Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, November 12th 2-5pm

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Holiday Craft Fair

NP Artist Studio, Coat Factory Ceramics Studio and many creative makers.

Saturday, November 12, 2pm-5pm


NP Artist Studios is pleased to announce our very first Holiday Craft Fair. Over 30 artists and vendors will be setting up shop to offer one of a kind handmade gifts and original works of art. The event will also offer three exciting demonstrations from its studio tenants. Fiber artist Mercury Hogan will show us how to use a loom and invite our guests to be part of a collaborative piece of fiber art. Guests who wants to try weaving can come up and weave a few inches and have their names labeled into their woven section. Jackie Grandchamps owner of Ceclile’s “Made by Hand, With Care” will be a completely customized experience at Melanger, their exclusive blend bar. They will be allowing guests to personally create their uniquely scented Shea Butter Whips and personalized bathing salt blends with pure, minimally processed enhancers.  Cecile’s ingredients are harvested using traditional methods from around the world. Glass artist Stephanie Baness is inviting us into her bright and airy studio where her glass pieces truly come to life! Stephanie will be demonstrating how she gets an image onto a piece of glass by silkscreening, painting and working with stencils. She will also have glass pieces in various stages of the process so that people can see how the steps work together to create the final piece.

The Coat Factory Ceramics Studio on the 3rd floor will also be opening its doors providing a variety of sculptural and functional pottery along with handmade jewelry. They will be offering a selection of special holiday gifts. A variety of vendors will be displaying throughout both floors and refreshments will be served. Please join us on Saturday, November 12th from 2-5pm for a glass of wine, hors d’oeuvres and a unique shopping experience this holiday season. Be part of interactive artistic demonstrations and browse an eclectic assortment of original designs and handmade goods offered by local artists.


02 April 2014


Galerie Ra, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryCarina Chitsaz-Shoshtary’s work was recently on display at Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from February 1 to March 22. In this interview, Carina provides us with insight about her use of graffiti as a material and the concepts behind her pieces. 

Missy Graff: Please tell me about your background. How did you come to be a jeweler?

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: It is quite probable that I would have become a musician if I did not have terrible stage fright. My father is an Iranian guitarist for classical and Spanish guitar. We had lots of weekends of music making, dancing, and singing together with friends and family when I was young. On the weekdays, I was with my mother and mainly occupied myself by drawing, painting, and building all kinds of small objects from different materials. My passions for music and creating things developed simultaneously.


Immediately after school, I had some interviews for painting classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The professors I talked to told me that I was too young, and I should pursue an apprenticeship before applying again. It was by chance that I took an apprenticeship as a goldsmith. I think it was more the scale of the work that made me like the idea than the jewelry itself. Even after the apprenticeship, I wasn’t sure which class at the Academy of Fine Arts to apply for, jewelry or painting. My first interview with Otto Künzli was highly inspiring, and that made me fall in love with contemporary jewelry.

How has your work changed or developed since your graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 2012?

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: Luckily, I had some projects running that kept me from thinking too much after graduation. It wasn’t easy though, mainly because I didn’t have my own studio yet. I was working on the small balcony of our flat in Munich during the summer and in the even smaller bathroom during the winter. This did not help me to feel very creative and wasn’t good for my self-confidence as an artist, either.

I am so excited to have my own studio now. It may be comparable to the feeling one has when they first move out of their parents’ house. They have to figure out which values and rules apply and which might not. You have a lot of freedom while studying at the Academy. There is no one telling you what to do. However, I often felt the pressure of wanting to live up to something. This can be a motivator, but it can restrain you, too. I feel freer now, and I am looking forward to seeing what this will do to my work in the near future.

Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryCarina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryCarina Chitsaz-Shoshtary

I understand that much of your work uses paint scraped off of graffiti walls. How did you come up with the idea of using this material?

