Art by Construction Workers | A Virtual Exhibition
Me llamo Art Cabrera. As a young child me llamo Artie, “Artie-Bobbie,” “Bobbie-Artie,” “Arturito,” “my little Mexican,” it all depended on which set of relatives I was with. I was born in the “Bay” (Flatbush Bay), a salt water marsh dry dock boatyard hamlet—a regular shanty town Brooklyn Appalachia between Mill Basin and Mill Creek. It no longer exists, having been destroyed by NYC’s eminent domain statute to accompany a city landfill, then finally the Marine Park Golf Course. I have fond memories of the Bay. Many of my relatives lived there. I was the second oldest child of nine, born to Irene Margaret Connors Ackermann and Arthur Cabrera, proud working class Brooklynites of Puerto Rican, Irish, German and Mediterranean descent. I’ve been a construction electrician and self-employed contractor for 48 years.
I have lived a long, unique, full and checkered life, stumbling into the anti-war/human rights movements at 19 and have had the good fortune of not drifting far from them in the last 50 years. I have no formal art training, and barely got out of high school. I took as many art classes and played as many sports as I could. I won “gold medal honors” in both high school and junior high for pieces reflecting the cultural, political times America was going through. I was great at hanging out, didn’t like school much, but I was motivated to stay alive.
My work consists predominantly of junk art—found object assemblages, Brute, folk art, recycled art, eco art, etc. I also do photos, some painting, and installations. Often my work is jovial, wild, innovative and very personal. It often crosses over into social commentary, reflecting my thinking, life journey, a deep reflection of my convictions, impressions and creative joy. I thank BAX and the ABCW for allowing me to grow and show as an artist.