SOMERS, N.Y. - There’s Pop Art, a distinctive genre noted for its bold imagery and bright color palette that emerged in post-war Britain and America.
There’s pop-up shops, flash retailers that have had the world looking at brick-and-mortar and big-box stores in a whole new way.
Then there’s pop-up Pop Art shops, thanks to folks like Somers resident Jason Piken.
A chiropractor, nutritional specialist, and health coach by trade, he has a not-so-secret passion.
Piken loves to create.
Crazy, wild—some would say childlike—canvasses populate his basement turned studio. Neo-expressionist Jean Michel Basquiat is his patron saint.
Piken grew up in Queens. Street art was everywhere. It made a lasting impression on his young psyche.
But, until recently, Piken’s biggest fans were his wife and two kids.
Then this spring a friend convinced him that he should find an actual venue where the public could take a gander at his work.
So he went ahead and snagged some space at a local wine bar and restaurant.
Then the coronavirus shut it all down.
But, as Piken said: “Art needs to be seen.”
So, on a recent sunny spring afternoon, he hauled a bunch of paintings out to his driveway and let it rip.
Not surprisingly, it drew a decent crowd.
Some folks in his neighborhood were out walking their dogs, some had read about the impromptu “show” on Piken’s Facebook page, and others had simply been driving by when they spotted the action and stopped.
All thought, Piken said, that it was “cool.” At the very least, it was a pleasant diversion for art-lovers in the midst of a pandemic-induced lockdown, where museums and galleries have been off-limits for months.
He sold several pieces.
In honor of the friend, a Somers volunteer firefighter who had given him that initial nudge, Piken set aside about $90 from the proceeds of the sale for the purchase of personal protective gear such as masks and gloves for first-responders, the folks who have literally been going to the mat to save their fellow humans.
That’s apropos considering that Piken’s whole approach to nutrition and wellness is a holistic one.
As his hero, Basquiat, once said: “I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.”