Tuesday, December 21, 2010


             May your every wish come true this 
                            Holiday Season!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Out on the Town and Country

Todd Knopke has a solo show up at Feature Inc called CEC "Changing Everything Carefully". The Opening was Thursday night and it was great to see how many people came out for it. 
I met Todd about 5 years ago on a photo shoot and it turned out that he, like myself, grew up in Richmond, Va and received his BFA from VCU. Despite graduating in different years, we did share the good fortune of studying with Richard Carlyon, I wrote about him here in Oct 09. Todd was in the sculpture dept, then headed by Myron Helfgott, a terrific artist and friend of the family. 

Todd went on to Yale for his graduate degree, which I've heard is an ok school ;)

Todd currently sews together large narrative scenes out of disparate pieces of fabric evoking a dreamlike quality that is both enticing and eerie. His work is non linear and filled with symbolism and personal iconography. This particular series taps into my own fears about camping and bizarre experiences with the Boy Scouts of America.
Below is an excerpt from an interview Todd gave, you can read more at Artslant

What’s with your exhibition title?
An acronym is a perfect analogy for my work so I made my own from a part of a sentence that seems as if it should be the motto for today’s world: “changing everything carefully.” Taking parts of a preformed whole to create a new clearer idea/vision/word. CEC sounds like “seek” but also contains double vision, in the form of two Cs (pronounced see). With (E)cstasy in between. It seems like art’s goal. Read more...

The previous week, Kristine Lombardi, fab illustrator and Blipadee contributor, and I attended Bookmaker's Dozen Event/Launch/Party at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo. Below are Kristine's photos from the event.

Bookmaker's Dozen is a group comprised of talented published illustrators who have banded together to exhibit original artwork together, sell prints and provide friendship and support in what can be quite a solitary existence. I'm a fan their work and I recently wrote about a few like John Bemelmans Marciano, John Rocco, Brian Floca and Sophie Blackall after seeing their work in the Brooklyn Public Library's "Drawn in Brooklyn" Exhibit. Sophie's book, Big Red Lollipop is included in the New York Times Top Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010. 

The image below is not an indication of how I felt at the event. In fact, PowerHouse Arena serves fine wine and delicious snacks that you rarely see at art openings anymore. Not that I attend that many, but the ones I end up going to seem to favor cheap beer :(  
This is a terrific book store with lots of over sized art and photography books!

Sunday, Peter Brown (Bookmaker's Dozen member) read from his new book, Children Make Terrible Pets at Book Court, my favorite local bookstore. This book also made the New York Times Top Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010Melissa & Mike brought Freddy, who owns some of his other books. I love Chowder and Flight of the Dodo, so I went, too :)

Here he sketches out his character, Squeaker! 

Jonathan Franzen read from his highly acclaimed novel "Freedom" earlier in the week. I was not disappointed! I thoroughly enjoyed "The Corrections" and so far "Freedom" far exceeds my expectations. It doesn't take long to know and care about his characters and feel like you grasp, however fleeting, the complexities of contemporary life filled with seemingly endless choices, compromise and disillusionment.
In person, he was unassuming and charmingly funny. It was a standing room only event and I was nervous just to have him sign my book. Fortunately, he couldn't have been nicer.

Above, Mike tries to keep up, constructing origami dinosaurs with Freddy .

At Thanksgiving, Bryon invited the Zexter clan and me to his friends, Brian and Karla's organic farm Simmons Farm in Middleton, RI. It was a cold and blustery day, but we took a pleasant walk through the petting zoo and to the water...

Some great faces...

Adore their two dogs :D
I liked this little pup, too!

I've always appreciated these old typewriter models. This one was for sale at Brownstone Treasures last week. I never learned to type, a mistake that haunts me and probably annoys my studio mates ;)

Carroll Park Tree at night :')

Friday, December 3, 2010

Carroll Park Tree Lighting

I painted my holiday If I Were A Toy store door yesterday, Holiday Paradise on Ice. It's one of my favorites so far! Joanna and Virginia have some adorable new Christmas and Hanukkah toys for sale. Come take a peek :)

*Tonight* Friday December 3rd * 7pm* The Carroll Park Holiday Tree Lighting!*
Celebrate the Season with Friends of Carroll Park and Court Street Merchants Association.
Enjoy Tasty Treats and Share the Good Tidings!! xo, A

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Loving Memory

Mario Dandola, George as I knew him, passed away on Friday November 26th. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him. He has been my landlord for over 18 years. I met him in the spring of 1992 while looking for an apartment here in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He stepped outside of his shop, "George's Potpourri", when he heard me asking the corner store owner about apartments. He had rooms to rent just down the street and with a marker he drew out the layout for me. It was my lucky day!

Above are photos of George and Emily outside and inside their more recent space at 489 Court Street. Le Petit Cafe is currently expanding into their old space. The neighborhood has changed a great deal since I 1st moved here, but one thing that hasn't is George and Emily. They have been wonderful to me. George has always been kind, generous and funny. Anyone that knew him would agree he's one of a kind!

This neighborhood will most definitely not be the same without him. It's hard to believe he won't be sitting outside his shop feeding the birds, including the maligned pigeons each day or offering an icy refreshment in the summertime. He loved being social and seemed to know about any and everything going on in the area. When I told my friend he was in the hospital, her daughter exclaimed "not the nice man with the skunks?!" He sometimes gave out little good luck skunks, made of pipe cleaner, to kids and some adults, like my mom. She's even traveled out of the country with hers. I have several myself.

Currently located on a less populated block, I made this sign to help with some needed attention. George's store has some great little gems at a fraction of the cost, especially for china and crystal.

Not seeing him anymore will be a difficult adjustment. He was tough and quite robust, especially for his age. He could fix almost anything himself and was unafraid of climbing on my roof when it needed a patch up. I learned a few handy household tricks myself over the years. He liked a glass of juice or tea after making a repair. I can hear his voice so clearly. He lead an interesting life and I was most intrigued by stories about his work as a longshoreman in Red Hook. Whenever there was work to be done or he simply wanted me to clear the hallway, his favorite saying was "It's like the wall of China, go bit by bit". I think of this often because it helps with so much in life, bit by bit and step by step. I will really miss hearing him say "Ahoy there!" from across the street or "what is it now?" each time I stopped by. Upon leaving, he was fond of saying "onward and upward!" or simply telling me to "carry on".

A viewing will be held at Scotto Funeral Home tomorrow, Tues 11/30 and Wed 12/1 from 2-5p and 7-9p each day. Mass will be held on Thursday 12/2 at 9:30am at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church located at 467 Court Street (pictured below).

I will miss you George!

My heart goes out to Emily and his family.

Rest in Peace
Mario Dandola


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