Why Not Think Big?
Put your ear to the streets of downtown Scranton and you might pick up a faint buzz about an arts district that might someday connect recent renovations to the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue to a cultural cul de sac of sorts at the Historic Scranton Iron Furnaces — a site which without further renovation has already experienced new life with the Arts on Fire Festival, summer long South Side Farmers’ Market and autumn Bonfire event. Crucial to the vision is a quaint strip of shops along Bogart Court, the alley behind Lackawanna Avenue already accessible by stairs descending down from the Renaissance Plaza.
The first artist to make himself conspicuous on Bogart Court — space available signs hands above the other storefronts — is Benjamin Adcroft.
The young artist previously ran The Manhattan Room Project in the Spruce Street space currently occupied by The Vintage Theater. That was 2009. He later bounced back and forth between Scranton and Brooklyn before taking out a year lease in his current Bogart Court studio in October. “I’ve been trying to have a show every month, which is ridiculous,” he said. “I have a ton of work just stored in houses but I’ve been trying to do new work every month. There’s a bit of overload right now.
This month, he’ll show at The Bog a couple blocks away on Adams Avenue in Scranton. A reception (21+ only) will be held in conjunction with First Friday Scranton from 6 to 9 p.m. He’s planning to present a “dress-up” party/photo shoot event at the studio in late February or in March. If no where else, you can find him via Facebook (BenjaminAdcroftFineArtStudio).
A 2006 graduate of Dunmore High School, Adcroft cites NEIU #19’s Arts Alive, where he studied with Earl Lehman, as a key inspiration. He actually started out working in portraiture before going off on a tangent for a few years that included sculpture and Photoshop sketches in addition to fantastical compositions bathed in pink. After high school he attended School of Visual Arts in NYC.
In Brooklyn, he lived in an industrial loft space with eight people.
“I was working out of my bedroom, sleeping on the floor. It was really rough. I had to throw my bed out because I didn’t have enough space to paint,” he said. “I would never be able to afford a space like this in New York. Not in the foreseeable future at least.”
In Scranton, he shares a house with a couple of roommates, one involved in the arts, the other operates a CSA (community supported agriculture). He works for himself as a residential house painter which allows him the flexibility to give his art due enthusiasm. The Electric City lacks the critical mass of galleries and museums of New York, he acknowledged, but the periodic jaunt is not out of the question.
“I think I was really terrible at everything else. Like really incompetent at most things,” he replied when asked about his conviction to pursue art so seriously so young. “It’s a struggle after you get out of school and are working for a few years. If you want to make work you have to really be dedicated to it,” he said. “I’m really lucky that people in this area, and New York and New Jersey have been buying paintings.”
Benjamin Adcroft Fine Art Studio is located at 531 Bogart Court. Call 780-0977 for more information.