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Artists Find New Voices In The Void of a Pandemic



Photo Agnieszka Pilat

The coronavirus has affective all of us, but this has become new ground for artists who express the times and emotions through their creative mediums. For a commercial artist work comes to a lull or does it? We talked to four different artists of different mediums to find out how this virus is affecting their art and their creativity. 

Agnieszka Pilat in her Burning Man outfit

Agnieszka Pilat aspires for her work to be global; yet ‘global’ seems to be tied to a specific location, which is still New York. Every time Pilat hears someone refer to her as a ‘local artist’ her ego suffers a blow. If moving to New York City is what it takes to cast-off this label, Pilat just may be ready to take that risk.

“The thought of leaving San Francisco, and Silicon Valley behind, my friends, collectors and the many entrepreneurs fills my heart with sadness. The center of my universe is in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is THE CENTER of the universe as it relates to innovation and technology, which has, and continues to change the world. The future is made here. My machines are born here, and my work pays tribute to that spirit.”

Suzanna: How are you staying creative during this virus?

Agnieszka Pilat: Should I be embarrassed to say that I thrive in this quiet time..? As an artist, I am used to solitude and to working by myself in the studio. This new reality which everyone finds so tough to deal with… it is my playground, it’s my normal. I wonder if other people are getting this feeling, but for me personally, it’s as if time slowed down… I don’t remember having this luxury of working without feeling rushed. I appreciate that very much.

Because the pandemic made it unclear how the art market and the world will recover, how it will be different when it’s all over, what will be the new normal… I allowed myself to be more playful, more experimental in my studio practice. I gave myself a green light to really experiment, I feel more free to give myself permission to play with ideas, to learn new materials and new approaches. 

The new work that is being created during this lockdown is very different – I am exploring a new language to show the transition from mechanical machine to organic one. Of course this is so very much *of the moment* as the world as we know it is crumbling and we are looking to science and technology for solutions.

I still go to my studio 5 days a week – I bicycle down the hill from Nob Hill to the Mission in San Francisco. I try to be in the studio by 12PM and I work till 6PM. I take one day a week to answer emails and do other ‘paperwork’, like applying for grants, writing my newsletter, social media stuff.

I am quite determined to never answer emails in the mornings – I like to be in control of my morning time and not reactive, letting others drive my schedule. I like to read in the mornings – always art history or art biographies.

Suzanna: Have you found out that this time is giving you more creative time?

Agnieszka Pilat

Agnieszka Pilat: Well, yes. Definitely yes. Networking aspect in an artist’s life can take a really huge chunk of time. I go to openings, panels, fundraisers a lot and regularly. It’s important to be a part of the community, to support artist friends, meet new patrons, see what work is out there. For me personally, I need a full day in the studio to be able to get deep into work – if I know I have an event in the evening I need to attend, I find it difficult to get into deep work. Because I am not a morning person, I am rarely productive before noon. So if I get in the studio at 1PM and I have an event at 5PM – obviously that doesn’t get me enough time to warm up and create meaningful work.

Now, because all the shows, opening and parties have been suspended or cancelled, that means I can work late into the night without feeling FOMO. I like that a lot. It’s a luxury to have this much time, no distractions. 

Suzanna: What would you like to say to this world artistically?

Agnieszka Pilat: Art reflects our world and what is going on. 

Suzanna: What would you like to say to this world artistically?

Agnieszka Pilat

Agnieszka Pilat: Primarily, in regard to my work – I wish I had access to a ventilator now – as you know I paint heroic portraits of machines and what could be more heroic now then a ventilator! I would love to paint a portrait of it…

On a totally different note, I would say to my friends and the world out there: this shall pass. Instead of being reactive, waiting for the quarantine to be over, perhaps take this time to look inward, slow down. How often do we get a luxury of time being this slow..? 

I would love to finish with a poem by Kipling, (‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies). Read it daily. What more is there to say in times like these?

If you can keep your head when all about you  

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Claudio Kaczka 

The firm of choice for Dior, Dolce & Gabana, Prada, Caroline Herrera, Givenchy, Apple, MAC Tom Ford and Jo Malone, is BIRKA. Claudio Kaczka CEO of BIRKA didn’t know he had a vision and that luxury brands would look to his firm to create lavish experiences. His buildings draw in shoppers and potential customers alike. Founded in 2009, BIRKA has completed over 700 projects for top name, influential luxury brands. BIRKA specializes in creating spaces that are eye-catching, They reflect the newest trends in products as well. Kacka is also a painter in his own rights.

Suzanna: How are you staying creative during this virus?

Claudio Kaczka: We are working more than ever now. We are thinking about not only working with our clients, but working for solutions for the clients and solutions for the future.We have divided the company into several task forcesWe are working with shipping containers, hospitals and for people who stay home a lot. The projects are numerous. 

