Faces & Places of HSS
We’re sharing the FACES & PLACES of Humphreys Street Studios -- portraits of the artists that make up our unique, diverse, collaborative community. As part of our #ARTWORKSHERE, #ARTSTAYSHERE campaign, we’re introducing HSS artists & creative small businesses. Further, they’re also sharing how losing their artist workspaces would impact their practice, should an outside buyer purchase the property.
Meet HSS mixed media artist & woodworker Mark DeWilde. When asked what he would do if the artist workspace were no longer he shared, “I’d have to relocate outside of Boston, likely nearer to Providence, RI. I am currently feeling blessed to have a place in the heart of beautiful Boston. If HSS were no more, I would be bereaved.”
Meet HSS mixed media artist Katherine Gardner. When asked what she would do if the artist workspace were no longer she shared “this space is so important to me. I get to come here not only to do my artwork, but to be around other artists, who I normally wouldn’t have time to seek out. Here, I am able to make my large-scale work, make necessary messes that can’t fit in my basement at home. HSS allows me to practice my art closer to my job, my family, my home. It’s a community where I feel comfortable bringing my baby on site, because it's safe.” To learn more about Katherine, visit http://www.katherinegardener.com/.
Yotron the Don
Meet HSS artist Yotron the Don. When asked what he would do should the HSS studios no longer exist he shared, “I’ve grown accustomed to utilizing the space & will do so for as long as I have it. If it were no longer here, I’d work out of cafes with my laptop & paint out of my house. I love having my studio space at HSS. I can come here, work as long as I like, uninterrupted -- which leads to more creativity. We creatives need an outlet. We can’t have all this pent-up energy without a place for it to flow.” To learn more about Yotron, visit https://www.instagram.com/yotronthedon/.
Meet HSS artist & paper maker Virginia Yazbeck. When asked what she would do should the HSS studios no longer exist she shared, “I would have to take all my stuff -- and there’s A LOT of it -- back home. HSS is my home away from home. I really enjoy the people here. I love them. A big part of my life would be missing.” To learn more about Virginia, visit https://www.instagram.com/melville.art.paper/.
Meet HSS artist & fabricator Jemuel Stephenson of Fabwright Origins. When asked what he would do should the HSS studios no longer exist he shared, “Losing this space at HSS would be one of the worst possible things that could happen to my business. It would break up the strategic creative community I’ve cultivated over the past 2 years. As a digital fabricator, not having space for machinery would eliminate revenue & prevent cross-collaboration within our community. Relocation & rebuilding would be very time-consuming, very expensive, and set my business back even further than the financial hit taken as a result of the pandemic.” To learn more about Jem, visit www.fabwrightorigins.com.
Meet HSS artist & designer Gary Constant. When asked how losing his HSS workspace would affect his practice/business, he shared “being at HSS has allowed me to build bridges & connect with other artists. The HSS workspace is my main source of income. Not having the space & connected resources would be detrimental to my success, as well as the success of other artists I collaborate with in the space. Our space is a big part of the help we give to the artists we serve.” To learn more about Gary, visit https://www.instagram.com/gary_l_constant/.
Meet HSS artist, carpenter, & woodworker Blair Toland of Tall Guy Woodworking. When asked how losing his HSS workspace would affect his practice/business, he shared “we’d likely have to downsize the business, as a replacement space would be at least twice the rent. We have so much gear & tools which would require a large space like we have at HSS. If we relocated, it would add 2 hours drive time to my work day which would lessen both my work time & family time, lessening my quality of life, for sure. But what I’d lose most of all is the community of creatives here at HSS. I’ve made friends & work connections here, plus we often share materials or resources. Being part of this community of makers is invaluable.” To learn more about Blair & Tall Guy Woodworking, visit www.tallguywoodworking.com.
Meet HSS artist, designer & carpenter Brendan Haley. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “Having this physical space directly allows for me to use my mental space as a designer. Sure, I could rent another physical space -- but THE thing that can’t be recreated is the unexpected shared creativity that results from putting this seemingly disparate group of people together in one space. We couldn’t be more different -- in terms of age, race, culture, artistic medium, education, privilege. But we find the commonality to create -- and we’re all open to that WITH each other. We share creative ideas, materials & even business opportunities. It’s so inspiring & fulfilling.” To learn more about Brendan & his work, visit www.bhaleydesigns.com.
