Not As Crazy As You Think Podcast

Special Edition On Location: 2021 Essential Music and Art Show in Bushwick with Jen Gaita Siciliano and Todd D. Goldfinger (S2, E24)

October 01, 2021 Jen Gaita Siciliano Season 2 Episode 24
Not As Crazy As You Think Podcast
Special Edition On Location: 2021 Essential Music and Art Show in Bushwick with Jen Gaita Siciliano and Todd D. Goldfinger (S2, E24)
Show Notes Transcript

Not As Crazy As You Think Podcast (S2, E24), Special Edition On Location: 2021 Essential Music and Art Show in Bushwick with Jen Gaita Siciliano and Todd D. Goldfinger (S2, E24)
In the first "On Location" episode of Not as Crazy As You Think Podcast, Jen Gaita Siciliano and guest co-host Todd D. Goldfinger head down to Wyckoff Ave in  Bushwick, Brooklyn to the yearly Essential Music and Art Show.  Three artists join the conversation and share their stories about their artistic journeys, how they landed in Bushwick doing art, and where they plan to continue taking it:
G. Romero
Insta: graphik.magik

Ian Cinco
Insta: ian_cinco

Kosuke James
Insta: kosukejames

#NYCartscene #nycbodypainting #bushwickarts #bushwickopenstudios #essentialmusicandartshow #podcasting #onlocation #creativityandwellness

Check out Todd's website at: and the Todd Goldfinger YouTube Channel:
Please visit my website at:,​ and don't forget to subscribe to the Not As Crazy As You Think YouTube channel @SicilianoJen
Instagram: @ jengaita 
LinkedIn: @ jensiciliano
Twitter: @ jsiciliano

Jen Gaita Siciliano  0:01  
Hi guys and welcome. This is Jen Gaita Siciliano, artist, memoir writer, bipolar psychiatric survivor and your host of Not As Crazy As You Think podcast, the place that offers an alternative perspective on mental illness highlighting creativity, non conventional healing and breaking on through to the other side. If you are ready for a new narrative on the mental realm that celebrates crazy and cool without penalty, then Not As Crazy As You Think is for you.

Todd D. Goldfinger  0:37  
We are here today this evening in Brooklyn, Bushwick on location, at the art scene, this is this is where it's really happening. And we have some really great artists that we're talking to today. And we will share that with you. One of them, his name is G and G is right here. So welcome, G to the show. 

G. Romero  1:01  
Thank you. Thank you 

Todd D. Goldfinger  1:02  
On location, we are here in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the epicenter of the art scene. This is where you're supposed to be. If you're doing art in the US, this is probably the place one of the one of the places 

G. Romero  1:16  
It would seem to be 

Todd D. Goldfinger  1:17  
It would seem to be right? So what has brought you here?

G. Romero  1:21  
Today, I'm part of this essential show. It's really awesome. It's actually organized by this young lady named Liz. Basically, it's Essential 2021, a good friend of mine Shonette Manso, she did this event in 2019. So she told a couple friends about it. And here we are.

Todd D. Goldfinger  1:40  
So were you just like many, many other artists, affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, the lockdown?

G. Romero  1:50  
Yes, I have mental and physical and emotional needs at the moment. Yeah, it's all it's a terrible thing to happen to the world.

Todd D. Goldfinger  2:00  
Okay, how has it affected your art? 

G. Romero  2:02  
Oh, my art. It's amazing right now. Yeah, it's really great. Actually, the COVID was probably the best thing to happen to me as an artist.

Todd D. Goldfinger  2:09  
Right, tell us about it, please. 

G. Romero  2:10  
Yeah, so quarantine. I mean, I'm gonna be honest with people. I loved quarantine. quarantine was great. It was fantastic. I had an amazing time. Because I got to focus. And I got to make a lot of amazing art. So I wrote a bunch of grants

Todd D. Goldfinger  2:25  
Good for you.

G. Romero  2:25  
 Did a bunch of stuff. Exactly. So that's the thing you got to if you're in it, you're in it to win it and make it happen.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  2:32  
Gotta be in it to win it. There you go, folks. There you go. Jen, would you like to say anything? Would you like to add something? Here you go.