Suzanna: What would you like to say to this world artistically?

Claudio Kaczka: I try to create sensations within people. I want them to feel something. It amazing the connection I have right now. I receive a lot of comments from people who now have the time to see the art.

Suzanna: How will your work reflect this moment in time?

Claudio Kaczka: I do figurative art my paintings now are inside houses. It depends what happens in the day. I let that reflect back into my art. I try to create art that makes you step outside of yourself. An art window.


Piotr Bak was born in Żywiec, Poland and studied at the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He is the author of numerous projects and has implementation his work with drawing and painting techniques. Bak is also the co-author of many polychromes in the churches in Czarny Dunajec, Woszczyce, and Kędzierzyn-Koźle.

Piotr Bak

Suzanna: How are you staying creative during this virus?

Piotr Bak: The degree of my creativity during the virus is no different from the one before the pandemic. The time I spend in the studio has also not changed, which is why the isolation we are forced to do is not so noticeable by me (so far).

 The world around me, relationships between people have been and are a source of inexhaustible inspiration for me. The current situation also stimulates my imagination, allows me to look differently at the topics around which my thoughts have previously circulated, but have not found the right ground for realization. The topic I dealt with in the past was related to domestic violence. For lack of ideas for continuation, I left him for other topics. The current situation caused that the problem returned to me with great force and became an incentive to continue the work started in the past.

Another image I am currently working on speaks of loneliness. The topic has been raised many times by me, but current events have sketched other compositional frames in my head, gave the theme a different tone, a different dimension.

Emotions related to the current situation are also becoming the main element of other works that I am currently working on, for example: Captive of Struggle, Tear.

The works are currently at various levels of advancement, and the path to a satisfactory result for me will be repeatedly rearranged.

However, in order not to fall into a state of total depression, more optimistic works appear. These are portraits, portraits of my loved ones such as the portrait of my niece Martyna.

The portraits that I draw directly from the model are for me the biggest challenge and at the same time a pleasure. The current situation, however, forces me to work with photos. Drawing a portrait is for me a way to calm my thoughts, but also to check my workshop skills.

Piotr Bak

Suzanna: What would you like to say to this world artistically?

Piotr Bak: In my paintings the world that surrounds me is most reflected. Reality is an inspiration for me, which ignites my imagination, constantly brings themes to my paintings. The topic has become very important to me for some time, it is a binder that helps me combine my experience with new experiences resulting from experimentation in order to achieve the greatest symbiosis between form and content.

I don’t look for answers in my paintings, but I just want to highlight some problems that surround me and often touch me personally. I address existential problems with the help of my personal language of expression. What I want to convey to people who have come across my paintings is a different way of interpreting the surrounding reality.

By using a personal combination of carefully selected words, I help the recipient move to a world that can give some respite from the visual cacophony surrounding us.

Problems of existential nature were not easy and pleasant, but the fact that I avoid the provocative nature of expression can facilitate contact with my work.

Miguel Paredes

Miguel Paredes is an artist and urban realist who combines the exhilarating sense of New York graffiti art with the skill and perceptiveness of a truly exceptional artist. Paredes drew inspiration from notorious pop artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and plunged headlong into the world of graffiti and pop art taking the name “Mist” as his moniker.

Miguel Paredes

Suzanna: How are you staying creative during this virus?

Miguel Paredes: I have a home studio so I’ve been productive and painting a lot. I’m continuing to do as much as I can to keep my mind refreshed, like spending time with my family, working out and eating healthy. I’m always working on several projects and switching between them helps me continue to look at them with a fresh eye. Lastly, keeping on top of current events and what people are interested in around the world offers fresh perspectives.

Miguel Paredes

Suzanna: What would you like to say to this world artistically?

Miguel Paredes: We need a lot of support from collectors. We also need to be give them a break because I want them to have the art. My art is constantly changing according to my tastes and influenced by the time in which it was created. Now more than ever it is saying that though everything seems chaotic and disconnected, the changes we are seeing and causing individually is both being caused by and impacting change around the world. Further, the same way I work with multiple layers in my pieces, combining graffiti with florals, media and different cultural styles, nothing in life just black and white. There are always multiple ways to frame a situation and we can find beauty even in the darkest times.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


Events in June



Gay Pride, Bryant Park Picnic Performances, Movie Nights, Lincoln Center Summer for the City (Midsummer Night Swing), Juneteenth, New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Tribeca Film Festival, Free Outdoor Concerts, Museum Mile Festival, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and that’s just the beginning!

Until September 29 every summer in Times Square, NYC, TSQ LIVE showcases hundreds of artists, performers and cultural producers and this summer 80 free events hosting over a dozen incredible New York-based institutions and collectives, including Pioneer Works, NEW INC, Children’s Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ailey Extension, New York Live Arts, OTA Entertainment, Soul Summit, Rash Bar, and Elsewhere.

