How to support yourself, and others, as an artist in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Starving isn’t an option for these artists — they’ve got mouths to feed.

A legion of unsung Flatbush and Ditmas Park artists have figured out the foolproof way to support themselves and a family in a borough known for its striving young creatives living in converted lofts without heat and water — day jobs.

The community of older artists — many of whom have mortgages — organized under the Flatbush Artists collective, will be hosting its studio tour May 19-20 where they will welcome the public into their homes and studios.

“I was with a commercial gallery in Long Island many years ago but I realized that I couldn’t make a living this way,” said Zane Treimanis, 64, who retired as an art teacher a few years ago to focus on making unique wall-hanging wood constructions. “If you have a family. You just can’t make enough money, it’s just too hard.”

For some in the community, the art they make wouldn’t be possible without their vocations.

“I consider my art just an extension of what I used to do, I’m just taking it to another level,” said Paul Catalanotto, 50, who owned a plastering company for many years and now makes murals as well as paintings out of colored plasters that he sells commercially. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without all the years of experience from using the same tools.”

The struggle to be an artist is often thought of as a young person’s game — but these seasoned artists, many of whom are in their fifties or sixties, say that their outside work has given them more freedom the art they create.

“Many artists have to sell their work and have to create for the marketplace but I don’t care about creating stuff that will sell,” said Eric Pesso, 65, another member of the collective, a computer programmer by day who says he lives for his art — elegant and graceful wood sculptures — but has never sold a piece. “I think of myself as more of an artist than a computer programmer. But you do have to pay the bills!”

The Flatbush Artists Studio Tour will be held in multiple locations in Ditmas Park, May 19-20, noon to 6 pm. Free. For the full map, visit

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 2:33 pm, May 11, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!