By: Lenore Cohen and Grace Mizrachi
One day four years ago, my sister Lenore hijacked my morning, pulled me out of bed and dragged me to her latest venue: a salon at Saks Fifth Avenue. They were showcasing her artwork to make their space more beautiful and give an up and coming artist some publicity. After a full day of hammering, hauling and hanging giant canvases, climbing around on ladders and generally breaking my back, I swore it was the last time, the only time I was going to help. Lenore's been dragging me around with her ever since. To be honest I don't really have a choice in the matter. Lenore comes up with a concept, or an idea, and they’re usually so exciting you can hardly say no.
Over this Pesach, Lenore enticed me with a new project. A few years ago, she'd read about a street artist in London called Eine. He uses security gates on storefronts to make beautiful works of street art. It's an idea that’s been on the back burner for her ever since, and recently she heard about an organized group that was doing it on the Lower East Side. She realized that Passover was a great time to work on this since many food stores wouldn’t be open anyway, and it’s something you need to work on when a store is closed.
Lenore and I really just enjoy the act of creating and we thought that people would enjoy these types of works when they encounter them on the street, right here in our neighborhood. For Lenore, this medium is appealing because it's a way to just work without waiting for an establishment to "accept" or "curate" an idea. You have a good concept, and you just run with it. It’s also fun to work in the street and get instant feedback on what you’re doing. We particularly enjoyed explaining ourselves to the police, who were called within a few minutes on the first day (really, they were very nice). For me, I just think Brooklyn could use a little beauty. Bad enough its winter for 10 months a year, we also have to live in graffiti covered garbage half the time? No.
The security gate of Mazza and More (located on avenue M, in the above picture) is the first of many we hope to work on over the next few months. If we had it our way we'd paint on as many as we coud, work on it every day and have the area fully covered by the fall. But since we also need to sleep and feed ourselves, we'll continue whenever we can. We already had some other businesses approach us about it, and we're developing some new designs. We'd definitely give priority to anyone who can help us cover materials costs. Also, if people want to come on board to help and be a part of it, just let us know.
Lenore: I'm an artist/graphic designer. What that means is constantly changing and that's part of what I love about it. I've had different studio and show spaces, worked with a really wide range of different people, and had so many interesting opportunities through my work. This year I'm working as a graphic designer for SBH, a few years ago it was Beth Torah, occasionally the SCA-- I like that wherever I go and wherever my artwork is hanging, I'm leaving an impact through my ideas. I'm also a new mom, a former gymnastics coach and used to teach ta'ameem at Flatbush. I believe in constantly re-inventing/re-evaluating yourself to keep life interesting. As you can imagine, I don't watch much TV.
Grace: I got very interested in art while I was in High school. I did a semester at FIT, and I give private art lessons. To me, art is something I do for fun and to relax, or when I feel very inspired. I hope that It can be become a bigger part of my life as I get older. Right now i'm working on my degree, a huge Yom Haatzmaut party (shout out to the SCA Israel group!) and I’m hoping to do my masters in Israel by next Spring. Or I might just, you know, join the IDF.....