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: I was on my way to the cafe where I was working when I first found pieces of graffiti on the ground. I was immediately drawn to their great painterly quality. I collected the colored sheets for a while and started to experiment with them, but it took me more than a year to seriously start working with the graffiti paint. The richness and beauty of the material was both a potential and a danger. You could easily take a piece, make a hole in it, add a nice string, and it could work as a piece of contemporary jewelry. But, this would have had little to do with me. I wanted to conquer the material, to bring out its qualities, but not without translating it into my personal artistic language.

Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryI had an idea for the work while I was watching an old Superman movie. The story is about magical crystals that contain all of the vanished planet Krypton’s knowledge, like a computer chip. I established this image of graffiti crystals, which carry the memory of all the vanished letterings and paintings that have been on the wall through the years.

What is the graffiti culture like in Munich? Do you consider yourself to be part of it? 

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: No, I am not a part of the graffiti culture, not in terms of the graffiti makers (writers) at least. They have their very own rules and codes, and I am not really familiar with them. All of my material comes from the same (legal) long wall, which is situated near our former apartment. I watched the writers sometimes while they were working, and on a few occasions had a chat with one of them, but I never revealed what I was doing. The writers, I think, would also not usually reveal to outsiders that they spray graffiti, because it could get them into trouble and because it is an underground community.

Normally, the writers come at night to spray on the property of others. In this way, they are creating and destroying something at the same time. Ironically, I feel similarly toward them. I prefer to collect the material from the ground, but if I am in urgent need and there is none to be found, I will go with a scraper and a hammer after dark to collect materials.

Do you know who, in particular, is responsible for the graffiti that has been incorporated into your jewelry? 

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: Anyone can place a graffito on this wall, and the people I saw doing it were quite diverse, from some youngsters that scribbled something in a few seconds to the highly skilled and professionally equipped artists who worked on one graffito for several days. As the material I work with is compounded of countless layers, it also must have been countless people that worked on building the material.

The effects you achieve in Karma Chroma are very different than in What’s Left of Krypton. What are your different approaches to using this material?

Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryCarina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: About eight months ago, we moved from Munich to the countryside. I have my studio at home, which makes me spend a lot of time in these new surroundings. I go for walks every day with our dog in the forest, which is located just around the corner. This change of scenery had an immediate effect on my work. I just could not do these cubic chiseled pieces anymore, but I did not want to give up on the graffiti yet, so I went back to experimenting with it. The Krypton pieces are hollowly built. The new work has a hard core inside, often made of wood. I now carve patterns inside the graffiti sheets or cut out small sequins. For me, this is a further transformation of the material, and the origin is becoming less clear. The surfaces resemble organic textures, such as bark, fish scales, or coral. Wood is sometimes now a part of the composition, too. I like the idea of combining a material that is grown in the forest with one that is grown in the city.

These seemingly small changes gave me the possibility of not only creating more organic-looking shapes from the graffiti, but also making bigger or smaller pieces. I was previously technically restricted in size and shape.

How do you see your work developing? Do you plan to continue using graffiti paint as a material? 

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: I am working intuitively and emotionally, so I do not think ahead too much about how my work could develop. It is a flowing process. One piece leads to the next. I like creating the best when I experience it as a playful and exploring process, and I still enjoy experimenting with the graffiti.

Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtaryCarina Chitsaz-Shoshtary

Which artist’s work have you been most excited about recently? 

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: The work of Andy Goldsworthy. Reconnecting to nature is something I am looking for in my life, and it is one of the reasons why we left the city. Andy Goldsworthy is able to collaborate with nature in a seemingly effortless, elemental way, and by looking at his pieces, I feel this powerful recollection of being a part of nature myself.

What have you seen, heard, or read lately that you would like to recommend?

Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary: The documentary called The Artist is Present about performance artist Marina Abramovic. The novelBirds without Wings by Louis de Bernieres. The Harry Potter audio books read by Jim Dale. A concert of the Munich-based bandLes Gitanes Blondes together with the Israeli clarinetist Giora Feidman.

Thank you.

Joe Iurato setup this amazing show titled “The Aqueduct Murals” Saturday November 23rd 6-10pm. 110-00 Rockaway BLVD, South Ozone Park, NY.


