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José Arenas | AHA Artist in the Press

José Arenas

Much of my work revolves around having a dual identity, of dislocation and displacement, and of feeling a sense of disorientation from growing up in 2 countries. These two geographies, Mexico and the United States, were parallel worlds with distinct customs and rituals that have become a point of investigation in my work …

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“Artists have wedged their canvases and supplies into their apartments. Others are working in hurricane-torn basements or in temporary, borrowed spaces. As their creative spaces have shrunk, so, too, has their art — if, that is, they still make art.

It’s been over six months since some four dozen artists lost their studios in Industry City, a sprawling factory complex on the Brooklyn waterfront. Many had spent decades hopping from studio to studio, from borough to borough. But according to interviews with over two dozen of the displaced, that practice of alighting in new, ungentrified neighborhoods has, at least for them, ground to something of a halt, hampered by a common refrain in New York: Rents are rising too fast.”

“Jose Arenas was one of dozens who had found space at the New York Art Residency and Studios Foundation, a nonprofit that rented a floor of Industry City and divvied it up into studios. “Open studios brought people into my studio space, which is something I miss working individually at home,” said Mr. Arenas, 42, who lost his Industry City studio and is working out of the apartment he shares with his wife and daughter in South Park Slope. “I don’t have that same sense of community.”

Continue reading Rising Rents Leave New York Artists Out in the Cold