Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pulse Rate

 Cup of the Day #12
by Gwyneth Leech, 2009
India ink on ochre colored cup

The Street Sweets truck was back on 9th Avenue yesterday. This peripatetic, self-contained bakery has a full espresso bar tucked away inside its flamboyant and instantly recognizable graphics-covered exterior. They use beans from Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown and Samira Mahboubian, one of the co-owners will chat with you amiably and knowledgeably about coffee. They also serve great soup and excellent pastries.You can follow their locations on their website or on Twitter here.

I have seen Street Sweets around the city in a few different places. The first time, back in Early March, it was a welcome discovery parked on Hudson Street in the West Village. It was lunchtime and I was walking East from the Pulse Art Fair which was held this year in an old industrial building on West Street and the West Side highway, in yet another culinary desert.

The art fair itself boasted two cafes which served pretty decent coffee, but my gourmande desires had not been met. On the other hand, there were several satisfying art + coffee surprises at Pulse that day. First of all, I was there with my artist friend, Linda Stillman and she reminded me of some gorgeous artworks she has done with used coffee filters! Then it was she who spotted the used 7-11 coffee cup in the trash can at  Michael Rosenthal Gallery. No ordinary cup this. It was part of an installation called Color Work Station by Megan Whitmarsh and like everything in this brightly colored sprawling sculpture it was sewn in 3-D.

7-11 cup and trash 
Detail from Color Work Station 
by Megan Wittmarsh
Pulse Art Fair 2010

It was a further pleasure to meet Megan Whitmarsh herself, in from California. Her two small daughters were there too, busy drawing in a corner under the watchful eye of their father.

It turned out to be a day of daughters. A little further on we bumped into the energetic and skillful artist Orly Cogan with her gorgeous new baby, then just a few moths old. Orly is well-known for turning the intimate details of her life into startling embroidered drawings and has many examples on her website here. But at that moment, she was in a baby moon and lamenting the pressure she feels from some quarters to be making art again right away. This coupled with the difficulties of finding affordable childcare was creating some unwanted stress.

Finally, by chance Linda and I were sitting at a table in the coffee bar with the artist/writer/editor Claudia Schwalb and her poised, well-spoken daughter Heather. Claudia is working on a Youtube art project for which Heather does the videotaping. They work as a team, Heather still only a sophomore at Bard High School.

Take note then, artist parents of small children. Parenthood changes artists in wonderful and unpredictable ways. Those babies that go everywhere to art shows and seem to take so much time away from studio practice can turn into your inspiration and your most valuable allies in the blink of an eye. I have an amazing teen daughter of my own, Megan who helped me in innumerable ways through the Pool Art Fair and who has started doing her own coffee cup drawings.

So keep the faith Orly, enjoy breastfeeding and when you are ready, we can't wait to see what new artwork you come up with.

Guest Cup of the Day
"Good Morning" by Linda Stillman
coffee filters and acrylic medium
28 x 28 inches, 2008
 image courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting my filter piece and for sharing the fun morning at the Pulse Fair. I love your blog!