“The Aqueduct Murals” will feature 14 international artists, who will create large scale murals throughout the interior lower level of the Aqueduct. The Aqueduct is about as gritty and as massive as you’d imagine it to be, and I feel if these works can live and breathe anywhere indoors, this is a great place.
The artists painting include: Logan Hicks, Chris Stain, Faith47, ZED1, REKA, RUBIN, Shai Dahan, Ian Kuali’i, Skewville, JMR, David Flores, LNY, THEN ONE and myself. We will paint through the evenings tonight, tomorrow, and Friday, after hours. A reception/unveiling will be held with the artists on Saturday. We will have a DJ Set, a sponsored bar, exclusive print releases through Freshly Baked Prints, chalk installations by Ellis G, and more.
Free and Open to the Public

The Bergen Record Article 10/23/2013

Bergen Record Article Page 2

Passaic artist ‘communes’ thrive, show off fruits of their labor with open house


Suzanne and Dan Russo  sublet space in a former Passaic coat factory to artists.

Suzanne and Dan Russo sublet space in a former Passaic coat factory to artists.

Artist Diana Jean Puglisi

Artist Diana Jean Puglisi

WHAT: Third Annual Open Studio Tour.

WHEN: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: NP Artist Studios, 183 Monroe St., Passaic; 201-723-4176,

HOW MUCH: Free admission.

Artists can live without fame. They can even – arguably – live without money.

But one thing artists can’t live without is other artists.

Two artist “communes” in Passaic, NP Artist Studios LLC and The Coat Factory Ceramics Studio, have thrived for reasons that were articulated 69 years ago by writer George Orwell. “Philosophers, writers, artists, even scientists, not only need encouragement and an audience, they need constant stimulation from other people,” Orwell wrote. “[Otherwise] the creative faculties dry up.”

Photos: Passaic artists thriving together in old factories-turned-studios

Art, Orwell said, withers away when artists are forbidden to socialize. He was writing about the dictatorships of World War II, but the same thing can happen to any artist, at any time, who becomes isolated.

Maybe that’s one reason so many artists have beaten a path to an old four-story red brick factory building on Monroe Street — which sister and brother Suzanne and Dan Russo have transformed into twin artistic beehives that collectively house some 20 painters, photographers, sculptors, fashion designers, jewelry makers and ceramic artists.

These creative types are looking for stimulation, interaction, a sounding board. That — and low rents.

“I really wanted to have a bunch of people working together, bouncing their ideas off each other,” says Dan Russo, a Saddle River resident. “If you’re by yourself, it’s easy to become stagnant. In this situation, hopefully you get a little bit of the competitive attitude. You push each other a little more.”

You can see the fruits of their collective labors on Saturday, when the studios open their doors for their third annual Open Studio Tour.

Visitors can mill around the individual artists’ cubicles and purchase pieces from the twoPassaic studios as well as from another NP Artists Studio, in Prospect Park, that Suzanne Russo also runs (some proceeds go to Smile, a Passaic charity that provides social services to the urban poor). They can get their portraits done on the spot by resident painter Seth Ruggles Hiler or photographer Mike Reilly. And of course they can get their nosh on – though not with the clichéd wine and cheese, Suzanne Russo promises.

“That’s too obvious,” she says. “I’ve actually got these plastic martini cups to fill with candy, popcorn – all kinds of snacks. It’ll kind of encourage people to walk around, wander and mingle, and not just stuff themselves.”

Guests to the 100-year-old building – it used to be a coat factory — will see exposed pipes and vents, 16-foot-high ceilings and the wood and Sheetrock partitions that divide the 22 cubicles on the second floor. These the artists rent, at prices ranging from $200 to $800 a month – which entitles them to work there at any hour, crash when necessary and do everything but actually move in.

People like Belleville‘s Ibrahim Ahmed, who makes mixed-media pieces of cloth and paint. “For an artist, if you’re part of a community, it helps,” Ahmed says. “You’re able to exchange ideas, engage in conversation.”

