Wednesday, October 27, 2021

ChaShaMa Open Studios...Meet the BWAC Artists in Residence

 As a newbie to the multiverse that is Brooklyn, Open Studios are a great way to connect with artists. You have the opportunity to meet artists and see both their work and their working environment. So when BWAC co-president Alicia Degener suggested I visit the ChaShaMa Open Studio event at her studio complex in Sunset Park, I was pleased I could arrange my schedule to do it. My visit will be reported in two posts. The first about BWAC members with studios at this facility and the second about other artists I met on this adventure.

It turned out to be a pleasant 35 minute walk from my apartment. It is located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal which is not a warm and fuzzy place. It’s very large and a bit intimidating…even figuring out how to get in. Fortunately the wise ChaShaMa folks knew I was coming and put out a few signs at strategic locations. 

                     Maurya Brennan, Special Event & Cultivation Director for ChaShaMa

When I finally found the studios, with some help from other pilgrims, I was greeted by Maurya Brennan, Special Events & Cultivation Director for ChaShaMa. I was fascinated to learn ChaShaMa’s origin story. Founded by Anita Durst in 1995, it was dedicated to her mentor who was a filmmaker. In Farsi, ChaShaMa means “to have vision”.  Maurya informs me the ChaShaMa is a complex of over 50 studio facilities and galleries all over NYC. Lots of information on their website.

There are 96 studios just in this complex at the Army Terminal. I stopped by Alicia Degener’s studio to check in. She has a great space with the coveted windows. I saw her tile prep process set up and a collection of paintings on the wall outside her studio space. She wasn’t there when I first arrived so this was a self-guided tour. I really enjoyed seeing the paintings and drawings on the wall outside her studio. I most frequently see her work on tiles and it's wonderful to see the originals full scale. You can see more of her work on her Etsy site. Or follow her on Instagram @adegener

Alicia Degener, work on paper ont the wall outside her studio

When I did connect with Alicia, she directed me to two fellow BWAC members who have studios at ChaShaMa.  My first stop was with Jonathan P Fischer. We have all seen his work because he has frequently provided graphic design services for BWAC.

                           Jonathan P Fischer, Ombra, 2020, paper collage, 62" x 39"

As a designer/collage artist  I was especially interested to see his work and learn about his process. As you might imagine, his studio was full of magazines and other images from various sources with samples of his work hanging from the wall.

Jonathan P Fischer in his studio

The components of his work I found the most interesting were from movie billboards and posters.  He referenced his days in Rome and finding movie posters he incorporated in his work. We talked a little bit about how copyright issues impact/or don’t impact on his work and collage in general. We had a very pleasant visit. Learn more about his work on Artsy.


Geuryung Lee in her studio

Geuryung Lee was my second stop. She is a very active BWAC member currently curating an upcoming exhibit. As described on the BWAC website:  Brooklyn Seoul presents a fresh variety of art with an emphasis on the world as we know it now from a distinctly Korean point of view. Emerging and mid-career (and under-represented) artists are highly encouraged to apply.

Anticipated Opening is November 13, 2021. All disciplines are welcome. Application fee: $35 (U.S.)Enter at Smarter Entry

  Geuryung Lee, The Rain Coat, mixed media on canvas

This large painting welcomed me into her space. I was immediately drawn to a series of large lithographs Geuryung had on the wall of her studio. They consisted of black brush strokes and one color creating a bold, fluid statment, strong and fluid simultaneously.

Geuryung Lee, the Gratitude series, lithographs

Learn more about her work on her website and Instagram @geuryunglee. I am looking forward to the opening of Brooklyn Seoul that will celebrate art from Korean artists, national artists and Asian culture. See you there. 

I was sorry to miss connecting with BWAC artists also in residence at ChaShaMa Stephanie Norberg and James Rose

Stay turned for my next installment about the other artists I met at the ChaShaMa Open Studios.

This blog is produced and written by BWAC board member Kristin Reiber Harris.                You can contact me at

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