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Posts Tagged ‘Open Studio’

Banner painter Marie Roberts in her Studio at Coney Island USA. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Banner painter Marie Roberts in her Studio at Coney Island USA. January 1, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This weekend, five of our artist friends who live, work or find their inspiration in Coney Island are opening their studios for the Brooklyn Museum’s “GO! Brooklyn” event. The crowd-curated art project asks visitors to register online, “check in” at least five studios in person and vote for three of them. The ten artists who win the most votes will have a shot at being in a group exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. With over 1,700 artists from 45 Brooklyn nabes participating, creating an itinerary is half the fun. To browse the studios and register, visit the project’s website. The open studio weekend is on September 8 and 9, 2012, from 11am until 7pm.

Let our portraits of the People’s Playground’s truly unusual and talented artists be your guide to “Go! Coney Island.”

Marie Roberts is a third-generation Coney Islander who grew up going to Steeplechase Park and listening to her family’s reminiscences of Dreamland. A professor of art at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Marie found her métier painting the vibrantly colorful banners advertising the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. You can view her work 365 days a year on the CIUSA Building at Surf Avenue and 12th Street. Her studio is located on the second floor of the landmark building.

ATZ first met sculptor, painter and performance artist Daniel Blake aka Africasso in 2007 when he exhibited his sculptural mashup of historic Coney Island rides at the Coney Island History Project. The lifelong Coney Island resident will be showing his giraffe sculptures at Marie’s studio this weekend. Marie Roberts, Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Daniel Blake

Africasso’s Art Guitar, Daniel Blake AKA Africasso. June 8, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island resident Takeshi Yamada’s Neptune Avenue studio is his Museum of World Wonders. Among the Osaka-born artist’s curious creations are Fiji mermaids, two-headed babies, a dog-headed spider and other sideshow gaff art. The Grand Champion of Taxidermy at the Secret Science Club’s 2006 Carnivorous Nights shows his work in a variety of venues, from traditional art galleries and museums to midway sideshows. The portrait of Takeshi and his freak baby show was taken at Dreamland, the amusement park set up on the former Astroland site in 2009. One of Coney’s most recognizable eccentrics, Takeshi is frequently seen and photographed clad in a black tuxedo strolling the Boardwalk with his sea rabbit Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail. Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders, 1405 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Show in Coney Island’s Dreamland, July 12, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Brooklyn artists Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society in 1981 because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. Joined by like-minded artists and friends the group restored and operated a Spookhouse behind Nathan’s and created an homage to souvenir cut out photo boards. Thirty years later, Eagan and Marano continue to make art “dedicated to keeping the spirit of Coney Island alive” (CIHS motto) in their Gowanus studio.

Richard Eagan AKA Kay Sera with Oceanic Baths at Coney Island Hysterical Society Studio in Gowanus. October 2, 2010. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

These portraits were taken in 2010, when ATZ visited Coney Island Hysterical Society’s studio on the Gowanus Artists Studio Tour. “The short hop to combining the Coney work with the exploding architecture was a no-brainer once I accepted that the Coney Island of my childhood was imploding, burning, and would never return,” Eagan said of “Oceanic Baths,” which is not an actual Coney Island place name.

Bensonhurst native Philomena Marano is known for her bold and colorful cut paper collages and prints of Coney’s amusement rides and signs. The Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone, and Parachute Jump as well as shooting galleries and bumper cars are all part of her iconography. Faber’s Fascination, which went dark in 2010, inspired the cut paper piece “Play Fascination” in the portrait.

Coney Island Hysterical Society, 62 18th Street, 3rd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Philomena Marano

Philomena Marano with ‘Play Fascination’ at Coney Island Hysterical Society Studio in Gowanus. October 2, 2010. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ...

August 6, 2012: Art of the Day: Madame Twisto by Marie Roberts

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

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Logo from Coney Island Hysterical Society Newsletter, 1987

Logo from Coney Island Hysterical Society Newsletter, 1987. Image © Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano.

In 1981, Brooklyn artists Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. ATZ found the whimsical sketch pictured above in one of the CIHS newsletters which Richard sent us this summer. The Society’s very first newsletter, in 1983, explained the design’s origin: “Oh Boy! Oh Joy! Where do we go from here? The Coney Island Hysterical slogan (or ‘motto’) accompanies the dancing figures on our letterhead, and will appear in the 1983 Coney Island Mural. We chose this logo for its optimistic statement and varied assortment of characters united in celebration.”

Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano, 25 Shoot, 39 x 52 x 8, Mixed media, 2009

Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano, 25 Shoot, 39 x 52 x 8, Mixed media, constructed collage, silkscreen print, enamel on wood. 2009

Nearly three decades later, Eagan and Marano continue to create Coney-themed art in the studio that they share in Gowanus. This invite arrived today:

To All our Coney Island Fans, “Savers”, friends and beyond

On as short a notice as possible, please accept our invitation to tomorrow’s open studio event as part of this year’s Gowanus Artists’ Open Studio Tour. As most of you know, Philomena Marano and I are the core of the Coney Island Hysterical Society (still crazy after all these years); we have been sharing a studio and exploring collaborations based on Coney Island themes. We are also planning a joint exhibition of Coney works, and are seeking a venue to that end. We’d love to see you tomorrow some time between noon and six!

