Queens Art Express is the expression of a fistful of passionate people who, rather than allow the recession to bring their creative energies to a screeching halt, have chosen to link their unique art events along the No. 7 train as a tightly-knit talkative artist community. These are the ambitious folks we “Caught on the 7″.
Adrian L. Tone, what is your subway stop?
Broadway on the N/W.
What is the best musician or artist you saw performing on a subway platform?
I don’t know about the best, but there is this Jimi Hendrix-looking guy at Prince and Broadway. He’s got some style that’s for sure. There is also this creepy blind one that sings the Do You Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart, but I suppose if we are going to keep it Queens, there is this old blind (or semi blind) Greek guy who plays the melodica. He always plays the same song but it’s pretty good in a whiny way.
Do you regularly see other artists performing in the area (if so what type)?
I’m surprised at how many artists I bumped into living in Astoria, lots of photographers, painters, actors and graphic designers. My first show in Queens was RococoPop, a group show at Crossing Art and DEAN PROJECT galleries. Since then I’ve been bumping into the artists I met there all the time. DEAN’s is a great space to check out some fresh work and they’re right next to PS1. Crossing Art is a little further, but a great destination spot with a great gallery with plenty of restaurants and shopping to make it a whole day adventure. I also just found out about Flux Factory, a not-profit arts org. They recently moved into a new space and invited us over for a potluck in LIC. If that’s your scene, these guys are great, friendly and laid back. Oh, and let’s not forget about Deitch Projects in LIC.
What type of work do you do?
I make lots of stuff. Big paintings of Teddy Bears, small paintings of Rubber Duckies, custom painted AK-47 assault rifles, bear traps, etc. We always have plenty of projects going on. I’ve been working with a small group of artists for some time now. We like well-produced stuff with a fresh feel, lots of pop references and shopping bags.
What do you do for fun in Queens or the metropolitan area?
I go to the beer garden or hang out sipping on my frappe looking at all the pretty girls.
What was your first art/performance experience like? Where was it?
Right after immigrating to the US and after figuring out where the art galleries were I headed into Chelsea for the first time. I was a broke 14-year-old boy with funny pants and sneakers. I was scared shitless. I remember trembling when opening up those huge 12-foot metal doors. The creepy assistants did not help out either. I remember only one show from that visit. It was new works by Donald Judd at Paula Cooper. It literally blew me off my feet. It felt that I was in a different world. It was something out of 2001 Space Odyssey (a movie I would not see until later in college). It was so mechanical, perfect, cold and just so damn cool. It was like nothing I’ve seen before. It was the best! I still get chills thinking about it.
What are you working on now?
Right now we’re doing various performances in Soho at Prince and Broadway. We love setting up on the fences at Equinox. Last time we installed this huge 7 x 7 foot framed painting right there on their fence, along with some assault rifles, and prints. Turns out this guy has an art gallery right downstairs, he came up and was going to yell at us for being too loud but ended up liking the work and telling us to keep it up. I am also working on a series of paintings for an upcoming show in the fall. I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and painting lately. It feels nice.
What are you working on in the future?
I’m not sure yet. I need to finish my current projects and see how they go before I plan any further.
—Adrian L. Tone us a member of the Astoria based art collective LAZERHAPPY. LAZERHAPPY recently had paintings, sculptures and prints on view in the 2 venue block-buster exhibition RococoPop at Crossing Art and DEAN PROJECT.
“Caught on the 7″ is interested in all of the different voices of this community oriented festival; the participants can be you, your children, your friend, your artist, your subway conductor, your producer, your pediatrician, you get the point. Want to join the “Caught on the 7″ peeps, send an email to email@example.com.