Through all of the musical noise of the past week, it was nice to check out a new neighborhood establishment. Since the beginning of the fall I have been constantly invited to attend the new mini pop up venue called Rock n’ Shop located at the hip Paper Box in Brooklyn. Curated by the band The Bushwick Hotel, this spot offers a nice flair of aesthetic activity for any New Yorker and curious visitor. Luckily, this past weekend allowed me the time to check this highly anticipated place out.
Taking my time that day, I enjoyed the blissfully quiet walk through Brooklyn to The Paper Box. Along the way a collection of various old warehouses greeted me. There were many businesses hard at work despite the fact that the neighborhood was quite desolate. Out of nowhere the Rock n’ Shop bursts up with its very colorful graffiti ridden RV parked out front. The organization’s signature smiling clown was plastered on the RV as well. As I continued walking down the street, young hipsters meandered here and there on the curb talking about nothing. It seemed to be the only street I saw with life on it. The Paper Box had cardboard and wooden signs scattered all over the space on the street with simple spray paint to draw people in. In fact, I could still smell the fresh paint.
Once I entered the space, art was all over the walls. The entrance had black and white photographs while the concert hall had tons of giant paintings of feline art hung about. Many had neon lights emitting from them too, which gave it a trippy feel. Was it a cat themed shop? I do not know. Immediately, you feel comfortable walking through. I was surprised to see a full bar with people drinking and laughing away. It looked clean and ready for thirsty guests, who were obviously putting it to good use.
I took my time eyeing through the small group of vendors at hand. See the link for the full list. One of the first vendors I walked over to was Abstract Beauties, which offered a range of simple original abstract and stylized work by Rachel Carbonell. All of cards were handmade, of which I bought one for a special someone. The art was made primarily using oil pastel and collage. I was impressed. Jewelry seemed to be the dominant item on the vendor tables with the likes of Spotted Skin Designs. All of the accessories included in this strange shop had both old and new themes that gave it a perfect mixture of creativity. There was an element of wild madness brought out in the work. I even lingered by a vendor who sold original artwork plastered on old bottles called Percent Artworks. Luckily, for the vintage urbanites, a table full of classic records was for sale nearby. Alongside the records were pieces of jewelry and notebooks made from vinyl. I am planning on returning to pick up one of those bracelets someday. It was a great mix of dark and lively local art that produced a warm vibe.
Not only is there just physical art, but also music holds true and is used well at Rock n’ Shop. After walking past a room filled with old and new instruments, I noticed there was a crash of loud tunes emitting from the room next door. On this small and dark stage were two guys rocking as hard as they could to an audience of one person. Now, that takes a lot of skill and patience. I bet they treated it as a perfect practice session that afternoon. Conveniently located next to the main stage, which was empty at the moment, Amnesty BK held its table. The backdoor section outside housed a significant crowd enjoying some food that was surrounded by graffiti art on the wall. Kegs were chilling nearby and a grill was giving off delicious scents. Old restaurant booths were set up along the wall for people to relax. Many took advantage of this to escape the outside smoking lounge with heating lamps.
All in all, Rock n’ Shop has a unique place out in Brooklyn. I hope it continues to drive more fans back especially since its location is kind of remote. However, the creative passion bubbling through gives it mass appeal. For all of the people out there who want to support local art and music, give this place a look. Hell, even have a drink or two on a lazy Sunday. Why not?