Pittsburgh-based visual artist and cultural practitioner D.S. Kinsel is co-founder of BOOM Concepts, a creative hub located in the Penn Avenue Arts Corridor. Home to the collaborative practice/cultural think tank, Magic Organs Studio, which Kinsel founded with Pittsburgh artist Julie Mallis, BOOM also serves as a salon space and a creative incubator for minorities and marginalized voices.
Monday, November 23
Monday mornings I usually start the day with a little walk around my neighborhood. I stay in South Oakland, waaaay in the back. It’s really chill and the coolest part is the Virgin Mary Shrine. It’s a peaceful place to start the day and especially the week. I try to go at least twice a week to relax and have some solo time. Afterward it will be breakfast with my partner Anqwenique to review our busy schedules before we part ways.
After that, I’ll spend the next few hours over at Carnegie Mellon University to start working on some new art. This year I am serving as the Artist in Residence at the Digital Art Studio (DAS) in CMU’s School of Fine Art. It’s a great opportunity to further develop my artistic practice and connect with the university community. Fran Flaherty is the DAS manager and an amazing artist who has a exhibition coming up in December at 707 Gallery. We usually have a coffee meeting, talk art and about the progress of my project.
In the evening it’s grocery shopping on the East End. We are hosting a small Black Friday Brunch at our house and we are still checking a few items off the list. Our stops will include Whole Foods, Market District, Paddy Cake Bakery and the new ALDI on Penn Avenue.
Tuesday, November 24
Tuesday is all about Penn Avenue! I’ll arrive at BOOM Concepts around 10 a.m. to begin studio work, and meet with my founding partner Thomas Agnew and with artists and community members.
Around 1 p.m. it’s time to visit Most Wanted Fine Art to meet with the big kids on the Avenue, Jason and Nina Sauer. They are great mentors and we usually check in once a week. I give them updates about my practice and how we are doing at BOOM Concepts, and we talk about all the activity happening on the Avenue (besides the construction).
Next I’ll pick up art new art! During the November Unblurred Gallery Crawl, I spotted some dope pieces at Assemble. We love supporting Pittsburgh’s diverse arts community and we absolutely love new art hanging in our home. Penn Avenue is a great place because we always find good pieces at reasonable prices by really cool artists.
This evening I will try to attend two events at once! Kelly Strayhorn Theater is hosting the My People Film Series and there will be a screening of the short films Oya and Vow of Silence. My People is an amazing film series founded and curated by Joseph Hall with screenings, performances, and discussions exploring the lives and experiences of queer people of color. After the films I’ll walk, ride or bike up the street to KST’s Alloy Studios for the Jasiri X Black Liberation Theology Listening Session. I really admire Jasiri X as an artist and support anything 1HOOD. Being able to enjoy so much on one street is the greatest part of Penn Avenue. It truly feels like a family of wacky artists . . . extended cousins included.
Wednesday, November 25
Wednesday is time to get fresh. I have an early morning hair appointment at The Diva Den. My stylist Cecily Pollard has been with me through multiple hairdos and for multiple years! She’s the only one I trust to twist my locks. The Diva Den is across the street from BOOM Concepts. We have a good relationship with the businesses on the Avenue and are sure to show our support.
After my getting twisted, it’s time to get chopped. Society Men’s Grooming Lounge is a great new spot located in the Hill District. I’ll go there to get a shape-up (maybe cut off my beard????) and relax a bit. The Lounge was founded by my childhood friend K. Chase Patterson. As a gift to him and the space, I’ll be donating and installing some of my new landscape paintings for display. Be sure to go by Society Men’s Grooming and check out the new work and the great service!
On my way back to South Oakland, I’ll stop at the Frick Fine Arts building to check out the Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts exhibition. This show was curated by a class of Museum Studies students taught by Janet McCall. This is an amazing collection of work giving a view into black artists of and from Pittsburgh across multiple generations. There was a public call to black artists, along with the Museum Studies group researching the University of Pittsburgh’s Archives. My favorite piece in the show is by Pittsburgh legend, Dingbat.
Thursday, November 26
Thanksgiving. Running around Pittsburgh to visit family and friends. This is a day I don’t have to worry about running BOOM Concepts or being an artist. Watching football and stuffing my face. I’d take a SWEET POTATO PIE from any of the readers! When I return home in the evening, it’s time to prep for Black Friday Bunch.
Friday, November 27
Giving thanks doesn’t stop on Thursday. Throughout the day we will host family and friends for a second round of gathering. Part potluck, part bohemian #friendsgiving, part day party! Depending on weather, I’ll try to gather an small game of basketball or football over at Dan Marino Field. It’s always true comedy watching artists play sports.
In the evening it’s time to enjoy some jazz at Andy’s Wine Bar at the Fairmont Hotel at a performance by Anqwenique.
Saturday, November 28
After sleeping in and eating leftovers, I’ll make my way over to Artists Image Resource. The print shop is a great community resource and I am working on a resident project over the next 12 months. We are in talks with The Warhol Museum to create a series of public art pieces on the Rosa Villa building, which is located across the street from the museum. This came out of a project we collaborated on last year where I wheat pasted the first #blacklivesmatter mural in Pittsburgh, with the support of Artists Image Resource and The Warhol Museum.
In the evening it’s time to visit the Kelly Strayhorn Theater for the Suite Life Tribute Concert to Billy Strayhorn. The big dog and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Sean Jones performs with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra in celebration of Billy Strayhorn’s 100th birthday at the eighth annual concert. “Lush Life” is one of my all time favorite songs and the talent that will be performing at this event is top notch. Proceeds from Suite Life will benefit the Strayhorn Legacy Fund, supporting youth and family programming at KST.
I forgot to add that sometimes I sleep!