Today, let me introduce Laura Perez-Garcia, a French-Cuban artist in residency in New York. This opportunity was given by an association between the city of Le Havre and the French Institute in New York to promote the development of French artists in New York.
Laura is sharing her future projects, desires and her vision of New York and also great tips about the city.
Hi Laura, can you introduce yourself to the New York City Travel Tips community?
My name is Laura, a French-Cuban artist in residency at Triangle Arts in Brooklyn for 3 months.
You came to New York for 3 months. Can you explain why you moved?
While in New York, I wanted to observe the cultural rituals and practices of the different communities living in New York. I spent time discovering the city and seeing how rituals modified the urban space.
Very quickly, the project started with two photo series: the collection of interesting forms and the collection of found objects. Then, I turned to a work of translation of these shapes in a workshop.
I’m currently working on creating these objects, images and installations mixing the notion of belief and fun.
In what type of art do you feel at ease and/or skilled?
I feel more comfortable with writing since it’s the first thing I do when I have an idea, I draw something with the same pen to visualize a shape, then I become a sculptor in order to materialize the idea.
I change the medium or practice according to the project, so we can also say that I’m a mix media artist obsessed with shapes.
How do you see yourself in the future? Do you think that you can make a career in arts?
Being an artist is already my profession but it’s not an economically viable situation yet.
Hence, I’m not sure that I can only be an artist.
I like to raise new challenges, I take advantage of all professional opportunities that are given to me. I worked once as an art teacher, a culinary journalist and even as a gallery director. The most important fact is to not feel stuck or frustrated.
As a matter of fact, do you think it’s essential for an artist to be in a city like New York or in a quiet environment like the French countryside?
It’s a tricky question!
It all depends where you’re standing in your career but It’s necessary for all artists to get a taste of the energy in New York.
Just this morning, I found a box full of film cameras, all in good working conditions, each with 24 to 36 remaining poses. Without being said, there are more opportunities in New York than in the French countryside.
If you could define the city of New York in a few words, what would you say?
It’s a magical city, a city that’s alive, a city that makes you see life in big and I’m not saying that because of the buildings.
It’s a city where you feel secure but most importantly, it’s a city that reminds me of my childhood in Havana.
It’s a city of feelings and emotions. I adopted it right away.
In which neighborhood, you prefer going out?
I let me myself be guided, but most of the time I end up in Chinatown or Washington Square.
In which neighborhood, do you enjoy shopping?
A few months ago, I discovered the Knockdown Center Flea Market in Queens, it opens on Sunday at 8 am and you can find really great handknit sweaters.
For a mellow shopping experience, I suggest going to Fulton Street in Brooklyn which offers a large panel of stores (there’s even a Macy’s) without the tourist crowd like you see in Soho.
For the hipsters, try the Army supplies stores and Brooklyn Industries located in Bedford or Nassau.
If you decide to live in New York for a few years, which neighborhood would you pick?
It’s funny, I was just asking myself that question! I don’t know but maybe somewhere close to Union Square which is a very busy place at any given time of day.
Name 2 or 3 of your favorite restaurants in New York
I enjoy great food but unfortunately I do have a bad memory in remembering places.
The only 2 places that comes to my mind are Vanessa’s Dumpling in Chinatown and the Ear Inn on Spring Street.
The first one is an Asian restaurant chain where you can eat great kyoza and kimchi at a great price: http://vanessasdumplinghouse.com/
The second is an historic landmark that serves burger to die for: http://earinn.com/
Can you recommend 2 or 3 of your favorite bars in New York?
I don’t really hang out in bars so it’s a rather difficult question.
However, there’s one that I found really unusual that I recommend: the Mc Sorley’s Old Ale House close to Cooper Union: http://www.mcsorleysnewyork.com/home.html
The Saloon ambiance with sawdust on the ground is there to remind you that this place was a gentlemen’s headquarter a long time ago, women were only admitted starting in 1970. When you order a pint of beer for $5 you are given 2, but beware, it’s always really crowded and sometimes rowdy people get kicked out without management by the owner.
If you would take a friend to only one place in New York, where would you go?
I will take my friend to Coney Island, it’s my favorite place. Subways will come out of the tunnel and the commute becomes a vacation destination.
If you would have to take your boyfriend in only one place in NYC, where would it be?
To the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since he loves taking pictures of flowers. It’s free during wintertime and even if there are less flowers, the stroll is agreeable and the setting is ideal for romantic photos.
Thank you for this nice portrait and good luck with your projects. I let you write a last word for the community members of NYCTT:
Thanks to you for this portrait! And for the community members of BPVNY, I can only wish you a long lasting trip that will allow you to enjoy the streets of NY but keep in mind that you’ll come back without running out of the number of possibilities this marvelous city is offering.
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