“This is all art”
Artists in a life of quarantine
By Sherry Mazzocchi
These are uncertain times and we don’t know what the future will bring.
What we do with our time is important—whether it’s caring for others in a necessary job, trying to educate children while working from home, or focusing on that book we’ve always wanted to write. Or maybe we are just staying home, protecting everyone else by protecting ourselves.
This is the fifth installment in a series focused on the creative community in our midst. We’ve asked some of the most ingenious artists and creators who’ve graced these pages in the past to share what they are doing and what they are thinking now – and what might be ahead.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez and Kyung Jeon-Miranda
People turn to art for solace in times of need. “We’re reading, watching films, documentaries, TV, looking at Instagram. This is all art,” said visual artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez, writer and creator of the superhero character La Borinqueña. “This is an opportunity for an artist to really digest everything that is happening in the world and translate it in a way that can be embraced by larger audiences.”
Miranda-Rodríguez has been working on the third installment of the graphic novel series of La Borinqueña, and has partnered with Masks of America to raise money to purchase and ship FDA-certified N95 masks to essential healthcare workers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Among those lending support are Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Mark Ruffalo; Bob Bland and Rosario Dawson.
“We have found and partnered with an FDA-certified manufacturer selling N95 equivalent masks at only $2/mask—a fraction of what hospitals and governments have been paying for N95 masks,” he explains. “Every dollar donated will go directly to mailing masks to health care facilities who request them through.”
Miranda-Rodríguez and his wife Kyung Jeon-Miranda are the parents of two sons and run the design studio, Somos Arte, from their home. Jeon-Miranda is also a painter. Her work centers primarily on children. “We may come from different backgrounds of race, class and religion but one common denominator we share is the innocence of children.” Her latest work, Coronavirus Mask Jungle Gym, hints at the virus’s effects on those least likely to understand it. “It may become the new normal in our society, to protect ourselves, our families, our community. We have to practice a conscious effort to socially distance ourselves from others, wear masks and sterilize areas. We have to keep ourselves completely aware that during this current pandemic we’re living in can have long-term effects on our culture and our children’s future,” she said. As both parents and artists, they are entering an entirely new phase; creating a healthy emotional space, a nurturing family environment and providing education for their kids. “We are actually very fortunate,” said Miranda-Rodríguez. Their home is a creative space, filled with all kinds of books, including comic books, graphic novels and tons of art supplies. ”But that’s not every home. I think we have an advantage as artists, because we can actually engage our young children with our own imagination.”
For more information, please visit somosarte.com.
For more information, please visit: www.kyung.com.
Writer and filmmaker Arlene Schulman is putting some projects on hold while busily updating others. She isn’t currently working on her latest film, Hot Wheels, about uptown activist Edith Prentiss because she can’t interview people. But she just released a new episode of her podcast, Pastrami a go go and Other Rye Tales of the City. It features an interview with historian Eric K. Washington about his latest book, James H. Williams: Boss of the Grips. Williams was the head of the Red Caps, a group of African American men who worked at Grand Central Station. “Eric on a bad day is a wonderful speaker,” she said. “He takes you through the book, with stories about Williams and Grand Central Station in the podcast.”
Her next interview is with Maria Lizardo, the Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). “It was done before all of this happened,” said Schulman. “It focuses on domestic violence which is actually quite appropriate. Even more so now.”
Schulman foresees life will be different after the shelter-in-place edict is lifted. “So many lives have been lost, so many people have been affected,” she said. “You can’t just turn on the light switch and go, okay here we are again.”
She also started a social media campaign featuring her photograph of two-time Golden Gloves winner Anthony James. The Washington Heights former boxer is shown right by the 190th Street subway tunnel. Her “Be a Champion and Help Knock out Coronavirus” serves as a reminder to be vigilant about the disease. “It’s born out of a frustration so many of us feel about neighbors and others around the city who are not practicing social distancing or not wearing masks,” she said. Schulman estimates that roughly 30 percent of the people she sees from her apartment window aren’t practicing those twin goals. “I don’t know what message they are missing,” she said.
