A curated survey of this month’s “TOP TEN ARTISTS NYC NOW” from our Art 511 Magazine digital artist database. Coming soon, top featured artists from Los Angeles, San Francisco and more! Submit your work to be considered.
Learn more about how to be featured on our Top Ten List of Artists.
B. Mandeville, Jamaica
Jodie became an artist after setting herself free, painting a near-realistic figurative painting as a youth. “I was in 2nd grade and loved the feeling I got from it,” explains the artist. Since then, she’s expanded far beyond the bounds of painting, working into multiple mediums, “but if I need to narrow it down, it’s Performance Art.” Her work reclaims history that is not part of the contemporary status quo narrative, bringing to light the effects of globalism, capitalism and politics on the natural landscape, particularly on her homeland Jamaica. Her work is at times “idyllic, unpolluted, and almost utopian,” and explores storytelling from a feminist perspective. She works from her living room, and is often on the computer editing and researching, sewing a costume, or at times making a site-specific installation. Currently, she’s expanding on a reiteration of her performance, “Crop Killa” called “Crop Killa’s Soca Social.” Her character is a soca dancehall queen and the aim of the piece, which is inspired by Caribbean carnivals, is to combat xenophobia. Her new piece, “The Widow,” is about the way that wives, sisters and mothers feel and hold the world’s pain. The piece responds to the dramatic times we live in. “I find that just after watching the news I experience all of this grief, sadness, while hoping for more joy, more sparkle.” She will perform both works in Gothenburg, Sweden during Live Action 12, an international performance art festival in early December. Following that, she is off to Shanghai representing the School of Visual Arts in the “Art. Letter Home.” exhibition at the China Academy of Art. Jodie is a recent recipient of the Rema Hort Mann and Franklin Furnace awards, which will make the creation of her next work “The Gypsies’ Picnic” possible.
B. Valtice, Czech Republic
Marie studied as a painter but today her practice takes the form of photography, video, installation and performance. “I have always been obsessed with creating things, communicating stories and feelings. Art has been the perfect outlet for me. When it was time to decide what I wanted to study at University, art was the first and only choice.” Displacement and identity are major themes in her work, which often takes the form of self-portraiture. As an immigrant to the United States, Marie first began putting herself in her work in an attempt to “belong” here. Eventually, she realized she “would always be Czech living in the U.S.” and thankfully, says Marie, “I do not crave so blindly to belong anymore.” In a sense, some of her latest work is about embracing displacement. Marie lives and works from her place in the East Village and is currently developing her first book, “Miss Amerika,” a collaboration with Czech artist Mirenka Cechova. It’s a work of fiction focusing on issues of displacement, immigration and notions of identity. “I can’t wait to see the whole project come to life as a multi-media performance piece, exhibition of my photographs and the book itself, which is being published by Wo-men publishing in Prague.” Tomanova’s first solo show “Young American” will debut at the Czech Center this coming June 2018.
B. New York City
“I did not speak until I was five and found myself instead tearing and cutting up magazine pages, deconstructing and then reconstructing the text and images into something totally new, which I would employ to communicate with my family.” So begins Tom Cocotos’s journey into life as an artist. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Tom eventually returned to Art. His current medium of choice is collage and mixed media. His most recent body of work, “Butcher Paper,” is a collage series depicting cuts of lamb, beef and pork. “Through flesh, bone and sinew, I explore the meat case at the point where it intersects commerce, natural resources and privileged sustenance,” explains the artist. His works invoke meat’s “vigorous promise of sexuality,” while at the same time reflecting on food industry politics, looking at where pleasure and nourishment meet—“mortality and its denial.” Tom is currently Art 511’s neighbor where he works from his studio in the West Chelsea Arts Building on W 26th Street, although he is known to find himself making work on subways, in museums, on the streets, and in residencies in other cities and countries. Currently, he’s fascinated with the octopus and unraveling what this new body of work is about. He’s also returning to his collage series “Modern Arthropoda: Machinery in the hive of the city,” which features construction vehicles, with their multi-jointed arms, diggers and treads, as developers of our urban centers. It’s a natural progression from previous work depicting, in like fashion, insects and bees of the hive and the hill.
B. Kansas City, Missouri
Henrietta began to experiment freely with drawing alongside her sister while their parents worked six long days a week. “We made our dolls from mud, with corn silk hair and concocted paint from mulberries, boiled onions and washtub bluing.” Later on, Henrietta would become a working journalist in Latin America, only to return to paint to translate the information she was getting as she interviewed folks living in villages and on farms. Today her chosen medium is paint incorporating mixed media such as construction netting, cardboard and found objects. Her work is about social issues – the plight of refugees, injustice and mass incarceration, segregation, rape and selling girls, and women’s issues.
She currently works from her New York City studio and frequents artist residences. She names one of her greatest challenges as “not stand[ing] in the way of the art process with fixed ideas.” Recently, her installations “Jail Birds & The New Jim Crow” addressed mass incarceration in our country. Two have been exhibited upstate in Woodstock and the village of Catskill (areas where there are some of the 69 prisons’ “correctional facilities” in New York State). Henrietta uses painted birds as stand-ins for inmates, guards and judges. Four persons who work professionally or volunteer in prisons spoke at special events related to the artwork. A fifth speaker was an ex-inmate who had learned modern dance from a volunteer in prison. Henrietta is currently working on two new installations “White Washing U.S. Prisons” and “It’s Like We’re In There With Em,” which demonstrate the devastating effects of mass incarceration on Black families. Painted portraits and figures will tell stories Henrietta collects from ex-inmates and their family members, some of whom will also speak publicly as part of special events related to the work.
