WXXI Arts inFocus – October 2019 Special

WXXI Arts inFocus – October 2019 Special

Have you ever walked into
a space that completely blew your mind? Like everywhere you look
there’s something really fascinating to see? That’s this space – It’s
the Artisan Works and we’ll learn more about it
from the owner and also also take a look at some
of the stories we’ve highlighted over
the last few months. Arts in Focus is made
possible in part by a gift from doctors Donna
and Jack Lipson. To support performance
innovation and accessibility of the
arts in the Rochester community. My father was an artist
who graduated from RIT in nineteen fifty one. I was immersed in music
and art my entire life but I also realized that
artists didn’t make enough money so many of them
had other careers. My mission, my goal with
this whole project was to support creativity. The way that Artisan Works
runs which is primarily as an event space in
terms of income. And so you create these
amazing spaces right? We buy bodies of work
which no one does. And we fund projects that
would not even be created. We fund projects that were
already created in some ways and then sometimes
we dictate what we want created and then the next
thing of course is people become members and some
people donate all kinds of really cool stuff. This is the Juke Joint. Can you talk about the
juke joint for people who don’t know what that is? Mississippi in nineteen
twelve in the middle of the woods. What sprouted up was a
barn and it was filled with where you can get
a hair cut, dry goods, lunch, and then at night
it would be cleared out and the musicians would
come in often times Blues musicians and dancing and
alcohol all illegal down south and then that
evolved into what now we know now in the 50s where
they jam all of the music into a little box and
they called a juke box. Can you tell me about some
of the pieces here like I was looking at the bar. Was this created here? Yeah it was right
there on that spot. Paul Hoffman had a flair
with well a tree would come down and
this is walnut. And that was it he bought
the tree he came in for some months and
he built this. With the space like this
like you put a lot of detail into what goes into
the room how did like did you choose these pieces? Did you select them or
did you take them from a drawing? How did you recreate a
juke joint it looks so realistic! In terms of the mix and
match of a lot of our art and artists that we’ve
worked with for years. I mean these these pieces
are all very specific to work that was done
for this room. You know music has such an
influence on me on so many people and on Rochester
and recently there was a Girl’s Rock
Rochester camp. Well Girls Rock Rochester
is teaching girls like it’s helping to build
their self confidence through music performance
and through music creation. And it’s really wonderful
work that they’re doing so I want us to check it out. One two three
four…that was cool. Music…cabin
fever, cabin fever, cabin fever I WANT OUT! On the first day the
campers come and they start to choose band
members so they don’t know who’s going to be in their
band until that first day. You’re gonna be nervous
when you walk in oh my god there’s so many new people
but once you get there everyone is there to be
your friend and to help you along the way. (Music) Girls Rock
Rochester is part of an international movement
called The Girls Rock Camp Alliance that uses music
as a vehicle to promote confidence in girls
and trans youth. We do that with two
programs one is our Girls Rock camp program and then
we have a second week which is pride rock camp. I like to move and dance
a lot when I play bass. So I always thread it up
through the strap like this and then down
yeah remember? So then when you’re
jamming out and you step on your cable it’s not
going to like rip it out of the bass. A, A, A up to B B B up to
E E E and down to A A A. La lalalalaaa, me me me
me me me me meme mee. (DRUMS) In the morning
they go to instrument instruction or they attend
a workshop and then in the afternoon it’s all band
practice so they come up with an original song and
then Saturday they perform at a live music venue in
the city of Rochester. (MUSIC) Girls Rock is very
like feminist yeah we can do it and queer rock is
more the same but for LGBT folks. For the past two years
I’ve been doing both girls rock and pride rock. I really appreciate this
space and I’ve come to really love it and cherish
it and just feel at home in it. (MUSIC) Knowing that you’re
in a queer space just makes it that much more
comfortable because we’re already feeling free
to be ourselves. And that on its own took
away the anxieties of doing good enough because
it’s so encouraging here and you’re so encouraged
to just do stuff and instead of saying I’m
sorry for playing a wrong note you say I rock. That’s great. You know when you’re
standing there getting ready to go on, there’s
always like a huge pit in my stomach. But, like once
I’m on the stage, everything just goes away
and you’re just singing. I just love this
camp so much. (MUSIC) Louis, being a collector
of so much art and all these unique things I
would imagine it’s gotta be kind of difficult to
like choose a favorite but if you could choose like
maybe something in your collection that really
stands out what would that be? That’s the trouble
question oh yeah I represent hundreds of
