(Over the summer, I visited a small art studio called “Mascot” at the East Village in New York City. Within a small room, the artist was creating great art.)
The compelling window display is only an intro of this remarkable studio.
The real beauty is revealed behind the door, inside a small room of 250 square ft. with colorful portraits of animals and natural landscapes hanging on the walls.
Since 1982, Mascot Studio has been a landmark in the East Village, which was originally a painting space, and is now established at its present storefront location at 328 East Ninth Street.
For the past 25 years, the studio has continued to offer the variety of artworks from different artists and also personal service to the custom framing.
Peter McCaffrey, the owner of the studio, made the ambience of the room even more like home. The works speak out that McCaffrey was born to be an artist.
He demonstrates the insight of art through his own life experience.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1956, Peter McCaffrey studied at the State Universities of New York at Buffalo and Farmingdale, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1979.
Unlike other galleries or studios, Mascot is particularly known for its eye-catching window displays which invite the passerby to enter the store’s charming ambience.
The studio not only exhibits and sells paintings, but also provides an unusual selection of custom moldings, vintage frames and mirrors, prints and photography.
The theme of nature and the animal world becomes one of the attractive highlights of the studio, which embodies original drawings and paintings by McCaffrey and other artists, mostly from the neighborhood.
The spiritual works of animals, however, became one of the most essential parts of the studio.
Something special about Mascot is its unique “Annual Dog Show.”
Starting in 1999, Peter McCaffrey has curated the “Annual Dog Show” in honor of our canine friends, and opens during the week of the Westminster Kennel Club Show here in New York in February.
Watkins’ works focus on animals, especially dogs’ portraits. She works from life, using watercolor to capture and represent animals’ daily moments.
Within such a small space, people come in and visit the works including paintings, photographs and sometimes sculptures, a full collection of artists’ visions on dogs.
The last Dog Show was held at Madison Square Garden on Valentine’s Day. The show was opened to everyone and there were also works for sale.
Mascot Studio has remained unique as an artist-run business settled in the Big Apple.
Summer days are quiet for the studio, but it never slows down for McCaffrey.
“It is not easy being an artist in NY these days,” McCaffrey said. “The cost of living is high here, so many artists have moved to the outer boroughs.”
The East Village is still a very diverse neighborhood with rare and expensive studio spaces.
“Commercial rents like my studio/store are not regulated so I feel my days are numbered,” said McCaffrey. “Making a living only on one’s work is difficult.”
However, this artistic heart would will be knocked down from of the tough conditions.
“It is part of my nature to want to keep making art,” McCaffrey said. “And it is very satisfying when I am in that ‘zone’ of creativity, It is like meditation which takes practice and discipline.”