Meet the Artist: Rico Gatson

On April 16th, the Brooklyn Museum will host its fourth annual Brooklyn Artists Ball in celebration of the borough’s creative community. Leading up to the event—which honors artists Jenny Holzer, Ai Weiwei, and Kehinde Wiley, and features a benefit auction, dinner, and dancing—we spoke with artists who’ve contributed to the cause about their local art scene, their donation, and who they hope to run into on the dance floor.

Our chat with Rico Gatson follows:

Artsy: What is your personal relationship to Brooklyn? 

Rico Gatson: I moved to Brooklyn in 1991 after finishing graduate school at Yale and lived here until a move to Queens last April. So, Brooklyn is in me; it’s been my home away from home for 20 plus years. 

Artsy: Where are you based in Brooklyn—whether your home, studio, or both? 

RG: My studio has been located in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn for the past nine years. In that time, I have witnessed a lot of change, most of it positive. 

Artsy: And what’s exciting about the current Brooklyn art scene? 

RG: There’s been an explosion of artists and galleries here as well as other creative types. I’m excited about many of the galleries and alternative spaces here including Airplane, Outlet, 99¢ Plus, Momenta Art, Studio 10, Regina Rex, and Storefront Ten Eyck

Artsy: Can you name a few favorite local Brooklyn haunts—places to eat, drink, see art? 

RG: My favorite places to eat in Bushwick are Cafe Ghia, Roberta’s, Momo Sushi Shack and Northeast Kingdom. Favorite bars are The Narrows, The Johnsons, Pearls, Miles, and the Cobra Club

Artsy: What are some of the most important resources for Brooklyn artists? 

RG: The most important resource for artists used to be cheap rents but that has all changed. I would say that now it’s a large, diverse and supportive creative community. I believe it’s easier than ever to feel involved in something from the outset. 

Artsy: Can you tell us a bit about the work you’re donating to the benefit auction, which will be supporting the museum and the Brooklyn artist community, and why that’s a cause you’re happy to contribute to? 

RG: The work that I am donating is titled Samo #4 (2011), a work on paper with a collaged image of Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is a part of a series of works on paper inspired by important artistic icons. Jean-Michel was born in Brooklyn and was the subject of a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2005 so it is only appropriate that I donate this piece. I’m happy to be supporting the museum with my donation because it’s vital to give back to this community that has given me so much. 

Artsy: At the Brooklyn Artists Ball, I want to dance with: 

RG: I most want to dance with my beautiful wife Julie. 

Auction bidding begins April 7th at 12:00pm EST. Register to bid and explore the Brooklyn Artists Ball on Artsy

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