Erector Square Open Studios Oct 21-22 2023
Pahl & Danielle dress up as nouveau punks using backdrops provided by @studioinewhaven
Erector Square in New Haven, CT was first established as a toy factory in 1923 by A.C. Gilbert. The classic Erector Set, American Flyer model trains, and other toys were produced here until the factory's closing in 1967. The building itself was then transformed into one of the largest studio complexes of its kind-175 studios in 8 buildings. It is now home to a community of established and emerging artists, architects, musicians, designers, theater, dance, and fitness professionals.
I love going to Erector Square because the hallways are long and deep and you're not sure what building is connected where. To be honest, it can be a bit disorienting, but I consider that part of the fun. If you like adventure around every corner and eventually ending up in a back lot next to the back door of Bregamos Community Theater, then this is for you. I generally start at Building 3 (where the main parking lot is), and work my way around Building 6 and 8. If you want to go to Building 5, it's easier to just leave the front of Building 3 and walk to the right to enter it. (All the buildings are connected somehow (except for Building 4), but sometimes it's easier to just go back the way you came than trying to find the right stairwell).
In the past, Erector Square Open Studios was a part of a month long City-Wide Open Studios in New Haven that Artspace used to manage. Unfortunately Artspace shut down their physical location in June 2023 and basically said, "we're putting Open Studios back into the hands of the artists this year". But luckily the artists of Erector Square came together and put on a very good Open Studios on their own.
Artists work that I particularly enjoyed were that from Eliska Morsel Greenspoon whose collage work must be seen in person for the sheer complexity of it, Greg Shea for his work in alternative photographic processes, Amelia Ingraham's high res pop photography, and Julie Fraenkel's "Carnival of Human Nature".
We spent approximately 3 hours at the Open Studios during the last day of the event. Just as we were reaching the end of the hallway in Building 5, Studio i Gallery showed up. Studio i Gallery is basically a ready to rent space for all sorts of creative endeavors, whether it is an art show, a photoshoot, workshops, and installations. They encourage visitors anytime and for Open Studios they had a couple of really cool backdrops available to pose in front of.
Both Pahl and I are artists, and one thing we like to do when we attend other artist's open studio events is to "Dress Like an Artist". That way we can send out a beacon of like-minded energy towards all that we meet. Pahl is both a surrealist painter, mask maker, and stop motion animator and I mainly work on my Other Worlds Series, which is manipulated photographs of my own menstrual fluid. Both of our art styles are a bit edgy; so we wanted to reflect that in our style choices for the day.
Pahl is wearing black jeans, a wine red "early-American style" cotton shirt, a grey herringbone waistcoat with black buttons, lighter gray and black herringbone shoes, a slightly military looking leather jacket, and some of his signature statement rings. To match him, I also wore a wine red cardigan over a dress that has imagery of skulls and roses on it. I am wearing a black denim punk vest with an intricate pin from Pocket Full of Posiez that was a birthday gift I received this year and goldenrod colored crocheted fingerless gloves. My tights are pink dotted diamonds with contrasting black and gray and black and see through diamonds that I purchased from Hot Topic a few years ago, and I am wearing black cherry patent leather boots. I am also carrying around my new backpack purse, my Emily the Strange bag complete with my 3D printed skeleton hand I picked up at the New London Pirate Festival a few months ago. At least half of the pieces from my outfit I have had for at least 3 years, so it was definitely a creative endeavor of combining old pieces with new accessories to make a new outfit.
Did dressing like nouveau punks work for us? Certainly! We had a lot of wonderful conversations with other artists right away. So that old adage is true: Always dress for the occasion!
I love EGL and alternative fashion and modeling. I am taking two of my favorite hobbies and making them into a story for you to read about.