Best wishes on a rainy day,

Richard Eagan
Philomena Marano

Annual Gowanus Artists Studio Tour (AGAST), Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano Open Studio, Saturday, October 2, 12 – 6pm. 267 Douglass Street, 3rd Floor, between Nevins St. and Third Avenue, Brooklyn. Subway: R Train to Union Street, one block to Third Avenue, three blocks to Douglass Street

Related posts on ATZ...

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 31, 2009: Traveler: Carnival Rides as Public Art at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

June 13, 2009: June 13: Coney Island Hysterical Society Artists in Conversation at A.M. Richard Fine Art in Williamsburg

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Marie Roberts banners on facade of Coney Island USA Building, May 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Marie Roberts banners on facade of Coney Island USA Building, May 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This is the post we were working on yesterday when we found out “TLC’s Cake Boss Sweet on Marie Roberts’ Coney Island Sideshow Banners.” We dropped everything to cover the cake artistry, but now it’s back to business…

Coney Island USA’s artist-in-residence Marie Roberts is an accomplished painter who is best known for her banners for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Her canvas advertisements for Donny Vomit, human blockhead; Heather Holliday, the youngest female sword swallower; Serpentina, the snake charmer; and guest freaks like the Lizard Man adorn the CIUSA building 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Coney Island banner line is a year-round tourist attraction and fave subject of photographers. During the off-season, the artist continues to produce banners for private clients as well as other genres of paintings. On the weekend of December 12-13, you’re invited to Marie Roberts’ Open Studio to meet the third generation Coney Islander and view her watercolor “tondos” of the old amusement district.

Astro Tower from Studio Window by Marie Roberts. Watercolor/gouache, 8 x 8" 2009

Astro Tower from Studio Window by Marie Roberts. Watercolor/gouache, 8 x 8 inches, 2009

“I received a faculty research grant from Fairleigh Dickinson University last summer,” says Roberts, who is a professor of art at FDU as well as at CIUSA’s Sideshow School. “The project was to compose in round, or “tondo” format. I intended to do invented figure compositions, but became enthralled with the views from the studio window.”

The artist’s studio on the second floor of Coney Island USA’s Building has a view of the Wonder Wheel, Astrotower, Old Bank of Coney Island and Luna Park … the furniture store! The studio location is 1208 Surf Avenue at West 12th Street in Coney Island. Open Studio hours are from 1- 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13.

The artist also paints banner portraits for folks who do not perform in the sideshow, but enjoy having their own banner at home or to promote their work. How does the Coney Island banner painter decide what kind of banner to paint for someone? “It depends on the client,” Roberts says. “Some know they want to be ‘The Feejee Merman’ and know the exact pose and what will be included in the painting. Some have no clue and I try to see what they want from their words. ‘Anything you want,’ said one client. It’s usually a collaboration of what they want and I can do.”

Banner Art by Marie Roberts. Photo © Norman Blake. All Rights Reserved.

Banner Art by Marie Roberts. Photo © Norman Blake. All Rights Reserved.

Tommy Couteau, pictured above with Marie Roberts, won the “have yourself painted any way you want” package at Coney Island USA’s gala auction. He decided he wanted both a mermaid banner and a “Guy from Coney Island” banner.

Says Roberts,“I have had to make banners where I don’t know what people look like. In one for a photographer, I covered her face with a camera. In another, for a group of people, they wore masks painted to look like the cast of a sideshow they had seen.”

Roberts recently completed banner for artist and “photo reader” Stephanie Diamond is on display in Miami at the Scope Art Show’s Covet Garden marketplace through December 6th. Diamond’s art project is “Snap Sharing, which uses psychometry, an intuitive technique that involves holding or touching objects or photographs to gather information.”

You can visit with Marie Roberts and her Coney Island banners via Sideshow Picasso, a documentary by Marilyn Agrelo filmed earlier this year and viewable on YouTube…

Marie Roberts Open Studio, Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Avenue at W 12th St, Coney Island. December 12-13, Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 pm. The Coney Island Museum, which is on the same floor as Roberts studio, is open weekends year round and will be open from 12 – 5 pm.

Related posts on ATZ…

January 25, 2010: March 14-17: Coney Island Sideshow Banner Painting School with Marie Roberts

December 1, 2009: TLC’s Cake Boss Sweet on Marie Roberts’ Coney Island Sideshow Banners

May 29, 2009: Coney Island Is Alive and Kicking in 2009 Photo of the Day: New Sideshow Banners on CIUSA Building

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