GO: With spiralling Manhattan real estate costs, many working artists have moved to other city boroughs to set up their studios. I love (and live in) the WilliamsburgBushwickGreenpoint area of Brooklyn, just across the East River from lower Manhattan. A favourite spot is Owen James Gallery, unashamedly downstairs from my studio; you’re as likely to discover an affordable work by a new artist here as stumble across a Raymond Pettibon. It’s notable for an emphasis on Southeast Asian art and, if you peek around the corner, you might also find illustrator Isabel Roxas in her studio; owenjamesgallery.com.
ENJOY: Behind an original Sicilian bread shop facade lies Desert Island, a quirky comic book store that hosts exhibitions and launches by fantastic cartoonists. The store always has a striking window display and its selection is wide, including rare art editions next to glossy superhero comics and handstapled ‘zines from the neighbourhood’s aspiring artists; desertislandbrooklyn.com.
EXPLORE: Sugarlift is New York’s online art gallery, but what it lacks in bricks and mortar, it compensates with regular events. Keep on your toes and you’ll find yourself at a private pop-up art show by Australian singer-songwriter-artist Courtney Barnett (nominated this week for eight ARIA awards) or a Bushwick rooftop party. Then slink home to bed and buy affordable art online, including by Australia’s Karan Singh and Justin Maller; sugarlift.com.
LEARN: A factory facade hides Tiger Strikes Asteroid, the NYC chapter of an artist-run network (also with locations in Los Angeles and Philadelphia). Its attraction is the curatorial voice of its diverse artists, and the professional development programs devised by those who are doing it themselves. The space is connected to Transmitter gallery, so you can double up on your visit; tigerstrikesasteroid.com; transmitter.nyc/.
FIND: The neighbourhood of Red Hook, further south in Brooklyn, is known for a huge IKEA store and a great bluegrass music dive, Sunny’s Bar, but its remote, industrial spaces have also attracted many artists. Pioneer Works is a non-profit experimental centre set up by artist Dustin Yellin; his passion infuses the building, from workshop facilities to huge exhibition hall and garden. It’s fun to snoop around the studios of artists in residence; sunnysredhook.com; pioneerworks.org/.
Matt Huynh is a Vietnamese-Australian artist, now based in Brooklyn, who most recently illustrated an interactive graphic novel based on The Boat by Nam Le, for SBS Online; matthuynh.com; sbs.com.au/theboat/. Insiders editor: Graham Erbacher Graham.Erbacher@news.com.au