G. Romero  2:41  
Well, I thought it was interesting. You know a lot about Bushwick. And you know how it's come to be one of the cultural epicenters of the art world in New York City. So yeah, you know, when did you come here? And how has it changed over the years,

I first moved over to this area closer to Ridgewood, which was around 2003. And I lived in the loft out there close to hulsey. And it was amazing. It was great. It was this beautiful community of freaks and artists and like minds and intellectuals and all kinds of beautiful kind of rich energy. And it was weird because there was a couple lofts, watch it back. There was a couple lofts that, we're in a stairwell if people didn't know at Essential, anyways, so and a couple lofts out here that would do parties every so often every other such and such. And eventually it seems like more and more artists came out here and more and more stuff started to get going on. You had a tiny little gallery start to pop up. You had, um, but again, this is just a little walk from Williamsburg. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  3:54  

G. Romero  3:54  
Where it was that for a bit, you know? And that whole migration happened after people were done with Manhattan prices. In the 90s. It was like they couldn't do it anymore. They love to Lower East Side, East Village, West Village, the West Village became completely unaffordable for artists. So either you were going to go where further up. Further down. People decided to go to Brooklyn.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  4:20  

G. Romero  4:20  
So it was funny because I feel like, watch your back again, later in the 2000s, it seemed to be that you were looking for cheap places to live. Here, Bushwick, Ridgewood, parts of Bed Stuy were some of the cheapest rents you could get. So that's why you had a bunch of young college kids like myself, artists come through and start essentially doing arts and activating stuff. But it was also with that like anything you have one thing can't exist without the other. So along with that came gentrification, came change of value for the real estate, came out all of a sudden. Now look at this right now, look at this out here. Like I was walking around here today and I'm like look at all this crazy shit for Bushwick open studios I was like, this is like, it's like the new 1st Ave., or something like that. It's like all of a sudden, I started to feel like this is getting more and more of a city vibe. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  4:54  
Yeah, yeah. 

G. Romero  5:21  
So 2003 was not like that. You had just a couple bodegas, a couple little spots, you had Silent Barn, which is up here on Wycoff. That was a dope spot, a lot of different bands would play there, a lot of different like, stuff was happening there. You had Glass Lands, I was down further still on Kent, you know a couple little spots where you could see like really cool stuff. But then all of a sudden, you had little tiny places. Like the first gallery that I ever did anything without here was called Junto Gallery. And it was at the bottom of the Hulsey lofts out there. And it was really cool. People were just kind of like turning their home into a gallery. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  6:09  

G. Romero  6:09  
And that was the whole beginning idea. I believe, like the whole thesis behind open studios was that anyone, anybody could participate in this three day event. Anyone could do this. You would take your home, open it up, do whatever you wanted. And there you are. So it kind of took he was again this rebirth of like this DIY kind of thing that was happening out here. I was definitely up in it. I was curating shows doing parties doing rooftop parties. I did a bunch of stuff around the early 2010s. So I had a gallery for a little bit a while. And you know, this whole place just blew up. It's crazy. It was crazy. It was amazing to see what what this monster is out here right now. It's, it's crazy.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  7:02  
It's fabulous. I mean, you know, you don't realize it until the day goes from the beginning to the night. And you say this is just like constantly going on. It's just like this know..

G. Romero  7:14  
It's like we were saying last night like we were saying basically how like, Bushwick is a place where it's like, obviously people like art. Like it's it's like on your breath. You know what I mean? Like you see what's happening, you see that this is what people want out here. People vibe with it. So it was pretty good for a little while, it was pretty good. And things started to change. Because you did have all of a sudden questioning of like, but what's happening out here, really, you've got a bunch of artists, a bunch of art bunch galleries, you got fairs, you got a whole Chelsea gallery out here now. You have like all these different things that are happening, but I was also a teacher for a long time. So I would teach here in Bushwick High for a little bit. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  8:01  
Oh, tell us about that. 

