By GWEN OREL
It is the artist’s first exhibition. She sat calmly sipping an iced coffee through a straw.
Many artists first show their work on the walls of a coffee shop, and Scarlett Givner is no exception, although she has had a booth at the Walnut Street fair, and sold some prints there.
Her colorful photographs, which take familiar items and see them at unusual angles, with filters and colors layered onto them, are modern and striking.
So striking that it’s hard to believe the artist will attend Glenfield Middle School in the fall. Scarlett Givner is 13. Her mother Danelle Givner, who frequents Local Coffee, said that the idea for the exhibition began when she noticed that the art on the walls of the shop changed constantly, and asked the owner, Robert Genovese, how her daughter could exhibit.
She sent some images to him, and Genovese quickly agreed. That was back in October, Danelle Givner said.
Danelle Givner isn’t an artist, but her grandmother Jessie, Scarlett Givner’s great-grandmother, who died at age 100, was. Jessie’s work too was full of color.
Local Coffee opened up in February 2017. Genovese said he always intended to showcase artists on his walls. He grew up in Greenwich Village in the 1970s and ’80s, which was an area that always supported the arts and artists, he explained.
“When we opened Local Coffee, that was something I took with me. We don’t take any commission, We want to encourage people who are not only already artists, but also artists hoping to find a voice,” he said.
Scarlett Givner has been taking photographs for two years. “I was just walking in New York with my mama, and my phone died, and I saw something I really liked, and I really wanted to take a photo.
So I started taking photos with her phone. Whenever I see something, it feels like it has to have a meaning, it all depends on the angle of how I take it. It feels like it has a different meaning or story when I take it with a different angle.”
Most of the photos are objects.
“Buildings stand out to me the most,” Scarlett said. The title of the exhibition, “Steampunk Rainbow,” reflects the artist’s interest in pipes and alleys, as well as her love of color. To her, steampunk suggests a factory, pipes and bars.
She and her mother were in an alleyway, and pictures, such as the cat holding a book stood out to her, she said. The picture, “Alley Eyes,” hangs on the wall. She taught herself to take pictures, and the pictures on the wall at Local Coffee were all taken with her iPhone 6plus. Now she has an iPhone 8, and expects to take more pictures, she said.
Taking pictures in different angles helps show what the objects are, she said. “If I just took a picture of this coffee cup, it would just be a picture of a coffee cup.” But at a low angle, she said, you could see the drops around it.
“Sky Ride” is taken through a bicycle wheel.
“Grey Lullaby,” which shows a pensive looking statue, was taken in her mother’s friend’s backyard, Scarlett said.
“Follow the Blue Brick Road,” taken in Hoboken, was taken at dusk, which is the artist’s favorite time of day.
A chrome effect makes colors pop, Scarlett said.
All the color effects have been done with the editing button on the phone, not with Photoshop.
Right now, she hopes to pursue acting as a career, with photography coming second. She’s never taken a photography class, but thinks she might in the future.
“Hungry Ruby” is one of Scarlett Givner’s rare pictures with a living being: an extreme closeup of her dog, Ruby. It’s the extremity of the close-up that makes the picture unusual, and, Scarlett said, it’s one of her favorites.
The picture of the Pomeranian will soon hang on her room. Some of the proceeds from the show will be given to the Montclair Township Animal Shelter.
For Genovese, Scarlett Givner embodies the mission to promote new talent. She’s the youngest artist ever to have her work displayed at Local Coffee. “She’s finding her way,” he said.