Spaceghost: New Work

I wanted to share some photos from my show at Nice Things last week-- this work will be up for a month and the shop is really great so be sure to stop by at 1731 E. Passyunk Ave!

This show is a little different and was really fun to put together. I definitely enjoyed using so much of my absolute favorite color, and way more black than I've dared to use before, and to play with shapes. If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces please contact Nice Things. I'm also working on making prints of some of them.

"Spaceghost: New Work by Joey Hartmann-Dow features paintings and mixed media about humans in their stardust-bodies, feeling their feelings, and remembering that we're all connected."

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Busy Season

It's October 1, I guess it's BUSY SEASON NOW for Us & We Art!

I have so much to tell you.

I'm writing this from New Orleans (💜💜💜), but I'll be back this week and then it's MADNESS for about.. 3 months. Here we go.



Go West! Craft Fest
Oct. 7, 11am-5pm
The Woodlands, West Philly







Spaceghost (text).png


Spaceghost: New Work
Oct. 14, 5-8PM
Nice Things Handmade
1731 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia



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contact me for location

SO EXCITED to celebrate Us & We Art's 5 year anniversary! When I started my journey as a professional artist, I gave myself 5 years to go wild, follow my truth, make mistakes, get excited, and try to make some money too. Now I get to check in with myself and see if I want to keep going, or maybe make some changes. COME SEE. Come party.

Featuring sets from Philly musicians Vessna Scheff, and George Engel Brooks.

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Also in case you missed it, the 2018 Badass Women Calendar is available for pre-order!

Check it out.




...So that's what's coming up in the next 4 weeks. More news all the time so stay tuned.

Feed Love,

2018 Badass Women Calendar available for pre-order!

It's true! The Badass Women Calendar 2.0 is in the works and you can pre-order it NOW to guarantee your copy!

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Last year the calendar came together super quickly, and I'm so excited to come back this year with a calendar that's more badass than ever. Stay tuned for the full list of badasses featured, and check out my Indiegogo campaign to cover costs of printing (with local Philadelphia printing company Fireball Prints), and you can pre-order a calendar with free or reduced shipping.

I'm also SUPER excited this year to be able to offer wholesale prices, so if you know a badass boutique you wants to sell these please share!

I was blown away with support for this project last year and I'd love to spread it as far as I can. Thank you so much for your help in making this happen. You are a badass.

**Pre-ordering a calendar before Oct 15 absolutely guarantees your copy which will be available after Oct 28. I am printing a LOT of calendars this year so I'm sure you'll be able to get one after that, but pre-ordering now helps me with the upfront printing cost, and saves you a little in shipping!**

"Apart From Us" Opening This Friday

Apart 2 postcard image.png

First Friday // September 1, 2017
Please come see this work and stay for a set from Philly musician Lauren Scott at 8:30pm.

Inner Rhythms Music & Therapy Center
4145 Chestnut St. (enter on 42nd St)

I'm so glad to have this work up in this space! Hope to see you there.

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Huge thanks to my friend Kate who helped me hang the show today, and to Julie and Morgan at Inner Rhythms, to Lauren Scott for playing music, and everyone who has helped spread the word about the opening-- community rules! I hope you can come!

2017 Feelings. Also SUMMER SALE

We knew 2017 would be rough.. and here we are, feeling our feelings. My heart goes out to all my fellow humans.

I see you my friends of color, my trans friends, my queer friends, my Muslim friends, my immigrant friends, my Jewish friends, my friends with the system stacked against them, my scared friends, my angry friends. I see you and your feelings are valid. And I see you, humans who hold a very different truth than my own.

In the face of so much despair (is this word getting tired in the past year or so?), I hope you are taking care of yourself, and reaching out for support-- and receiving it !

This is a good time for me to have a little sale in my store because the summer can be slow for an artist.. but I'm glad it's also a good time for you to treat yourself. Now through Saturday at Noon (EST) everything at is 17% off with the code KEEPGOING. Tell your friends!

I love you. Stay human <3


It's Currently Summer in Philadelphia

..and it's not ALWAYS sunny.

