The artists were friendly and the work was astonishing, but nothing quite fit the picture in my head. The first “working” studio that I hunted down drew me in with a waft of wet paint. I knocked on the half open door of Elena Francesca duPlessis just in case she wasn’t open, but her friend Brad assured me she was. Her 500 square foot studio consisted of art in every form. There were finished pieces, unfinished pieces, a piece she was currently working on, paint on the floor, paint on the desk, even paint covering her apron. She was so consumed in her work that I think she might have ignored me if I hadn’t started a conversation.
duPlessis is one of the oldest tenants at 450 Harrison Avenue. She has always participated in Open Studios because she “appreciates the feedback,” but agrees that things are changing. A studio to her is a personal space, a sanctuary where work can be done. Although she is a fan of the event, she doesn’t sacrifice any time and paints while she mingles. Without knowing it, she was slowly making the picture in my head come to life.