G. Romero  8:02  
And that was really cool. It was fun. I did some after school out here. This is like maybe early, I'm trying to think, I'm old sorry, 20, 2007, 2008, something like that. And I was teaching these kids out here after school. And it was the weekend of open studios. So there used to be three festivals in Bushwick a spring festival, a summer festival, and a fall festival. The Spring Festival was called I believe, it was like more of a music festival. We had a lot of bands play, a lot of stuff was happening. Second summer festival was open studios. That's what it was. This is when it started. It was after the weekend after Labor Day. First weekend in June. And the Fall Festival I believe was called the Sight festival or maybe that was a spring festival. Although Sight festival was a spring one Open Studios was summer and Beta Spaces was the fall. So those were the three main things that happened out here. Eventually Open Studios has kind of worn out because it was the most popular one. The other two kind of just went away after a year or two. But Open Studios kept, stayed, So moved from the summer to the fall I think about maybe three or four years ago. But um it's been this attractor once a year that get, it's like a magnet. People come together all this craziness happens out here and it's just like this three days I'm like well here we are.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  9:37  
So Open Studios is it like a collective that continually does stuff throughout the year or there's just this thing that gets together during the one time seasonally.

G. Romero  9:46  
I honestly too much because it's a it's Arts in Bushwick is the organization. I don't deal with them. I don't know them like that. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  9:53  
So to look it up people if you're into art, you know, check it out. G you gotta tell us a little bit about this exhibit that you put up for this Bushwick Festival, yeah.

G. Romero  10:04  
So it's if people didn't know it's E.T.'s birthday. That's right. Get him out people, take him out wiggle him around. It's E.T.'s birthday so E.T.'s like I think a couple 1000 years old whatever. And yeah so basically I did the silk screens of different phases of his life. So E.T. and his punk phase. E.T. and his like, super Emo dark Batman phase, E.T. when he's like, his spiritual phase. I have other ones his drag phase. He's basically just kind of living his life, like we all do playing characters and telling stories. Yeah, so it's pretty great. And basically, it's having these little prints here. It's the basis for bigger kind of idea to do like a bigger show of like, E.T.'S birthday.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  10:59  
I love it. I love it. How old is it?

G. Romero  11:01  
I'm saying he's like, 3000, 3050 or something, 52, who knows?

Jen Gaita Siciliano  11:08  
One other thing I want to ask you, okay, this thing that's coming up, I know, you're part of some kind of art group that puts together these like performance art pieces, or what's this thing coming out, you were telling me about a TV? A TV burial?

G. Romero  11:23  
Oh, right, that thing.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  11:26  
I'm fascinated with this. 

G. Romero  11:28  
So that is essentially how can I tell you? What can I tell you about that?

Jen Gaita Siciliano  11:34  
Is it happening? That's what we want to know. 

G. Romero  11:37  
That's what I like to know. Actually, I actually would like to know that because I really don't know to be honest with you what's happening at the moment, because it seems to be changing all the time. People didn't know like actually hanging out with artists, ya know?

Jen Gaita Siciliano  11:48  
It's always an organic thing. You never really know if it's gonna come through until... 

G. Romero  11:52  
It's like a fucking ego swamp like being in a band. So Bushwick is a big ego swamp. But anyways, um, but um, it's a little performance thing that we do we start to go out to the street and we start doing activations.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  12:06  

G. Romero  12:07  
Activations that's right. We activate the street, we activate the stuff that's happening, we activate our bodies, we get up, we're not sitting we're like moving. We're doing a story. We're telling some stuff. And we try to activate people's you know, reaction like you're like looking at this, my friend right now, Daniela, who I should call her Larks. She's a performance artist from Colombia. And the last activation that we did, which is right down over here, we ended up, well she spun in place for like, almost an hour.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  12:40  
Oh my goodness.

G. Romero  12:42  
I've never seen any human being really do that before. I tried to spin for like a minute. I want to vomit. You know what I'm saying, like I can't really do it. So, but she was spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning for almost an hour, and I was just what I usually do is draw, my other good friend, he's Rune, I guess you could call him Rune, our guy out. But basically, he does these balloon installations as we're doing our thing. So everyone is individual, but we're together. If that makes sense,

Jen Gaita Siciliano  13:17  
Yeah. You're collaborate, collabing on the spot as a organic...

