Go About Your Business
Go About Your Business, a solo show by Dean Chooch Landry, will be on display in the Mooney Center Gallery from August 29 to September 23.
Landry, who hails from Harlem, works as a commercial artist and illustrator. His clients include Anna Sui, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Strokes, and Nickelodeon, to name a few, and his trompe l’oeil designs were featured in two major art museum exhibitions. His Anna Sui illustrations can be seen in the book “Fashion & Graphics,” published by Harper Design International, and “My Favorite Dress,” published by ACC Editions.
Landry is, in all respects, an artist — he creates inspired paintings, illustrations, photographs, and is a practicing musician, performing and touring with his band, Tiger Flowers. His vibrant paintings have been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. His photographs include a large body of Polaroid, digital, and medium format film work, which span the spectrum from street to nature and everything in between. His photo series of Harlem has been widely exhibited in various galleries and online features. His paintings and Polaroid photos are featured in a release from Magma Books, “Graphic 09.” His, paintings, Polaroids and illustrations were featured in a solo show titled CHOOCHLAND in Osaka, Japan. A book of his illustrations and paintings was published to accompany this exhibit.
His painting and engraving works were displayed in a solo show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. Landry continues to show paintings and photos with Converge Gallery and contribute with Colab to Art For A Free Tibet.
His photographs were recently featured in a solo show in New York City and were part of a group show in November 2012 in Madrid and New York in 2013. A solo show in Norway in 2014 is in the works, along with a show in Spain.
From the Artist:
As I go down, the handlebars, pedals, my hands and arms scrape across the pavement. I hear what sounds like a hundred kids yell OOOOOOOOhhhhhhh!!!!!
It was one of those times you wish you could just disappear. An elderly lady asks are you ok sweetie? With my arms and legs a mess I pick up myself, my camera and my bike and try to ride away as quick as I can with crooked handlebars.
I’ve lived in Harlem for over half my life and I love this neighborhood and its history. I ride bikes as much as I possibly can and I take my camera everywhere so doing a photo series on Harlem wasn’t really an idea it just happened.
There was Laura who told me stories about the old Renaissance Ballroom and Casino on 137th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and how much fun it was to go there in the old days. She also reminisced about getting dressed up and going to places like the Savoy Ballroom where Cab Calloway, Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald performed. Hearing the stories from the people who were actually there is amazing. Unfortunately most of these places are all long gone and the people who helped them flourish will be gone soon too. There are a few places that still stand like The Apollo Theater and Minton’s Playhouse. I was lucky enough to see James Brown in the 90’s at the Apollo and to shoot pictures at a show at Minton’s last summer. Minton’s is cited as THE birthplace of Bebop and modern Jazz with giants like Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Mingus among others who played on that stage. The original mural that was painted in the 1940’s is still on the wall behind the stage.
One of my other new friends is Claudio the Barber on 116th st. He’s been at this same location since 1949. He’s a true holdout of the old school Italian neighborhood that East Harlem once was. His shop has three beautiful ancient light green Barber chairs. His favorite is the middle chair. The other two were for his business partners who have both passed away more than 30 years ago. The haircuts are still only $10 and he has an amazing wealth of knowledge and love for the neighborhood. “I’m 83 years old, I feel good and I’m still a good barber.” Visit his shop for a great haircut, great stories and some Harlem history.
I was also lucky enough to meet a gentleman that said he was in the original cast of the Broadway play Hair in the 1960’s and he sang 2 songs for us right there on the sidewalk on 125th St. He had a beautiful voice. An older lady walked up to us when I was talking to him and asked me “do you know who you’re talking to?” “This man was on Broadway and he’s one of the best singers in New York” It was a great experience.
I never had any idea how fulfilling and rewarding it would be to explore this neighborhood and it’s history. Most of all it’s forced me out of my shell and I really cherish talking to and learning from most of the people I meet. There are some really amazing people in Harlem and I feel blessed for the people I have been lucky enough to meet so far.