where are you from: Born and raised in Georgia, then my family moved to South Carolina starting in 2001. Everyone but me still resides there.
how long have you been an artist: I started doing my first “real” art classes and working with mixed mediums in 2nd grade. Years passed and I gravitated towards oil pastel and pottery mostly, but as growing up and then starting a career right out of college go, I sadly went on art hiatus for years. Fast forward to now – I’d say over the past three years I’ve really gotten back into art, but with a fresh, new perspective that has made me venture into trying an array of techniques and mediums.
where do you draw inspiration from: I think the fun and inspiration for me, especially in my “re-birth” into art a few years ago, is really just the channeling of the energy from diversity of life in NYC and my own go-do-it attitude – If anything goes, or you can make something special, why not try it? Our failures are just wisdom for the next round.
what is your next project: Currently I am developing this kind of “catch-all brand name” for my art, mixed medium, and local fundraising efforts. I’ve started the website/brand New Yuck City and the goal is to highlight my art, as well as feature fun/limited items like original pieces, apparel, and more for sale. Also, since NYC and the local community have been a huge inspiration and supported me, my main goal for any revenue generated from the brand is to donate at least 10% to local charities like NY Rescue Mission who minimize overhead to maximize donation.
how long have you lived in queens: I moved to Astoria in the Fall of 2008 and I have not left since!
your ideal night out in queens includes: Astoria has a lot to offer, so an ideal night out would ironically start around 4-5 pm just to fit it all in. Start with a great happy hour spot at one of the MANY fine establishments boasting specials (Diamond Dogs, Pachanga Patterson, Mars, Rest-Au-Rant, to name just a handful of favorites). From there, a nice dinner and cocktail/wine is in store, and Astoria has hundreds of places amazing to dine. I cannot even begin to name enough good places, but Queens Comfort, Astor Room, S Prime, Chela Y Garnacha, Snowdonia, Cafe Triskell, Rizzo’s Pizza, etc. After a long and slow dinner, ideally a nice bike ride (my preference) or stroll to a nice cocktail bar to sit in a dimly lit, cozy spot, and sip on a nice bourbon or digestif – Diamond Dogs/Mar’s again, Let Love Inn, The Bonnie, or even the Bohemian Beer Garden are fantastic ways to round up the night. However, should the night not end here and you’re going for the gold, you’re likely to want to finish your night at a (real) local Irish pub. The Quays was my original spot when I lived near it, but now I personally end up near Broadway at Daly’s. McCloughlin’s, or Doyle’s Corner.
favorite undiscovered thing about queens: I’m still surprised how many people in the hood 1. Don’t utilize a bicycle to enjoy the vastness our neighborhood has to offer, but 2. Enjoy the Astoria Pool. Yes it’s kind of a hike if you live away from Astoria Blvd. (hence #1), but it’s literally the cleanest pool in NYC and huge enough to find a place to chill. Read the rules online, they are strict, but it’s turn key if you go prepared and totally free Summer fun. 3. Socrates Sculpture park. Literally a blast year ’round. Yoga, farmer’s market, kayaking, movies, etc. and more in the Warmer months, with amazing, sometimes grandiose, sometimes odd, art installations. Free, on the East River (beautiful view), and generally open until dark. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to their e-newsletter just to keep up with their awesome calendar!