“I’m very well aware that staying home is asking very little of myself and anyone else,” she said. “Anne Frank spent 761 days in hiding. All we are asked to do is stay home, wash your hands and practice social distancing.”
For more information, please visit m.facebook.com/pastramiagogo.
Taller Peralta, the style salon on Henshaw Street, isn’t really open for business. But M. Tony Peralta is still taking orders for graphic tees, and other artwork. He is even expanding his merchandise offerings. He recently announced a new collaboration with Lemon Anderson that benefits the Food Bank of New York.
In addition to curating quarantine playlists on Spotify, he also hosted a free art and commerce Zoom event on April 9th.
Famous for art celebrating and sometimes skewing a hip New York Dominican culture, Peralta is also spending a lot of time cooking. He’s creating dishes like mac and cheese with cauliflower or a Dominican dish with fried sweet plantains. “You cut them a certain way, kind of long,” he said. It’s served with ground beef and cheese. You can put tomato sauce on it if you want to, but nobody really does.”
He recently released a new print – Enfermera con Rolos – which was anchored in an earlier series of famous women such as Selena and Celia Cruz shown in hair rollers set high on their heads. In each “Rolos & Icons” portrait, the women return the viewer’s gaze while the rollers afford them a regal air. The hair pieces are a familiar sight for many whose mothers and grandmothers would routinely wash and set their hair at home and spend the day tending to errands with their hair coiled and set in the iconic rollers. The Celia Cruz piece became part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in 2016.
Similarly, the Enfermera con Rolos piece features a woman in the blue scrubs of a healthcare provider, her left hand on her hip, the other clasped around a clipboard. She is masked and behind her a yellow orb radiates, framing her in an otherworldly glow. There is a stethoscope slung around her neck and a no-nonsense air in her stance.
Proceeds from the sale of the portrait, which was featured in The Manhattan Times and The Bronx Free Press, are forwarded to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Already, Peralta has donated 30 percent of proceeds from the last round of sales to the Mayor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
There are also Bodega Cat face masks and Afro pick face coverings on the Taller Peralta website.
Peralta takes a long view of events. “I’m sure that during WWI and WWII, people thought that the world was ending during that time,” he said. “I think it was probably even worse back then. Everybody was going off to war to fight this threat.” Even as the number of cases increase, he feels lucky to live in New York City because politicians here are proactive and actually seem to care about the people they serve. “The governor and the mayor are doing a great job. They are taking this on themselves,” he said. “People in New York City have been through 9/11. We’ve been through a lot of stuff. We got through that. I’m just hoping we get through this as soon as possible.”
For more information, please visit peraltaproject.com.
“Todo esto es arte”
Artistas en una vida de cuarentena
Por Sherry Mazzocchi
Estos son tiempos inciertos y no sabemos qué traerá el
Lo que hacemos con nuestro
Esta es la quinta entrega de una serie centrada en la comunidad creativa en
Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez y Kyung
Las personas recurren al arte en
Miranda-Rodríguez ha estado
“Hemos conocido y nos hemos
Miranda-Rodríguez y su esposa Kyung Jeon-Miranda son padres de dos hijos y dirigen el
Para más información, por favor visite somosarte.com.
Para más información, por favor visite: www.kyung.com.
Arlene Schulman, escritora y
Su próxima entrevista es con María Lizardo, directora
Schulman prevé que la vida será diferente después
También comenzó una campaña en las redes sociales con su fotografía del dos veces ganador de los Guantes de Oro Anthony James. El ex boxeador de Washington Heights se muestra justo al lado del túnel del metro de la calle 190. Su “Sé un campeón y ayuda a eliminar
“Soy muy consciente de que
Para más información, por favor visite m.facebook.com/
M. Tony Peralta
Taller Peralta, el salón de
Además de seleccionar listas
Famoso por celebrar el arte y, a veces, distorsionar la
Recientemente lanzó una nueva impresión – Enfermera
Del mismo modo, la pieza Enfer
Los ingresos de la venta del retrato, que
Peralta ya ha donado el 30 por ciento de los ingresos de la última ronda de ventas al Fondo de Alivio de
También hay mascarillas
Peralta tiene una visión
Para más información, por favor visite peraltaproject.