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sexy astrology: neighborhood uber mom reads the stars

By justin, on September 17th, 2010

Every good newspaper & magazine traditionally has a resident astrologer to give a little distraction & insight from an old school wisdom system. It’s not my place to say if the gravitational pull of distant bodies in the heavens may or may not have influence on one’s destiny or life path at the moment of birth or conception (depending on which system one employs).

I’ve mentioned before that my parents were quite opened minded & I once managed a New Age book store so the Zodiac has always been around and I have often been amused at how much insight flows through it’s symbolic system.

These systems of divination based on the motions of celestial bodies all psychic woo woo aside do carry with them many ancient psychological insights into relationships & the development of the individual. Above all it’s fun stuff and takes one out of the mundane and into the meta conceptual world of possibilities & potential.

One of the coolest things about living & working in East Williamsburg is getting to know all the multi-talented neighbors. Making ends meet is not easy for anyone these days and artists & creatives who call the area home tend to wear many masks. Charlotte G, a long time resident & artist is one such person. This full time mother & classically trained artist also is a professional Western Astrologer. Seems this mother of all trades when not producing her line of custom silk screen clothing or running a household of energetic children posts monthly video horoscopes.

All this summer she has been opening up her home studio & work space on Bushwick Place to the public several hours a day on Fridays. Her two story home turned retail & live silk screening gallery is fondly known as the “House of Choclet”. The name, with it’s branding clarity and tasty pun, was inspired by visit from NYC Designer & Photographer Walt Cessna. She shares the story often about how the name came into being after a trip to a basement. His suggestion of ‘rocking’ her brand has paid off and you can see it in action if you make it to one of the Friday store hours. Check with it’s Facebook Fan Page to find out details.

It was on one of these visits when the subject of community building and this website came up. It took several more visits for us to connect the dots and come up with the idea of posting her horoscopes here. So in keeping with of mission of ‘Micro Local, Macro Informed, Mondo Correct’ I am proud to announce that East Williamsburg’s own Sexy Astrologer has found a place to do a little karma yoga.

We’ll have monthly posts flowing starting in October, but for now please visit her homepage.

From the ruins, damaged beauty Exploring catastrophe, before and after 9/11
August 31, 2011 | Filed under: Arts

BY ALINE REYNOLDS | For one week straight in January 1996, then-Downtown artist Charlotte Ghiorse photographed and painted firefighters in action from Chelsea’s Ladder 12 and Engine 3. She became acquainted with Fire Department of New York Lieutenant Mickey Kross — one of a few 9/11 survivors pulled out of the wreckage from Stairwell B of the North Tower.

“I really enjoyed exploring catastrophe in my work. It was the beginning of when out-of-focus photography was fashionable in art,” said Ghiorse of the experience. Her pieces appeared in the first-ever annual “Art of Fire” exhibit of the New York City Fire Museum that year.

Little did Ghiorse know the type of disaster she’d be illustrating five years later.

Currently residing in Brooklyn, Ghiorse (who lived on Ludlow between Hester and Grand Streets in the early 2000s) was instinctively drawn to the chaos that pervaded Downtown on Sept. 11, 2001. That afternoon, she drew out $800 from the bank — fearful of what might happen next — and nomadically walked the streets, videotaping the disorder as she went.

Starting when Kross accompanied her to Ground Zero in March 2002 (her first time visiting the site since 9/11), the artist began to develop a fascination with the heaps of wreckage and burning debris. The morbid scene inspired her later that year to take out her paintbrush and canvas.

Using photographs that appeared in metropolitan area media outlets, Ghiorse recreated the eerie ambience in and around Ground Zero post-9/11, meshing together gray, black and white colors to depict. The images included a view of smoke-filled Downtown as seen from a chopper, a weary firefighter in search of human remains and an upside-down doll lying on a pile of rubble.

Ghiorse often felt guilty revisiting the trauma of 9/11 in her art. It made her feel like a voyeur in her own neighborhood. “I had a lot of hang-up around [the question], ‘why am I doing this?’ I had to go, ‘Sh, sh, sh — don’t ask why, just do it.’”

Ghiorse continued the series until she completed 18 large paintings. She wanted them seen, but was not willing to auction them off to the highest bidder. “I had this whole feeling of like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t just sit around with these paintings, and I can’t profit off of 9/11,’” said Ghiorse. “But the business of wanting them to be on display somewhere, the whole notion of historical paintings, came through to me.”

So in 2003, the artist exhibited her work at the E3 Gallery in the East Village. One of the paintings (“Firefighter/Rockstar”) caught the eye of Lisa de Kooning — abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning’s only child. De Kooning later purchased the work and added it to her permanent collection.

Ghiorse’s work never fully departed from the smoky color patterns that permeate her 9/11 paintings. A series of flower portraits that look like they’re submerged in water that she was simultaneously working on contain wisps of grayish smoke that resemble the ash-ridden sky above Ground Zero in the days after the attacks.

She is now completing a series of paintings of chandeliers, dresses, cars and other material objects that represent elegance and opulence of American culture. Amid the soft pink hues that suffuse this series is the all-too-familiar dark undertone. “I just can’t get away from that billowy, smoky grey,” said Ghiorse.

Ghiorse is thinking about returning to Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The trip isn’t crucial. However, since she has already paid tribute to the fallen in her paintings, “It’s still kind of like a pretty intense level of grief, but I don’t feel that heaviness, on some level, since I got it out through the art.”

Six of Ghiorse’s 9/11 paintings are being featured on the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum’s artist registry ( Works from her 9/11 series will also be on display at an upcoming exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany.


Stephen Zacks on House of Choclet:

House of Choclet, 42 Bushwick Place. I passed by your house yesterday while on a long meandering walk from Greenpoint through Bushwick to the tortilla factory. I noticed Bushwick Place and didn't remember seeing the street before, so I walked down it and saw your silkscreens hanging outside and the handpainted sign tha...t said open 2-6. I didn't see anyone around. I kept walking. Then I thought, as long as I'm exploring the area I should stop and ask about the place. I turned back and approached the house. The gate was closed but the front door was wide open. I walked in and there were silkscreens and paintings everywhere. Two blond boys were sitting on the floor inches from a small TV. They didn't say a word, and didn't turn their heads from the TV. Their eyes registered me in their peripheral vision. Is anyone else here? No response. Did I ask out loud? I peeked around the corners of the ground floor but there was no other sound or movement, except the air through all the open windows. Otherwise complete silence in this odd uncanny house on a sidestreet off Bushwick Avenue. As I walked out I nodded to a Latino man puttering on the sidewalk and he smiled knowingly.

When I read this I thought it was so funny considering I was somewhere in the house...I replied: Thanks for Coming over you made my Day!!!

To which Stephen Zacks Said: "And Patti Smith says you can't come to NY and do your own thing any more... nice place, cool paintings and silkscreens, my idea of old school NY."

influences: schiele - gorey - wee gee - clee - mondrian - malevich - de kooning - tabboo - certain single moms - scooby doo - highlights magazine