Artist on the Edge: Luisa Calcano


Luisa Calcano “Compulsion (Part I)” (2017), Acrylic and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5x11in.

1. Tell me about your process as an artist.

The first step of my process, I have an idea and develop it into a concept through brainstorming and thinking. Next, I practice techniques and skills on a surface. GradShotThis could mean I’m playing around with color combinations using inks, or scribbling in various pens or even testing brushes on scraps of paper or canvas. Once I have practiced, I begin working. I don’t like to work using easels, so I simply lay my paper, canvas or panel flat on floor or table and work. As I’m working, my concept may change and that is perfectly fine. Often times, my work will come out completely different from what I had planned in my mind. If I begin to get frustrated, I will take a break and work on something else. My works of art are never truly finished, and often times I will return to a piece that I had worked on previously.

My process fluctuates between fluid and controlled. I feel as though I have a balance of both

2. Describe your artistic practice in three words.

My artistic practice can be described as therapeutic, fluid, and abstract.

3. Why do you make art?

I make art for several reasons. First, the physical act of making Art for me is at times relaxing and often a way to de-stress. Secondly, art is a way for me to organize my thoughts, or ideas and express them visually.


Luisa Calcano “Guns Blazing” (2017), Acrylic ink, and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5×11 in.

Like many others, I struggle to explain myself verbally at times and art allows for me to say what I need to say without having to actually say it. Lastly, I make art to stir up conversation. My art allows for an open dialogue between the viewer, myself and the work. I am very open to conversations about my work with anyone.

4. Where do you create art?

I feel most comfortable creating art where I can be alone. If I happen to find myself working around people, to give the illusion that I am alone I will play music as I work.

5. What does it mean to be an artist in the Bronx?

Being an artist in the Bronx and from the Bronx means being a part of the many creative communities here in New York. I feel very honored, and proud to be a practicing artist from the Bronx.


Luisa Calcano “Pure Thought” (2017), Acrylic ink, and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5 x 11 in.

6. How can people get in touch with you and see more of your works?

People are more likely to get in touch with me and see more of my work through my email (, my instagram account (@marialuisaart).

7. Who is your greatest inspiration?

My inspiration for the work I do stems from my personal experiences, observations, and books that I have read. However, my greatest inspirations are people such my mentors, family, friends and significant other.

Artist on the Edge: Tariku Shiferaw

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Tariku Shiferaw “SpaceX”, 2014-2015, Mixmedia on Canvas, 60″x48″

  1. Tell a little bit a bout yourself.
    1. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and grew up in Los Angeles, CA.
    2. I moved to New York for graduate school. I now live in Brooklyn and I plan to stay in New York for a while.
  2. Firstly, what is (are) your medium(s) of creative expression? How long have you been studying and working at your medium?
    1. I’m a painter. I currently make abstract paintings.
    2. I’ve painted, drawn, made sculptures for 15 plus years. Trained in traditional oil medium.
    3. In 2012, upon realizing my painting concerns were less focused on rendering and depicting reality, I began to use water based mediums such as acrylics and more. In 2014, I completely dove in the deep end making abstract paintings. That’s when I completely abandoned oil and fully turned to acrylics.
  3. What is your inspiration to begin working on a piece? Where do you go to gather inspiration? Where do you and your friends go to view art and collaborate?
    1. I have always enjoyed painting and initially it’s all the inspiration I needed. Along the way, I realized painting became a thinking space; a place where thoughts take form and vise versa. So I take my inspiration from everyday life such as conversations, relationships, the occupation of forms or marks in public and private space, the human condition, existential issues, philosophy, political issues, Western societies, current state of existence as an individual (commodity, capitalism)…the list goes on.
    2. I go to many places throughout New York. I often go to museums, galleries (small and big), friends openings, and more…the MOMA, The New Museum, Studio Museum Harlem, The Brooklyn Museum, PS1 MOMA, Chelsea galleries, galleries throughout Brooklyn…56 Bogart in Bushwick, various Bushwick galleries and Open Studios, Art fairs, NYC wide MFA Open Studios, and more…
Untitled(Figure-ground) (2)

Tariku Shiferaw, “Untitled (Figure/ground)”, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 60″x48″

4.Where can people contact you regarding collaborating or about your work?

5. Where can people check out your work next? I have an upcoming MFA Thesis Exhibition titled Off Pink (working title) at the Kitchen in Chelsea.