G. Romero  13:21  
Yes. It's basically just kind of, I think a long time ago, they used to call them happenings. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  13:25  
Yes, yes. 

G. Romero  13:27  
But we call them activations. And yes, we understand why we say that. Because we're activating things. We're making sure that we're in communication with each other, but we're letting each other kind of do their thing. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  13:42  
Right, right. 

G. Romero  13:43  
So the next one, it seems like it's gonna be fun. We're gonna bury a TV, I think. So we'll see what that's about. I don't know. It's supposed to be, it's supposed to be pretty good. It's supposed to be fun. And we're gonna do it like with a style of like a New Orleans funeral march. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  14:04  

G. Romero  14:04  
So we want to have a march of people. Hey, you guys come out. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  14:07  
You gotta let me know. You have my card, right? 

G. Romero  14:10  
Yeah. Come out, check it out. And then and see and see what's happening. Like, it's, we're gonna get a bunch of people together, we're gonna do this thing. And bury the TV. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  14:20  
I think it's fascinating. Who knows what's gonna happen when this TV is buried?

G. Romero  14:24  
And we go by the name, just if you catch us in your town, it's called Super Spreader.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  14:30  
Super Spreader. That's awesome. And that's been with us this terminology for a while. We hope you spread it just like a virus but in a good way.

G. Romero  14:38  
Yeah spreading the joy. We're spreading more things for people, more art for people because art is for everybody. Art's for all the people.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  14:46  
And that's what we're experiencing here. Last words Todd?

Todd D. Goldfinger  14:50  
Yeah, let's just say it's really great to be here and Bushwick, Brooklyn. You know, I think a lot of artists dream about being here, especially today in 2021 at the end of the year, in fall, it's nice to be here. Weather's beautiful. It's nice to walk through the streets. There's a lot of life. It feels like there's always something going on. And it's great. Great to be here. But uh, we're going to we're going back upstate tonight hanging out in the boonies.

G. Romero  15:18  
It's all good. Can I tell you a quick story. I don't think I told it to I only told it to Jen, but let me tell you so that way you hear it too. So Bushwick is a Dutch name. It's because the Dutch were the first to colonize New York City back in the 1400s. They took it from the the indigenous before here on what was before called Manhattan week before it was called Mannahatta. The indigenous were the Lanape and the Wappingers. So they were some of the main classes. There was a lot. There's all kinds of individual indigenous out here, but they were the main ones. So everything has like, everything out here is indigenous land. So Bushwick is Dutch, because in Dutch it means deep woods, or heavy woods, that's why that bar over there is called Heavy Woods. So, Bushwick, in essence, back in the day, back a long, long time ago, all of this was forest. This was a big forest. And to me, I'm like, yeah, it's still kind of basically is, in some ways, you know, it's a deep woods. We're out here so.

Todd D. Goldfinger  16:28  
Great. Do you have some social media I'd like to promote or anything like that, where we can find you?

G. Romero  16:31  
Sure. If you could have that Instagram thing which I really can't stand. I kind of don't like it but Instagram is graphic with a k dot magic with a K. So graphic dot magic. Two K's.

Todd D. Goldfinger  16:49  
Thank you so much for being on the show.

G. Romero  16:50  
Thank you very much, my friend. Thank you very much.

Todd D. Goldfinger  16:52  
Take care. See you next time.

G. Romero  16:53  
Thank you. Enjoy

Todd D. Goldfinger  16:54  
All the best. 

Hello, and welcome. Hello and welcome. Well hello and welcome. We are here in Brooklyn in Bushwick, Brooklyn, at the Essential Art and Music gathering. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  17:17  
Art and Music Show. 

Todd D. Goldfinger  17:18  
Exhibition. And we're here with a very special guest today. We have Sir Ian Cinco, who we're going to talk to in a minute about his art and what drives him and what brought him here and why it's you know, all happening. So here it goes. Welcome Ian.