I've been enjoying the rainy-ness the past week, and finally emerging from vacation-brain.

Besides working on a couple commissions, I have two shows coming up this fall:


First Friday
Sept. 1, 2017
Inner Rhythms
Music and Therapy Center

4145 Chestnut St. Philadelphia

Facebook Event ! Ooooh.



This is a modified version of the work I showed at Pendle Hill last August. I can't believe that was a year ago ! If you didn't catch it at the Barn Gallery, please come out and see it in West Philly. This work was very much informed by my experience in New Orleans, and honestly the first show I'm genuinely proud of.


Oct. 14, 2017
Nice Things Handmade

1731 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia





This is new work and I've been having a lot of fun with it! If you follow me on Instagram (do it!) you may have noticed a lot more broad-stroked / partially finger-painted portraits, and expanding a little bit outside of my regular cool-blues-and-greens palette. I'm still sneaking some maps in there though. Come see on October 14 in South Philly!

• • •

Also-- it's 2017, which means this October will mark 5 years since I committed to working as a full time artist. When I embarked on this path I told myself after 5 years I would check in with my spirit (and finances) about what I want to do next-- continue on my entrepreneurial journey? Shift to something a little different? Shift to something COMPLETELY different??

Stay tuned !


Life in the Moon Bounce

Hey Humans!

Well, I spent March through May in New Orleans (swoon) and now I'm in Philadelphia (swoon) and I'm generally bouncing around in a swoon-bubble, feeling very grateful and good most of the time.

Here are couple new pieces I made my last few weeks in New Orleans:

Oh also, Annie Lou and I went on a Space Travel Tour of the Southwest. We flew to San Diego (where we rented a car), made a small pilgrimage to Salvation Mountain, tried to get to the Grand Canyon a bunch of times, got to the Grand Canyon, ran aground to sleep by a Power Plant, soaked in some mysterious Arizona hot springs, swapped out our rental in Albuquerque, discovered the tiniest cutest town in all of New Mexico (it's Madrid, NM), soaked in some brilliant mind-play at Meow Wolf, drove through nighttime Texas, drove through daytime Texas, bounced through Austin, and back to New Orleans. In approximately 12 days.

And along the way we made and sent sweet handmade postcards. (See more photos)

What's Next?

Well I've got two shows coming up in Philly this fall (details soon), and I'm excited to say I'll be a part of Artist Row in Rocheser, NY in September!

I've also been setting up a work space in my basement and adjusting back to an in-home studio which is a fun project, and we'll see how that goes..

When am I going back to New Orleans, you say? Who knows!! The future is unknown in the moon bounce!

As always I love and appreciate you and celebrate your support.



Sorry I haven't posted about my incredible life in New Orleans lately, but anyway, starting May 17, Annie Lou and I are going on an epic roadtrip like this:


We're flying out to San Diego, renting a car and driving back through the Grand Canyon, Sante Fe, Austin, and exploring space and time in between, slinging art and singing songs along the way. Pretty rad, right?

Anyway renting a car for two weeks is a financial adventure in itself so we're inviting you to send us $$ and we'll send you sweet surprise handmade postcards from the road! WOW.

Want to join in the fun? Just send us anything ($5-$5,000) via this money-absorbing portal and you won't regret it! Gosh.

(You can also send money via Venmo @usandweart or PayPal, just be sure to send me your mailing address!)

ALSO-- do you have connections in any of these places? Is there a cool art market or store where our art should be? We've got cool art for rad hosts too.

Hope to hear from your bank account soon! ♥

Your snarky friends,
Joey & Annie

P.S. in case you missed it, click here.

New Print for a Cause

Hey all, you may have noticed sometimes I make prints specifically for a cause so I can help others fundraise. Not having a ton of extra cash myself, it feels good to be able to contribute my art-making skills so that YOU can get a cool thing for donating and we all feel great.

Right now to avoid credit card fees I'm only taking donations sent directly to my PayPal account (will also take Venmo @usandweart), which I redirect to the respective organization.