artists let’s pick one and make ninety nine mad! I’m sorry I don’t mean
to get you into trouble. No no I’m not
in trouble no, no it’s really a great
point because I think a lot of times people
even question if the collection, the quality
you know they’ll look at again the snob appeal
again they’ll look at some of the big names, oh
this is wonderful. The fact of the matter
is I think pieces that sometimes mean something. Not only do I love
everything in this building, you’re gonna be
hard pressed to point to something – you
love everything? Yeah! I picked it and I love it. So yeah. But I think some things
have a meaning and become sentimental. I’ll let you know what
piece always kind of jumps out for me. That is this wooden
motorcycle it’s the coolest thing! So who is the artist? My friend Ross Ryder. He was always a
self taught artist, sculptor so every
building I had any of my businesses in and he would
always take the first floor and fill it with
all of his equipment and create sculpture. But, this piece was the
first time – he was doing all of these organic
tables – he and Wendell Castle did a lot
of the same things, they never met each other
but they were doing very similar organic type work. But when he did this, this
was the first time he decided he was going to
do an exact replication. So we have the
Harley motorcycle. We then spent three and a
half or four years taking it apart painstakingly
every nut every bolt every screw. So he created the
motorcycle it was about a four year project. So, not only is
that incredible, of course Jay Leno
sat on it – not here! He was at the Eastman
doing a show and we brought that for the
fundraiser and he sat on it and I kept praying,
don’t try to use the brake or because if you try to
use it it will break in your hand so I was
sweating bullets that night. So, Louis another
jaw dropping room! This is just insanity I
don’t know how you pulled all of this together but
you’ve got like a giant pencil sharpener, this
innards of a clock like can you explain this
what room are we in? This is the entry to
Artisan Works so this is where you go right to the
front door you enter your get welcomed then then
they begin the process of explaining the room. But, this particular
room is a tribute to the American worker so that’s
why there’s a lot of inventions from last
century made in wood, the larger than life
sculptures so there’s a lot of things here worker
related but also enjoyment related this
place is just fun. Why is it important to
have Artisan Works in Rochester? If you ever experience an
event here where you’re physically here and
there’s a few hundred people and you’ve got
people cooking food and you’ve got people playing
music people dancing people partying
and experiencing The overall creativity
filled with all art mostly from local artists then
you realize that that is part of the fabric that
creates cities like that this. So I think it’s really
important that people go out and support all
different forms of the arts. People come in here and
you walk around here for two hours – it’s clearly
an experience that changes you. It’s clear to me and
that’s probably one most important things for me is
creating that experience. Any time you’re here
somebody’s playing the piano, there’s music
there’s something going on, there’s some great
food being cooked up right in the kitchen – oh yeah I
can smell that – yeah you can smell that! And so there’s all these
all these tie ins that create like the perfect
event really but it’s all arts – it’s all
really all the arts. And they kind of come
together in that group – I don’t know what
to tell you, it’s mind
boggling I think. It’s absolutely mind
boggling and that’s the thing about Rochester. Rochester is the city
of arts and culture. And we have the Fringe
Festival as you’ve heard of that takes place here
every year and there’s never an end to the amount
of talent that you see there. And this year the Fringe
Festival featured a performance with local
deaf performers. And it was
pretty exciting. So, Louis how do you
support local artists like what what platform
do you give them? The only way to help an
artist is you work with them as an institution,
you buy bodies of work and then you help them in
other ways to figure out how to make a living. In this case
for an example, April Stein so she’s an
individual that showed me some work ten or twelve
years oh we looked at some work – oh that’s nice –
we’ll buy some pieces. She creates paintings –
which are great they’re in a couple of the hospitals
in town and they’re all over in buildings. She also plays music she’s
a she’s a musician but the reality is in order to
really make a living you need to be working in an
area that’s bringing in more money the events
business for an example. A guy from Tucson who
makes these cameras. Everybody looked
at him what is he? He makes these cameras,
is he an engineer, is he a photographer? He does theme cameras, he did
the H.I.V. camera. Where he photographs very
specific portraits of people who’ve been
infected with the disease all over the world. And he does it through
this glaze of infected blood which everything
is red toned. We support his project
by buying the cameras. I think the most important
thing for us is to actually feed the artist. And that goes on to
feed our society. Walking into this
room the first time… this is a spectacular
space like how did you bring this all together? Just finished