6/1: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park New York City Opera: La Bohème

6/2: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jazzmobile: The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra

6/2: Billy Joel @ MSG

6/3-4: Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit atUniversity Place, starting at East 13th Street and continuing south along the east side of Washington Square Park to West 3rd Street.

6/7 until September: Little Island  Tony and Grammy Award winners in The Glade, late night djs, drag bingo, and dance parties in The Play Ground, weekly artmaking activities for all ages and Teen Night every Friday.

6/7 – 18: Tribeca Film Festival will take place movie theatres, rooftops and various venues throughout NYC, such as the new Pier 57, Beacon Theatre, the Angelika. The premiere of Let the Canary Sing with a performance by Cyndi Lauper or The Closing Gala: A Bronx Tale, followed by a conversation with director and star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal, and writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri.

6/8 – 8/6: Shakespeare in the Park Hamlet 

6/8: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Robin Dunn, The Lite

6/9: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Dance Heginbotham, Jennifer Muller/The Works

6/9 – 11: @ Citi Field Governors Ball Music Festival – The contemporary music festival for music lovers by music lovers. With 60+ artists of all genres across 4 stages, there is something for everyone, including delicious restaurants, food trucks and menus.

6/9 – 18: River to River Festival The festival takes place in a variety of public venues that canvas all of Downtown New York – from Chambers Street down to the southern tip of Manhattan and across the island from river to river.

6/11: National Puerto Rican Day Parade Fifth Avenue, 44th to 79th Street

6/12: Bryant Park Movie Nights  Almost Famous (2000)

6:13: Museum Mile Festival on Fifth Avenue from 84th Street to 109th Street: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Neue Galerie New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; The Jewish Museum; Museum of the City of New York; El Museo del Barrio; and The Africa Center.

6/14 – August: Dancing Under the Stars (formerly Midsummer Night Swing), free outdoor movies, dancing, singing, readings, celebrations, flamingos, disco ball, poetry, Mozart, concerts, crafts, Juneteenth and much more!

6/15: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Terk Lewis + Kayla Farrish

6/16: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Soles of Duende + Josh Johnson

6/17-25: Gay Pride The Rally, The March & Pride Island. The 2023 theme is “Strength in Solidarity” and Christina Aguilera is headlining NYC Pride Island on Sunday, June 25th at Brooklyn Army Terminal. The festivities begin with Family Night and the Rally and culminate with PrideFest & The March. Other events include Pride Island and the annual Dance on the Pier, following the parade wrapping up Pride Week in a grand fireworks display.

6/16 – 18: Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, which declared the ending of slavery in the USA. The three day Juneteenth in NYC festival kicks off Friday with a virtual summit, Friday night is the Celebration of Black Kings, Saturday is Festival Community Day and the festival culminates Sunday with a Parade, Fashion Show, Food trucks Field Day and more. Monday, June 19th, is a national holiday, with government, banks and post offices closed. More Info: Junteenth NY

There are dozens more Juneteenth celebrations throughout all 5 Boroughs, including BBQs, the NYC Parks Department, Seneca Village, Broadway, Lincoln Center, concerts, shows, theater and more.

6/17: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the nation’s largest art parade where 3,000+ participants dress in hand-made costumes.

6/ 19: Bryant Park Movie Nights Amistad (1997)

6/23: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Psymon Spine, THUS LOVE, Katy Kirby

6/24: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Ky Vöss, Seramic, Miss Grit, Dead Tooth

6/26: Bryant Park Movie Nights Mean Girls (2004)

6/30: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jalopy Theatre: Michael Daves Quartet ft. Tony Trishka, Yacouba Sissoko, Terrell King

6/30: Intrepid Museum Summer Movie SeriesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl




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This Weekend Life Sized Sculptures Arrive in Soho To Bring Art Back!