Ian Cinco  17:41  
Thank you for having me. Thank you for coming to my booth.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  17:44  
Ian you're a pretty amazing artist, I look at your stuff and I think right away comic book, okay? Is your illustrative style influenced by a comic book background?

Ian Cinco  17:58  
I think heavily, heavily so, yeah I'm not even shy about it or hiding that. I'm literally making a comic and as you're staring at it with me you're staring at the cover to issue 2 right now. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  18:09  
Awesome, awesome.

Ian Cinco  18:10  
 I deliberately as I started getting back into art and painting more I just deliberately am doing I think a comic book technique you know, it's like I'm laying color down but strong graphic lines black lines on top right? Yeah.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  18:23  
Do you use like when you do your comic book work I know that you are a liner but do you lean at all on any kind of like, you know how they add today inking graphic you know, like the graphic illustrator programs. Do you color through that or do you do your own coloring?

Ian Cinco  18:42  
I mean I do my own coloring. If you're asking digital versus analog I do both. Like we're looking we're sitting at my booth right now and there's this big painting to my right 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  18:51  
That's amazing. 

Ian Cinco  18:51  
Yeah, that's that's goache very, very analog with black lines on top. But this comic was colored totally digitally. So I did, I did the whole issue. Traditionally I penciled it, I inked it, and then I ended up touching a lot of digitally and I colored it fully digitally. And I'm leaning towards doing the entire thing digitally just for time sake so I can do it faster and quicker and get more issues out.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  19:13  
Right right right. I think that's why there's that lean in the comic book industry. I used to work for Archie Comics, so there were you know inkers, and then that's all there was. There were very little you know graphic programs. 

Ian Cinco  19:26  
Yeah there were no computers yet. Yeah, it's dramatically changed and...

Jen Gaita Siciliano  19:31  
But it's great too because like this stuff is clearly inked. We're going to show your art on the YouTube video so people could actually see it 

Ian Cinco  19:39  
So you're turning to what I call the quarantine series or the lockdown series.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  19:43  
Wow. How many of these are there?

Ian Cinco  19:45  
I didn't count them. I don't have a count. And that's not all of them either. That's just the ones that I thought were best fit on that wall.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  19:54  
Wow. These are like incredible. We have to get some footage of this. People will really appreciate what I'm looking at right now. Ian, what is one of the ways that we can get in touch with you? Website, your handle? How can people see this stuff?

Ian Cinco  20:09  
These days I think the best way is just Instagram. It's at Ian_cinco. Ian_cinco. I use that heavily. I think a lot of people do still. My email is Ian dot Studio You can find me, I'm out there.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  20:27  
Now do you sell these portraits really, I mean, there's like so much here. And I'm sure that people would love to have your work framed in their homes.

Ian Cinco  20:36  
Yeah, I'm all about selling everything. I don't think there's anything I won't sell for the right price. So the lowest, the lowest price for me is usually $300 on an original work of art. And some of them my price higher according to how much they mean to me how much time I put into them. But I'm adamant about keeping or making my art available to everybody. So prints are always available for $25. We're looking at a bunch of pieces that are nine inches by 12 inches. So for that size print $25. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  21:03  
Nice. Nice. Well in let me ask you this, what inspired you to be an artist? Do you think that there was just something within your, you know, genetic makeup that just was needing to be expressed through art? Like there's nothing that can hold you back?

Ian Cinco  21:21  
Yeah, I think that's, that's very true. I think that's very possible. And like, I look at my dog, and she's a blue healer, she's Australian cattle dog. And there's things that I tried to teach, there's things I did teach her, but she naturally she just wants to bite people's heels. She wants to hurt animals, you know. So the older I get, the more I think that maybe there was something that just in my DNA, because, you know, I can tell you my dad was an architect and he's he's very creative, and he definitely inspired me. And I was around a lot of other inspiring people over my life. And my parents were great. They pushed me to make art and stuff. But I don't I don't have an explanation for like, why I'm creative. Like I do just wake up and I'm incredibly driven every day and I want to get as much done as possible. And I'm even when I was a kid, like even before I was like, clearly an artist or a cartoonist as I wanted to be. Just waking up every day and making forts in the woods and carving out pads. Like I just wanted to get as much of that done every day.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  22:13  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Really hands on and tactile learning and exploring. Yeah, I know what that's like. 