You can check out some other prints for causes here, and below is my latest:

The Pharmacy Coffee Shop

The Pharmacy is a rad coffee shop / art gallery / performance venue in Point Breeze, Philadelphia. Over the years they've provided affordable yummy noms and awesome space for creative folk, and now they are facing crazy fees and need some help to keep their doors open. (More info on their page)

Also, there is a dog, Sharky, who hangs out at the shop and he's got weird feet and bug-eyes. He is a little dreamboat and here's a drawing I did of him.

I've got 11x14" Sharky prints for your donation of $25 (includes shipping)
and packs of 12 Sharky postcards for your donation of $30 (includes shipping)

Would make great gifts! If you love local community, Philly art & music, and doggos, please consider helping out.

TO RECEIVE A PRINT or POSTCARDS please send via PayPal to and be sure to send your shipping info to the same email address.

(**PHILADELPHIANS: I will be back in Philly in June and it will be much easier to get a print from me then.. meanwhile, I'm happy to send it to you**)

You can also give directly to their campaign here.

The Year of the Chicken

Well at least 2017 is going quickly (no? just me?)

Apparently it's the year of the Rooster according to Chinese Zodiac (it says rooster everywhere but I looked it up and it's rooster/chicken) which is appropriate because it seems like humans as a group are in perpetual need of a wake up call, and also we seem like bug-eyed flightless weirdos (no? just me?).

Anyway. I wanted to officially report that 2 reprints later, I am completely sold out of Badass Women Calendars. FOR REAL this time. NO MORE.

OK, I'm completely out but I happen to know there is a very small number in two other locations:

As of right now, you can find approximately 2 of the last of the calendars in Bethlehem, PA, and approximately 3 of the last of the calendars at my friend Annie Lou's studio in New Orleans, LA. Contact me if you're in one of those places and want to connect to the "retail" for these, but they cannot be shipped. (Annie Lou also makes hilarious Snarky Hearts, check it out:


Oh. My. Lorde.

I don't even know how to address this-- it feels like a big deal. I printed 400+ of those calendars and I couldn't believe how much support and celebration they received. So wonderful. It really made me feel great!

I've also been reflecting a LOT on capitalism because this project was so successful that I've got some financial stability to show for it.

And that's weird.. I mean, it's not the norm for me. And I've noticed that yeah, I've been spending more money. Because, like, I have it. And it's pretty cool-- like I don't have to think twice about going to a friend's show with a cover, and I can give a little to organizations I want to support, and I got my BIKE FIXED which has been a pretty important need I've been putting off for like 3 years.. I feel privileged a lot of the time, but lately I've felt especially grateful to actually be able to put money back into my community, via the local bike shop, local artists, local co-op, etc. YES. So, thank you for that too.

The other thing I will almost report is that for the last year plus, I have been working on illustrating a very weird, wonderful project by Peterson Toscano, and it is going to print this week. Stay tuned because it is quite literally like nothing you've ever seen.

Oh, and ALSO, if you haven't heard, I'm going back to New Orleans for 3 months (!) and I'm leaving in a week (!!) AND I'm having a house show on Friday where I will be selling lots of clearance art, and I will also be playing songs that I wrote, in front of people (!!?!) so that's gonna be weird. BUT don't worry there are two other musicians playing and they are actually professional and amazing.


People have asked me, "What will you be doing in New Orleans?"

Well I don't know. How could I possibly know? The future is so uncertain!

..But mostly I'll be making art, selling art, helping out at the Aquarium Studios 2.0, maybe exploring my songwriter side a little more, and in general biking around City Park, eating vegan goodies, meeting bright souls, and soaking up the magic of New Orleans.

Who knows, though right?

To Sum Up: The Year That Broke Our Hearts Into A Million Pieces And We're Still Growing

I don't know if you heard, but 2016 was one big roller coaster of heartbreak, destruction, inspiration, and creation. For me anyway.

To sum up:

• I began 2016 by leaving my first magical, brief, shiny experience in New Orleans.

• I occasionally worked as an assistant to an incredible Philly artist named Eric Goldberg, who has become a dear friend (check out his website-- which I made..)

• I finished up my work as an organizer for FCNL's Advocacy Corps (lobbying for climate action)
Check out the article I wrote for Green Philly Blog. But I'm not done with FCNL!

