Carri Skoczek - Freak of the Week

Do y’all know about BINGO! Gallery? At Shire City Sanctuary there is a sweet little gallery space with all the professional accouterment to make it real. We call it BINGO! ‘cause it is located in the former bingo hall of this amazing building. Each month we feature a professional artist that ties into what we do in some way. This month, until Halloween, we are very pleased to be showing linocuts and original paintings by Carri Skoczek. She is New York City based and her work is truly, not to be missed. 10.22.15 Mistresses

Learn more about her here and then, if you are local, come take a look at her work in person while we still have it here to show off! She is my Freak of the Week, and if you are a regular around here you know that being Freak of the Week involves answering a list of questions via email.  In Carri's own words, here goes:

A brief history..

10.22.15 Carri portraitBorn in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1956. Many moons ago I’ve been drawing since before I can remember. Took art classes when I was a kid at the Milwaukee Art Museum. And ended up teaching kids classes when I moved back. Studied drawing and printmaking at UV Eau Claire. Helped start a "healthfood" (thats what they were called back then) restaurant there in the mid 70's.  I designed the logo and then became a waitress, baker, and food maker. One of the best jobs I ever had until it went bankrupt. Then I moved to Denver because I had a ride and a place to stay. Dicked around for a while then went back to art school. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design It was small and fabulous. Moved back to Milwaukee with the intention of moving to Chicago, but found the loft of my dreams..3500 sq. ft 200 bucks a month heat included, top floor, skylights, freight elevator . . . stayed for 13 amazing years, 84 til 96 when I moved to NYC after meeting the most incredible man from New York in New Orleans. . (long story, killer small world connections) and here I am, almost 20 years later. Painter, printer, costume designer and doll maker

10.22.15 Vert PortraitWhat am I passionate about? Art. Making weird hats. Theater. Music. Cooking. Mexico. Egon Scheile. Swimming. Chickens. France. Riding my bike. Good friends. Weird dolls. Shoes. Oysters. That truly magical 2 degrees of separation. My Cuisinart. Our killer art collection. Tomatoes. The Met. Voodoo flags. Reading, real actual books. BAM.

10.22.15 Egon SchieleMagical moments. My life has been so full of them! It’s all magical.

-That moment when I finish a piece and it makes me do the happy dance. -Selling my first painting when I was 12 to one of the judges in the competition. -Getting that killer loft because the owner hollered to me from the street, "did I know anyone who wanted to rent 3500 sq ft heat included for 200 bucks?" -Finding my first studio in NYC from a sign on a lamp post. -Every moment I've ever spent in New Orleans. -Becoming the costume designer for Theater X in Milwaukee with no theater experience. Being hired based on my paintings, -Building costumes in Trinidad for carnival with Peter Minshall's crew. -Riding the rhythm truck with The Laventile Rythm section. -Smearing my body with mud and dancing all night in the streets for Jouvay. -That moment right before dawn when all the rhythm trucks are gone and all you hear is the shuffle of hundreds of tired dancers. -Making dolls on the beach with kids in Jamaica from junk we found after 10.22.15 Bernice Fordthe reggae beach parties. -Trading paint for art with Reggie the Tin Man . -Skinny dipping in Monet’s lily pond in Giverny. -Swimming in the seine. -Winning the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. -Swimming in the Caribbean way out where the water turns from turquoise to violet . . . breathtakingly beautiful. -Having lunch with Willem DaFoe. -Dinner with John Waters. -Getting a thank you card from Harvey Keitel for the mermaid t shirts I painted for him and his wife, and the pirate sock monkey I made their son when they were king and queen of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. -Nick Cave installations. (the artist) -Bruce Springsteen performing at the first jazz fest after Katrina.10.22.15 snake lady -Eating my gramma's cheesecake. -My first oyster po boy. -The first time I ever had concord grape sorbet. -Learning how to " squeeze the tips and suck the heads" eat crawfish. -Firing a raku pot in the mountains outside of Puerto Vallarta. -Seeing the green flash at sunset on Playa De Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta. -Letting my students at the Milwaukee Art Museum paint my car. -Cate Blanchette in Street Car Named Desire. -Kevin Spacey in Richard lll. -Actually everything I’ve ever seen at BAM. -Seeing Kazuo Ohno (Butoh performer) perform when he was 90 with his son who was in his 70's at the Japan Society. -Meeting Iris Apfel and giving her the linocut portrait I did of her. -Meeting Gemma Cubero the film maker whose film Ella Es El Matador, inspired my my matadora series. -And meeting you Crispina! Finally live and in the flesh at Artists and Fleas, buying a pair of your undies. Our mutual friend Liz Olney singing my praises and you offering me the show at BINGO!!

