitz says in her artist statement,

“Lines tend to blur in my work between fossil and artifact, natural history and cultural history, and the present, past and future.”

Stan Smokler, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Stan Smokler, Polaris, welded steel, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Stan Smokler, Thomas Vance,Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Stan Smokler, Thomas Vance, Perfect Storm, oil, ink on canvasLibrary of LifeArt in City Hall

Elizabeth Miller McCue, Art in City Hall, Library of Life

Elizabeth Miller McCue, Ball of Leaves, patinated cast bronze. Nami Yamamoto, Radiant Flux, handmade paper: Abaca with phosphorescent powder. Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Florence Moonan, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Florence Moonan, LP1209, acrylic on vintage vinyl, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Florence Moonan, LP1209, is not a cast bronze disc, it’s an up-cycled vinyl long playing record. The piece removes from the custom base.

“The outdated LPs have been prepared, and painted on both sides for viewing front and back. I enjoy recycling this part of my past into an artistic creation that can be appreciated by others, while helping to reduce man’s impact on nature.” – Florence Moonan artist statement.

Dolores Poacelli, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Dolores Poacelli, Acid Rain, sanded aluminum press plates, acrylic paint on pine panels, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

Orlando Pelliccia, Library of Life, Art in City Hall

Orlando Pelliccia, cast rubber, Library of LifeArt in City Hall

George Gephart, the President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University said,

“This is such a wonderful way for us to punctuate what has been a great year, our Bicentennial year. And I hope many of you have taken advantage of the different activities that we’ve had, but best of all, we have this exhibit. Which really marries our strength and history in science with art right here at City Hall.

Certainly, as I think about the work that has gone into this, and I just got a taste. There are two more floors, I’m excited to see it because just getting this first peek, it says that the Art in City Hall Committee and Tu Huyhn, you did a fabulous job. What’s fun for us from the Academy to see is that many, if not all, of the artists had a chance to come to the Academy, to get behind the scenes, to look at our collections and to be inspired by what we do. And, so looking at my team here, as we look at various pieces we say, ‘Ah! I know where that came from.’And I know what the inspiration was.’ That’s very, very exciting. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t encourage you to come to the Academy, we have a great line-up in the next several months.” – George Gephart

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer

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Urban Pop, Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

“For its visually dazzling decoration and intellectually for its information overload, the strategies of Pop influence my art making.” – Leslie Friedman artist statement

The Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition at the Main Line Art Center features three artists whose work takes ideas, concepts, talent and technique to make art pop, The skate punk influenced room designed by Leslie Friedman is like going in a Clockwork Orange style club with ramps and wheat paste style graphics. The gallery vibrates with kinetic, color and cultural energy. The graphics are about ‘Jewish identity and it’s relationship to mainstream America’. Leslie takes cultural memes and marks them up with street style, graffiti and hip-hop. The Star of David floor tiles are perfect for break dancing.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORT, The Passage, acrylic on canvas mounted on aerosol cans, $400.00, Urban PopMain Line Art Center, photo by Spike Howard.

The exploded spray paint cans up-cycles an artifact from the culture of tagging to reveal the dreams of being an artist. Pop art is about being popular, tagging is anti-social yet highly visible, like the way pop stars do outrageous stunts to capture our attention, taggers exploit the public sphere for attention.  DISTORT blows up that myth by painting emotional, deep and storied artworks that recall the masters of the Renaissance but in a cool contemporary concept.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORTUrban PopMain Line Art Center

DISTORT repurposes old car parts like bumpers and hoods to paint on. And it’s not graffiti, it’s classical painting that tells a story in a beautiful illustrative style with thoughtful narratives. DISTORT brings back the historical context of pop art and it’s reaction of fine art against advertising and manipulated media images and presents a ‘constant barrage of tragic events’.

“As a regular car-driving American, I am aware that my life is cantilevered by war.” – DISTORT artist statement.

Jay Walker, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Jay Walker, Pyrotokos, tape, Urban PopMain Line Art Center

“Bring us the fire and light these rags aflame. Show us yourself with headlamps of your presence.

Prometheus gave a vision of a hero, bound for giving us hope and light.

Pyrotokos moves mysteriously as his gift, I am thankful for what it destroys.

Speak uttterances and grunts known to the fire, I need an advocate with a flaming tongue.

Destroy and build, create and tear down, bring the change.” – Jay Walker artist statement.

Pyrotokos is a drawing made with tape that extends across the walls and ceiling and down the other side onto the floor. The use of low level materials like packing tape and duct tape to create a spiritual message of redemption and resurrection by walking through the fire is really the essence of pop culture. Amie Potsic, the curator of Urban Pop at Main Line Art Centerby bringing together artists who reflect their generation through their art yet break through new cultural barriers the same way Pop artists in the 1950’s rebelled against the attitudes of their time.

Like Main Line Art Center on facebook.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted. Thank you to Spike Howard for contributing to DoNArTNeWs.

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Robert Bullock Alter/Ego

Robert Bullock, Alter/Ego, Bookplace

Robert Bullock, Alter/Ego, Bookplace, 2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford, PA., Artist Reception April 19th 5 -8:00PM.

ARTISTS Against Hunger

The Food Trust, Artists Against Hunger
(Wynnewood, PA  April 3, 2013) When local artists Linda Dubin Garfield and Susan DiPronio read that in parts of Philadelphia over 50% of the children go to bed hungry, they knew they had to do something. They decided to create change the only way they could – through art. They chose The Food Trust which helps bring nourishment and education to the neighborhoods in question. They created thARTISTS Against Hunger Project and planned several events such as the Pre- Fringe birthday party for Linda in May, 2012 which raised over $700 in lieu of gifts.
Next, they created a “Yummy Rainbow” mural banner as part of Robert Farid Karimi’s Cooking Show: The Diabetes of Democracy at the Asian Arts Initiative with pre-schoolers from a Head Start class in South Philadelphia also in May, 2012. They participated in the 2012 Fringe Festival doing mixed media memoir workshops focusing on What Nurtures Us and Food Des(s)erts in September, 2012.

Now they are organizing the ARTISTS Against Hunger Exhibition May 2- 5, 2013, at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street in South Philadelphia which will feature art from artists from all over the Delaware Valley, juried by Moe Brooker, Artist and Chairman of the Mayor’s Commission of the Arts. Many different styles and media will be represented.

All the work will be fine art and for sale. Checks and cash will be accepted. No credit cards. There will be a Gala Reception open to the public on Thursday, April 2, 6-8 PM, First Friday from 6-8 PM and Gallery hours on Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 PM. Proceeds from art sales benefit The Food Trust. The art show’s motto is Let art nourish your soul to fed our children. The Food Trust works to improve access to healthy, affordable food and to educate children and families about nutrition.This exhibit is organized by smART business consulting which offers business solutions for artists to reach their goals and their audience through individual consulting and coaching, small support groups and seminars as well as providing venues to exhibit art to the public both virtually online (web design and social media) and in reality (exhibitions in galleries and other public venues.)
For more information, visit