New Prints by David D. Oquendo - Exclusive to Gitana Rosa

We’re proud to unveil two new exclusive print offerings by a new artist to the gallery, David D. Oquendo.

David was born in Puerto Rico and currently lives and works in New Jersey. On the occasion of releasing his two new prints, which are only available from Gitana Rosa, we asked David a few questions about his background and current practice as an artist. Here’s what he had to say.

GR: When was the turning point when you committed fully to your work as an artist and pursuing it? Tell us a bit about your backstory.

DDO: My turning point is definitely attending graduate school. I attended Montclair State University, pursuing an MFA degree. During those two years, I realized, "Wow, I can really do this. I got what it takes." After my thesis show at White Box Gallery in NYC, in 2012, I hit the ground running. I used that creative momentum that came from preparing for the show to be a part of more shows, collaborations, residencies and mural projects. I have not really stopped since. I'll admit, grad school was tough. Really tough. But in retrospect I am so happy I did it.

GR: Tell us about your art-making process. What lead you to choose your current medium?

DDO: My undergrad professor and mentor Denyse Thomasos is the first person to introduce me to painting. Growing up I only drew. To be honest, pencils were pretty much the only thing I could afford. Denyse gave me a crash course in painting, color, composition, process, etc. I fell in love with paint. There is no better feeling, at least for me, than applying paint to canvas - or even better, applying paint on a wall. I still use other mediums other than paint. When customizing t-shirts I use bleach. When designing logos I'll use pen-and-ink on paper, then I'll edit it using Illustrator or Photoshop. When collaborating with sculptor Keary Rosen, Professor and Director of the Form Design Studio, I use wood and textiles.

GR: The two new prints that we are featuring are titled, “So Beautiful I Shall Never Forget It.” Tell us about this body of work.

DDO: I have developed, and continue to develop, a personal constructed script. I call this writing system, “Metaphrase”. It is a series that includes large-scale wall renderings (indoor and outdoor) and mixed media paintings. The series explores my ideas and questions of identity, language, meditation, religion and life. Each letter is a system that has been influenced by the Gothic script classification Textualis Quadrata, with hints of Eastern Kufic and Hebrew calligraphy.

GR: What’s coming up for you and what’s exciting you right now personally and artistically?

DDO: My full time job is being an art teacher at Bard Early college and I have not had a vacation in some time. So, in the first half of the summer I will paint 24/7 till mid August 2019. I am really looking forward to just painting without a particular exhibition in mind. After that I'll take a trip to Germany to check out the museums, galleries, and culture over there.

David’s prints “So Beautiful That I Shall Never Forget It” are available for purchase in our limited edition shop. Click here to view them.

Read more about David and his work on his artist page, and stay tuned for updates and new work from him and the other Gitana Rosa artists.

Gitana Rosa presents "Soft Stories" by Laura Jane Petelko

Gitana Rosa Gallery presents:

"Soft Stories"
An Exclusive Online Exhibition by
Laura Jane Petelko


Laura Jane Petelko  Until the Moment Comes , 2018

Laura Jane Petelko
Until the Moment Comes, 2018

"Soft Stories" will be on view online through our partner
May 15th - June 15th, 2019

Click here to view the full exhibition

Gitana Rosa is pleased to present a new artist in our lineup. Laura Jane Petelko is a Canadian artist, born and currently based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been recognized and exhibited in Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Miami and New York.

“Soft Stories” is an ongoing series presented as large, plexi-mounted c-prints available in a very limited edition. Laura Jane’s work has been known for its personal and intimate subject matter, often dealing with the nature of one’s identity and times of transformation. We connected with the artist to ask her a few questions about her work and “Soft Stories” in particular, in honor of her online exhibition with Gitana Rosa.

GR: Tell us about your art-making process. Why did you choose your current medium?

LJP: Photography, like music, has always been a huge inspiration for me. I grew up around film and photography. I really lived in my imagination as a child. Music is a huge co-conspirator for me creatively.

GR: How would you briefly describe your current body of work?

LJP: My project "Soft Stories" is an ongoing photographic project and collaboration with costume designer Sara Wood. The images explore humanity’s longing to connect with nature and one another. The current work has been photographed in pristine and remote Canadian landscapes. We question whether these creatures have found belonging in their acrylic costumes. Are they attempting to replicate and commune with nature; are they finding true connection through the artificial?

We’ve been working on “Soft Stories” for the past two years. I've been collaborating with Sara to create lush and fairytale-like creature costumes. The project is inspired, in part, by a conversation about the "furry" community. It got me thinking about our desire to connect with one another and to seek our true natures. Through this project I’m thinking about the many ways, sometimes beautiful ways, we seek this connection. I’m looking at how we take this journey in a time of unprecedented loneliness and disconnection with nature.

GR: What’s been your most meaningful project or work of art so far?

LJP: I feel like all of the projects I've worked on have been so intimate and meaningful for me at the time. Many have been raw and difficult. But I have to chose the one I'm working on now because I'm so immersed. Most of my past work focused on other’s individual stories. "Soft Stories" is  more broad, and the creative scope is larger than anything I've done before. It's a bit daunting sometimes, but in a way that inspires more commitment from me than I've experienced before.

GR: Do society, current events, or the nature of the art market influence what or how you create? If so, how?

LJP: In terms of society, I think my project is really informed by this idea of disconnection. I’m wondering how we connect to each other through the plastic and artifice and trying to confront that through something of a fairytale. I'm trying not to be informed by the art market... but that may change. I'm trying to connect.