Or Weehawken’s Heather L. Johnson, who does embroidered images of motorcycle parts on linen-based burlap. “I really want to be around artists,” she says. “For several years, I worked out of a dedicated room in my apartment. I got a little starved for shop talk, if you will.”

The Russos got into all of this more or less by accident. They grew up in Saddle River — Suzanne now lives in Washington Township — and cultivated different muses. Dan got into ceramics. Suzanne took up photography, sculpture and painting (her desolate landscape, called “Desolate” – not all modern art is ambiguous – can be seen in the studio common area).

But when she graduated with a master’s in studio fine art from Montclair State University in 2008, she found herself missing all of the creative give-and-take.

That’s when she got the idea for what she calls “artist communities”: first Prospect Park, in 2008, and then Passaic in 2010. She leases the space whole, then sublets it piecemeal to her tenants. Her brother began doing the same thing with his third-floor ceramics studio, Coat Factory Ceramics, this year. “I really am here for everybody in the place,” Suzanne Russo says. “I’m an artist, and the setup is different because of that.”

She and her brother aren’t alone. Old industrial towns, with their disused warehouses and factories, have always been ripe for the picking by artists and bohemians. Another old mill inPassaic was transformed, in 1994, into Streets Studios, a similar communal space for bands and musicians.

The big old buildings, with their metal columns, high ceilings and vast open spaces (NP Studios in Passaic has 9,000 square feet), can be lots of fun to work in. Though maybe a little creepy at night, Suzanne Russo says.

“There’s a lot of spooking each other out,” she says. “In this old warehouse, there’s a lot of noise. If I hear someone coming, I’ll hide behind the wall and scare them.”


Third Annual Open Studio Tour – Saturday October 26th 2-6pm

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Contact: Suzanne Russo

2013 Open Studio Tour                                        
NP Artist Studios, LLC                                                      
183 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor
Passaic, NJ 07055

***For Immediate Release***

Third Annual Open Studio Tour at the thriving NP Artist Studios in Passaic, New Jersey.

NP Artist Studios will host their third annual Open Studio Tour on October 26th, 2013 from 2-6pm. This is a time when the Passaic and Prospect Park studios come together to display their work and provide artistic demonstrations to the public.

The tour will feature several new artists and talents ranging from fashion designers to jewelry designers as well as a wide range of fine artists. Our goal is to bring the community of all ages together to meet with local artists, learn about creative techniques and experience live music all while enjoying refreshments and snacks.

This year we will also be working closely with a local charity in Passaic called Smile. Smile is a non- profit organization providing comprehensive social services for the poor urban communities in Passaic County, New Jersey. NP Studios will host an entire show of donated works from current and past NP Studios artists. All funds will go directly to the Smile organization and the children of the community. The children of Smile will be showing and selling their artwork.

Prospect Park studio artist, Mike Reilly will set-up an on-the-spot TFP project, which will comprise of five minute portraits for anyone who is interested. Participants will receive a digital image and anyone who ends up in the final project will receive a free print. Seth Ruggles Hiler’s daily practices consist of creating and recording connections to people and places through painting and drawing. Seth will be painting portraits of visitors during the tour and each painting will be for sale. kevRWK’s work is classified as Street Art, as he uses spray paint and stencils to create intricately detailed portraits on walls and canvases of subjects ranging from friends and family to the famous and infamous. His public work can be seen in New York, New Jersey, California, France, England and Ireland. He has performed live painting at dozens of events, including Van Duzer Days (Staten Island, NY), Jersey Fresh Jam (Trenton, NJ), Fourth Street Art Festival (Jersey City, NJ) and Raw Power (Jersey City, NJ).” He will also be performing at the NP Studios Open Studio Tour.

Another exciting addition to the tour and 183 Monroe Street is the Coat Factory Ceramics Studio located on the third floor. The studio opened this year by my very own brother Dan Russo. He will be providing tours of his space, pottery for sale and a sake tasting. Dan will also set up a table of donated handmade cups. All the proceeds will also go to the Smile Charity.