“It’s really important for artists to have a resource where they could get art supplies that aren’t from a corporation,” Arielle Avenia tells ANIMAL, showing us around the 10 x 12 Aftermath Supplies space at Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. (See our video tour above.)
Since January 2013, Avenia and her business partner Devin Lilly have been selling donated, salvaged and rehab’ed art supplies — paints, oils, fabrics, photo supplies, metal, tools, glue — whatever falls into their hands and under the gamut of what they call “creative materials.”
The free-standing lofted hub opens its metal gates a few times a week after 8pm, often coinciding with shows and art events at the Bushwick incubation space. Their set-up is DIY. Their business is word-of-mouth. Their customers are people who come to one of Silent Barn’s many concerts, residents from the other art studios and neighbors. Artists pop by in need of late night emergency paints, photo shoot props or one of the oddities, like the furry, toothed, bundled-up, head-shaped mystery-thing that Arielle was giving to a customer right before our interview.
“Everything is sourced from people that we know and is going back to people that we know,” Arielle explains, climbing down the wooden stairs of the second-tier storage/workspace/sewing space. Aftermath Supplies’ first donors were the bizarro-festive performance art group Cheryl. Centered below the combination ceiling-paper shelf, there’s a harmoniously cluttered desk, donated by the Market Hotel, an infamous Brooklyn DIY music venue and art squat.
The gates may sometimes be locked, but the Aftermath “free shelf” is always open, full of odd things to take or leave. While we filmed, someone picked up a copy of The Bell Jar, but they’ve had jewelry, art pins, clothes, Mardi Gras beads, a toaster and one time, a brown bag marked of bones marked “bag o’ bones.”
Aftertmath Supplies is hard to miss — through the entrance, past the barbershop/record store Deep Cuts run by WFMU DJ Brandon Perry, down where the hallway splits, with the performance space to the right, more artists studios to the left and Babycastles’ arcade machines wedged all around. Right now, Aftermath’s fellow residents artists are Casper Electronics instrument makers, noise musician and noise festival organizer Bob Bellerue and experimental choreographer Wanda Gala. There are also painters, multi-media artists, messenger bag makers and many more. There’s even a recording studio.
After a year at Silent Barn, Aftermath has learned a lot and they’re adjusting their mission. “We want to be more interactive,” Devin tells ANIMAL. In April, they’ll be running educational and instructional workshops. You can look. You can touch. You can screen-print and sew. That’s the future of Aftermath — an open source open studio. (Video: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)