Off Pink
May 8-16th, 2015
Opening Reception: May 8. 6:30-9pm
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
  1. How do you define community? How has your work been inspired by said community? How important is the community to your work? How have you collaborated with community?
    1. I see community as a necessary structure of existence. Often groups of people coexisting in similar situations in life become a community. Some are more dependent on each other and more closely neat than others.
    2. Living in a modern-contemporary world, the definition of a community can be a bit blurry. One can belong to multiple communities. Nonetheless, I consider all who journey in my path and contribute to my growth and vise versa as a part of my community.
    3. Communities that I have been a part of in the past or will forever belong to, although they may not always be with me, have forever impacted the way I think and therefore it’s only fair to say that communities are important to my work.
    4. Not to mention being a part of Parsons’ MFA community has tremendously challenged and inspired me for the last two years. I have grown leaps and bounds because of the relationships that were cultivated through honest critiques and collaborations.
Painting X (2)

Tariku Shiferaw “PaintingX”, 2015, Acrylic and spray paint on Canvas, 60″x48″

Top ArtEdgeNYC posts of 2013

There were so many wonderful posts I had the opportunity to experience in 2013!

Click on the links here for my top 15 posts of 2013:

1. Jessica Ofalt: Mixed Media Photography

2. Boy and Sheep Design Studio

3. Rotten Apple TV

4. Rocksteady Wednesdays

5. Asia Calcagno

6. Fiona Mahurin

7. Bishop Arts District

8. Andy Warhol Screen Test

9. Jose Arenas Studio Visit

10. Azmara Asefa

11. Wren Wilson: Connected and Inspiring

12. Reopening of the Queens Museum

13.  Hamptons Arts Weekend 2013

14. NYCB Art Series: FAILE

15. Glen Ligon at the New School University Center

Bonus: Fashion on Edge: Diesel and Edun

Bonus 2: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum of Central Africa

Have a wonderful 2014!

Wren Wilson: Connected and Inspiring

Wren Wilson is an entrepreneur, artist, designer, master gardener, and pet professional whose passion, talent and commitment to community centers her work and inspires those around her, like me. It was a pleasure to talk with her one evening this Fall and learn more about her connection and inspiration to the community that surrounds her in Winston, Salem, NC.


I believe in actively trying to be a part of the community and am philosophically connected to intentionally and mindfully making a positive difference in the world. Through opportunities like my work with Imagination Installations, the Master Gardeners program, and canine rescue organizations, I feel that I am able to improve things.

My artwork as well as my volunteerism forms a symbiotic relationship with the place that I live. Symbiosis is the scientific term for “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Few things feel better than the notion that you might be improving lives through your actions.

My entire livelihood is connected to work in the community. Through word of mouth largely derived from volunteer activities, I continue to be successful in my goals and gain new clients and projects.

That is not to say I go out expecting people will do things for me. There’s a difference between pure-self interest and synergy/symbiosis. It’s all about mutual benefit.

Imagination Installations’ mission is to have people connect to their dreams, to each other, and help people move towards making those dreams a reality. We do this through public art installations, creative activities, and concretely inviting them to share their dreams within our installations. Some of our pieces are as simple as a wall filled with rectangular sheets of paper asking the audience to “Imagine When” their dreams come true and the wall becomes filled with their individual hopes for the future. Others are more elaborate or guerilla-inspired, like a “Dream Journal” that we’ve been leaving in a special mosaic vessel in public places or the current project we’re working on leaving giant doors around town and painting them with chalk-board paint and inviting people to write on them. We even have a billboard spot that shares people’s dreams now!

These days I’m still following the idea that inspired my senior thesis in college that just by existing you are changing the world in one way or another and it’s better to intentionally have a positive impact!

The installation “Imagine When… Winston” just left the New Winston Museum to make way for a new exhibit (which Wren Wilson designed the panels for!), and Imagination Installations is searching around for another venue to show “Imagine When… Winston”.

Links are below:

  • Here is a link to Wren Wilson’s website.
  •  Here is the link to Imagination Installations’ website.
  • Here is the link to Imagination Installations’ lead volunteer Dr. Cyndi Briggs’ TedX talk.
  • Here is the link to an article which ran in the paper on the installation “Imagine When… Winston”- it also includes a video interview from Wren Wilson.
  • Here is a ton of Facebook photos of the installation “Imagine When… Winston” and the opening of the show.
  • Here is a longer article from Imagination Installations which includes information about the project, including the second section from the bottom which Wren Wilson wrote for the signage that went with the installation. The blog post also includes some linked videos of the kids who wrote the pieces talking about their motivations with the project.
  • BONUS: here is Wren Wilson’s podcast with Dr. Briggs in which she discusses her financial philosophy as a young creative doing what she loves.

Book on the Edge: Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced

Stephen Burrows had a wonderful exhibition March 22 through July 28 at Museum of the City of New York entitled “When Fashion Danced” with an equally wonderful book of the same name. Highly recommended by me to all fashion, arts, culture, history and disco era lovers for its documentation of a critical time in the New York City fashion and culture scene in which Stephen Burrows helped define a generation through his fashion. A definite collector’s item, “When Fashion Danced” is a must add to a collectors bookshelf and can be purchased online and at the Museum of the City of New York gift shop. Happy reading!