New Artists Put the ‘A’ into the Big Apple

By Maria Van Vlodrop

Alongside the glittering worlds of finance and entertainment in New York City is the vibrant arts community. MVVO ART is opening the Accessible Art Fair New York edition this November 1st, 2016 at The National Arts Club where 60 emerging artists selected by a juried event in May will showcase their work. The Fair removes barriers between artists and collectors and creates a welcoming environment for the discovery of great talent. New York Lifestyles Magazine spoke to three of the participating artists and asked the simple question, “what inspires you and your connection to New York?”

Grant Collier

New York has two faces. My place upstate gives me time to reflect and my time in the city snaps me out of it. That’s important. It’s this contrast that keeps me awake and curious.

As a child I was taught to be in the world but not of it. A half truth but nevertheless it taught me to be a curious observer, as if an alien, curious of this world and the people around me. While walking the streets of the city I observe strangers going about their individual lives and I wonder what it is we all share. Life seems borrowed somehow, here for a long moment; a particular moment in time.

Some have it easy and some have it hard. There’s little sense to be made of it other than to love and to make something from it. This is why I’m an artist. I like capturing the light, the forms, music, and I spend time looking at other artist’s work. But most importantly it’s the stories I’m interested in. Within them there’s a spirit passing through and I’m interested in capturing that. And what role does the body play in this? I find an infinite amount of resource here.

Margaret Ann Withers

Inspiration is tricky because I can’t will it into existence. However, I’ve found that for me to be open to inspiration I have to do three things. First, I have to be open to new experiences. So I expose myself to all different kinds of art, whether it’s visual art, music, fiction, poetry, movies, or plays. And, on a daily basis I pick a time where I slow down how I experience things, to where I’m almost in a meditative state, sometimes I do this on the subway or in the park or just walking down the street. The second thing I do, free of self-judgment, is to play around with any new ideas that come up. And the third thing I do is to work out the new idea in my studio.

I think it’s very important to be optimistic and to allow myself to mess-up in order for inspiration to take hold.

In 2006, my husband and I sold everything, said goodbye to our nice comfortable life in Denver and moved to New York City to pursue our art practices. Thankfully, New York City is a gold mine of new experiences!

Camomile Hixon

When I was a child, my mother would drive us from Connecticut down the West Side Highway past burnt-out cars to visit Cousin Billy, who still lives in the same loft in SoHo on Broome St. The abandoned-looking buildings were canvases for graffiti and the pedestrians were punk rockers, drag queens and misfits. It felt dangerous yet exhilarating to be in an environment where people were openly expressing themselves. What a stark contrast from our picturesque Protestant little town. I used to feel sorry for Billy having to live in such a dystopia. Later, I began to understand how the unique atmosphere of non-judgment actually led to the emerging art scene which I later became a part of.

 My large-scale paintings and environments in glitter express these early ’80’s while at the same time transmitting an optimistic vision for the future. The Search for the Missing Unicorn was inspired by this Manhattan. In 2010 I placed posters around the city. The signs picturing a unicorn read ‘Missing Unicorn: large female with a friendly disposition…if seen, please call and leave a message.’ Thousands of people called the Unicorn Hotline over the first weekend with wondrous tales. The project went viral, major media outlets covered the story, and famed photographer Terry Richardson took pictures and tweeted them. In my experience, New York City remains a beautifully open-minded place where an artist can spring an imaginary beast on the public and they play along without missing a beat.