The conditions were hardly perfect for a party last Saturday night: Streets were wet and 7-train service was a mess. But that didn’t stop the artistically inclined from filling up the former Greenpoint rope factory at 67 West Street for the raucous opening of Succulent Studios.
Revelers showed up for Brooklyn beer and a well-curated exhibition of up-and-coming street artists, including many from North Brooklyn.
“It was amazing,” said the gallery’s owner, who goes by his artist name Sek3. “We need more space.”
Sek3, 36, conceived of the gallery with Daniel Weintraub, 30, who serves as the studios’ creative director. They’re both art insiders: Sek3 has been involved in the street art movement since 1992 and Weintraub is a passionate graffiti art collector.
“We know these people as friends – we want them to succeed,” Weintraub said.
“These people” include artists who have lived in or around Greenpoint at one time or another, like Danielle Mastrion, Cern, Michael Alan and Stefano Alcantara. Their work was shown with that of over 20 other talented artists at the Saturday event.
“We’re moving with the times of the neighborhood,” Sek3 said. “This building is crawling with artists.”
According to painter-sculptor-musician Cern, who has been part of the art collective YMI with Sek3 since the ‘90s, Greenpoint is particularly well-suited for street art because of its many factory spaces and longstanding artist community.
“It’s not just row houses and brownstones,” he explained. “Once you throw in that dynamic of industrial buildings, the buildings lend themselves to becoming canvases.”
But on Saturday night, the canvases were mostly made of fabric – and latex. Addi Somekh’s whimsical balloon sculptures, painted by Cern, served as colorful centerpieces in the room. Buyers with cash to spare could take these works home for a price: Most pieces cost upwards of $1,000.
Sek3 doesn’t only plan to use his sprawling space (which he conveniently found on Craigslist) for housing art. He wants it to become a more community-minded gallery that offers drawing classes as well as a printmaking program for children. They’re also open to suggestions.
“You have an idea, let us know,” Weintraub said. “We’re facilitators.”
The pair wants the gallery to be inclusive, like street art itself, which attracts people “from all walks of life,” according to Sek3.
Part of what makes Sek3 and Weintraub a good team is their age difference, they said. Because they’re six years apart, they’re able to bring different perspectives toward their gallery choices and represent a wide range of artists and styles.
“We don’t have a lot of crossover influences,” Weintraub said.
A new exhibit will fill the space in the next five or six weeks, at which point Weintraub and Sek3 will host another opening party. They hope their next exhibition effort will be even broader in its scope and include some international artists.
“We can start really great relationships with artists in different countries,” Cern said. “It’ll be historic to bring those artists to this neighborhood.