Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Upstairs Neighbors- a post from the intern

Live your life with an appreciation of coincidences and you connect with the field of infinite possibilities. -Deepak Chopra

By Allan Hasty & Joseph Grazi

As someone who relishes in the joy of beautiful coincidences, I want to share a wonderful story with you.

I have lived in my Manhattan apartment building for nearly six months and apart from the endearingly peculiar elderly woman who lives across the hall, my roommates and I haven’t formally met anyone else in our building. Last week, while I had several friends over I heard a  knock at the door. My first instinct was that it was the superintendent coming to complain about the noise, so as you can imagine, I was not eager to answer. I meekly opened the door, peeked out, and saw a young couple standing on the welcome mat. “Hi! We are your upstairs neighbors!”  Relieved it wasn't my super, I invited them inside. To say we became fast friends is an incredible understatement. Ari and Joyce are a newlywed couple, who are a wonderful combination of sweet, eccentric, artistic, and welcoming.  Even though they knocked on my door that night just to say “hey”  they ended up staying for over an hour to play board games.
In addition to being two of the friendliest people I know, they are also artists. When I mentioned I study art and art therapy, Ari told me about the company he co-founded called IndieWalls. I could hardly contain my excitement as he explained the concept- an online forum for venues and artists to connect. IndieWalls displays and sells artwork of emerging artists along with the work of established artists. (Remember my first blog post and how I said that was EXACTLY what I wanted to write about?!?) It was an artistic match made in heaven! Ari creates art himself, but works mostly on the conceptual and curatorial side of the business.

Andy’s Brisket By Ari Grazi
Last night, I sauntered up to Ari and Joyce’s apartment to ask him more about his company. I asked why he chose to create a business like IndieWalls, and how it has grown over the years...

Ari watched as his brother also an artist, Joe Grazi, create hundreds of art pieces as he was honing his skills and simultaneously watched the artwork pile up in their parents’ home, taking up space and not being seen by the world.

Open Ending
By Suyeon Na
Watercolor, gouache on rice paper

Ari’s was inspired came up with the goal to create virtually unlimited gallery wall space at the lowest cost possible. Indiewalls was created, and artists began flowing in. Now venues such as hotels and cafes browse the art, contact artists, and either buy or rent the art. The biggest motivation for this project, in addition to increasing exposure for artists, was to make high quality  art available to everyday people. Galleries are typically reserved for pieces of art sporting hefty price tags, and purchased by collectors as a form of investment. The art featured by IndieWalls is affordable and made by artists who want everyday people to be able to enjoy it (what a revelation!)

Skyline With Water Towers
By Nina Boesch
A collage of a Brooklyn skyline made from cut-up used and expired MetroCards.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have gotten a knock on my door from Ari and Joyce. Not only did I make two great friends, but my connection to the art world was strengthened. I love being able to support IndieWalls as much as I possibly can, not only because I enjoy supporting my friends, but also because I believe that great art should be shared and I am energized at the thought of being able to help new artists express their greatest love.

See more art and get more info here, IndieWalls.


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