I could go on and on, but I'll stop now. What a wild ride its been.

10.22.15 Studio Shot

My goal for the next 12 months? Quit smoking? Practice and improve my Spanish. I’m going back to Mexico October 25. To make art. Bigger and better paintings for my next solo show at Causey Contemporary in 2016. I’m working on a series of female circus performers and sideshow freaks.

10.22.15 Carri HandPrized possession? My eyesight.

If I could spend the afternoon with anyone?? That’s hard. No way I could pick just one. So I guess it's gonna be a party. A picnic. On a river or near a pond, so we can swim. With fabulous food and wine . . with Frida Kahlo, Diego, Egon Scheile, Louise Nevelson, Manet, Lautrec and his dancers from the Moulin Rouge, Hemmingway, and Manolette the bullfighter, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Deren, Julia Child, Tennessee Williams, The German Expressionists, Puccini. The list is actually endless. . . This would be one hell of a party!

Ok I think this covers it.

Cff:  Yes!  I think it does too. This girl knows how to live and make awesome art. Come see. Tuesdays – Saturdays 11-7pm 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield at Shire City Sanctuary's BINGO! Gallery.

10.22.15 Carri finale

Freak of the Week ~ Bernard Greenwald

Freak of the Week is a frequent Thursday blog feature right here at where I conduct a virtual interview with a friend or acquaintance.

1. Who are you?  What do you do?  What is your line of work?  Tell your readers a little about you, and your history. Please clearly state your name, business name, address, telephone, email, website and business hours of operation so they can be included in the blog post.

I am Bernard Greenwald, a painter. I live @ 24 Fisk Street Red Hook N.Y. 845 453 6580

How do you know Crispina?

I met Crispina through my wife, Elena, who loves to make things with recycled fabrics as Crispina does.

I make paintings based on the landscape in the Hudson Valley. My primary concern is color and how it expresses light passing through where we live and travel. The paintings depict rural and urban environs, and roads and cars since it is from a moving vehicle a contemporary person usually absorbs the landscape.

I draw on large plywood panels on site, usually propped on the roof of my parked car, freely interpreting what I see into an image most conducive to the use of  color . The color, often applied as flat areas of  acrylic paint, is added  later in my studio. It usually takes 4 or 5 days to complete a painting.


2. What is your current passion?

Lately I have been painting the Meade Orchard, which is a few miles North of our home. I park along Route 9G and as cars and trucks speed past, across the road an Edenic scene lies before me. I see fences, sheep, crops laid out in rows, varieties of fruit trees, the horizon, clouds and a glimpse of the Catskills. If I am standing too close, the farm dog creeps up to investigate me.


3. Who/What has been most influential in your current work?

I have been making paintings for many years so there have been a lot of influences.  They include the teachings of Josef Albers; also  Matisse, Picasso and the Cubists, George Inness, Persian miniature painting, Giotto, Titian, Tintoretto, newspaper cartoons, other teachers in the history of art too numerous to mention. Jazz music with its culture of free improvisation also has influenced my work.


4. What keeps you on the path you have chosen?



5. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

Art comes from art. Its taken me so long to arrive and my current level of fluency, I want to get down as much as possible in the time available to me.


6. Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

I go to the gym and also practice the cornet. We have a Klezmer group which meets every Monday night. I shop for food. I read 3 newspapers every day.


7. What is one of your most transforming memories?

Loss of my father as a young kid and the appearance of my own sons and daughter in my life.


8. Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

I play a silver, key of “C” Buescher cornet with a gold washed bell, probably around a hundred years old. I wish I knew who played it before me.


9. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

When I was in art school in Philadelphia, I passed a junk store on Walnut Street.  In the window, in a frame with cracked glass, was an etching I recognized as a Rembrandt, his wife Saskia as the “Great Jewish Bride”. I bought it for $18.00, about half my weekly budget then, and took it to the print curator at the Art Museum who authenticated it. Years later, as a worker in the Yale Art Gallery, I got help washing and reframing it. Its a treasure of mine which I see every day.


10. If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?

There are so many starving people in the world today. I wish I could feed them.

I had a nice chat the other day with a woman I did not know on the next exercycle at the gym. I could see she was studying a musical score so I asked her about it.  She was preparing to sing, in Russian, in the chorus of an opera. We compared the musician’s life to a painter’s life.


11. What is your favorite color?  Why?

In my world, one color simply does not exist on its only becomes real in the presence of other color.


12. What is your favorite travel destination?

I love the short step across the threshold of my studio. I love to see what happened overnight when no one was there.


13. What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months?

I am going to have my second knee replacement surgery in September. When I recover, I will frolic like a young goat, and make more paintings.


14. Tell about how you imagine the world might look in 10 years.

I’m not sure I wish I knew.


15. How are seen in your community?  What is your role?

I am the curmudgeon with the colorful splashes of paint on his clothes and arms.

Bernard is showing at BINGO! for the month of August.  BINGO!, is a professional gallery space featuring work that muzzies the boundaries of art and craft, housed in the former Bingo Hall on the lower level of our church.  New shows are hung the first of every month with openings coinciding with Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk when light refreshments are served and live music is performed.   Open hours are Wednesdays and Fridays 10-4pm or by appointment. (email or to set up an appointment).


Funky Klezmer music will be performed at Bernard’s show opening, on August 2 by Bernard, his wife Elena, and a couple friends beginning at 6:30.  Come, appreciate, look and listen!

Freak of the Week ~ Karl Mullen

Freak of the Week is a column that happens nearly every week and features a friend or acquaintance who is making exemplary art and/or working toward environmental harmony.  Most of the folks introduced here are friends although suggestions and notes of interest are always welcome.  This week meet our featured artist showing at BINGO!, the gallery within the church, Karl Mullen

I am Karl Mullen, born Dublin, Ireland, I am a self taught Artist and musician living and working in Williamstown, MA.  Not being very adept at describing myself, I asks my good friend, Poet Cassandra Cleghorn to do so.  This is what she wrote:

Karl Mullen's palette is the larder:  red wine, walnut oil and ink, Barry's tea, pastes in silver tins, powders like exotic spices.  To watch Mullen paint is to watch a weird amalgam of line chef, body-worker, bartender and day laborer, each having sworn off the traditional tools of the trade.  In his studio--the just barely heated, former horse stall of his 19th-century barn--he drops a fresh piece of 22" x 30" Arches paper onto the concrete floor.  Standing over the paper, he pours two small circles of walnut ink, leans over to spit into each pool, watches the chemical sizzle for a moment or two, then crouches, nicking into each pool with the edge of a sharp-tipped palette knife, scraping away, pulling down strands of ink in curves and arcs. These gestures form the outlines and initial features of the human figures characteristic of Mullen's work.

