St’Art Up 317: Washington + Virginia Ave

Photos by Savannah Calhoun and Jamar Mitchell

Launched just last year, St’ArtUp 317 is a competitive program aiming to match vacant commercial spaces in Downtown Indianapolis with artists, brands, startups and established businesses to create pop-up stores. With a similar goal in mind and new ties between PATTERN and Develop Indy, a sector of the Indy Chamber, this year St’ARTUp 317 will feature 30 pop-ups at 10 locations in and surrounding Downtown in order to showcase the authenticity of Indy’s creative class and in hopes to secure long-term tenants for underutilized storefronts, enhancing the overall cultural identity of our city.

This series of stories highlights artists, entrepreneurs and businesses that were selected to participate in this year’s return of St’ArtUp 317.

GREENSCAPE GEEKS

Greenscape Geeks mission is “to help homeowners and commercial entities rebuild native plant and wildlife populations, conserve valuable resources and emphasize natural beauty.” They offer multiple services including landscaping with native plants, organic hydroseeding, natural hardscapes and aquatics, prairie restoration, beds and composters, garden consultation and more. Check out their installation at 130 E Washington St.

Photo by Savannah Calhoun

Tell us about yourself.
Greenscape Geeks is owned by Joey and Michael. Michael grew up in Missouri planting flowers with his mom and grandma and gardening with his grandfather. He attended college at Southeast Missouri State University and Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning for grad school. He has been in the business professionally for 10 years now and loves working with historic and high-end design in the Indy area. Joey attended Wabash College before enlisting with the U.S. Army. He then completed a masters degree at Butler University and is responsible for the business side of the operation.

Tell us a little bit about your business or art practice.
We own a sustainable landscaping company with a special focus on utilizing native plants and maximizing storm water retention. We offer lots of services including mulching, aeration, soil tests, soil amendment, landscaping, prairie restoration, organic lawn maintenance, drainage and more.

What do you hope to get out of this opportunity?
Through this opportunity, we hope to get a bit more exposure to Indianapolis residents and the green community at large.

Check out Greenscape Geek’s website, Facebook, and Instagram!

JOY HERNANDEZ

Communication specialist and animation artist Joy Hernandez created a fun and colorful display for St’Art Up 317 at Milhaus HQ using acrylic and aerosol paint. She loves connecting with people and artists as their creativity energizes her. With only three days to make and install her display, Joy knocked it out of the park..or should we say knocked it out of this world, as her unnamed astronaut even makes an appearance.

Photos by Jamar Mitchell

Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from the weird little town of Kewanee, Illinois, and moved to Indy to finish college after starting it in Chicago. I studied animation there and communication here, and currently work in local television, as well as with my art endeavors. I was the gallery manager of the Art Bank, downtown, for five years, before leaving to create the Full Circle Nine Gallery artist co-op in the Circle City Industrial Complex, which is still my art home. I’m the last president of IDADA, and am proud of the work we did there with that organization, and proud to have been a part of its legacy here in Indy. I’m a member of the Walldogs, a mural group that helps revitalize small towns around the country by creating murals reflecting that town’s unique history over five days each summer. I’m glad to have been able to be a part of these organizations because it’s so much fun to connect with other artists and being around them energizes creativity. It inspires me and also pushes me to ‘up my game.’ They’re all a large part of who I am and what I do.

Tell us a little bit about your business or art practice.
I work with acrylic and aerosol paint, utilizing a stencil technique to finish off my work. My animation background has never left me, and that nature shows through in the style of my subjects, as well as in my creation of characters to express what I want to portray. I have a nervous robot named Santiago, an exuberant dinosaur named Mentos, and an astronaut that is unnamed. I like the facelessness of the astronaut, that I can have that character doing something, but the gold visor keeps us from seeing the face. So the activity and any intent can be inferred, but it’s really up to the viewer to complete the story. I’ve always been a fan of space exploration, comic books and nerdish pop culture, so those are often the subjects for my work. I really enjoy blending the aerosol paint, to see how smooth I can get the colors, and, if I’m using multiple stencils in a piece, the how-to of it all. I work pretty quickly, but I think through my process for a while in my head. By the time I get around to creating the piece, it’s just about execution and following my plan. I’ve also found that there’s no going back. If I screw up, if it doesn’t go according to plan after all, I have to adapt the plan and live with the results, because trying to fix whatever went awry will usually…just make it worse.

What do you hope to get out of this opportunity?
In some ways, I’ve already gotten what I wanted out of this opportunity. I was a late add and underestimated the size of the space I was to fill (Milhaus’s windows, ten of them at 8 x 4 ft each). I created my installation in just two days, start-to-finish, installed on the third, and it ended up looking just as I’d hoped when I made the plan. (Also, a shout-out to the best landlord in the city! My landlord had a tall enough ladder and the time to help me install, so I can’t thank him enough!). I’m also really glad to have been able to take my designs, my characters, and blow them up to such a large size, to see what they’d look like, if only temporarily. I’ve painted on several murals over the years, but only a few times solo, and always in styles that weren’t of my own creation (more made to look like something else or someone else’s style). This was 100% me, and I really like how happy the colors come off, the bold energy I think they have, and the fun of the astronauts screwing around in each section. It’s just the way I’d hoped it would be, and now I hope to paint them onto more permanent surfaces as the opportunities arise.

Follow Joy on Facebook, Instagram and check out her website for more awesome pieces!

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