AJ the Awful
Medium: Painting

Studio Location:
Studio 34 - Studio# 439
34-01 38th Avenue

Email: ajtheawful@gmail.com

Website:: ajtheawful.com

Artist Bio:
I am a classically trained fine artist. I graduated from Pratt Institute and inevitably pursued a career in commercial design where I worked as a Creative Director for many years, while my fine art took a back burner. I was made to believe that this was the only future in which my artistic skills would be valued, and I made peace with leaving my art in the past.

It wasn't until I moved to Astoria, Queens in 2011 that I was overcome with the urge to paint again. I had arrived in a cityscape that felt unique. Unlike other areas, it had retained so much old-world charm while embracing a wide diversity of lifestyles. I was inspired by the generations of family-owned businesses and the array of cultures they had come together to create a collaborative community - I became inexplicably moved to capture it. This marked the first time I ever felt at home. Initially, I began recording the varying architectural styles that change from block to block. To other people, the neighborhood is a patchwork of mismatched buildings, but to me, it's historic evidence of different cultural influences moving in and out throughout history. The buildings capture moments in time.

I've often been compared to Edward Hopper because of my portrayal of quaint city moments. As flattering as that is, I feel the real similarity is our deep emotional connection to our neighborhoods, which is reflected back in both our works. I began painting my neighborhood over a decade ago because I was simply charmed by its scenery. But now, I paint to protect it and to commemorate it as it rapidly changes. Throughout this project, I have become a leader in my community who is vocal and active in preserving the landmarks, and staples, and maintaining accessibility for the people who have worked to shape it. I paint now to immortalize my home and capture it through the eyes of its faithful resident

All images and text copyright AJ the Awful