Art Comes Back To Soho This Memorial Day Weekend! From May 27-30, at 382 West Broadway between Spring & Broome Streets world renowned Italian artist Sergio Furnari ,brings three of his life-size art sculptures The Rose, The Lunchtime Atop A Skyscraper & The 1987 Air Stream, inside for a tour.
Sergio has hopes to keep his art on display on West Broadway through the end of Summer 2023, to encourage people to come back downtown.
The Reburished 1987 Airstream Iconic Travel Trailer, The 11 Life-Sized Lunchtime Atop A Skyscraper Iron Workers Sculpture Weighing Over 1,000 Pounds and  His latest 12-Foot White Rose Sculpture Made Out of Resin and Aluminium.
Sergio Furnari, was born in Caltigirone, Sicily, and began sweeping floors in the Caltigirone Sculpting Foundry. After coming to America, at age 18, he was struck by the photograph, “Lunchtime Atop A Skyscraper”.
He began his tribute to Iron Workers honoring their work of the men who built Manhattan’s Skyscrapers.  He finished the life-sized sculpture in 2001, (before 9/11) influenced by the famous photo, “Lunchtime On A Skyscraper” from 1932.
The sculpture took on new meaning, when Iron Workers began the clean up of Ground Zero and began the re-building of Manhattan’s Skycrapers.
Sergio brought the Life Size Sculpture on the actual Iron Beam with 11 workers, each man weighing 100lbs.  He invited the workers to sit on the beam next to the sculpture to take photos on their break after working down at Ground Zero.  He gave the miniature version of the sculpture  to thank many of the workers, and even served lunch to them.
Sergio’s hope is to have the 1,100 lb statue bronzed, so it will last forever and be put in a park or somewhere downtown to make sure the legacy of the Iron Workers lives on.
Sergio has driven his sculpture to various locations all over New York City and across the Country, where millions of people have taken a photograph of his sculpture.
He has miniatures of the sculpture for sale, so people all over the world can enjoy the memories.
Please visit the website, to see video and photos of the sculptures, and his other works of art at and on Instagram @sergiofurnariart
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Taylor Swift Exhibition Opens in NYC



Taylor Swift’s career-spanning costume exhibition just opened at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). On May 18, MAD Director Tim Rodgersand Board Chair Michele Cohen (with husband Marty) welcomed members and patrons for a preview of the exhibition before it opened to the public on the 20th. Guests included Susan and Larry Ach, Loreen Arbus, Christiana Baroni, Marian Burke, Patti and Michael Dweck, Alexander Hankin, Marsy Mittlemann, Netta Rosin, as well as MAD curators Elissa Auther, Barbara Paris Gifford, and Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy. Television cameras whirled in a music filled electric gallery.

(BFA Madison McGaw)

Taylor Swift: Storyteller is a career-spanning look at the artistic reinventions of the 12-time GRAMMY Award–winning artist who is one of the most prolific songwriters in history.  The exhibition includes stage costumes from all her eras; the cheerleader and ballerina ensembles from the award-winning music video for “Shake It Off” (2014) to the sparkling ensemble from “Bejeweled” (2022). Concert attire by couture fashion houses including Cavalli, Gucci, Louboutin, Versace, YSL and more, are featured along with props, jewelry, ephemera, and projections of music videos. The exhibition runs through September 4, 2023. Timed tickets for the exhibition are available for $25 and include access to all Museum exhibitions. For more information, visit

Alexander Hankin

Alexander Hankin, Barbara Tober

Amanda Ibrahim, Zachary Miller

Angelic Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Willow Holdorf

Barbara Paris Gifford, Angelic Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Willow Holdorf

Barbara Paris Gifford, Elissa Auther

Barbara Tober, Marian Burke

Ben Strauss, Marian Burke

Bruce White, Christina Clare Ewald

Isabel Lo, Lina Hares

Jeffrey Brosa, Andy Seid, Wendy Leiser

Jeffrey Quaritius

Joey Spieczny, Alexander Hankin, Zachary Miller, Justin Grabell

Larry Ach, Susan Ach

Tim Rodgers

Sasha Nixon, Robert Lugo

Patti Dweck, Michael Dweck

Michele Cohen, Marsy Mittlemann

Marsy Mittlemann, Netta Rosin

Lucig Kebranian


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ETTE Taking Back Her Life From Rape and Abuse With Performance Art



Last Thursday multidisciplinary, shamanic artist ETTE exposed the name of her predator and took back her life. The show was powerful, prolific and empowering. “Whistle Blower” was co-produced by Derek Warburton.

Now you can go inside the performance that exposed who raped ETTE and the action she took to take her life back.

Sexual Violence Affects Millions of Americans

Infographic reading "Every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted."

Younger People Are at the Highest Risk of Sexual Violence

Infographic reads "The majority of sexual assault victims are under 30." Statistic is broken down into five age groups. 15% of sexual violence victims are 12-17, 54% of victims are 18-34, 28% of victims are 35-64, and 3% are 65+.

  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.3
  • Those age 65 and older are 92% less likely than 12-24 year olds to be a victim of rape or sexual assault, and 83% less likely than 25-49 year olds.4
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ETTE and Derek Warburton on Rape and Abuse



On Thursday multidisciplinary, shamanic artist ETTE exposed the name of her predator and took back her life. The show was powerful, prolific and empowering. My guest Elisabeta, writer ElizaBeth Taylor and I, all felt privileged to be apart of an act so brave and true. Abuse victims should NEVER feel the way they are made to feel.

Before the main event we talked with ETTE about her abuse and how prevalent abuse is in our society.

Her co-host Derek Warburton also shared his story and why he co-produced this amazing night.

Did you know?

Before that happened T2C had a chance to see her art show entitled “Whistle Blower”.

ETTE’s art


Tomorrow the performance.


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