Mullen discovers his subjects as he paints, surprising himself, restless.  Some figures will have limbs that stretch in ways at once impossible yet familiar.  Some will have rather more vestigial parts, like tadpole ancestors toward whom we feel inexplicably drawn.  Rib-like lines may radiate from a spine, a torso may store organs of secret color.  Mullen's figures wear hats or crowns, play instruments, balance odd packages. They may stand apart, listing toward one another or veering away.  They may embrace with elastic, ecstatic arms.  One body may subsume another.  Their faces may tilt, dog-style, wondering, waiting.   Around the figures Mullen may gouge curves and tracks, carving à la cuneiform. A prolific artist, Mullen typically has dozens of paintings at varying stages of completion.  Stacks of them lean against the rough-plank walls or lie in the shallow drawers of metal drafting cabinets.  Clutter is everywhere; no surface is clear.  A banjo sits on top of a bowl of bottle caps.  A wooden crate of brushes and ink jars teeters on a djembe.  When a mouse chews a hole in a painting, opportunities appear. Mullen's work is shown in galleries throughout North America and Europe, and in the annual Outsider Art Fair in New York.  Like Dubuffet's art brut, of which "outsider art" is the English approximation,Mullen's paintings privilege the raw over the cooked, spontaneous process over studied composition, the iconic over the naturalistic, the primitive over the polished. A painting at the initial ink-, wine-, and tea-stage will dry for a long as a month.  When Mullen returns to it, he may add oil pastel detail or scoop from a silver tin of cold wax.  Then he pours swirls of Graham's walnut oil to form the field of color upon which the figures are poised to move.  Onto the oil he shakes generous amounts of Sennelier dry pigment (Picasso's brand), stalking around the paper, a distracted man, pacing.  Then, pulling on gloves, he kneels to the floor and begins to rub, open palms smearing in circular motions, reaching with outstretched arm, massaging the fresh-mixed pigment into the very skin of the paper.  He swabs the excess with a wadded rag.  New bodies may surface.  An orb may appear on the paper, rimmed by beads of light or shadow, signs of eclipses as yet undocumented by science.  Tears may be shed by the radiant sky itself.  Pressed up against the sky, a face may squint or smirk.  Rambunctiousness is afoot.  Ardor is always just around the corner.true datCassandra J. Cleghorn - Poet

2. How do you know Crispina?  Tell a story – how did you meet?  When?  Where?  Who introduced you? I first met Crispina when potter Jacklie Sedlock said Crispina was looking for a Banjo player for an event in her Church last May.


3. Who/what has been most influential in your work?

Failure is  my biggest influence.


4. If you could (you probably are) send(ing) a message to the world what would it be?

Not sure about a concrete message being in my work… more of just a continuing series of unanswered questions.


5.  When and how did you know to follow the path you have chosen?

Have a I chosen a path?


6.  Where do you find your inspiration/motivation to continue? What else can we do but continue to do what we do


7.  Aside from working, how do you spend your time? Thinking about it.


8.  What is one of your fondest memories?  Why?

Being on top of the Three Rock Mountain in Dublin with my mother, on a gorgeous spring day, looking down on the city and Dublin bay, she says with a lovely lilting sigh 'aren't all the best things in life for free "

9.  Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

Two Irish bashed aluminium 1 pint pots, the famous and fantastic  Castle Brand which have been used and loved for over 50 years so far.


10.  Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

A black dog saved my life when i was 3.


11.  If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What would you want to discuss with that person?  What would you serve?

Burnt toast for Beckett.


12.  What is your favorite color? The color of love.


13.  What place is your favorite travel destination?  My memory.


14.  What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months? To continue to squint at the out of focus world.

15.  How would you like to be different from who you are now, in 10 years? I'd like to be 10 years older and non the wiser.


16.  Paint a picture of your legacy.  How would you like to be remembered?

I'd perfer to be forgotten.



I paint daily in an old barn and would be happy if anyone want to come for a studio visit

Karl Mullen, Williamstown, Studio visits by appointment

Karl is our featured artist at BINGO! f(the gallery within Crispina's church).  Visit us this month (July 2013) to see his show.  We are open Wednesdays and Fridays 10-4 or by appointment 413-236-9600.

Every First Friday of the month, in collaboration with the City of Pittsfield's First Fridays Artswalk, we open a show of fresh work, from hither and yon, fuzzying the edges of art and craft.