Artists to Audience: Express+Local puts 15 city artists in Queens
by Valeen Kalimootoo
Feb 09, 2011 | 3866 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Kristyna Milde
Art can be described as many things to different types of people. Some might only consider paintings, sculptures, and drawings as art, while others see art in nature, music, and movements. To see exactly what is interpreted as art, and how the artist determines what is art, Queens College ventured into an experimental project called Queens College Art Center Exhibition Express+Local to share with the public the way in which an artist works.

“This is the first time we are having a collaboration on site where the artist is working and showing at the same time” said Tara Mathison, the Curator of the Queens College Art Center. “The whole point of this is to give people the opportunity to see artists working and be able to interact with them.”

The exhibition opened on January 28 and will run through April 29. It will feature 15 artists from all five boroughs. These artists will be split into three groups of five. Each group will have a designated month to work and each artist will choose a single piece to create while the public interacts with them. From there, all the finished pieces will be gathered and placed into an exhibition for all to see from May 5 to June 30.

Becky Franco is one of the featured artists during this event. She lives in Port Washington, Long Island. Having just graduated from Queens College in December, she is currently earning an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in Painting at the age of 58. After presented with the opportunity to be apart of this event by Tara Mathison, she jumped at it immediately.

“The artist is usually alone in his studio not sharing his thoughts with anyone until the work is finished. This is a unique opportunity to engage with art students and anyone interested in talking about Art” she said.

Franco will be working on a painting which represents society through her eyes. “My painting will include the rims of a car, jewelry, gemmed rings and bracelets to represent gluttony of people wanting luxury items even though they cannot always get it,” she said. “I want to show how people in our society identify success with material things.”

Franco has had a very successful career as a painter. She has done billboards all across Queens, painting illusions, and has owned a painting business, among many other jobs. Franco’s paintings and other work and biography can be found on her website www.beckyfranco.com.

Married couple Marek, 35, and Kristyna Milde, 32, are also working in the exhibition. Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, the Milde’s both studied painting, sculpture and other types of art in Switzerland, Germany, and Czech Republic. After moving to Brooklyn, the both obtained MFA degrees from Queens College in 2007. They have been working together for 15 years.

The pair will be working on a project called “Looking for Home.”

“The inspiration for the project is coming from the time we where students at the Queens College. We were living on a low budget and were facing the situation of furnishing our apartment.

Coming from Czech Republic it was a new cultural experience to see that so many functional things could be found on the street,” Mrs Milde said.

The couple will search all across Queens and collectively photograph their findings. “We like to find old furniture and find out the story behind it. This makes the item more personal and not just an item anymore”, Mrs. Milde said.

These are just two of 15 talented and local artists that will be featured in this exhibit, aimed to foster more appreciation of art as well as the artist

“Art is no longer a form of luxury, it is a job and these artists are showing us how it is done” said Mathison.

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