John Claus Beckwith
Meet HSS artist & painter John Claus Beckwith. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “I really don’t know. You can’t be a chef without a kitchen. Artists need a place to cook.”
Meet HSS artist, painter & sculptor Elizabeth Mooney.
When asked what she would do to keep her work practice going if the workspace property were sold, she shared “I would likely have to relocate, out of the city, to a space far away from my home. The added commute time would compete with my art-making time, which would lessen my business capability/earnings. I would sincerely miss this diverse community of artists that I work with & am a part of.” Learn more about Elizabeth & her work visit www.elizabethmooney.com.
Catherine Della Lucia
Meet HSS artist & sculptor Catherine Della Lucia. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “It would completely change the size & scope of the work I could do. I’d have to re-think materials & work-process as I’d only have a smaller space. Sculpture requires a lot of space for mapping design & materials & considering the execution of an idea. Sculpture needs the room for messes not to be cleaned up; there’s information & value in the mess & what we discard in the process. Space provides perspective, which is so necessary in making sculptural work.” Learn more about Catherine & her work at www.catherinedellalucia.com.
Meet HSS multi-faceted artist Peter Tibeault. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “I would have to close up shop entirely. In my time as an artist in Boston I’ve set up 5 shops. Humphreys Street is the best. I would have to create only two-dimensional work in my home, as I’d not have enough space to do large-scale sculpture & other more complex work I am used to. I would lose my many tools I’ve used for decades, as there’d be nowhere to store them. But most of all, I’ve become so comfortable in the HSS community of artists -- it’s such a great group--it would be a tragedy to lose this community.” Learn more about Peter & his work at www.petertibeault.com.
Meet HSS artist & painter Joe Wardwell. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “I really don’t know. My work is focused primarily on large-scale paintings. I would likely have to make much smaller work in a smaller workspace, which would adversely affect my entire career.” Learn more about Joe Wardwell & his work at www.joewardwell.com.
Meet HSS artist & photographer Sebastien Joseph. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, he shared “I hope I don’t have to, but I would work from home while I look for another space. But it's not just about the workspace--it’s also about the artist community. I would miss connecting & engaging with like-minded individuals. Knowing that we have similar goals makes me work harder toward my own.”
Learn more about Sebastien & his work at www.sonje.net.
Meet HSS artist & sculptor Nora Valdez. When asked what she would do to keep her work practice going if the workspace property were sold, she shared “it would be a tremendous loss. Doing stone carving, I need a lot of space, and preferably, outdoors due to the dust from carving. I’ve already been displaced from The Distillery in South Boston & Fort Point Channel so being displaced from HSS would mean moving both my studio & likely myself outside Boston -- to Lynn or Fitchburg or somewhere affordable. I would miss my carving patio I have here, as well as the amazing artist community.” Learn more about Nora Valdez & her work at www.noravaldez.com.
Meet HSS artist & architect Josh Rose-Wood. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the workspace property were sold, she shared “I would have to try and find another way to work -- probably get a regular office outside the city.
I would never find anything like this -- a creative space, filled with different artisans doing different creative things. Being around artists makes doing what I do more creative and richer. I can talk with carpenters, graphic designers, painters & metal workers -- to get ideas an opinions. I would lose the creative interaction.” Learn more about Josh Rose-Wood & his work at www.rosewoodarchitects.com.
Meet HSS artist, painter & collage maker Sharon Berke. When asked what she would do to keep her work practice going if the workspace property were sold, she shared “I would be forced to limit how I work. I can’t work at home & I can’t afford what’s out there. Having this studio space where I create is part of who I am, part of what makes me whole -- like eating, sleeping, being with friends. It’s invaluable.” Learn more about Sharon Berke & her work at www.sharonberke.com.
Meet HSS artist & blacksmith Andy Goode. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the property were sold, he shared “I fear that we may not be able to do it at all. We would need a place that allows blacksmithing -- which usually takes place in relatively rural surroundings. But more importantly, we would never be able to re-create this diverse artisan community at HSS. Not only are our mediums varied, but we are different ages/generations, come from different states & countries, speak different languages & are quite culturally diverse. You don’t find this in the private sector or in the regular workforce. HSS reminds me of artisan neighborhoods in Florence, Italy & Amsterdam -- where you’d find a leather-worker next door to the blacksmith, next door to the furniture maker. We have that here at Humphreys Street.”
