Clinton Hill Woman Is One Of 10 Local Artists To Paint Murals On Pacific Park Fence

Clinton Hill Woman Is One Of 10 Local Artists To Paint Murals On Pacific Park Fence
Image via Greenland Forest City.
Image via Greenland Forest City.

Naomi Reis‘ painted images of botanical gardens, artificial landscapes, and utopian architecture have graced many a gallery wall and creative space — including the BAM Harvey Theater in Fort Greene and the J Crew store in Williamsburg — and soon, her artwork will be part of a 820-foot-long collaborative public mural around part of the Pacific Park Brooklyn (formerly known as the Atlantic Yards) project.

Reis was selected by Crown Heights artist Mike Perry to be one of 10 local artists to create the mural during a community painting day — complete with free hot dogs and grilled cheese, ice cream, double dutch, photo booth, and more — scheduled for 11am-4pm on Saturday, August 15. The mural will be painted on a construction fence on Dean Street, stretching between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues.

“Brooklyn’s artists have inspired legions of followers with their singular, relentless commitment to innovation and creative integrity,” said Perry, “artist in residence” of the Pacific Park Arts project, and who is known for illustrating the colorful opening images of Comedy Central TV show “Broad City.” ‘This project will both inspire and inform artists, art lovers, Brooklyn-philes and pop culture enthusiasts of all stripes.”

Image via Naomi Reis.
Image via Naomi Reis.

For Reis, 39, the idea of contributing to a public mural at this particular location — with its geographical and emotional significance for many different people — makes sense for her aesthetic and themes.

“This project is kind of a continuation of a solo show I had in September based on “paradise constructed” theme, a play on Paradise Lost,” she explained. “You could say Brooklyn is place that has attraction to people who don’t fit in in other places. A lot of creative energy is concentrated here. That comes with its own issues of questions of gentrification, who gets to live here, all rolled into dream people come here with.”

The image Reis has chosen for the Pacific Park Arts project is seen from the viewpoint of someone peeking through a space between lush foliage in a tropical garden. By placing the passersby and pedestrians in the role of the explorer, Reis draws you into not only the artwork, but the imagination, figuring out how to process to juxtaposition of natural, unadulterated wildlife with constructed urban jungle.

“You know that scene from Mary Poppins of them seeing the landscape on the sidewalk and jumping in? I want that day-to-day experience that takes you away from your everyday troubles for a second. I’m hoping it’ll impart one little moment of beauty for passersby,” Reis said.

The image itself also ties to Brooklyn, as it is based on a photo Reis took at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “I think for me a botanical garden is a bit of a democratic paradise,” she said. “You don’t have to have a lot of money to access this kind of vista we think of paradise.

“And on personal level, I think of this sort of place, existing in a [greenhouse] hothouse in Brooklyn, as camouflage of all these places in the world, a metaphor for what Brooklyn is — tapestry of people from various places coming here to coin habit a space together,” she added. “It’s the immigrant experience of camouflage — having to learn new culture, assimilate to a certain degree, fit in. It’s a metaphor for the human race always wanting to improve situation in life.”

Image via Greenland Forest City Partners.
Artist Mike Perry’s planned mural image. (Image via Greenland Forest City Partners.)

The other artists contributing to the mural project are Perry and Thomas Colligan of Crown Heights, Hisham Akira Bharoocha and Morgan Blair of Greenpoint, Josh Cochran and Jennifer Maravillas of Prospect Heights, Archie Lee Coats of Williamsburg, and Eddie Perrote and Edward Ubiera of Bushwick.

The Pacific Park Brooklyn development is a project by Greenland Forest City Partners — the company made of Greenland USA and Forest City Ratner Companies — to build housing and retail on 22 acres of land at the juncture of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Clinton Hill, and Park Slope.on Avenues.

If you’d like to meet Reis and interact with her and all the artists’ artwork for yourself, then come out on August 15 to Dean Street and Vanderbilt Avenue for the Community Painting Day, a “block party-style celebration” feauring Ample Hills Creamery ice cream, DIY photo booth, family-friendly fitness challenge, sclptures from Soapbox Gallery, drink specials, hot dogs from Caldwell’s Franks, Morris Grilled Cheese, Brooklyn Metal Works open houses, bike safety event, and double dutch jump rope demos from Clinton Hill’s own Jammin’ Jumpers.


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