Ian Cinco  22:20  
The artists way. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  22:21  
Yeah, yes, absolutely.

Todd D. Goldfinger  22:25  
Ian, how did you get to Brooklyn? Did you, were you born here?

Ian Cinco  22:29  
I was born out on Long Island. And when it came time to go to college, my dad took me around to a bunch of art schools. I originally thought I wanted to go the Joe Kubert School because I was still at that time really obsessed with comics. But then I went to Pratt Institute and kind of fell in love with the campus. And I think I think a lot of people really wanted me to go there. So I ended up going there. And I and you know, I finished I finished that. After graduating and becoming a carpenter for a long time I worked in construction, doing instrumentation technician work, which is a really hard thing to describe. I just did a lot of work, but I stayed in Brooklyn, you know, basically until right before the pandemic hit. I went back out to Long Island. And yeah, I probably come back because I love it here.

Todd D. Goldfinger  23:10  

Ian Cinco  23:10  
I love it. where we are right now especially Bushwick. I lived in Clinton Hill for a long time, which is you know, just actually really breathtaking and beautiful. It's not maybe you know, it's maybe not always so beautiful in Bushwick. There's a lot of dirty grimy spots. There's literally trash facilities up the street that stink terribly. But the artists community here is phenomenal. I think I think it's anyone who's really living here knows that it's one of the art mecca of the world, you know, and people are drawn from around the world to come here and check it out. super inspiring, especially weekend like this.

Todd D. Goldfinger  23:40  
Great. Well, thank you for being on the show. Thank you. And what's your social media do we have here social media,

Ian Cinco  23:47  
Ian underscore ci and Seo? And, you know, I'm on tik tok and Instagram mostly these days. Not so much on anything else. I don't I don't know. It's funny the way that social media shifts around but it seems like Instagrams still holding on. tik tok is a good one tic tocs popping on Tick Tock I had some viral hits on it that I write like all of a sudden I get a bunch of followers I was gonna I was gonna not use it anymore. And then that happened I was like, I guess I should still mess around with it. Yeah. Yeah,

Todd D. Goldfinger  24:17  
we got to get the ticket

Ian Cinco  24:18  
thing and somehow still not get too distracted right and still make your eye

Todd D. Goldfinger  24:23  
right but and that's also part of making your artists the is that today the do it yourself, you know, culture that we're in, is to promote yourself is the only way to get out there really right. And to do things like this to be a part of, yeah, you know, what's happening today hear

Ian Cinco  24:42  
loud, I fully I fully encourage all artists to self promote, learn how to do it. Learn the business Don't Don't, don't be the victim of you know, starving artists mentality. Try to try to make money you know, try to make a living with your art. I firmly believe in that encourage all artists to do it.

Todd D. Goldfinger  25:00  
Yeah, great. I would even say, you know, social media is an important component to that. Because it today, the way to promote is is just that it's for free. So, you know, I mean, you said for free? Well, yeah, you know, these are free platforms, you know, and they can be utilized. I mean, obviously, they can be like, sort of, they can become kind of toxic to, you know,

Ian Cinco  25:24  
yeah, we are, we were, I think most of us are aware now of the toxic reality that we're in with the phones and being addicted to them. But it's also clear that there's like, going back to comics, for example, comics has a history of creators being ripped off, you know, not not making money with their own work. And but now now we have people who are making excellent living mate and doing it through social media and connecting with people and doing, you know, having a show like yours, there's just so many ways to bring people into the fold of what you're doing. And, and to own it, and to make money on it. And to have a successful, happy, fulfilling life, you know, and so there's a lot of hope, I think through social media as well. That's actually what got me making art again, really, was I saw an older man, he was making, you know, art every day and posting it on Instagram. And at the time, I didn't have an Instagram. And I thought to myself, wow, I'm a dinosaur. And I'm not even at the time. I think I wasn't even 30 yet. And it just got me back into it, you know? Yeah, it was, I think, I think there's a lot a lot to gain and a lot, a lot of benefit to social media, despite its toxic addictive tendencies.

