Hump Day Hot Seat: Jessica Natal

Chillin’ in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat is an awesome friend and one of Jersey City’s finest! No matter how much time has passed, we always find ourselves having a blast together. She’s a rad chick – as wild as her hair – who can’t stop, won’t stop. An experienced graphic artist for hire, Jessica Natal, is someone to keep an eye on, both literally and figuratively. You just never know what she’ll get into next. Thanks for hanging out with me on .stART here., Jessy! And I got mad love to give…

Photo © Bernadette Cruz

1. Who are you?

A 35 yr old graphic/web designer with artistic tendencies from the mean streets of Newark, NJ.

2. What do you do?

I web, I art, and I coffee. I coffee a lot.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

I was about 4 or 5 when my sperm donor told me that the world was a huge painting. Thus began my love affair with texture, typography, and color.

4. How long have you been at it? 

I took a hiatus when I was 20 (had to go to work), but I found my way back at 31 after a soul sucking position working for a government contractor.
5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

As Vampire Queen Merceline, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m a work in progress. I fuck up. I over-design. I make jokes. We wake up the next day and life goes on.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I really love Jessica Hische. She’s managed to bridge the gap between illustration and typography and it’s amazing to watch. Jessica Walsh is another fave – check her out. She’s incredible. Mind you, the “Jessica’s” is not lost on me.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

I’m really into collage these days. It sounds corny, but you can make some cool shit using old letters, newspapers, and mod podge.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 
I’m really good at pissing off meatheads, cursing, and karaoke. That last one always surprises people.
9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Good ol’ fashioned whiskey.
10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

Walk away. I shut down my computer, I put the brush down, and I answer the call from
within me for “drankin’.”

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook? 
Total foodie. Anything with cheese and sauce tickles my fancy.  The good sauce though,with more salt than anything.

Selfie  © Bernadette Cruz

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate. 

Truth. Mostly because there’s nothing you can ask of me that I haven’t already done.

13. What is your most prized possession?

Probably my ability to adapt. You can shoot anything at me, and I’ll adapt. And I have to say, those are my proudest moments.


Hump Day Hot Seat: Emilio Florentine

Fresh Friday Finds alum Emilio Florentine is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat! Get to know this Jersey City based artist as he answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Thanks for stopping by, Emilio!

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Excursions, Aerosol Paint. © Emilio Florentine

1. Who are you?

Emilio Florentine

2. What do you do?

I paint exploding flowers. They are a visual study of the chaos within beauty.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I began drawing cartoon and comic book characters at an early age. In my early teens, I enrolled in advanced art lessons after school in Somerville, NJ.

4. How long have you been at it?

A long time.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I own a fine art and apparel screen-printing business called Jersey City Screen Printing.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

The local artists and graffiti writers of Jersey City and Newark

7. What other types of art are you in to?

Screen-printing and colored pencil

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Skateboarding and Snowboarding

9. What’s your favorite vice?


10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

The answer to the previous question.

11. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

The guy on the path train with paint all over his clothes, messy hair, and drawing in a sketch-book.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Today, ink dried in my screens too fast.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My drafting table

Monday Funday: Art Openings

I’M BAAACKKK! I’ve been on hiatus since my west coast move in September but am back at this blogging thing with my first official Cali-based post, a Monday Funday feature. These are friendly Monday reminders to always live in the moment, get out and have fun!

Today, I’ve got my hand picked calendar of this week’s events across the country.


March 6th – 9th: The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 from 12p – 7p


The Armory Show is one that I’ve always wanted to check out but constantly said, “next time.” This annual contemporary and modern art fair is the largest in New York City, showcasing over 2,000 artists from hundreds of galleries around the globe. So if you’re in the area and can treat yourself to sensory overload at its best, go for it! Tickets start at $40 day passes to $75 run of show passes. For more information, visit


March 7th (JC Fridays): E. Tittlemouse & Co. presents “Women Power JC” at 246 Bay St. from 6p – 8p

Women Power JC

Who run the world?! Girls. This event presented by E. Tittlemouse & Co. features the diversity of Jersey City female artists and their talents. My friend, Rika Gunawan, will be there with her unique collection of handmade, limited edition hair accessories for women and children of all ages, Republic of Pigtails. Stop by and say hi!