• I worked closely with another artist, Leslie Birch, to curate and put on a pop-up show about Climate Stories, which took place in April at Transport Cycles in Fishtown (made possible by a grant from CUSP!)

• I helped start a nomadic art collective called Nobody's Gallery. (We had a show in a Penske Truck in August)

• I spent the month of May in New Orleans as a resident artist at the Aquarium Gallery and Studios, which burned down on June 1st, just before I left (you can read the whole story here).

• I showed what was left of the work I made in New Orleans at a show in Rochester, NY, plus some overnight new work made after the fire..

• I worked non-stop to put another show together as soon as I got back to Philadelphia-- Apart From Us, which was on display at Pendle Hill's Barn Gallery in the fall. This was the first show I felt genuinely proud of.


• I cleared out of my first grown-up private studio at Alter St. in Point Breeze, and took up with a motley crew of star-shiny artists called Panorama Collective in Southwest Philly.


• I took part in a life-changing collaborative creative experience called "Going There" in which I performed with 8 other artists/performers in at a warehouse in West Philly in early October. We all really stretched ourselves as artists and humans and it was incredible.

• The second that show ended, I somehow flew back to New Orleans for a month, and made work non-stop for a benefit show to help rebuild Aquarium Studios, while helping occasionally at the site, and also selling at art markets.

• I came back to Philly in time to vote, and was devastated to watch Donald Trump and Pat Toomey be declared winners of my President and State Senator elections.

• I lobbied for Prison Reform, to end Mass Incarceration, with FCNL in DC.

• My friend Hannah and I decided to go out the Standing Rock in solidarity with Water Protectors-- but on Dec. 5 decided we could offer more effective support through our fundraising at home, rather than traveling out there where we may not be useful or wanted. We raised over $2000 for them. Please stay informed about the situation! (I follow frequent updates from the Sacred Stone Facebook Page)

• I decided at the last second (...Dec 10) to make a calendar, which went to print within 6 days of the first drawing for it.. pretty Badass, you might say ;)

• I was overwhelmed with the support and affirmation from making a calendar that celebrates badass women.

I ended up printing over 300 calendars. I still don't really comprehend it. Thank you so much, everyone who shared this project and got excited about it. (I still have about 25 left, if you want one!)

OH MY GOD, I did a lot! I didn't even include everything! I think a lot of people were affected by the deaths of some famous people-- which I think really speaks to the kinds of things being done and created in the 70s.

Time is weird. I'm 26. I did a lot, made a lot, grew a lot this past year. I feel like I'm whirring, and one goal for 2017, even in the midst of such a need for continuous action, is that I want to find a way to slow down, and learn what it feels like to be refreshed..

Is it possible??

Anyway. Can't end this post without copious gratitude for you and you and you. Thank you humans. We're in this together.

To sum up my summary, I made a lot of stuff in 2016, and I had a cool haircut.

P.S. I grabbed most of these pics from Instagram, where I post my most frequent updates. Go ahead and follow me @usandweart go ahead go ahead.

Badass Women (the Calendar)

Woof-- that a week. What a MONTH. WHAT A YEAR.
(Annual year review post coming in a couple weeks)

Meanwhile, although sometimes it feels like the future is so uncertain, I whipped up a calendar featuring some very badass women, to inspire you in what may be a very challenging year for women in the U.S.

Featuring such badasses as Audre Lorde, Ida B. Wells, Malala, Frida Kahlo, and more-- it's wonderful that there are so many badass women to choose from, and it was hard to draw the line at 12. Maybe I'll just have to keep making these every year..

Full disclosure-- these mighty little 8x8" calendars were more expensive to print than I anticipated-- and I put a lot of badass work into them (!) so I am selling them for $20 each, BUT if you pre-order by NOON this Friday 12/16, they are just $18 (what a deal!).

I am printing them locally (yay!) and will ship pre-orders out on Monday 12/19. If you order online after that I can't guarantee it will get delivered by Christmas, if you're into that (but it might).

