With All About Downtown right around the corner and our upcoming #dayinthelifejc exhibit at the 2016 Jersey City Art and Studio Tour, Honey and Moon Photography will be bringing our Jersey City-themed photo booth to a location near you where you can munch on the greasy bacon burger props from White Mana Diner on Tonnele Avenue or pose as our majestic Statue of Liberty! What makes these props even more special is the Jersey City based artist who makes these one of a kind props, Gail-Marie Boykewich!
In July of 2015, Honey and Moon Photography launched our first #dayinthelifejc City-Wide Photography Project. We encouraged as many people as possible to shoot all over the city on September 12th, and submit their photos to us for consideration to be included in a photography exhibit at the Lackawanna Pop Up Space during Studio Tour. Additionally, we created a Jersey City-themed Photo Booth, representing city landmarks like The Colgate Clock and institutions that make this city great like WFMU and The Liberty Science Center. We got recommendations from the great folks at Art House Productions, and reached out to Gail to get our beautiful, one-of-a-kind props.
Growing up, Gail-Marie worked with fabric and sculpture, but after falling in love with Van Gogh as a student at Rutherford High School in New Jersey, she knew that she wanted to be a painter. At first, she was nervous about telling her parents about her dreams. “My father was always like, ‘study hard, academics is the most important thing,'” she says. “But both of my parents saw how passionate I was, and they said they would support me. That gave me the confidence to go for it.”
As a student at the School of the Art Institute, she was influenced by Chicago artists George Gross, Kerry James Marshall, David Hockney and Roger Brown. Her work was also influenced by magic realism, including Ivan Albright and Grant Wood. “I really like surrealism, but I also like some of the traditional colonial portraits, so I like to blend the two,” she explained. “I struggled for a while with that in college because I felt like: Is this good enough? Is this something people want to see” Because it seemed so old fashioned… the years I was in Chicago it was all about contemporary art.” The focus on the process and ideas surrounding contemporary art challenged Boykewich in her preference of portraiture. “I struggled a little bit in my classes. People would just be like, ‘What is this? Why are you just painting a picture of a random person?’ After a couple of years, I said fuck it. This is what I really like doing, this is what inspires me. Maybe there’s someone out there who will enjoy this too. And I just kept doing these imaginary portraits and patterns and flowers.”
After college, Boykewich moved to LA, and ended up working at a company creating set decorating for films. “This company developed 3 dimensional like blow up dolls, and they put masks on them. I would help dress them and put the wigs on. When they found out I was a painter, they had me paint the masks as well. That was the moment I realized I was interested in productions and creating things for productions.”
When she moved to Jersey City, she hooked up with a friend, Mason Beggs, a director who often works with Art House Productions.” He asked me if I wanted to work on a play with him, Font of Knowledge. I had a really great time. There was murder and aliens, it was just really out there which I liked.”
Boykewich is currently working on a new collection of paintings inspired by her trip to Japan with her husband Noah. What inspires her when she’s stateside? “Walking around any kind of nature, looking at little animals and flowers…as cheesy as that sounds, it helps me clear my mind.Then I’ll do little doodles and sketches and that helps the process of what I want to make next.” Can’t wait to see what’s up next for Boykewich? Follow Gail directly on instagram @gymboykev or contact her directly at email@example.com. Keep your eyes peeled for her Etsy shop, My Morning Bell, which will launch soon!
To find out more about bringing our photo booth to your event, call us at 551-200-7364 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, look for us at the All About Downtown Fair, on September 17th, 2016!