This is just one of many events during this month’s “JC Fridays” presented by Art House Productions.  For a full calendar of events, visit



March 7th: Anthony “Weird Eye” One’s “Something Wild” at Speakeasy Art Gallery 816 Main Street from 6p – 9p

AnthonyWeirdEyeOneI first met Anthony “Weird Eye” One back in March 2012 at his “Colorful Eye Candy” solo show and quickly became a fan of his work. Two years later, this painter, muralist and street artist takes his intricately patterned style of “movement and motion” and evolves into “Something Wild.” Watch “Weird Eye” One discuss the upcoming show presented by Speakeasy Art Gallery and check out a sneak peek here. For more event information, visit

SAN JOSE, CA                                                                                                    

March 7th: “Tangible: a handprinted exhibition” at Seeing Things Gallery 30 N. Third Street from 7p – 10p



I finally got to check out Seeing Things Gallery, owned and operated by photographer Jai Tanju last month. I caught the current “Let’s Meet in the Middle” show featuring individual and collaborative mixed media artwork from husband and wife, David Imlay & Ana Carolina Pesce Imlay. This Friday, a new show, “Tangible” opens where the artists “have created photographs in the traditional sense, using their hands to make a physical object.” For more information, visit


March 7th

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I couldn’t be more thrilled that Santa Cruz has tons of talented local artists and an abundance of inspiration to offer! I’m stoked to see as much as I can this Friday but really interested in trying to check out the following:

For a complete event listing, visit

Fresh Friday Finds: Emilio Florentine

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Excursions, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine

As his name suggests, Jersey City based mixed media artist Emilio Florentine is inspired by the floral. Reminding me of the classic “he loves me, he loves me not” saying, his work ironically suggests the delicate nature of flowers combined with a hard edge. Like in the aerosol paint piece, “Excursions,” Florentine’s canvas is a large wall on the interior of a building, in “Misty,” a wall outdoors, and in “Nothing to Lose,” he once again brings beauty to a brick wall using aerosol paint in a bright, cheerful palette.


Misty, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine


Nothing to Lose, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine

Florentine also uses colored pencils to showcase the graceful and gentle quality of his inspiration. His work expresses a duality in both it’s composition and in highlighting decomposition at the same time. In “‘Round Midnight,” his fine technique even appears to give the piece a three dimensional vibe.


‘Round Midnight, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine


Straight No Chaser, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine


Will O’ the Wisp, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine

Check out this awesome video of Emilio Florentine at work from Element Tree and Serringe!

Fresh Friday Finds: Andi Green

Welcome to the first Fresh Friday Finds post on .stART here. where I’ll be featuring some fresh artists on the rise. Happy weekend!

I am continuing with a Green theme and stoked to introduce Andi Green. Her sister, Allison Green, was in this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat.


Nola, 24″x36″ light box. Photo courtesy of Andi Green.

In 2001, Andi Green worked in advertising and had an art show in New York City called The Monsters in My Head.  She created 24″x36″ light boxes featuring characters that embodied emotions. All five pieces displayed a character, or what she called monsters, along with a Xerox-transferred story (see image above). After such an enormous response to The Monsters, Green decided to expand her idea. Six years later, she began the development of The WorryWoo Monsters series consisting of children’s storybooks and plush dolls under her newly formed Monsters in My Head independent company.


Nola, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

Another six years later, with six books and seven plus dolls, The WorryWoo Monsters is now an award-winning series created, written, illustrated, and produced by Andi Green, a tried and true tour de force. Her dedication to technique and tradition does not go unnoticed as she hand draws and watercolors the layouts for the storybooks herself – a waning technique lost in the digital age. Green’s characters celebrate emotions both big and small, and help create a dialogue about our inner selves. Whether it is the feeling of loneliness (Nola), insecurity (Rue), confusion (Fuddle), innocence (Squeek), worry (Wince), or frustration (Twitch), both children and adults alike can relate to these stories and learn to embrace their emotions. Check out for more information and to meet Andi and her WorryWoo Monsters – Nola, Rue, Fuddle, Squeek, Wince, and Twitch.


Rue, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.


WorryBug and Wince, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.



Wince, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Allison Green

Allison Green‘s “Entwined” was the first Sunday Funday feature right here on .stARThere. Now, Green is in the Hump Day Hot Seat where you can learn more about the artist as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada.