How to get yours:

• For $20 - Find me selling them and other art at the Go West! Craft Fest on Sunday! (10-4pm at the Rotunda)

• For $18 - Pre-order Online:

• For $18 - Pre-order for Philly Pickup:
Pay by Venmo (preferred) @usandweart with "Badass Women Calendar"
Pay by PayPal (
Pay cash to my little hands

You can pick up:
- by appointment after Sunday 12/18 -- however, you cannot pick up at the Go West Craft Fest!
- at the Pop Up Art Market at my house on Weds. 12/21 6-9pm (more info soon)


I have to say I've put a lot of time into researching some incredible women, and it has been a blast. It's also been fun to draw graphite portraits which I haven't done in a long time! I'm blown away by the support you all have already shown for this project-- I know it's last minute to put out a calendar, and I'm so glad to feel you supporting me on this. Obviously badass women are important! Thank you!

P.S. Check out my Instagram @usandweart for some sneak peeks.

Standing Rock


Prints for sale to support the movement at Standing Rock
against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Please send your donation via PayPal to, indicating the title(s) and number of prints. (Please add $5 if you need me to ship it to you)
If you would like to pay by Venmo, please contact me at the same email.


Thank you so much for your support. We're in this together.

Art for this time

I haven't updated this blog in the last few months-- and I've since experienced a life-changing collaborative performance project, spent a month in New Orleans making art and trying to support the Aquarium Gallery, and in the last week gave a talk in my hometown about art & activism, and spent several days in DC, meeting with the rest of the general committee of FCNL, and lobbying to end mass incarceration.

I've also been feeling my feelings.

Today I saw a headline that said "Trump Protests Could Be the Start of a New Civil Rights Era". Several people have already said to me, "we need your art now".

Somehow, I haven't made anything yet (in the last week). I've been cooking up big ideas but haven't sat down to paint or draw on this. And I agree, we need art right now. I often turn to music to fuel me in various ways, and I wish there was a playlist of songs for this time, songs about pain, hope, rage, revolution, love, truth, creation.. And then I thought, I could share some art that gets me going right now.

Here are a quick few pieces from contemporary artists for which I've felt something enough to save the images (Instagram can be an awesome tool, that's how I find a lot of great art). I'm sorry I don't have the name for one of the artists, if you know whose piece it is please let me know.

Also, check out


Drake Pickel (Chrome Destroyer)

Drake Pickel (Chrome Destroyer)

Agnes Cecile

Agnes Cecile

Langston Allston

Langston Allston



Heather Joy Miller

Heather Joy Miller

Magda Boreysza

Magda Boreysza

Emanuel De Sousa

Emanuel De Sousa

Tom French

Tom French

Johnson Tsang

Johnson Tsang

Swoon (Callie Curry)

Swoon (Callie Curry)

David Oliveira

David Oliveira

Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez

Make something!

Feed Love,

Apart From Us

The thing about feeling so grateful so often is that I struggle to express my gratitude on a regular basis... Really-- REALLY grateful. I feel so supported and validated by my experience on Sunday. I do feel proud of this work and I'm so glad I got to share it with so many of you at the reception at Pendle Hill. Thank you so much.

Saying words.

Saying words.

My friend got a video of most of my talk (and I think some of the Q&A afterwards-- WOW, was that cool..) so as soon as I get that file I will post it for those who couldn't make it, and a transcript.

Thank you Carly for the giant balloon.

Thank you Carly for the giant balloon.

I was unable to take photos during the event.. if you have some good ones please send them to me! (usandweart @ Meanwhile, please come see the show in the Barn Gallery if you get the chance-- it will be on display until November 1.

Pendle Hill
338 Plush Mill Rd.
Wallingford, PA

The gallery is generally open 9:30am - 6pm on weekdays. Contact them about other times and availability: 610-566-4507


Thank you thank you!

Upcoming Show: Apart From Us

I've been working pretty much non-stop since I got back from New Orleans (and hanging Re/Cover in Rochester), making all new work for this show, Apart From Us, which will be up at the Barn Gallery at Pendle Hill through October 31.


