Imagination Monster: Studio Visit with Joana Ricou

Joanna Ricou for Bushwick Open Studios 2012

In March I stopped by Joana Ricou’s studio at 300 Meserole Street after having met her at Nurture Art where she volunteers. From her studio’s rooftop we could see the abandoned lot where the Trailer Park used to be. Her work explores the intersections of biology and art and has been featured on the cover of The Journal of Neuroscience. I came back in April to find out how she is preparing for her first Bushwick Open Studios.

SA: What are your plans for Bushwick Open Studios?

JR: I’ll be out of town, so some friends will host visitors in my studio. Also, David who works in the other half of the studio will be here the whole time. We’ll have some snacks, some drinks, and some postcards as a takeaway.

SA: What do you plan to show?

JR: I will be showing my figurative work, and some small drawings. Here in my studio and a figurative piece at 950 Hart Gallery*.

This is my first time participating in Bushwick Open Studios. I found out about it too late last year when I was doing a photo shoot here during the weekend. We took a break to get coffee and there was a sign advertising a “BOS Special”.

I was curious so I did some research. I’ve been waiting, very excitedly, for it to roll around again. My lovely friends require me at their wedding that weekend, but I’m excited to be participating this year.

Imagination Monster by Joana Ricou

SA: You’ll be showing pieces in Chicago soon. What is that show about?

JR: It’s in a gallery called Gallery Guichard and the show is entitled: “Abstract Voices”. I’ll be showing these cell portraits. The owner of the gallery is also an artist and he will be participating in the show. It will be up until July 14th.

Joanna Ricou in her studio

SA: Can you tell me what is a typical day is like in your studio?

JR: There are many different kinds of days. I have a web comic about it, because it’s that chaotic. But my days are split between spending an inordinate amount of time on the computer: emailing people and doing research for many different kinds of things.

There’s a significant amount of time carrying really heavy things for long distances.

There is some time spent suffering. When I’m not able to do something and I’m staring at the canvas in pain. The newest activity has been talking to people during studio visits, which has really enriched my day and my mind. All of that is for that one minute when you put a brushstroke down and it’s a good brushstroke. It’s bliss!

Then you’re ready for another hundred hours of the other stuff getting ready for that moment again.

Joana Ricou in her Bushwick Studio

*Full disclosure: I am the curator at 950 Hart Gallery.