B. Jamaica, Queens, NYC
A music and performance artist, Y? uses art to express stories, emotions, feelings and connect to others. His work is about “Liberating myself and others from our falsehoods and cultivating community.” Although he came to be in Queens in this particular incarnation, he works wherever and whenever he is called to do so. His greatest challenge artistically is “Accepting myself as complete as I am.” Currently, he’s working on an immersive theater piece called “Shooter” and launching his company Creative Expressions’ website. Moving forward, he intends to keep creating with purpose and intention. Check out his website for Y’s latest music and creations.
B. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hip Hop is how Leo came to making art and being an artist. His chosen medium is glass, and Andalusian art and architecture influence the decorative elements of his work. Says Tecosky, “The Arabesque geometric patterns represent networks and allude to the structure of the cosmos and its origins from a single point in space.” He identifies the mathematical functions in his work as “visual poetry,” what he describes lucidly as “a metaphor for the creation of the universe but also of the microcosmic structure of all things.” His interest in the Supreme Alphabet (a system of attaching meaning to the letters of the Roman alphabet to explore the deeper meaning of words, connected to Freemasonry and alchemy) is another philosophy that factors heavily into his glass pieces and search for “symbolic, elevated meaning.” With respect to his glass works and their deeper symbology Tecosky says “I’m interested in breaking up words into their atomic elements — the letters — and assigning them unique characteristics both figuratively and visually.” Currently working from his studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, one of his greatest challenges is opening people’s minds to glass as a medium “that can be fluid” across Art, Craft and Design. Look out for his 2018 residency and museum exhibition at the Gustavsberg Konsthall in Sweden.
B. Tel Aviv, Israel
Zac’s family didn’t visit museums or galleries as he was growing up. Within time, he was exposed to contemporary art along a creative journey that involved the study of cinema, photography, product design and traditional painting. Eventually, Hacmon began to identify as a sculptor, and his main medium today is one-of-the-kind, three-dimensional, unique objects. His work aims to “maximize viewer-to-object impact,” says Zac, who maintains that the “experience of an object’s uniqueness comes through the viewer who will encounter that object.” His sculptures and installations deal with the relationship between architecture and the human body in society. “I am interested in how the dichotomy of private and public can be reconfigured into an autonomous object.” Hacmon uses architecture as a device and mediator, and his art practice corresponds with today’s critical social-political issues. His work interrogates our desires for a false belonging to home or nation. Coming from Israel, he draws on his homeland’s history as reference. The demolition of older buildings for Modernist and Bauhaus buildings in the 1940s and 50s was a critical shift that influences his practice. Through his sculptural rendering, Zac unpacks architecture’s relationship to power and control; how “Modern” buildings can signify an invasion of foreign authority and a destruction of local identity and history. His upcoming works will examine this hybrid past through historical imagery, fragmentation, color and reordering. Zac currently lives and works in New York City.
B. New York City
“I was always an artist. It chose me,” says Isabelle, who lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens. Interested in the impermanence of things and transitional states, her work is about getting to the essence, “seeing more in less,” and “extracting beauty amongst distraction and clutter.” A self-proclaimed photographic artist—although her finished pieces rarely read like photographs— Schneider works digitally. Her photographs stand on their own or factor into collages and eventually transfer to resin panel. At times she’s worked on fabric and even made garments of her imagery. “I never go anywhere without my camera. Anything I discover in my daily life/daily encounters can become a piece,” says the artist. The featured image, for instance, is from a photograph of detritus on the ground with mud splashed all over it, which Schneider cropped and enlarged. The end result is often closer to painting than classic photography. A disassociation of the subject matter from its environment happens. Isabelle explains, “There’s a sense of peace in the subtle colors, the folds and textures, and in focusing on the details of something that otherwise gets lost in the superfluous mental and physical clutter in the world around us.” Currently she’s continuing to work on large resin panels, envisioning a series of panels that will create more of a nuanced and immersive installation experience. “I want to dive deeper into the subtle differences.”
B. Vico Equense (Naples), Armed Forces Europe
Carmen Sorrenti makes art to survive, and for the “pure passion of it.” A visionary maker, Sorrenti says, “My dreams are too volcanic; they would explode my head and my heart if I did not!” A painter working in acrylic on canvas, text is a strong component of her work. What Carmen calls “the collective dreaming” (dreams and mythology) is her subject matter. “They say the imaginal is the organ of the soul,” Sorrenti explains. She works globally, including in Italy, New Mexico and Paris. She maintains art is “like falling in love — awesome and terrible.” Currently, she’s finishing up a tarot deck project that has been in the making for the past 3 years, soon to be exhibited in Boston, New York City and Chicago.
B. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sadler’s creative work allows her to interpret and express the world through her own unique and personal vision. “I don’t think a person chooses art. I think art chooses us,” says Nancy, whose work at times draws from her own vivid dream life. Motifs of home and architecture reoccur within her creative practice. Recently, Sadler has been collecting wooden tiles from the abandoned Catskill resort Grossingers in Liberty, New York. After cleaning and drying them she’ll apply rabbit skin glue as a ground. She’s also working on a series of paintings that feature mysterious houses and buildings in watercolor. Beyond that, she has future plans for a project called “Haunted Route 66,” for which the artist will take a road trip and create works based on the abandoned structures she finds along the way.