This work feels like a big new step in my artistic journey-- very much informed by my experience in New Orleans, and I believe it is strengthened by a new perspective on process and what that means to my art. I cannot wait to share it with you, and I hope you can come to the reception on August 21, where I will give a brief talk about it, and you can see it for yourself.

Reception & Artist Talk for Apart From Us
2 -4 PM Sunday August, 21, 2016
The Barn Gallery at Pendle Hill
338 Plush Mill Rd. Wallingford, PA


As always thank you so much for your support!

A Proper Fundraiser

I guess getting an incredible gift at 11pm makes me look like an emotional baby rat

I guess getting an incredible gift at 11pm makes me look like an emotional baby rat

First of all-- I want to acknowledge an INCREDIBLE surprise gift I received-- a brand new Macbook Air from my friend Dianna! It came with a note that said "Every starving artist needs a benefactor. Enjoy!! Go forth and do art!!!!!" I won't let you down, Dianna! I'm so moved by this act of kindness and generosity.


This takes a huge chunk out of the fundraising I was doing to replace supplies, and is a giant relief to me.

At this point I am now looking to raise $500 to get back on track, which will pay for:

• my replacement high res camera for documenting my work (which I use to make prints)
• replacement software for my new laptop (!)
• various small supplies that were lost/destroyed

Any extra funds will go to:
• renters insurance! (just in case, for the future)
• a flight back to New Orleans, where I hope to get some closure on my disorienting last 24 hours there, to properly thank friends there for their support, and mostly to help in any way I physically can with rebuilding the Aquarium




AND because this is a proper fundraiser, despite not being on a proper fundraising platform, here is the graphic you all want to see:

I'm on my way! Currently 22% funded. Thank you!

Also in proper fundraising form, there is a deadline, which happens to coincide with when my rent is due (since I have already paid out of pocket for some of these things) July 1.

9 days left!

Please take art from me, 20% off with the code KEEPGOING (apply at checkout).
And again, if you don't want art cluttering up your walls and still want to support my goal, you can use the Donate button below.

Finally, if anyone understands the feeling of wanting to support someone but not having money to spare, it's me! Sharing this on your internetworks is supportive too!

Thank you, big-hearted humans!


Money Seeds, Part 1

So it's true, I lost my laptop in the fire. It was a new Macbook Air that I bought from the Apple Store in September (ouch). I took it into the store and they told me "this machine has no value". I am currently looking for a used Macbook in great condition because I can't really fathom dropping another $1000 on a new computer right now.. but even so, I'm looking at several hundred dollars to replace it.

UPDATE: WOW-- my incredible friend who is like an extra mom to me surprise sent me a brand new Macbook Air! I'm speechless! Thank you everyone for your support :) Any proceeds from this sale now will go to replacing software, other art supplies, and funding a flight to get me back to New Orleans to pick up some pieces I left behind (of my heart, surviving art studio bits, etc). I can't say thank you enough. <3

Oh-- hello there!

Yes-- IT'S TRUE! You can help! And to help you help me, I'm having a sale. Everything in my store is 20% off with the code KEEPGOING, which you are invited to use wildly.

I confess, I put quite a bit of money as well as time and love/work into the show that got damaged, and honestly even though the resulting exhibition is pretty cool-- the fragile paper that remains probably won't "sell". So here I am, looking for money seeds to get me back on track with studio supplies and financial stability, including a laptop.

I'm not setting up a fundraiser through a separate site for various reasons, so if you could take the extra step to share this online, that would really help me out :) Now is also a really good time to buy prints because the store is getting a makeover soon, and some prints will be discontinued.

The "Keep Going" Sale is Part 1! Locals, look out for Part 2, coming soon, which will be a party at my Philly studio, once I get it cleaned up.. featuring tons of discounted prints, cards, coloring books etc, as well as super marked down original pieces-- a real clearance-- I mean, clarity sale, which I'm calling my Clarity Art Relief. Stay real tuned!

And again (again again!) THANK YOU everyone, I love your hearts.

-- Joey


P.S. I would really like to trade you my art in exchange for your generous gift, but in case you hate art and still really want to invest in my work, there is a Donate button below.

re/cover: After the Fire


Hi everyone, I wanted to share the whole story but the shortened version is at the bottom. Thank you so much for your support. The power of community has really been shining through this experience.

    In May 2016, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Aquarium Gallery and Studios as artist in residence, located in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, LA.

    I spent a month creating new work to show at a solo exhibit in Rochester, NY, making figures on maps mounted on circular plaster backs. The intention of the series was to draw parallels between systems of celestial and earthly bodies; I called it Naked Planets.

Since visiting New Orleans for the first time in December, I've felt a pull to be there, a magnetic feeling I've never felt before for a physical place. I felt so lucky to find the Aquarium (just to clarify, this has nothing to do with the actual aquarium, it's the name of the art space), and was warmly welcomed by Jacob Reptile Martin, artist and owner of the building, and my new studiomates. I went in to the studio every day, feeding off the creative energy of the place and the artists around me. By May 31, I had 20 finished "planets" and showed them in two open studios.

The Aquarium Gallery & Studios

The Aquarium Gallery & Studios

Naked Planets

Naked Planets

    Early on the morning of June 1, 2016, I received a message that the Aquarium Gallery had burned down. I jumped on my bike and vividly remember the 6AM ride to the Bywater from Bayou St. John, in a daze, thinking about what I'd left in the studio, and wondering what "burned down" meant. The night before, Jacob had come into my studio around 12 AM and asked if I was burning incense. I said no, but I could smell something too. It smelled sweet, not like a fire. More strongly on the other side of the building. We figured someone on the block must be having a campfire. I left around 1:30 AM.

When I turned the corner on Rampart St. I saw the second floor, where Jacob lived, black and hollow, pretty much just beams. I think I was off my bike before I stopped, and sprinted for the steps, but stopped when the fire marshal across the street said YOU CAN'T GO IN THERE. I waited on the curb to talk to somebody. Meanwhile someone else approached me and asked if they could interview me for the news, which I declined.

Finally the fire marshal told me I couldn't go in but I could look in from the doorway. My studio is just inside on the right side of the house, and I could see my laptop sitting on my desk, soaked from the fire hose. My side actually didn't get burned much, but parts of the ceiling had fallen in, everything was drenched, and there was various damage from smoke and debris. I asked if I could please have the small metal box on the desk, it had all my cash sales from art markets. He said he wasn't allowed to, but eventually took my info and gave it to me. ...It didn't really matter because when I went back a couple hours later, several of the artists were there combing the rooms. We probably shouldn't have been in there because the building was so weak, but we were able to grab some things.

The Aquarium, and Jacob's home (second floor) Wednesday June 1

The Aquarium, and Jacob's home (second floor) Wednesday June 1

My studio (I know in retrospect it seems like some of the planets are not that damaged-- for some reason it didn't make sense to me to save them in the moment, still don't understand why)

My studio (I know in retrospect it seems like some of the planets are not that damaged-- for some reason it didn't make sense to me to save them in the moment, still don't understand why)

It was hard to tell what was there because of the debris, so I had to try to think of things to look for, and as you can imagine it was hard to think clearly. I ended up taking my laptop even though it probably can't be saved, some paints and brushes, and one map piece from Naked Planets that was personal to me.

It was my last day in New Orleans. That morning I wandered around St. Claude, trying to organize my thoughts. I had texted my friend Lauren, the gallery manager in Rochester, saying my studio burned down and I had to cancel the show, which we were supposed to hang in 3 days. I called my parents. I got some coffee. At some point I thought, I do still want to go to Rochester, but I don't want to go without a show, so I started figuring out how to make one. I rode to my friend's bike shop and asked for some cardboard which I cut into approximately 14" squares. He let me process some feelings and set up painting outside the shop. (P.S. if you're ever in New Orleans, get your bike needs from Alex's Bikes in the Marigny) I messaged Lauren, saying I'm making a new show and I'm calling it re/cover.

