Sunday, October 21, 2018

An Abundant Life - Creating Space

As I've written in these pages before, I met the marvelous Artist Norman Kirby because of a beautiful work of art of his I saw before I knew who had created it. I was walking by a chain link fence in the Newport area of Jersey City, and I saw something different and more wonderful than I'd ever seen on a fence before. I lived in Manhattan for many years and had seen street art and graffiti art that was beautiful, engaging, provocative and truly astonishing, but I'd never seen anything as lovely and whimsical while at the same time being as powerful as the piece I saw on the fence that day. It was so amazingly beautiful that I took a photograph of it because I wanted to be able to print it out one day and frame it, and when I got home I kept thinking about it, so I decided to post it on Instagram. At the time I had mainly been posting photos of people I knew and home furnishings or fashion items that I had found or that had been given to me or that had been bought from thrift stores or vintage stores, artisans or boutiques - people or places and things that were a part of my experience in daily life. This was the first time I posted a work of art that I didn't know anything about, and so I simply put the caption, "Unexpected Beauty" along with the location and the words, "Unknown Artist." A friend who saw the post tagged Norman Kirby, on Instagram @normkirby, so I added the tag to the post. And then a few weeks later when I was visiting with that same friend in the coffee shop he ran at the time over on Bergen Avenue, someone came in to talk to him who I recognized as Norm Kirby from his Instagram page and I introduced myself as the person who had taken the photo and tagged him. As I wrote in a previous blog post about him, he is a very nice person, very humble and very kind, and though I was very effusive about how much I loved his work, he just kept saying thank you as if it was something he couldn't believe anyone would like so much. The truth about Norm Kirby is that everyone loves his work - people who know who he is and people like me who see his work all say "I love that guy!" whenever his name or the work he does comes up in conversation. After meeting him I started photographing his pieces all over town and posting them whenever I had a good photo to share. Eventually I started to post the work of other artists and to write about them when I was able to meet them in person, and it was that piece of Norman Kirby's that inspired me to expand my Instagram posts to include them and started that phase of my blog.

Over the years since I met him, I've written about his work and visited his studio, and I've seen him at different openings and events around town. Recently I ran into him at the closing party for JCAST, the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour, when he was wearing a t-shirt he had hand painted with one of his designs. I love all of the phases of his work, and I'd heard about the t-shirts from another artist friend who also admires him - he has many admirers because his work brings joy to so many people all over the area. I told him I wanted a t-shirt if he had any more left, and as we talked he told me that he'd started a gallery near the location of that other friend's coffee shop where we'd first met. I told him I'd love to see the gallery and write about it and the work he was doing now, and so we arranged for a meeting at the closing of the current show there. It turns out the space is in the basement of the former thrift and vintage store that the friend with the coffee shop owned during the time that I first met him, and so visiting brought back some very lovely memories of some of my earliest walks of discovery around that neighborhood of Jersey City.

Norman Kirby in his own quiet and unassuming way has created a wonderful space that helps other artists to shine. His own work is in areas outside on the block and sprinkled throughout the space within, but his focus as always is on creating a space for others to create in. It takes a rare person to curate a space in a way that it feels both welcoming and at the same time reverential to the work of the artists contained there, and there is a respect and a feeling of warmth that in combination creates a space to enjoy and learn and engage in dialogue about art and life. Six Columns is a special gallery, a place where artists can show their work to its best advantage and others can enjoy a space to feel the life of creativity in. The name refers to the six columns in the space that are heavy brick and mortar columns that provide structural support for the building, but there are reverberations of much more - something that hearkens back to the places of Greek history where people of all walks of life could come together and listen and learn and converse and grow. And as I shared time with the artists and art lovers visiting the space and felt the creative energy there, I realized it could only be someone like Norman Kirby who could create a space like that, a space where we feel the magic of history and the promise of the future while being firmly planted in the present, the here and now, the things that are and are to come.

Norman Kirby
At Six Columns Gallery

His Artwork Down The Block
Lighting The Way

A Wonderful Piece
Added To The Walls
When Another Artist's Work Had Sold

The Six Supporting Columns
Lending A Name
And Character To The Space

A Sculpture By Jerome China

A Space For Conversation
And Inspiration

Another Beautiful Work
By Artist Norman Kirby

The Original Piece
That Started My Norm Kirby Adventures


Jannie Susan

Sunday, October 14, 2018

An Abundant Life - A View To The World

There are places in the world that from the moment you walk in they feel like a place where you want to stay forever. The first time I walked into Antique Bar & Bakery I felt that way, and as I've written before in this blog that feeling and my affection for the restaurant continues to grow the more I visit and get to know the Partners, Joe Castelo, Rocco Ancarola and Executive Chef Paul Gerard.

When I heard that they were opening a new space, Antique Loft at Riverview, I was excited for them, but I was also excited for everyone who would go there because I knew it would be something special. As I have written here before, I had the opportunity one night to see it in the process of being beautified by Chef Paul Gerard and his son Frank, and though that evening some areas were still unfinished, the space itself was so beautiful that it gave me that feeling that this would be a place that would be even better than I could dream about. Then a few months later a friend who was planning an event asked me to join his group for a meeting with the Events Coordinator. As I took the elevator to the Penthouse, I started thinking back to wonderful spaces I'd been around and part of over the years, but there was nothing in my memory that would have prepared me for its exquisiteness. The views are simply astonishing, and though that would be enough in itself, the use of the space and design touches make it perfection. The open floor plan gives sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline along with the evening splendor of sunset over Hoboken, and it can be configured for larger parties and smaller gatherings, for sit down dinners, intimate evenings and special events. There is no end to the possibilities, and over time the Partners have planned different phases to continue to grow and nurture their vision into even greater heights.

Recently I attended an evening meditation and wine tasting event as well as an Open House. On both occasions I found myself taking photographs as the light changed and the moon rose and the space and views took on a different character with each lovely moment. The food and wine are of course the best, being prepared and curated in the amazing kitchen of Antique Bar & Bakery under the careful and expert supervision of Chef Paul Gerard. Events Coordinators Kelli Carucci and Elena Perdikakis have many years of excellent experience and history in planning events, and whatever your whim or delight is they can help you plan something that surpasses it. Not one touch goes awry in this place of surpassing beauty, with excellent staff and delicious tastes to beguile you. Antique Loft is a space of dreams, a palace for making memories that will last a lifetime.

Antique Loft
At Riverview
33 Newark Street
Hoboken, New Jersey

Events Coordinator Kelli Carucci
Meeting With The Hoboken Rotary Club
Gala Fundraiser Planning Committee

An Evening Of Yoga And Meditation

At The Open House

As Manhattan's Lights Begin To Shine

And Friends Enjoy The View


Jannie Susan