Exclusive Q&A: Jill Penney’s Artful Dolls

Doll maker Jill Penney says she inevitably ends up talking about her childhood when she talks about her art. Fascinated with the fairies and strange creatures created by the contemporary doll artists of her youth, Penney began making her own dolls in the 8th grade. “I like the idea of making something that otherwise wouldn’t exist — manifesting things that only live in the imagination,” she says. “The fairies and creatures that I started off making are the epitome of that goal, but the love of making real the unreal is in everything I do.” Click through for a… Read More

  • 1

Exclusive: Q&A With Emerging Playwright, Annie Baker

For a young playwright whose pieces have been developed and performed at the Soho Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, and the Brick, Annie Baker is charmingly down to earth and humble. (Perhaps that’s a side effect of creating “quirk-free” work.) Her latest play, Circle Mirror Transformation is part of Playwrights Horizons’ upcoming 2009/2010 season, and Baker along with a panel of fellow writers, will be participating in a panel discussion moderated by Time Out New York’s David Cote on September 10th at the 92Y Tribeca. … Read More

  • 4

Exclusive: Q&A with Italio-Disco Princess Sally Shapiro

As one of the sweetest voices on the Italio-disco scene, Sally Shapiro is also one of the most enigmatic. “Sally Shapiro” began as the project of Swedish producer Johan Agebjörn, who was inspired by ethereal voice of his co-worker. Agebjörn convinced her to record with him, and in 2006 the two released a single, “I’ll Be By Your Side,” under the pseudonym Sally Shapiro. The track was an instant hit with Italio-disco and indiepop alike. In 2007 Sally Shapiro followed it with an album, Disco Romance, quickly earning Sally Shapiro’s introverted singer the title of “disco princess” from places like The Guardian UK and… Read More

  • 0

Exclusive: Interview with Kirk Demarais of the Secret Fun Spot

A series of dreams-come-true strung together; that’s the best way to describe the rising career of Kirk Demarais, artist, filmmaker, designer, collector extraordinaire, and the man behind Secret Fun Spot. Demarais began studying art with a few courses in college at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. A factory job post-college convinced him to pursue an artistic career, and he landed a gig designing animated e-cards as a creative for DaySpring Cards, a division of Hallmark. Determined to apply the skills from his day job to his recreational interests, Demarais created a website to showcase his vintage pop culture collections of toys, graphics, and mail-order catalogues.… Read More

  • 1

Exclusive: NYC Sculptor Joan Benefiel’s Hudson River Pilings Project

You’re walking along the Hudson River near the old Pier 42. It’s sunset, and as you look over the water you marvel at a cluster of 8-foot-tall orange figurines, balancing in precarious positions on top of pilings. Some look joyous, others pensive. Some seem like they’re about to fall head first into the water.

New York sculptor Joan Benefiel has been working with permission from the Hudson River Park Trust for the past two years to make this dream into a reality. On June 11th she previewed her Hudson River Pilings Project, displaying the first full-sized sculpture, a series of 24″ scale models mounted on poles to replicate the pilings, and digital mock-ups. We interviewed Benefiel about the unique characteristics of surf board resin, the inspiration behind the project, her take on public art, and how we can all play a part in making the dream a… Read More

  • 0

Exclusive: Cinereach Launches the Next Generation of Socially-Aware Filmmakers

Monday night Cinereach — a non-profit dedicated to socially aware film and documentary — presented their first ever $5,000 Reach Out grant to fledgling filmmakers Danielle Russell and Brendon McQueen for the promotion and distribution of their films. The evening was a celebration of the four Reach Fellows — Russell, McQueen, Dena Greenbaum and Jules Monteyne — and kicked off with a full-house screening of their work: Russell’s Bridging the Gap, McQueen’s Skip Rocks, Greenbaum’s Blues, and Monteyne’s I go to War with Everything that Doesn’t Make Sense in a Bathtub. The shorts dealt with a range of topics: the Crown Heights riots of the early ’90s, Alzheimer’s, racism and teen depression, and a personal documentary of Russell’s struggle to get her parents to share their civil rights experiences. … Read More

  • 1

Exclusive: Photographer Christopher Sims Goes Inside Guantánamo Bay

Question: what could make 40 lawyers from the Pentagon get on the Metro to take a field trip across Washington D.C.? Answer: Christopher Sims’ exhibit Guantánamo Bay at Civilian Art Projects. The show consists of 25 photographs of the naval base and joint detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where Sims spent five days in 2006. Among his strange discoveries: There’s a McDonalds. While photographs range from mundane to picturesque, taken in together they offer an eerie view into one of the most controversial, and invisible, places of our time.

After the jump we interview Sims, a teacher at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, to find out what made him want to go to Guantánamo, how he hopes to change the war photography genre, and why none of his images featured people. … Read More

  • 14