Todd D. Goldfinger  26:32  
Great. Well, it's been a pleasure talking to you. pleasure talking to you as well. Thank you for being on the show. And oh, here is Jen. Hold on. Just wanna say thank you. Pleasure. Yeah, much gratitude. This has been on location, art scene, Bushwick. 

Hello, and welcome back to the show. We're here on location in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with a lot of great artists. Got to come down here and go check it out. Anyway, I'm going to hand it over to Jen. So welcome to the show.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  27:10  
James, you are an amazing artist. Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed by us. Tell me your full name.

Kosuke James  27:18  
Kosgei James is my artist name. That's what I go by.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  27:22  
Okay, great. So can you spell it for our listeners so that they know how to look you up?

Kosuke James  27:26  
It's KOSUKEJAMES, that's my handle for most social media so you can find me anywhere?

Jen Gaita Siciliano  27:34  
So I gotta tell you, you know, we were just talking to Ian, and you guys remind me of having a similar influence. Yeah, a little bit with like an illustrated graphic edge now his is like often you know, his he's got his own thing with his kind of like, comic book thing. But you also have that linear linear type of work with the, you know, you fill it in, you do your line work very precise. 

Kosuke James  28:00  
Right, right. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  28:01  
And also, I find that to be the case with what you're doing with all these Nike brand shoes, you're actually taking pen to them. So, you know, tell me a little bit how about how your style developed.

Kosuke James  28:13  
So um, a lot of it comes from a lot of the character stuff comes from, you know, inspirations from like, Manga, like Japanese comics, and also like Anime. I grew up, you know, being influenced in that culture. Also, I majored in architecture. And I think that's where a lot of my you know, geometric designs come from and originated from. I used to do pen calligraphy in Japan as well. So that's why I like to, you know, draw his pen and markers and, you know, that's where to position precision in my line, where it comes from, and the intricate intricacies.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  28:55  
That's interesting. Now these like Canvas pieces, what are you using? Is it acrylic?

Kosuke James  29:01  
Yeah, it's mainly acrylic and ink. Yeah. All the colors are acrylic. A lot of the line work it's usually acrylic or ink, yeah.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  29:11  
Now when you say ink, like how do you apply it on to like canvas.

Kosuke James  29:16  
Um, I just use like a like a micron pen or like even like a one of these like gel pens that I really like to use. A lot of my like black and white drawings are from gel pens actually.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  29:31  
Do you find you can be more precise with them?

Kosuke James  29:33  
Yeah. And I really like how the gel pen like flows as far as the ink, you know, if it releases a lot of ink when you draw on paper, you know? So that's, that's what I like about it.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  29:45  
Yeah, without too much pressure. It's almost like a brush.

Kosuke James  29:49  
It's not like a big pen, you know, like, yeah, I hate those.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  29:56  
So tell me how you started experimenting, and then I'm sure selling for a good price-- decorative footwear.

Kosuke James  30:06  
I'm actually before Bushwick open studios back in 2018 when I was invited to the same exact show I used to just do a lot of like work on paper and canvas and also I used to do a lot of silkscreen printing as well. But I just wanted to bring something new to the table for this show. And I don't know one of my friends like inspired me he was also an illustrator and he was he started drawing on shoes and I thought that was like very fascinating so I tried you know, I put my own twist to my artwork and it came out really good and surprisingly a lot of people liked it. And then ever since then it just took off and I've been doing a lot of commissioned work.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  30:54  
Wow. I mean that's like every artist's wish and dream and hope to find like a little way to get their work bought and it's very creative that you, I mean, and I was asking you yesterday. I thought it was just so interesting because I know how expensive Nike shoes are because my son, and I'm thinking, you know but your precision artist so clearly taking pen or any kind of medium to something of value is going to be fine but I think it's almost like it's a natural reaction, like Wow, that's a Nike shoe.

