I am going to be 100% honest here….I launched CHICpeaJC as a hobby, a fun side project where I could write about fashion and random shit about Jersey City. Now here is the thing, I knew there were awesome/stylish/talented people who lived here but I had no clue to what extent….
I started meeting people in the community and then I met John Fathom at a local shindig about a month or so ago. John is one of a kind; He is a BAD ASS. Tough exterior but the most friendly and welcoming person I’ve met throughout this experience. He has been extremely helpful to this newcomer who clearly didn’t know shit about Jersey City until now. John introduced me to many stylish and interesting people for this blog… and then I heard about 660 Studios.
660 Studios is a massive loft where artists work out of, collaborate and showcase their work. I went to the studio to take a few pictures and meet the artists that work out of there for my “Stylish Peeps” posts.
We went there on a Monday night and when I walked in my jaw hit the floor. This place is like nothing I have ever seen before, we took a lot of pictures, but it honestly doesn’t do the space any justice. There is so much art, creativity and talent…. paintings, sculptures, graffiti and even a cat hanging out on the altar. I felt like I was Alice in Art Wonderland.
This is 660 Studios
John can you tell me how you found this space? “I actually didn’t find it. My ex found it about a dozen years ago on Craigslist. I was looking for a loft…. The quintessential loft that artists are known to work in….and she found here in Jersey City”
How many artists work out of this studio? “Usually around a dozen… its always up and down because we have artists that we work with and we have artists that work here. We’ve got a skate ramp downstairs, they’ve got members to their skate ramp…. (post coming soon!!) An Opera singer in the store front. Photographers on the third floor. … so it changes , it depends on which units are rented and whats going on with the skate ramp…”
Now do you choose the artists that come work out of here? “I choose everybody on the second and third floor and the store front and the skate ramp operates independently”
Can you tell us a little bit about the art you have in the space? “The art that’s up now is pretty much all the artist that are either currently working out of 660 Studios or long term collaborators that have been working out of 660 for years or did at some time and I am still collaborating with them…. so we continue to show their art”
Are any of these pieces for sale? “Really everything in here is for sale, with the exception of a few pieces.”
How would someone go about purchasing a piece of art? “They can contact me by going to the 660 Studio website and get my information or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org”
Do you have a favorite piece? The John Ruddy piece above the altar which was created by Christine Moss right here is one of my favorite pieces , just for the overall look of it and the way it takes over the space….”
I heard about the cool parties here… Whats the deal? “When we have a new curation or exhibition in the space sometimes we will theme the show and host an event. We only usually do them in the spring and summer and we try to make the parties more artistic and hopefully a little stranger than just a party. We used to just throw parties for parties sake, but there’s too much at stake now so we treat them more as full scale art exhibition showcases with live music… performance art …. a BBQ or something like that”
Is there anything else you would want people to know about 660 Studios? “That we want to grow and expand….we’ve been here for 12 years when the neighborhood was crackheads and hookers. We stuck it out and built it up to what it is today and I would like it if we could be here be another 20+. We kind of want to become an arts landmark for the city, one that they are proud of”
Are you like the headmaster of the house? “I don’t see myself as the master ! I like to see things run democratically, but I do establish the rules of the house and pick the people and I try to be very sincere and discerning when I pick them.
I function more like the pilot of a very weird arts spacecraft
Are you all friends? Do you have fun together? “For many years it was hit or miss, but I would say the last half of this journey has been a lot of good people that understand the community aspect that are serious about their art and are open minded”
Where do you see JC going? “I see JC growing exponentially. There’s been a crane in the skyline since 9/11/ It looks like with the new mayor the intention is to continue to grow the arts along with the city..Hopefully Jersey City won’t push out the art pioneers that crafted this City.
I’d like to see us all carve out our only lil piece of the City because I fuckin love it here”
What about the graffiti in the hallway? A few people , we’ve got Nasko in there, we’ve got Mr Ability, Matt Caputo… a few others. Alot has a tag in there. We also have LNY on the rooftop. My intention is to have the entire space covered in paint from the minute you open the door downstairs, all the way up to the top, so I’m always looking for serious talented graff artists to help make that happen…if you hear of anyone…”
It feels as though this place is like an artist community, can you explain? “Well it is a community, there’s no way around that. When you sign up to be in a space like this its a requisite that you understand community and desire collaboration. It’s a function of this beast I call Helga. She’s here to serve us and allows us the space and opportunity to grow as artists. The sacrifice is an exchange and it demands you share, collaborate and remain open so you can allow for greater perspective and inspiration while having fun and creating our art. Living the f’ing dream”
That’s awesome! Any room for a hip hop dance teacher?! Can you tell me a little bit more about all the artist that work out of here? their background? “It always changes, for a while it was all visual artists, now it seems to be musicians. I prefer to bring outsiders into Jersey City & 660 so the whole experience is visceral and exciting. Getting to know the building, the artists and then this dynamic City as one big life changing event”
How did they find you? or did you find them? “I look out my window and shout it into the vortex and the vortex sends me the right kind of weirdos”
Shot by Anthony Willis
To inquire about 660 Studios : email@example.com