At this studio, locals of all ages and levels of skill jump into art and become creators themselves:
Black Bird Art Gallery
With Jersey City’s art scene getting bigger every day, it’s hard to not want in on the fun. Luckily for so-called “non-artists,” local painter and tattooist Christian Masot is looking to help them take their first steps.
You might know Masot as the organizer of New Jersey’s biannual arts event SketchCon. At the event, dozens of professional artists display their fine art, crafts and artisan goods.
At Blackbird Gallery and Art Studio at the Brunswick Center, Masot aims to help locals of all ages and levels of skill jump into art and become creators themselves.
“I want to educate people about painting, photography and drawing in a comfortable environment,” said Masot. “It’s like when people want to start working out, going to the gym can be intimidating. We want to be a place that is approachable for everybody. Anyone with curiosity about painting or taking a picture is welcome here.”
Masot says he also wants to have painting and photography meet-up groups and a gallery to display nontraditional, edgy and street art. He is also especially interested in teaching kids.
“Right now, we’re losing a lot of public funding for art in schools. Art is just not as available as it was when I was younger,” said Masot, who went to local institutions like Kearny High School and Montclair State. “We had art lessons and classes, and I even sometimes had three periods of art a day!
Masot said kids aren’t just lacking learning opportunities; supplies and interest can also be hard to come by.
”Art has become a hobby and people have to really seek it out because it’s not readily there. When I ask people why they don’t paint, they assume they’ll be bad at it and say, ‘I can only draw stick figures.’
”I said, ‘Of course you’re going to stink. If you were bowling, you’re not going to bowl 300 right away, but you’d still go.’ Why is it so intimidating to try art?”
“Anyone with curiosity about painting or taking a picture is welcome here.”
This, he adds, is one reason he’s particularly passionate about reaching out to young artists.
“We want kids to develop a passion while they have the ambition to go all out. I want everyone to have the same spirit as kids. When you’re a kid, you’ll try anything…This is about trying something new and learning about yourself.
“ Masot says he’s excited to be at the Brunswick Center, which he hopes can one day host SketchCon and other arts events.
“Jersey City has a pretty good art and culture scene happening and I want to be in there,” said Masot. “We want to be a place where like-minded people can get together, do projects and just go in and forget about the world for a couple hours.”