Subway Journey / A Brooklyn Bestiary
Central Library, 2nd floor Balcony Cases
Subway Journey: A Home Away from Home
linoleum prints by Olga Rogachevskaya
As an immigrant artist from the Ukraine, I have been fascinated in the last 10 years by the diversity of the people who share the confined space of subway cars. My artwork captures the diverse lives and emotions of commuters on seemingly separate journeys as they share one space on a crowded train. Their cultures, traditions, costumes and colors come together in one place. In a subway car, one can be so far from his or her original birthplace, but still feel at home.
People are my main interest in art. I enjoy observing the beauty of their uniqueness. I savor my glimpses of who they are as I make small discoveries that reveal layers of their unique character. When I am lucky, I capture the essence of the person I portray. Sometimes, the choices I make as an artist are logical and deliberate; other times, they are purely emotional.
I believe that the purpose of art is to share what we feel and how we see this world as individuals. With this project, I'd like to honor and celebrate the diversity of Brooklyn's immigrant experience. As a Brooklyn-based artist, I am especially excited to share my experience with the immigrant community that resides here.
Olga Rogachevskaya has illustrated books and fairy tales, including Royal Tea Party by Richard Schoetz, "Thumbelina" by Hans Christian Andersen, Slobozanski Fairy Tales by Orest Somov and a book of poetry by Vladimir Mayakovsky. She has exhibited her work in a solo show at Brooklyn Public Library's Kings Bay Library and in a group show at the Art Students League of New York. She received the 2009 DCA Regrant Award from Brooklyn Arts Council and Honorable Mention from the Art Students League. She earned a B.F.A. in illustration from the Kharkov Art Industrial Institute and a B.F.A. in communication design from Parsons.
Over Coney Island
A Brooklyn Bestiary: Wildlife in the City
woodcut prints by Lisa Studier
The phrase "urban wildlife" brings to mind pigeons, rats and cockroaches. Many city dwellers are convinced they have to travel to encounter wild animals in a natural setting, or be content with viewing wildlife only in zoos and aquariums. But here in New York's most populous borough, close to one-third of the 71 square miles is classified as open space, and Brooklyn can boast a level of biodiversity that rivals that of many rural areas of New York State.
With dozens of parks and green spaces, Brooklyn hosts a huge range of ecosystems: beach, salt marsh, sand dunes, grasslands, meadows, freshwater wetlands, creeks and ponds, and forests and woodlands. Even apartment building lawns, street trees and backyards can provide a home for some animal neighbors.
Overall, Brooklyn has hundreds of species, both full-time and seasonal, spanning the entire animal kingdom: Peregrine falcons nest in the towers of the Marine Parkway Bridge; woodchucks and monk parakeets inhabit Greenwood Cemetery; menhaden fish school in Jamaica Bay; horseshoe crabs spawn in Dead Horse Bay every spring; Savannah sparrows, northern harriers, bobolinks and ring-necked pheasants live in Floyd Bennett Field; rabbits and bats come out at dusk in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; and wild turkey, crayfish, red-tailed hawks, bullfrogs and garter snakes live in Prospect Park. Just looking into backyards, one can encounter butterflies; moths; bees; crickets; birds such as the blue jay, cardinal, chickadee and hummingbird; and sometimes even raccoons, opossums and skunks!
The natural world still surrounds us, here in this most urban of settings. There is an abundance of wildlife right outside our doors, down the street, or just a short subway or bike ride away. It's hidden in plain sight, just waiting for us to open our eyes and look.
Lisa Studier has exhibited her prints nationally and internationally in galleries and museums, including solo shows at the Manhattan Graphics Center and the New York Hall of Science. In 2007, her artwork was the basis for the costume design in Fishes Feed Us, an ocean conservation project produced by Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. In 2006, a selection of her prints was featured in Sea Stories, an online journal published by the Blue Ocean Institute. She earned a Master of Library Science from Queens College and a B.A. from Oberlin College, and is a librarian at the New York Botanical Garden.