Uptown Artist – ArtForStrangers

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Q. What are some of the things you love about living Uptown?

A. It’s kinetic right now. There’s a whole slew of local artists; painters, photographers, film makers, musicians, songwriters, actors, writers and poets that are ready to release the Kraken of skills up on this town, and finally put it ‘on the map’ where it belongs.

When I say ‘local’ I mean geographically, not culturally. Our artists are from different races/ethnicities; they produce art that ranges from spoken word poetry about abuelita’s habichuelas to contemporary street photography to zany stories about imaginary friends to prints of local landscapes.

And it’s not just about the ‘artists’. It’s about all of us that live here. It’s the attitude that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been living here, but what you’re doing to contribute to and participate within our community that matters. Q. What do you like about shooting Uptown?

A. In a few hours time, and in short walking distance from each other, I can photograph a genuine farmhouse, a group of tigeres playing dominoes on top of a milk crate, a pure breed champion dog at the dog run, a baseball game, a stray hawk, an elevated subway track, a quiet forest, a skiff of ducks, a man making hand-rolled cigars, a lighthouse, the Palisades across the Hudson, an abandoned rowboat, a wall with old school tags, a group of amateur astronomers, a rogue group of hula hoopers terrorizing locals in Inwood Hill park, a fuzzy homeless man schooling kids in chess, a bunch of farmers hocking their organic apples in the middle of the street, and the top of a cloister’s tower behind a line of trees seen from Broadway. That was last Thursday. Q. Your pictures have this amazing vibrancy, how do you capture that?

A. I just try to carry my camera with me as much as I can. Sometimes the lens will capture a great moment as I click away. Other times I’ll walk by a place, and there happens to be a great play between light and shadow and reflection and KA-POW! cool photo.

OK, I’m lying. I use the ‘Amazing Vibrancy’ filter in Photoshop. Q. How would you describe yourself as an artist?


Or, I might just say “kinda tall and talks a lot”.

Is there anything else you would like our audience to know about you or your work?

Yes. I’m not a Latino Artist. I’m not a Hispanic Artist.

For me, it’s an artificially limiting, superficial and meaningless label. It’s got nothing to do with what I do. It’s hollow merit, again, for me, personally. There are artists that self-identify as Latino/Hispanic/Ethnic artists, and more power to ’em, as long as they themselves chose to adopt the label. Personally, I’m wary of these kinds of labels. All they do is introduce more division, and I don’t find them the least bit empowering. There’s nothing I’m doing that any other person of any other race/gender/sexuality/age can’t do as well. Thank goodness.

I’d like my audience to know that we artists put a lot of heart and a lot of effort into our work. So we’re very grateful when you show us support, whether it’s RT’ing our links to our work, visiting the local markets, ordering our goods online, etc, and even spreading a kind word or two about our stuff. Thank you all.

Check out more of ArtForStrangers amazing work on his Flickr photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/logik101/

Check out previous Uptown Artist columns:

Paul Lomax

DJ Boy

Matthew Gallaway

Steven R. Hazlett


Robb Todd

Dom P

Chloé Michelle Fischbach

Ed Ubiera


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  • Dj Boy
    January 11, 2011 at 8:27 am

    very nice responses and def awesome work.

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    January 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

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  • @SaritaONER
    January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    great interview and great pictures! I especially love the one with the girls with rollos in their hair!

  • paul
    January 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Blown away dude!

    Great work! Love the post photoshop work too!

    Do you use a mac?


  • ArtForStrangers
    January 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Yes sir. Mac since mid-90’s.

  • Eileen
    January 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    INCREDIBLE…makes me appreciate my hometown in a whole new way!

  • Jason
    January 12, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Nice piece, wonderful photographs. Including the best photo of Indian Road Cafe ever taken.

  • Steven R. Hazlett
    January 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    love that second answer – you really summed it up, and on a Thursday lol.. Incredible work.. Your color photos are insane

  • Put You On: Groupon’s Indian Road Café Steal «
    January 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    […] Check out ArtForStrangers Uptown Artist post: https://www.uptowncollective.com//2011/01/11/uptown-artist-artforstrangers/ […]