Photo courtesy of Allison Green

1. Who are you?

Jersey City based artist Allison Green

2. What do you do?

 I create large scale, colorful oil paintings. Nature is most often my muse, and anthropomorphic trees and plant life have been my most recent subjects. I work full-time in my Jersey City studio.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I studied art at the University of Maryland, where painting was my concentration, and I also studied in Florence, Italy at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). After college, I moved to the New York City area where I have worked ever since. For eight years, I taught art at a Jersey City Public School, which was both a rewarding and eye opening experience. As my work became more recognized, I decided to take the plunge and work as a full-time artist. Soon after, Susan Eley featured my first solo show at her gallery, Susan Eley Fine Art, in 2011. She now represents my work.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would always carry around a sketchbook. I started painting with Mr. Falcone, my 9th grade art teacher in my small hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. I remember that our first art class assignment was a home painting of something we were inspired by after a class trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum. I stayed up all night painting on this giant wooden board with house paints from the hardware store. I arrived to school the next day with a 4’X4′ painting! From then on, I was obsessed!

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I never give up.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

So many – Anselm Kiefer, Kiki Smith, William Kentridge, Inka Essenhigh. In November, I saw a great show at Leila Heller Gallery by two painters who work together under the moniker Kate Eric.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I love the arts – film, dance, & theater. I always have music on when I am painting. Sometimes, I am dancing when I paint. I love it all as other art forms truly inspire me.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My sister says that I am a great “animal photographer.” I am also really good at sleeping late and sleeping for very long periods of time.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Red wine – could there be anything else? 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

1. Persistence. 2. I take breaks. I know that sounds contradictory, but they work together. Sometimes, after I finish a painting or a series that I am really happy about, it’s hard for me to move on. I feel lost, but I force myself to pick up a brush or pencil even if I am not feeling creative. I will make myself start a new study or sketch, anything to keep it moving. At the same time, I also think it is crucial to take breaks. Whether it is taking a break from painting and spending the afternoon just sitting in the studio and thinking instead or stepping out of the studio for the day to visit galleries or go to the Met, it is important to allow yourself a moment to take a breath. Sometimes, taking a day off to step away from art entirely – like a trip to the beach or a day of shopping – can do wonders for a creative spirit!

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I love food! I am a vegetarian, and I love trying all of the great, veg-friendly restaurants NYC has to offer. I also love to cook. Right now, my two favorite dishes to make are a pasta with kale and veggie sausage in a lemon olive oil garlic sauce, and a fresh salad with sautéed tempeh bacon, avocado, and tomato – yum!

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

In terms of art, both. I always try to remain true to myself in my work while always daring myself to try the things that I am afraid I can’t do, to move forward, and try harder.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My husband. 🙂

Sunday Funday: Allison Green’s “Entwined” at Susan Eley Fine Art

By Bernadette Cruz

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to the first Sunday Funday post on .stART here. where I will be featuring fun exhibitions, shows, and cultural events. You can also find a nifty schedule of some sweet events from time to time too. Enjoy!


Susan Eley Fine Art gallery. Photo courtesy of Allison Green

You might remember Allison Green and her work from an Artist You Should Know feature I wrote for Finch & Ada in February 2011 when I visited her Jersey City studio. At the time, Green was working on pieces for her upcoming solo show. In October, I revisited the very works I saw in progress at Green’s studio, which were now on display at the charming, salon-style Upper West Side art gallery Susan Eley Fine Art in New York City. I was lucky enough to privately view the solo exhibition, “Entwined,” joined by the artist herself.


Light Violet Thicket. oil on canvas. 12” x 48”. Photo © Bernadette Cruz

The first thought that came to me upon walking through the doors of Susan Eley Fine Art is how fitting it is for Green’s large scale oil paintings to adorn the exposed brick walls, just as the subject matter is mostly found in the crevices and cracked pavement of the artist’s real-life urban neighborhood. Green says, “the most resilient and unexpectedly beautiful plants that exist in the urban landscape are plants that we normally consider weeds.”


Detailed Sienna Thicket. oil on canvas. 48” x 48”. Photo © Bernadette Cruz

New York-based art critic and independent curator Lilly Wei says Green “extracts her botanicals from their contexts and deftly paints them close-up or in more wide-angled view.” With this technique, Green details the complex and intricate make up of living things, like in Queen Anne’s Lace and Buckhorn Plantains from The Healing Garden series, centered on bright, colorful backgrounds.  Within the webbed layers seen in works like Deep Violet Thicket and Sage Thicket from The Thicket series, Green personifies life experience and reminds the viewer of time and space.


Artist Allison Green with her dog, Lila. Photo courtesy of Allison Green

Allison Green continues to paint at her home studio in Jersey City, NJ and is represented by Susan Eley Fine Art in New York City. With Susan Eley Fine Art, three of Green’s pieces were also on display at Aqua Art during Art Basel in Miami this year. Check out for more information.


Allison Green’s studio. Photo courtesy of Allison Green