Although the weather hasn’t felt like October lately, the “Urban Bruja” art showing hosted recently at Fien Coffee in Ridgewood brought some witchy vibes to the neighborhood.
Owners Eli Falcon and Johnny Williams welcomed guests with champagne and homemade treats as they mingled and admired the artwork. They were pleasantly surprised by the great turnout.
“I’m really surprised that a lot of people came, especially because we opened just three months ago and don’t have a big social media presence,” said Falcon. “I wanted to open up the space to more artists because this is an art community. We wanted to make sure that artists have a space to go to.”
Kira Britt, a visual artist and native New Yorker, came up with the show’s concept and curated the works. Britt applied for a City Artists Corps grant, received it and chose to use the funding to collaborate with Fien Coffee on the show.
She had three acrylic paintings on display, “Roja,” “Porta-Bella” and “Kaminoke,” and explained how each one represents a different part of her identity.
“The concept of this whole show came into my head because recently I’ve been trying to get more in touch with my Spanish roots, which is the aspect of ‘bruja’ in the show,” said Britt.
Rosa Rosario, founder of Raressence Natural Products, had a table with her products for sale, including candles, body butters and healing salves. Like many other creators, Rosario became inspired to pursue her brand during the pandemic.
“I’ve always been into organic products and natural ingredients, and I just started playing with the ingredients in my kitchen and seeing what could go together,” she said. “I’m really passionate about teaching people about how to heal using essential oils.”
Ben Eshleman and Johnathan Olson also had their work featured at the event.
Eshleman had a table with various prints for sale, as well as a personal book of his which he basically turned into a canvas.
The prints were inspired by a sense of positivity he felt following the worst of the pandemic.
Olson’s painting, “Don’t Panic” caught everyone’s attention at the show. The large, paint-splattered skull, despite its dark appearance, actually has a wholesome message.
“It started with listening to music and splattering and trying to find an image within that,” he said. “I suppose I had fear on my mind at the time, so I titled it ‘Don’t Panic’ because the more I looked at it, the more I felt confident.
“I thought about skulls as well, and how initially they scare a lot of people,” Olson added. “But the reality is we all have skulls and they’re not that scary. They’re in fact very beautiful, structural and grounding, and I thought that in the midst of chaos, it’s tough to be grounded.”