Kosuke James  31:29  
Yeah. I really like the silhouette of Nike shoes especially the Air Force One and you know Air Force One has a lot of Canvas space. So you know you have a lot I just have a lot of space to draw on which is what I like as well. You know and then once I started you know drawing on shoes that inspired me to draw on like flowerpots and other physical like 3d things instead of just you know, drawing on a flat surface so.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  31:57  
Right right so this is like largely like Canvas work and then so now right now you're basically into like 3d draw a 3d application of paint...

Kosuke James  32:10  
I'm into a lot of things actually yeah. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  32:11  
So what else do you do? 

Um, I do a lot of graphic design as well, that's my that's my professional actually. Illustrations is pretty much like my own work. I do a lot of freelance client designs for like, you know, startup businesses like branding, design, music musicians, album covers, logo designs, event flyers actually did the event flyer for this show in back in 2019. 

Oh really? 

Kosuke James  32:43  
Yeah, yeah. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  32:43  
Oh my gosh, that's cool.

Kosuke James  32:45  
I also like to you know, make content you know, shoot videos and edit them just for my own self. Like making Tiktok videos and stuff like that. 

Jen Gaita Siciliano  32:54  
Oh, yeah? Are you big on Tiktok? 

Kosuke James  32:56  
Um not yet.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  32:57  
What's your handle. So your fans...

Kosuke James  33:01  
KOSUKEJAMES, that's my handle.

Todd D. Goldfinger  33:05  
Kosukejames Wonderful to meet you. What has brought you to Brooklyn? Why Brooklyn, why Bushwick?

Kosuke James  33:13  
I just kind of landed here actually. I used to I grew up in Pennsylvania. And before I moved out here, from time to time, I would just come to visit one friend I happen to live in Bushwick. And when I was ready to move out of Pennsylvania, he had a room open in Bushwick. And that's how I ended up in Bushwick not knowing that this is the art capital of New York. And ever since then, I've been here pretty much like my whole time living in New York. And a lot a lot of the stuff I do now is like inspired by you know, being in Bushwick. So I felt like it was fate, you know, cuz i can't i got i got away from a lot of like, fine art back in high school in college. So it kind of like brought me back to my childhood in a sense that I learned just a lot like meeting a lot of artists here and just seeing like, how successful they could be making art. And I didn't have that type of inspiration back in Pennsylvania. So like, that's what pretty much got me back into art.

Todd D. Goldfinger  34:19  
Great. Could you tell us what is the Jungle of Peace Coloring Book?

Kosuke James  34:23  
This is the some illustration series that I did back in 2018. It was just like 10 It consists of 10 different illustrations of like different animals with my  geometric twist to it. And I thought, you know, I think it's intricate enough so that you could dive deep into every piece and just you could, you know, color. And I just wanted to make something where it could be suitable for all ages of people that you know, appreciate art.

Todd D. Goldfinger  34:57  
Great, and now you have some, looks like some Nike Airs here. Did you design these or what is the significance of these?

Kosuke James  35:05  
Actually I was live painting these until you guys came over actually. Yeah, I'm still in the process of working on these. 

Todd D. Goldfinger  35:14  
Okay. Are you going to livestream it?

Kosuke James  35:17  
Um, I should. This was like a last minute thing, so I didn't even think about doing it. Um, what my plan was to paint this foot and then paint this foot when I get home and just document that and make it into a YouTube and Tiktok video.

Todd D. Goldfinger  35:36  
Great. So how can people find you on social media?

Kosuke James  35:39  
Oh, at KOSUKEJames. That's pretty much all my handles on most platforms.

Todd D. Goldfinger  35:46  
All across the board. 

Kosuke James  35:47  

Todd D. Goldfinger  35:47  
Great. Well, I want to thank you so much for being on the show. 

Kosuke James  35:50  
Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.

Todd D. Goldfinger  35:53  
Thank you. 

Kosuke James  35:53  
Thank you.

Jen Gaita Siciliano  35:58  
Thanks for listening to Not As Crazy As You Think, and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. And remember, mental health is attainable for anyone, especially those labeled with mental illness. Until next time, peace out.

Transcribed by