French Quarter. And one of our biggest
patrons, he says, I was thinking
about he said, one of these days you
should build Casablanca. That was my
favorite movie! And we built this room
based on the set. The Hollywood sets. Because there was
nothing shot in Morocco. Very few people know
everything was shot in Hollywood and they
were all stage sets. So, we studied those. Even the signs, you
know, that we have. So where did you into
buying like where do you get the decor from? That Steinway
piano is donated. A 1924 Steinway. Spectacular
instrument right? And my friend
from Washington, who did the library
Gerald Johnson, he hears were
building Casablanca, well he has a big
collection of lamps from Morocco. So he sends those lamps. So that’s why you get
that whole, you know, you’re getting that
vibe when you walk in. When you are feeling the
art on the walls as well as you’re feeling the vibe
from the old furnishings. This is a different vibe
than a lot of our event spaces. This is this is walking
into Casablanca. Speaking of worlds
inside of the world, I just recently went to a
haunted house which is a creation and it’s
a world of its own. It was called
Nightmare Manor, it’s out in Henrietta. I dare you to
take a visit. Who dares enter
Nightmare Manor? Nightmare Manor is in our
19 year in Rochester. Basically this all started
by me having a haunted house in my basement and
that turned into a haunted house in my basement, my
house my backyard and at one point somebody came to
me and say why aren’t you doing this professionally? And I went, that’s
a good idea. I love the artistic
design of the stuff, the creativity of it. It’s art. It’s a passion in a way. My attraction, or
basically a haunted house in general is very much
like a roller coaster ride. The anticipation of being
outside and looking at all the design the stuff going
“oh my god I’m going to go in this thing! Can I do it?” And they let you out and
its ups and downs of things you don’t expect,
twists and turns. Well I don’t think people
even realize sometimes what goes into this . I don’t think they realize
when they pay their ticket how much blood sweat and
tears goes into building something like this. Many people come through
here and like the roller coaster it’s (screams) and
they don’t see anything! But then they had a great
experience and then I do have some patrons to come
early on or off time because they really want
to see what we’ve done and want to enjoy that. Honestly, I love the
people that come through and enjoy the
art, but hey, if they went through and
they got scared and at the end they’re screaming and
they’re all laughing at each other,
that’s part of it. It’s like a play
or a performance. Everybody gets something
different out of it. What is it on the theater? You have the happy face
and the crying face. Here you get both of that. Whoa. (Screams) (Laughs) (Screams) It’s very much a stage
production every night. People get into makeup,
they prepare themselves mentally. We re-do scenes just to
make that production the same as it was
the night before. What I do when trying
to get into character, I think about the space. Where am I? Why am I there? What is my
character doing? How did they end
up in that area? I kind of just play around
with it until I feel right. Scaring people is not
as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of timing,
there’s a lot of vocal work and emoting
that you have to do. For scaring it’s not just
jumping out of a dark shadow and going “boo!” There’s a lot more
to it than just that. It feels like you’re
on the set of a movie. Everyone’s in costume,
everyone’s getting in character. You’re getting ready
for your scene. You know, when
I started this, the expectation wasn’t
as high as it is now. As technology and movies
and special effects gets more, it tends to raise
the bar for the haunted house industry and us. So, what used to be black
painted walls and a scary actor in the corner now
has to be what you see now with more detail. A lot of times I’ll go
through here in the pitch dark with my flashlight
and or with the lights on and go, “oh, that
needs to be changed.” And I’ll talk to the guys
or I’ll get out my paint and start re-doing a room. A lot of stuff
here is original. It’s just me having a
crazy vision or one of my actors going,
“I got an idea.” Then we’ll sit around and
talk about it and we’ll design the walls and the
basic structure and then we’ll come in and do the
design of the room and decide how we want
to lay it out. But that’s basically how
we come up with a room design. I’ll sit by and watch
people go through something and see their
reaction that I’ve anticipated and it’s just
very heartwarming and satisfying for me to
see the artwork that, not only I did,
but my staff did. And it’s an incredible
feeling to see your passion come to life. Alright, let’s do it. Yes. (Screams) Okay, like, it’s like
we’re going further and further into darkness. Whoa. Oh my God. (Screams) (Laughter) Wow! These actors are really
into this and this has to be one of the
funnest (Screams) As I was saying, this has
to be one of the funnest haunted houses that
I’ve walked through. I had so much fun
at Nightmare Manor. Thank you for watching. Keep following our digital
series on Facebook. See you next time!

local_offerevent_note November 8, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


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