Meet HSS artist & fine art framer Pablo Gonzalez. When asked what he would do to keep his work practice going if the property were sold, he shared “I’ve been doing business here for a long time, so would likely have to relocate my business outside the city, which would affect my client base. A new location would likely be smaller, as space is so expensive. I’d have to keep some of my machinery & materials in a separate storage space. Not being directly in Boston could even force me into early retirement, which is not part of my plan."
Meet HSS artist & photographer Jaypix Belmer. When asked what they would do to keep their work practice going if the property were sold, they share “I likely wouldn’t have a space, which, as an independent artist, I need a safe space to create, to commune, & to do business. But it's not just me,” they continue, “all artists need work spaces & we’re losing more & more each year.” Learn more about Jaypix & their work at https://www.jaypixworx.com.
Meet HSS artist and sculptor Gillian Christy. When asked what she would do to keep her work practice going if the property were sold, she shares “I would be forced to look for another studio space outside of Massachusetts. As a sculptor I weld sheet metal. My future studio would need to be an industrial space with a large door & concrete floors. It's so difficult to find smaller industrial spaces that allow for noise from heavy equipment.I would look at studio space in Pawtucket, RI, which would make for a lengthy commute. Of course, I’d rather stay at HSS, not only because of the artist community, but its proximity to industrial services. Learn more about Gillian & her work at www.gillianchristy.com.
Meet HSS artist Catherine Armistead, both a jewelry designer/maker & sculptor. When asked what she would do to keep her work practice going if the property were sold, she shares “I've looked around, but there's nowhere like my space at HSS. With the chemicals & materials I use, having a separate space from my home is much safer. Most studio spaces in the Boston area are live/work, or don't have access to a window ventilation, so it's tough. But also, the community at HSS has really blossomed over the course of the past year -- I have made connections with different artists & there's so much more I want to collaborate on. My studio practice lets me create meaningful objects & jewelry & spend much-needed time working with my hands. If the rent was raised by a new buyer, I would have a tough time staying.” Learn more about Cat & her work at www.catherinearmistead.com.
Meet Elson Fortes of Crazy Goodz, a street-wear lifestyle brand, as well as a graphic design company. Elson and his twin brother Wilson were born in Portugal and moved to the US at age 10. Crazy Goodz’ slogan is “life is crazy, just make it look good.” When asked about the benefit of having their workspace at HSS, he shared “being in the community space makes you more focused and accountable. You see other artists showing up and working. Being around other artists is so motivating. When asked where Crazy Goodz would work should HSS no longer exist he answered “You’re not going to find spaces in Boston – at all. Maybe Brockton or pretty far away. We would maybe have to move our work home and then seek a new workspace.” To learn more about Crazy Goods, visit https://www.crazygoodz.com/.
Meet Cristina Todesco, scenic designer for professional theatre & film, a HSS artist for 17 years. When asked where she would take her work practice, should HSS workspaces no longer exist, she shared “I would have to partner up with another artist and share a tiny part of their space. It will be unlikely to find such a thing in Boston, near the theatre clients I work with.” When asked what she would do if an outside buyer raised the rent, she says, “I would have to have a complete lifestyle change. I don’t see how I could accomplish that.” Learn more about Cristina here: https://www.cristinatodesco.com/
Meet Gary Barcus of G.B. Wooodworking, who’s designed/crafted fine furniture & cabinetwork since 1975. When asked what he’ll do should HSS workspaces not exist he answers “I’m at a loss. It’s so hard for a small woodworking shop to find space. The last guy had to move to Woodsocket, Rhode Island. It’s so great to be right here, in the thick of things, close to everything & surrounded by artists. The vibe of this place is creative & artistic.” Learn more about Gary at http://gbwoodworking.com/.
Meet Aaron Higginbottom of The Creative Studio & TCS Sportswear, which creates premium athletic apparel for sports teams & education, including Boston Public Schools. TCS also provides hands-on trade experience & employment opportunities for urban youth. When asked if he’d move The Creative Studio to his home, if HSS workspaces no longer exist he shared, “that’s where we were working before, but we have A LOT more equipment now, so that’s definitely not possible. We hope things will work out in the artists’ favor, so we can stay here & keep growing.” Learn more about Aaron & The Creative Studio here: