Founded in the summer of 2003 by Alma Davila-Toro and Atiba T. Edwards, F.O.K.U.S. support artists and audiences through events such as workshops, concerts, art shows and our magazine, INSIGHT. F.O.K.U.S. creates a continuously growing community where the arts strive as we believe the arts enable people to rise above barriers in society. F.O.K.U.S. expands the view on what is considered an art and raises awareness to the benefits and need of creativity.


Volume III | Issue 3
02 Letter From the editor 03 Street StyLe 04 eVoLUtioN oF mAN 06 bS 10 rAw cUbA 16 FAce pAiNter 20 brookLyN’S ANgeLS 26 brookLyN’S LeAdiNg LAdieS oF ice creAm 32 homecomiNg 33 pictUre FrAme 34 iNSide LookiNg oUt 36 iNFiNite pLAyLiSt


Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light. Allison is an Assistant Director of a preschool in downtown Brooklyn and she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health. “Children make the best artists; like trick candles, they never run out of light.” Jeff is a creative type whose favorite questions are Why? and What if...? In that order.

CONTRIBUTORS / JEFF ALBERT / GORDON ARMSTRONG / BISHOP203 / ANEICKA BOOKAL / ATIBA T. EDWARDS / LAURA GALVIN / ADENIKE HUGGINS / ANDREW JIMENEZ / ALLISON MARITZA LASKY / JOHANNA TREFFY www.onefokus.org/insight Questions and comments can be directed to info@onefokus.org Submission inquiries can be sent to insightsubmit@gmail.com All advertising inquiries can be directed to ads@onefokus.org INSIGHT is published by F.O.K.U.S. Inc.
All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of F.O.K.U.S. or INSIGHT.

Volume III | Issue 3
It’s summer and these past months have been crazy for the home team. Everything from schedules and plans going up in flames to the weather. Why was it 90 sumtin’ degrees hot at 2am in the morning multiple times?!?! Folks were inventing methods to cool off. From ways to crack that fire hydrant’s FDNY lock to a mix of a soaking wet t-shirt on the head with a spray bottle and handle held fan. Nothing spurs creativity more than desire couple with absence. This issue is filled with artists who decided to do it for themselves. Everything ranging from two Brooklynites starting an ice cream company because they lived outside of the delivery zone to a creative nomad who blends graphic design with illustrations all wrapped in her passion. Read on to see pictures of Cuba (probably one of the easiest ways to go there...for now), art nomads decorating the street and re-imagining of famous faces also complete this issue. Enjoy, and let the artists know how you feel about their pieces.


Atiba T. Edwards

(from left to right) Soho: “My style is Southern”; Rocky: “Rock ’n Gold”; Retro C: “New York 90s”


Photo by Atiba T. Edwards at 2010 Brooklyn Bodega & F.O.K.U.S. Family Day

I drew the pieces approximately in summer of 2004. I did the pieces at Parsons School of Design, where I took a non-matriculated adult course— mostly just to relax.
gordon Armstrong was born in brooklyn, New york to guyanese parents. he grew up in park Slope and Flatbush, brooklyn. he currently works in the field of finance. 4 | INSIGHT

an Interview by aDENIKE HUGGINS
One-half of a creative partnership that was pure bS, Chris Colon is now ready to reemerge as a solo artist. bS was the brainchild of two art students who set out to debunk the myth of the starving artist. Using their formal marketing training from FIT and unorthodox tactics, not only did they sell their art on shirts, but they sold out for four straight years on the corner of Broadway and Houston Streets in SoHo. Their talent and profit allowed them to open up a retail store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…and then the partnership ended. This is Chris Colon’s side of this bS… ADENIkE HUGGINS: The old saying goes, “Nothing lasts forever.” Did you envision bS as an indefinite partnership? CHRIS COLON: I can remember walking with Brandon and one of our stylists at the time searching for clothes for our first ever photo shoot for bS and I felt this feeling in my stomach that was unparalleled. I looked at him and said, “Yo bro, if we do this right, this could be something great.” From day one, I always felt that bS could do great things if guided in the

right direction. I also said that it would never end, that I wouldn’t be answering questions like this. But I guess as the old saying goes, “Never Say Never”—so ironic. A: You once told me that bS meant beautifully simple. What was bS? C: bS was the creative collaboration of two art students looking to quiet the critics that said that money could not be made off of art work. Myself, along with another artist named Brandon Schell, built a lifestyle mom-andpop brand at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the Spring of 2004. We created one-of-a-kind t-shirts, with designs that came straight out of our sketchbooks. We used the T-shirt as a platform to sell and display our artwork, and sold them on the streets of New York City. By using guerrilla tactics, we were able to establish a strong market and brand. A: I met you and Schell on the street hawking your wears, and I became an instant fan. How did you maintain the personal touch amidst the popularity? C: bS Shirts was featured in countless magazine and newspaper publications including “New York Fashion,” “The Ave,” “New York Newsday,” “AM New York” and

“V.” 4 years later, we were fortunate enough to open our own store in Philadelphia. Personal touch? Well, what I meant when I said mom-and-pop was that it was very closely kept. For two kids coming straight out of college and not having to deal with job applications and interviews, you can imagine how big our egos were. We didn’t let the masses enjoy what we had created in fear that they would turn it into a fad—instead, we kept it local and to a specific market, no packaging involved, and no free gifts or promotions. bS was homegrown and grassroots in every

sense of the word—it was paint on a T-shirt. A: It sounds like a simple approach that was very successful. Did the “creative” part get in the way of the business partnership? C: I don’t think the creative part had anything to do with our business partnership—I think that’s what brought us together, a friendly competition between two brothers. When I would see what he [Brandon] would come up with, I immediately wanted to do something greater. I admired that about him, his visionary way of

Chris Colon

creating new projects for himself and for bS. The dynamics in the way we handled the business and our friendship were very shaky— there was no communication, and the foundation for our business was never created. That’s why we fell. A: What has the bS experience taught you? C: The bS experience taught me that if ever I decided to create another business for myself, that I could do it without the aid of a partner alongside me. It also taught me that I don’t have to do everything and that having people around to help you is a great thing. This is all part of being a great leader. A: What was the highlight of bS? C: The highlight of bS was waking up every day and making money off of something that I love to do—realizing that I was living my dream. One of the things I really got off on was earning the admiration and respect of my peers and fellow business owners who never thought I would achieve the goals I set for both myself and bS. I love doing what everyone else would consider to be the impossible. I absolutely love it! A: Sounds like you are ready to quiet more critics. What’s next for you? C: Well I am currently working

on developing my new line and am also working with aspiring artists to develop their brands and businesses. One of the artists I am currently working with, A Butta, has just released his debut album W.O.M.E.N. I created his brand logo and designed his cd jacket— check out and support his music at abutta.com. A: With bS behind you, does it feel like you have to prove yourself all over again or does the cred make it easier to parlay your talent? C: I think what I accomplished with bS was great, but now that I’m going solo of course it’s going to be hard—everyone is waiting to see if I can create the same magic that was created with bS. You always have to prove yourself—I feel I have to put this type of pressure on myself so I can create a project that is ten times better than the one that was created in the past. As they say, “You’re only as good as your last show.” So with that said, get ready for that Chris Colon. Chris Colon is an artist, a brand, and most importantly a lifestyle. Look for my debut line “Chris Colon” that will hit stores summer 2011.The debut line “Chris Colon” will provide its customers with inspirational artwork at an affordable price that brings them to a different place each time a new design comes out. In an inflated

market where everyone is trying to make the next great t-shirt, the basis of this brand will be to create an awareness of the artwork itself. A: Your personality is so effervescent, yet your work can be both heavy and whimsical. What inspires you? C: I love Art Nouveau style and frequently reference it in my works. When I paint, I stare at the canvas sometimes without having a set plan for myself and invision the next move. I enjoy watching the UFC, kung

fu flicks and most of all reality TV shows—they make the world a better place. I also love quoting movies such a “Coming to America” and “The Last Dragon.” I am a funloving, passionate guy. I love talking to customers and explaining my artwork to them. To get a sneak preview of my line go to chriscolondesigns.blogspot.com
Adenike is a brooklyn girl who loves conversation and despises time; her goal is to be limitless.


The traveler to Cuba need not make recommended donations to enter museums and other tourist sights. Cuba itself is a breathing, living museum. Decayed buildings on broken streets preserve memory, as they remain standing next to florescent, newly painted ones. after 50 years of socialism, the spirit of the Cuban people is as alive today as it was then. I wanted to capture that spirit.

Among midday traffic and parked cars, young boys play baseball with makeshift gear—flip flops, old sneakers or bare feet. Their baseball diamond is formed by the four street corners in “Stadium Habana Vieja.”

Photo by Ely Key

johanna Treffy

The pitcher throws the ball—a sock full of sand—in the final run of the day.

johanna Treffy

BASES LOADED (Above, top)
The bases are loaded: it’s Barefoot vs. Sandals going for home base. The catcher shouts in the background.

THE BENCH (Above, bottom)
The Bench: A team meeting with the cheerleaders, catcher, pitcher, passerby and nose-picker. An excellent end to another baseball game in Havana.

johanna Treffy

The Sandals’ cheerleader, dressed in her team’s colors.

johanna Treffy

RAw CUBA (Location)
Just steps away from the game, three sisters watch the world pass by from inside their one-room home.
Johanna treffy is an independent photographer and world traveler. in her photographs, she has captured local people, old and young, and the unique landscapes of over 60 countries. She is also a tri-athlete and linguist. She works and lives in New york. INSIGHT | 15

an Interview by aTIBa T. EDWaRDS
ATIBA T. EDwARDS: What made you decide to move from Connecticut to New York City? LAURA GAvIN: Being from a very small town in Connecticut, I had been planning to move to NYC for as long as I can remember. I was very bored with my town and high school life, and couldn’t wait to get out! In high school, I spent most of my time in the art room working on projects and even took Saturday classes at the University of Hartford. In a way, the boredom and frustration I had with my surroundings ultimately inspired me

and allowed me to dedicate more time to my work. I only applied to my dream college, the School of Visual Arts in New York. I was accepted and completed a year and a half before transferring to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). A: As you mentally move between illustration, fabric design, styling and other arts, what cross influences occur? L: My roots are in traditional fine arts and I think that foundation has tremendously benefited me throughout other creative endeavors—for example, basic visual skills such as layout, or color theory have applied across

(above) Spain oil paint 30" x 24" 2010 (left) India oil paint 36" x 48" 2008

Laura Gavin

the board. When I came to FIT for Fabric Styling, I realized how beneficial having an art background was, but also learned where to draw inspiration from and how to use my artistic talents in other ways. But whether you are designing a textile, styling a line of products, or doing an oil painting, you go through the same creative process—you have to be inspired, have a strong vision and then have the patience, passion, and of course skill set to execute your vision. Every time I branch out and try something new, I can tell it benefits me in all aspects and is influenced by everything I’ve learned in the past. A: One thing I notice in your paintings is the prominence of the human face—to what extent is this done intentionally and why? L: Faces are definitely my favorite thing to capture in paintings, and I think there are a few reasons for this. First, I just happen to have a knack for replicating people’s likenesses. I enjoy painting realistically and when someone can be recognized in something I’ve drawn or painted, I just feel like I got it right. Second, I think faces convey a lot of emotion and I like to be able to have that in my paintings. People can really read into the expression on someone’s face and sympathize or connect with whoever they’re seeing—making

each work more relatable and emotional. And lastly, I am just fascinated by everyone’s different faces and what they can represent. I like to depict different cultures in a lot of my work and what the people look like from that culture is a big visual factor. I’m a people-watcher, I’d paint everyone if I could! A: You’ll be heading to Spain on a one-way ticket—what led to this decision? L: Well, after living in New York City for 5 years, I feel like I need a change. It’s easy to get caught up in everything NYC has to offer, but I realized that now is the only time in my life when I will be able to travel, experience new cultures, and basically not make any plans—it feels great to finally not have any real schedule or commitments! I feel like my life is just beginning, in a way. I’m sure these new experiences and freedom will be very inspirational to me in more ways than just art. I will have a better idea of what I enjoy and what type of job I’d like to have later in life. A: Complete the phrase “Art is…” L: Art is an extension of the artist; a visual representation of their self and their experiences.
to see more of Laura’s work, visit www.lauragalvin.com INSIGHT | 19

I am a Brooklyn based artist/street artist/graffiti head. I have a character I have been playing with—I call them Bangels (Brooklyn’s angels). I cut them out of plywood and drill them into the sides of buildings, construction sites, or even stop sign poles on the street. They are 4 feet tall and represent mini versions of myself, being empty-hearted, hollowheaded, yet for the most part having a sense of humor about it all.

Photo by Ely Key


ANDREA3 (Top, left)
12" x 30", Acrylic on canvas

FLAvORS (Top, middle)
30" x 24", Acrylic on canvas

STORm (Top, right)
12" x 36", Acrylic on canvas

40 (Middle)
60" x 20"m Acrylic on canvas

ANDREA2 (Bottom)
30" x 12", Acrylic on canvas
i believe art shows how the artists sees their world. i obviously don’t take it all that seriously... 22 | INSIGHT

Photo by Ely Key

an Interview by aTIBa T. EDWaRDS
jess Eddy and Crista Freeman recently launched Phinizy & Phebe, offering flavor-packed ice cream. These partners hand craft everything from the labels to the ice cream. I had the opportunity to interview them in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn work and living space. ATIBA EDwARDS: How did both of you become interested in food for a living? CRISTA FREEmAN: I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida where I was influenced by Southern cuisine, ranging from seafood style to rich food flavor like key lime pie. I went to art school in California as well and was influenced by the food scene out there, where things were fresh and healthy. That combination inspires me when we come up with flavors. JESS EDDY: I grew up and went to college in Maine. My mom is a pretty good cook and I was a really picky eater as a kid so I didn’t really experience a lot of food. When I got out of college I moved to Boston. I was trying to be a graphic designer and got laid off after 9/11.

I needed to make some money to pay the bills so I started working in restaurants as a hostess and eventually a waitress. I pretty much learned everything I know about food in that restaurant and a couple others I worked at around Boston. At that point I became obsessed with food because I was around it all the time. I started cooking for friends and experimenting on them. It was easy to take a whole day, go to farmer’s market, and spend eight hours making meals. That is when I got into food. A: Where is the business name (Phinizy & Phebe) from? C: My grandmother wanted to name me that Phinizy because it is an old family name but my mom isn’t from the South and didn’t want to name me that. I’m obsessed with that name though. Whenever people would ask me my name I would tell them my name is Phinizy. I think I want to name my daughter that. J: My middle name is Phebe. C: They had a good ring together. A: What led to both of you making ice cream as a business? J: There was a point in time over

Photo by Ely Key

Phinizy & Phebe

the winter that we got really obsessed with ice cream. There is another company that makes ice cream and delivers. We were out of their delivery zone and we said ’we can’t wait for this. We need to make our own ice cream. This is getting ridiculous.’ We didn’t want the ice cream in the store because we wanted something new. So that led to us buying our first ice cream maker on February 12th. Leading up to it we prototyped in our head this idea of Fluffnut. I may come up with something and Crista would bring it home. I grew up eating fluffnutter sandwiches made with Ritz Crackers. So I started thinking Ritz crackers and peanut butter fluff. C: I didn’t think the sandwiches would hold up in the ice cream. But figured it would be better if we used a caramel sauce with brown sugar and butter and melted that over the fluffnutter sandwiches, put them in chocolate and then broke them into the ice cream. That was the process. I remember we were laying in bed talking about ice cream. J: The fluffnutt turned out pretty well. We made a tray of the sandwiches covered them and broke them into the ice cream. We took that first bite and we said this is really good. We need to have more people taste this to make sure we weren’t crazy.

C: Then we started making more and more flavors. J: We called it our ice cream prototyping and started using the board, paper, sketchbooks going through all these flavor ideas. C: I also like to draw the ice cream flavors as well. A: How do you come up with the flavors? C&J: It is very spontaneous C: We eat a lot. So it just comes to us. For example, we were just talking about stuff and Jess said ’I want to make something with ricotta.’ So I pictured ricotta with ice cream with a pineapple compote and jalapeño. I feel like you [Jess] come up with the base a lot of times. So it is really just what we are into and what comes to mind. One of the next flavors was a Horchata ice cream because I really missed Horchata but couldn’t find any good ones in New York. But it didn’t make the cut. J: We ended up making a couple other flavors (Goat Cheese Caramael, BananaDang and Key Lime Pie) to have a small line and Horchata was good but not as good as the others. A: Were there any other flavors that just didn’t work out?

Phinizy & Phebe

J: We made Maple Bacon Pecan. We were really nervous about it because it had to be bacon flavor but not over the top bacon flavor. It worked out so, just the Horchata flavor didn’t make it. C: We’ve gotten them pretty much nailed. We haven’t made all the flavors on the board yet though. J: Flavorwise they’ve been pretty consistent and we’ve been happy with them. A: How do the ice cream flavors go from an idea on the board to sketchbook to final product for public consumption. C: The flavors usually go to the board first, then I’ll sketch out the prototype. We would start making the ice cream and ultimately try to tie in the sketches with our final product. A: How long do the flavors take you to make? J: The fluffnut was really quick. It wasn’t a complex ice cream because you have a lot of good flavors already there. You really can’t go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter, fluff and caramel. So for that one it was really how many chunks do we want to get in there to get the right consistency. There are other ice cream flavors that are a little more time consuming to get the flavor right, like banana pudding for example. It is hard to

figure out how much of the banana flavor to put in. When you get it in there initially it can taste like one thing but after it sits in the freezer for a couple days it can taste a little different. So we were constantly tasting ice cream. We would make two ice creams a weekend and taste them in the morning. So banana pudding took two or three microcultures in Brooklyn. A: What are your plans for Phinizy & Phebe in the future? C: We are finishing up the business side of things so we can approach and partner with dairy farms. Within a year, I want to move beyond local distribution and have ice cream around the whole East Coast. J: Short term we are going to get into a couple more stores. C: Right now we are working on the legal and business side of things so we can get into more stores. A: How can people get some ice cream? J: We are working on some things ranging from getting in more stores to some things we can’t tell you about yet but stay tuned because it will be good! C: Right now, the best way is to find us at fairs and events. We post those online (http:// phinizyandphebe.com/) so people can find us.

A: Art is... J: Personal. It is based on your personal experiences in life and how you see things and how you experience the world. It adds up to how you interpret and take things

in. C: Something that excites me and creates a dialogue.
to get more scoops on phinizy & phebe visit www.phinizyandphebe.com. INSIGHT | 31

He was fast asleep before the rain began to fall. His dreams were loose and came in waves: boots hitting the floor, new clothes wrapped in kraft paper. A knife, a cloud, a small girl crying. He felt warm and smelled a fire. Catherine lit a cigarette and let the ash fall on the floor beside the bed. Got up, put a record on low--some bullshit San Francisco hippie rock Jesse bought yesterday at the Brooklyn Flea. Music makes regret so poignant, she thought. She looked at Jesse. And love bearable. Catherine put out the cigarette, lit some incense. Opened the window and threw Jesse’s tuxedo out onto the lawn. Her mother would be home soon. Rain speckled the clothes with drops like black blood in the dark light of early morning. She whistled once, loud enough to rattle a loose snare.
Andrew Jimenez is a writer and musician living in brooklyn, New york. email him at andrew@andrewjimenez.com, especially if you know good jokes. 32 | INSIGHT

For Marc.... Sometimes, words are not enough. Words like, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “He is at peace now,” do not ease your pain, provide succor, or make you sleep better at night. No, sometimes words are not enough. They are empty, void of meaning…a pale imitation of life, of love. I wish I could speak in images. Frame memories like pictures and hang them on walls. Family means fingers tickling tummies and tucking in sheets tight so the bed bugs won’t bite. Fighting monsters in closets with a broom stick that has been magically transformed into a sword. Tying shoe laces on the first day of school, kissing bruised knees and…hugs…an infinite number of hugs. Love means giggles at bedtime and warm milk on cold, winter nights. Rubber duckies in bathtubs and practicing a, b, c, d, e, f, g... it’s capes made from sheets as he pretends to fly. I wish I could speak in images. I would paint the sky with his laughter, teeth shining like stars.
Aneicka is a grad student at NyU and resides in brooklyn, Ny. She can be contacted at aobookal@gmail.com.


This is a photo taken from inside the Botero Museum in Bogota looking out into a main plaza with Botero pieces and view of a church outside of the window. You can’t see them, but there was a male and female Botero piece on either side of this window pane, and I accidentally took this photo while tripping down the steps trying to

get closer to the two pieces (ha!) and ended up with this, one of my favorite photos I took on my trip, namely because it reflected a lot of what I was feeling on this trip: a lot of unknown and unexpected feelings within me, but the trip itself was all positive and bright regardless.
Allison is co-president of F.o.k.U.S., assistant director of a brooklyn preschool, and is working towards her masters in public health.

Amber Street Lights


Curated by aTIBa T. EDWaRDS
It is summer, so that means late night adventures are back in force. Late night adventures that range from convincing the city’s yellow cabs that Brooklyn isn’t that far and I live “right over” the bridge (even if “right over” is really 30 minutes) to late night treks home after work. The one constant site is the amber street lights. The lights were the signal that was most easily associated with time. My parents often said “don’t make the street lights meet you not in this house” when I was younger. Fast forward to now and sometimes you just want to be home before the lights go on but often times find yourself walking home due to a late night at work or taking care of things in life. The following playlist is curated to be the soundtrack for your journey of work and pleasure.

Photo by Jeff Albert

Infinite Playlist: Amber Street Lights

DJ JAzzY JEFF & wILL SmITH - SUmmER TImE (HOmEBASE) Sitting with your friends cause y’all remincise / About the days growing up and the first person you kissed / And as I think back makes me wonder how / The smell from a grill could spark up nostalgia RICk ROSS - mAGNIFICENT FT JOHN LEGEND (DEEPER THAN RAP) I’m the magnificent with the sensational style / far from shallow cause she caught me with a smile / try to figure out my style, baby that’ll take a minute / but if all we got is time, you can’t be acting timid YOUNG JEEzY - mY HOOD (LET’S GET IT: THUG mOTIvATION 102) I’m talking summer time cookouts and winter time fights / it ain’t nothing we hear shots all night k-OS - FLYPAPER (ATLANTIS: HYmNS FOR DISCO) You see it every day / all the people standing at the train station / left right left right / we don’t talk to each other now / what an alien nation / up tight uptight uptight / I hope one day, some things can get better / I hope some way, our hearts can change the weather / as we walk this yellow road and try to shake the load ATCQ - 8 mILLION STORIES (mIDNIGHT mAURADERS) Yo ’tip I tell you man the devil’s trying it / But I’m going to stay strong cause I ain’t buying it ICE CUBE - IT wAS A GOOD DAY (THE PREDATOR) Just waking up in the morning, gotta thank God / I don’t know but today seems kinda odd / no barking from the dog, no smog/ and momma cooked the breakfast with no hog DRAkE - LIGHT UP FT JAY-z (THANk mE LATER) They always tell me, nobody working as hard as you / and even though I laugh it off man, its probably true / cause while all of my closest friends out partying / I’m just here making all the music that they party to OUTkAST - HOLD ON, BE STRONG (AQUEmINI) Hold on / Be Strong PHIL COLLINS - FEEL IT IN THE AIR (FACE vALUE) And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord / Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord / I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord / Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord, oh Lord

Volume III | Issue 3

Oil paint on canvas, 2008 This painting was an experiment with cool tones. I chose an underwater subject to play with the blue and greenish hues, and how the water effects the subject’s skin color, highlights and shadows. I also liked to be able to depict this moment where they are suspended underwater and holding their breath.



Volume III | Issue 3 RELEaSE PaRTy!
October 16th 7 to 11pm Triomph Fitness 540 President Street Brooklyn, NY

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