ABOUT: “My friends joke that if they stand still for too long I’ll mosaic them,” laughs Judy Negron, mosaic artist and former cultural director for NYC’s School District 6. Negron’s work is so diverse that she has indeed embellished almost every surface in her studio with broken china, ceramic tiles, precious stones, and a host of other materials. “I like the idea of a making a silk purse out of sow’s ear... My son used to say my work is like putting together a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, only cheating, because I cut the pieces to fit together!” Negron’s work, which has been exhibited in various locations throughout the city, was recently on display at the Poet’s Den in El Barrio/East Harlem. Her pieces, which range from functional mosaicked furniture to fantastical “imaginary maps,” feature complex whorls of bright color that seem to recall a mystical past. “I’m influenced by medieval and pre-Christian art,” Negron says. “I’m told my work is spiritual.”
COMMUNITY RECOMMENDATIONS: During her time in El Barrio, Negron was “pleased and surprised at how many people in the area are interested in cultural activities.” She comments that most of the people who visited her exhibition were from the neighborhood. Negron also notes that the community seems to house a slew of untapped artistic potential; “the people are very friendly and very knowledgeable.” The former academic artist-in-residence says that she would love to see more arts classes offered in the neighborhood, so that the people could take their enthusiasm for the arts to the next level.