Art is a merciless industry. Yet in its trenches lies a wonderful network of creative types who, upon finding their own success, reach out to help others.
Since Salon dada’s celebrated opening two years ago, co-founders Benjamin Lagasse and Steven Gemignani have devoted space to exhibitions and events, welcoming local artists and introducing them to the community.
Here are three of their favorites:
Salon dada: “For our inaugural artist we went with 5ive Fingaz. We wanted him because his activism and community involvement and philanthropy are parallel to our vision, along with his creating cool street art.”
5ive Fingaz: “The energy of the people that work [at Salon dada] is amazing! The clients are also very positive and kind. I received numerous emails and calls about purchasing my work while my work was hanging in the salon, or just a social post about how a certain piece uplifted them.
“My work is about bringing my energy out and sharing my positivity with the world. I love to display my thoughts on canvas or repurposed material of any kind. My purpose it to spread love and kindness to all who view it.”
Sd: “Nancy Landauer has a really cool and modern style similar to the dada artists of their period; a modern resurrection.”
Nancy: “The minute I entered the beautiful new salon space, I got the vibe that Ben and Steve created. The music and decor were so happening and on trend - I wanted to be a part of the excitement.
“I loved exhibiting at Salon dada as it put me in front of the exact demographic that I felt would connect with my artwork. I was sure the clientele would understand my imagery.
“My work explores the connection between nostalgic imagery and the emotions they evoke in the viewer. I love creating a narrative. I tell a story in each piece using fragments from pop culture of the 1960’s and 70’s. I choose iconic fragments from childhood television shows, logos, toys, comic book characters, music - all juxtaposed against a backdrop of funky graffiti or handwritten lyrics. Many of my pieces explore the idealized American family, early life in the Utopian suburbs, and marriage.”
Guy Stanley Philoche
Sd: We’ve planned a collection installation coming up in February from Guy Stanley Philoche, an artist who has gained much attention. During the shut-down he bought a painting from a local artist for every painting he sold. (Editor’s note: Guy is continuing to collect works from artists, primarily in the tristate area.)
Guy: "The Philoche Collection is pieces from all over the world. I had just finished a sold-out show at Cavalier Gallery and wanted to do something special for myself. I was going to buy a Rolex watch.
“Then the pandemic, a lot of my friends reached out needing help. I recorded a video and put it on Instagram about how I’m looking to buy as much artwork as possible. My budget was $20K. $250K later, I have over 400 pieces.
“I didn’t care about [artists’] sob stories because everyone’s life is hard, but I wanted to buy stuff that I loved. Art saved my life and I owe it a debt I can never pay back. I promised myself I’d open doors for other artists. Every time I sell a painting I buy a painting. I had an amazing gallery that believed in me. I’m happy with my slice of the pie, and if someone is hungry I’ll share it.”
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