While Tech Smiths is mainly a Mac and PC repair shop and a provider of I.T. Services to businesses, we also have an art gallery in our uptown Kingston location. We curate shows featuring the work of mostly local artists, and change shows about every two months. We also occasionally convert the space into an intimate music hall. I
The migration of New York City artists to historic Kingston, NY is much written and talked about. One of the more recent waves delivered two particularly notable transplants: the artists Michael Crawford and Carolita Johnson, both of whom, among other things, work as cartoonists for The New Yorker.
Crawford, who was recently featured at a group show at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY, will show large paintings on canvas. Among them will be selections from his Dallas series based on a still from the Zapruder video of President Kennedy's assassination. Crawford reworks the image in a series of more abstract 'versions' of the event. There’s also “Fanelli’s,” part of his Amici series; “Pontchartrain,” an abstract New Orleans reminiscence; and two large USA maps on canvas. “These canvases represent several different series of paintings from 30 years of ongoing, consuming work,” he explains.
Johnson will show drawings from her satirical feminist cartoon series, “Oscarina…,” as well as a painting or two. "’Oscarina...’ is a personal webcomic in which I expresses thoughts and feelings that no one commissions,” she explains. Recently her "Women's Dollar" Oscarina image was shared more than 36,000 times online.
In January, after many years in New York City and elsewhere, Crawford and Johnson decamped from their upper Manhattan apartment to Kingston.
“As artists always on the hunt for affordable rent and a work-conducive neighborhood, we simply got tired of preparing neighborhoods for the gentrifiers on our tails who would always come price us out and turn our neighborhoods into malls,” Johnson explains. “We were on the verge of moving to the Bronx but when an opportunity to rent a house in uptown Kingston came up, we decided to skip it and go straight up the Hudson Valley instead. Kingston has much more potential as a city, and the diversity of age and interest is very appealing. I also like how much more power women seem to have here, something that reveals itself in subtle but encouraging ways.”
The lower cost of living in Kingston makes it easier for them to focus on their art, while also broadening their horizons. “NYC is for the rich and for those who need their first experience of a real city,” Johnson says. “I've traveled and lived a full life to the point where New York doesn't even seem so big anymore. Perhaps I take it for granted as a city, but I'm more impressed by people than cities now.”
The show will be up through September at Anvil Gallery (at Tech Smiths), 45 North Front Street, Kingston, NY 12401. For more information, contact email@example.com
Michael Crawford is a full-time painter who has participated, since 1995, in group showings at galleries in New York, Boston, Brooklyn and Hudson, New York. He sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1981. Since then, he has sold over six hundred cartoons, illustrations, and paintings to the magazine. Crawford’s work has appeared in the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. A dedicated baseball fan, he has played first base for The New Yorker’s softball team since the nineteen-eighties. Off the diamond, he co-edited, and wrote the introduction for, “The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons,” with cartoon editor Robert Mankoff. He has also worked in animated film, and video, including a project for Issey Miyake, examining the designer’s relationship with Irving Penn. He is currently working on a “not-exactly-for-kids” picture book and animated film about the Skunk Mafia of Central Park, who are fighting for control of the city’s beloved oasis and all the animals in it. Crawford lives with fellow New Yorker cartoonist Carolita Johnson in Kingston, NY.
Award-winning cartoonist Carolita Johnson, a Parson's School of Design BFA, grew up in New York, spent 12-odd years in Paris, France, where she got her masters in Modern Letters and Linguistics, then moved back to New York to become a regular contributor of cartoons to The New Yorker from 2003 to the present. She is the recipient of a silver medal in this years Society of Illustrator's Comic and Cartoon Annual Competition for her "Must Remember..." cartoon, published in The New Yorker last year. Johnson is also a live storyteller, an illustrator and writer, with self-illustrated essays published at TheHairpin.com, Scratch, Cosmo, and The Toast. "Oscarina..." is a personal webcomic in which she expresses thoughts and feelings that no one commissions. Recently her "Women's Dollar" Oscarina image was shared more than 36,000 times online. She is also working on a book, a memoir in essays, under the working title "Happily Often After."
You can read more about them here, in this New York Times profile from November, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/realestate/22habi.html