Sections

Grime of passion! W’burg artist combines Japanese printmaking with dirt

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

And you thought dirty water was just for hot dogs.

A Williamsburg painter who goes by the name of Sto Len is making a practice out of combining the seriousness of ancient Japanese art with the irreverence of playing with dirt and filth. He will show off the results in a new solo exhibition titled “A--hats for S---heads,” opening Sept. 12 at Booklyn Artists Alliance in Greenpoint.

Len began working with Japanese sumi ink and experimenting with calligraphy a few years ago.

“I started mimicking it,” he said. “I turned it into my own abstract language.”

He then discovered suminagashi or “floating ink,” a 12th-century Japanese process that involves soaking up ink swirled on water with paper. In this style, an artist floats the ink on top of water for a few minutes to create a pattern and then lays down the paper for a few seconds to transfer to the design.

But Len decided to do it a bit differently. He bought a large inflatable swimming pool, which he set up in his studio, filled with water, then left to get filthy. Len lets ink sit in the fetid pool for as long as a week to allow it to collect items such as hair, bugs, and dust, before laying a piece of paper on top. The end result looks similar to the ancient marbled papers, but with the added element of filth and grime.

“I was doing it so that the prints would come out kind of dirty and textured,” he said. “Walking around the city, I love spills of gas and oil in water and accidental things like that. They are huge inspirations for me.”

The name of his show might sound juvenile, but Len said “A--hats for S---heads” refers to the positive impact his art practise has on his life.

“When I am working, it is the only time I feel totally free of all the s---heads in my life or even free of being a s---head myself,” said Len. “It is about putting all that negative stuff in its place and being happy and doing your thing.”

“A--hats for S---heads” opening reception at Booklyn Artists Alliance [37 Greenpoint Ave. between West and Franklin streets in Greenpoint, (718) 383–9621, www.booklyn.org]. Sept. 12 at 7 pm. Free. Show runs through Nov. 9.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!