View Gitana Rosa’s online exhibition of “Soft Stories”

For more information or press inquiries please contact: 
t: 323-559-2383

Gitana Rosa presents "Outside the Box" at the Art Factory

Gitana Rosa Gallery presents:

"Outside the Box"
Fall 2018


Opening Reception:
   Saturday, October 20th, 1-4pm

The Art Factory Studios
       Silk Gallery, 2nd floor
       70 Spruce Street
       Paterson, NJ 07501

Gitana Rosa Gallery is pleased to present "Outside the Box", a group exhibition featuring mixed media works by Agent X, Andrés García-Peña, Brett Wintle, Christine Romanell, Emet Sosna, Geri Hahn, Karen Epstein, Kseniya Baranova, Nathaniel Galka, Nikolina Kovalenko, Steve Buduo, Summer Hart and Victoria Selbach.
The featured artists work across a variety of mediums and disciplines including photography, textile, installation, painting and sculpture. A key curatorial focus of the exhibition is to present works by artists whose approaches both elevate as well as engage with the industrial and historic Art Factory Paterson venue. The large-scale works presented were chosen in consideration of the scope, texture and natural light of the location, and installed throughout the Factory's second floor gallery space which includes two large viewing areas and a special project viewing room. “Outside the Box” is curated by Vanessa Liberati, founder and executive director of Gitana Rosa Gallery.

The exhibition will be located in the Silk Gallery at the Paterson Art Factory with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, October 20th from 1-4pm.  "OutsidetheBox" will be on view by appointment and open access to all Art Factory members. 

The Art Factory is located in the historical district of downtown Paterson, just a few minutes stroll fromThe Paterson Great Fallsand thePaterson Museum.  We invite you to join us and spend the day in historical downtown Paterson, NJ.  The nation's first planned industrial city, thanks to Alexander Hamilton.

This will be our first collaboration with the Art Factory Paterson, a co-working concept space located in a complex of historical textile mill buildings, with a focus on art, architecture, design and craftsmanship, and the Paterson Arts Council whose mission is the revitalization of the downtown historic district of Paterson, NJ through impactful art and cultural events. 

Art Factory members have studios in historic textile mill buildings with access to metal, machine and woodworking equipment in communal shops where they can work and collaborate with other professionals.  Artists, designers, sign makers, sculptors, antique furniture re-finishers, textile designers, ceramists and craftsmen from multiple design disciplines can learn from each other in this co-working and symbiotic environment.  Filmmakers and photographers also use these shops and spaces as shooting locations and prop manufacturing areas.

Gitana Rosa Gallery represents contemporary emerging and established artists and encourages social, political and environmental messages through the arts. Gitana Rosa was founded in 2006 in the burgeoning neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn an has had locations in Chelsea and Piermont, New York. The gallery is now exclusively online and exhibits its artists via special curatorial projects and selected Art Fairs.   

Gitana Rosa has given back to the community by providing a space to stimulate dialogue, promote sustainable methods of living and inspire positive ideas. It continues to donate a portion of sales proceeds from select exhibitions to local environmental and social non-profits.

For more information or press inquiries please contact: 
t: 323-559-2383

Michele Basora's NY Arts Magazine Interview

The super talented Michele Basora was recently interviewed by NY Arts Magazine. 

Talking Mythology, Race, and Class with Michele Basora

Leah Oates: How did you become an artist and did you know early on that you would be in the arts, or did you begin as something else? Where there other artists in your family?
Michele Basora: Yes, I knew I was an artist at a very young age. My uncle was a visionary artist and encouraged me since I was 7. I should say that my uncle was a huge influence on me and my work. He was very much an eccentric, he was a monk traveling the world, living on mountain tops, and he would visit me on occasion to show me his visionary paintings. He would also tell me magical stories of experiences he had during his travels. He believed very much in the spiritual world, and I always find his influence in my paintings.

My mother also encouraged me without thinking about it, having taken me to the Met and the Frick Collection when I was very young and having intellectual conversations about art at a very young age. This was unheard of having been raised in a very tough neighborhood in the Bronx.

LO: What are the themes of your work and what inspires you to make art?
MB: My paintings are based on mythology, superstition, religion, and race. It is not necessarily a theme I set about going after, but they tend to go in that direction.

LO: Who are your influences? Teachers, artists?
MB: Michael Goldberg, Lucio Pozzi, and Marilyn Minter were teachers of mine whilst going to SVA. They were the ones I felt a close connection to. In my early years I obsessed with many of the female surrealists, including Leonor Fini.

LO: Why do you think art is important for the world and why is it important for you as an individual artist?
MB: I often think about this and think about how the average person would think it that it is a very bourgeois activity. Especially being a woman and a person of color, I often think about my roll as an artist. I began my early training in art school as an abstract painter because of the push to be one and how it was looked down upon to be a figurative painter. But, I felt I had so much to say as a woman, a person of color, and one who came from a poor working class family. So, in my third year I changed and began to make paintings which, to me, had more meaning and a subtle message that sometimes incorporates the figure.

LO: What advice would you give other artists who want to exhibit in NYC etc?
MB: My advice would be to not judge a book by its cover. Generally the ones who look the least important are the ones that are actually the most important, and have a website!

LO: Please talk about upcoming bodies of work, shows etc that you have coming up.
MB: I am continuing my series of paintings from the influence of living on the upper east side and dealing with class, race, and the bourgeois culture. I will be part of a summer group exhibition, “Juicy” at Gitana Rosa Gallery, Chelsea, opening June 19, as well as artmrkt Hamptons, from July 10 – 13. I am also excited to announce a group exhibition that I am curating, “The New Bitch, Twilight of the Idols.” It will be open from September 4 – October 4 at Gitana Rosa Gallery, Chelsea.