Magic Machine Residency (July 1- August 7) 2015

My Wonder Wheel mural appeared in the HBO series, The Deuce, Season 2, Episode 2: There’s An Art to This 


It all started with a wish. A wish to be able to partake in an artist residency and to take my practice into the Coney Island community. There are not many residencies that cater to the full time laborer so I was determined to make my own. Being a little on the shy side (at times), I sought out an assistant. The great Yasmeen Abdallah applied. She was the only one, so I hired her! She was a wonderful assistant, going place to place in Coney Island, around Surf Avenue, seeking out possible spaces for me to host my residency. Much to my surprise she located a place. It was run by a Gordon Lee , the operator of the Eldorado Auto Skooter and Arcade. What he had for rent was a game trailer. It was the most beautiful space I had ever imagined. It read “Coney Island” in a large carnivalesque font. The price was very affordable for New York but unaffordable for me. I had to completely bluff my way through the conversation. We made a deal. Once I had half the amount of the asking price, I could rent the trailer for one month. Minus the 4 days I worked per week, that wasn’t going to be a lot of time to work. However,if I hadn’t of taken the deal I would have never forgiven myself. It’s not the amount of time or the size of the space that matters.

Thank you Gordon and Lisa Lee and all the Coney Island people!!

Gordon Lee


Coney Island Magic Machine Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign

July 1st, 2015

1st day of the Magic Machine Residency

I got started late, still no keys. I’m happy just to be in the space, though. It’s a bit nerve
racking having people watch your every move, but interesting to see and hear the
responses. Today, I went to and fro my studio in Sunset Park and back to Coney.I packed
my gold shopping cart to the brim. A list of items: one spinning horse base with mirrors
with hot glue and traces of spray paint, ha…the smell of rain. For a minute, it smelled
like something was burning. Anyhow, the list: a tripod, wood panels, a jigsaw, hand drill,
compact driver, green folding chair, GoPro camera, paints, brushes, drill charger, and
drill bits, and an exacto knife and an orange extension cord.

“It is really raining today”. “Is it supposed to rain today”. Bell rings. Boom!!!!!!! Balloon
POPS!!!! OPEN<OPEN<OPEN……..moving white lights….blinking white lights…….
GoPro stops.

July 2, 2015

2nd day at Magic Machine Residency

The environment is definitely “bumpin” and loud, very Coney. Yesterday and today I
started at 11:00AM. The park is not yet alive at that hour. The sound is bearable and the
guns are silent. The Magic Machine faces the inside of the back of the ElDorado. The
question of the day is, “What is gentrification and what does it look like”. Today, I
started painting gentrification. However, the idea needs to be pushed in the paintings.
Next week, I interrupt the flow, to paint two mural paintings for Gordon on one of his
buildings. This should be fun, yet time consuming. I’m excited though, to work it into the
project somehow.

Is Coney Island being gentrified? If so, how so? Do people see gentrification when it’s
happening in their neighborhoods or do they just see it as change? Everything must
change and so people deal with it and don’t question it, or do they?
The Magic Machine draws onlookers. They are unsure how to perceive it. Some people
inquire, but most just walk by. It’s a game.
“Hey pretty, black on black”!!- Will, one of the ElDorado game operators
The park isn’t as busy as it usually is this time of year. There are many reasons why this
may be. The weather. Increase in prices from business owners. However, there is no real
reason to tell why the park is slower than usual. This is bad, because this effects the
revenue for local business owners.

Magician Sean
Magician Sean
Magic Selfie
Magic Selfie
Magic Machine
Magic Machine

Update for Week 1 at the Magic Machine Residency:

The past week was full of exploration, observation and the contemplation of gentrification. Not only the definition of gentrification but the effects of it on a local and universal level. I simply started by painting, with the idea of gentrification in mind and government housing projects in my peripheral. The ride you see in the video, that I am screaming on, caught my attention. Actually, it stopped me in my tracks. I stood underneath it,to try and understand why I was mesmerized by it. Then, I understood it the way I understand the work of Giacometti. Then, I realized that everyone riding that ride, too, understood Giacometti, even if they had no idea who he was.I decided I must ride it, putting my fear of heights aside.

July 7-9

This week I took a pause in the residency, or rather, shifted energy towards mural making. Gordon Lee and his wife Lisa, offered me space to paint my own “Coney Art Wall”. I now refer to Gordon, as the Coney Island Jeffrey Deitch. He’s just so kind. Thank you Gordon and Lisa, for allowing me to make my mark in my dream world.) I have always had an affinity for the orange shack.

Wonder Wheel Mural
Wonder Wheel Mural
Wonder and Eldorado Mural
Wonder and Eldorado Mural
Working on the Wheel mural
Working on the Wheel mural


As all beautiful things must come to an end, I hope you can join me for the closing reception at the MAGIC MACHINE on Thursday, August 6. Event starts at 6PM and lasts until 8PM. Message me here with questions.

MMInvite copy Map

Featured artist: Gabriella Szpunt

Artist: Gabriella Szpunt “The Brighton Blowout” 2015 Silkscreen on paper


Beats by Ras X-Cellent 

Berd and Ras X-Cellent


Things created during the residency:



Photo Courtesy of Jane Huntington

This image is part of the closing night documentation

11825726_10206640205035916_5439704480982378082_nKids filling out the “No Color at Coney” surveys on closing night


Coney folks enjoying the dress mangoes during the closing party.


Woman filling out “No Color at Coney’ survey on the closing night


Game paintings for prizes for “No Color Game”

Spray paint and latex on panel

4″ x 4″


Drawings for mural on orange shack


Game paintings

Spray paint and latex on found cardboard


Homemade stencil



Detail of inside of trailer and the “No Color Game”



Detail of game paintings

Press Release:

Magic Machine Press Release


Have a nice day

Thank you to all the wonderful supporters who helped fund the Coney Island Machine project! Because of you, it was successful and my goal was 105% funded!! This was the first time I’ve ever used a crowdsourcing platform and it was a great learning experience. I was inspired by an artist friend in Texas who recently funded his project through KickStarter. ( ambitious goal of 17,000 was successfully funded. This experience was intimidating, challenging and fun. I definitely have a new found respect for such platforms and for the people who venture out to utilize such tools. I now know how important it is to give time to look at projects by friends and strangers alike. One dollar gets you closer to your goal and creates momentum and inspiration for the project. This momentum helps to drive the project to fruition,which results in a gift for the world. Thank you.)

IndieGogo Fundraiser Perks:

Postcard,image taken with my grandmother’s medium format brownie camera
Postcard, image taken with my grandmother’s medium format Brownie camera
Donor at the $5.00 level: Thank you written in the sand
Donors at the $25.00 level: Eco-tote bag with an iron on, black and white image of the Magic Machine Front side
Magic Machine eco-tote
Back side of tote
Donors at the $10 level: Magic Machine keychain 3-d printed


Donors at the $100 level: Cover for blurb book

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