That night I started painting faces on the cardboard, and by 2 AM I had 9 pieces. The next day I packed everything up to fly back to Philly. I had gotten a text from Jacob saying one of the other artists, Sadie, had cleaned my backpack for me and I should stop by the cafe she works at to get it. When I got there she handed me the bag, and a stack of planets-- she had gone through and picked out 14 of the map pieces from the rubble and cleaned them. I was speechless for a moment-- and thought why did I not do that myself? She said she gets it-- a lot of the others had saved each others' work but for some reason not their own. ...My heart swells when I think about it. A couple of others were at the cafe, already making plans to rebuild. It was really hard to leave.

When I got into Philly around midnight, I took the cardboard paintings out of my bag and realized something was missing from them. I had been thinking about the fierce kindness and resilience of the community as we supported each other because of what happened, but that for anyone who didn't know me, there was no way to know what I was wrestling with. I remembered that I cross paths with people everyday who might be invisibly deeply struggling, and I thought, "What if we committed to see each other as if we are all recovering from a great personal challenge?" I thought about how we can't read peoples' stories just by looking at them, and I added undecipherable text to the faces, personal experiences that have affected me. When I laid them out on the floor, I suddenly had an urge to ruin what I'd made, in a strange act of solidarity with the damaged planets. I covered parts of them with fresh white paint, obscuring the faces directly with my hands in a raw burst of emotion.

A few hours later I left for Rochester, taking the cardboard paintings and the surviving planets, which I hung across from the new work in the gallery the next day. The community in Rochester held me well-- I felt so supported and cared for while feeling so vulnerable.


The fire was one week ago today. Looking back, I wish I'd stayed in New Orleans. I wish I'd postponed my show in Rochester, stayed another week to settle and process, and to be as much a part as I could of the rebuilding of the Aquarium that's already taking place. It felt so wrong to leave so quickly, and I didn't act on that feeling at the time.  I guess part of me wanted to keep going, keep making something, and I wish I had channeled that there.

This experience has been a reminder of the power of community, and the importance of seeing each other. I got home to Philly late last night, and I'm figuring out the best way to get back to NOLA soon, while still trying to be present in Philadelphia. I can't thank my community enough for the support I've received, and I know I will pay it forward in the future.

    This show is dedicated to Jacob Martin, Ursa Eyer, Sadie Sheldon, Jenna Bonistalli, Maddie Stradt, Logan Ledford, and other artists and individuals connected to the Aquarium Gallery. Many thanks to Hannah Sadtler, Lauren Blair, Alex Kriegsmann, Ursa Eyer, Sadie Sheldon, and Sam Sadtler.

    Joey Hartmann-Dow

P.S. There will be more information about how to support the rebuilding of the Aquarium Gallery and Studios soon.



    In May 2016, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Aquarium Gallery and Studios as artist in residence, located in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, LA.

    I spent a month creating new work to show at a solo exhibit in Rochester, NY, making figures on maps mounted on circular plaster backs. The intention of the series was to draw parallels between systems of celestial and earthly bodies; I called it Naked Planets.
    Early on the morning of June 1, 2016, I received a message that the Aquarium Gallery had burned down. The artists who worked there and the people who lived there lost everything in the fire. When I arrived to see what I could salvage of the 20 pieces I had made for the show, I found that everything was soaked from the fire hose, damaged by smoke, and crushed under parts of collapsed ceiling and walls. For some reason in that moment I couldn't bring myself to pull the pieces together.

That night I started making new paintings with what I had-- remaining paints, and cardboard from a local bicycle shop. I was thinking about the fierce kindness and resilience of the community as we supported each other because of what happened, but that for anyone who didn't know me, there was no way to know what I was wrestling with. I remembered that I cross paths with people everyday who might be invisibly deeply struggling, and I thought, "What if we committed to see each other as if we are all recovering from a great personal challenge?"

The next day was my scheduled flight out of New Orleans. I met with a few of the other artists before leaving, and found out that one of them had picked the remnants of several pieces from Naked Planets from the rubble, cleaned them, and brought them to me. I was so touched by this act, and they now hang opposite the new work. The whole show is called re/cover.

This experience has been a reminder of the power of community, and the importance of seeing each other.

    This show is dedicated to Jacob Martin, Ursa Eyer, Sadie Sheldon, Jenna Bonistalli, Maddie Stradt, Logan Ledford, and other artists and individuals connected to the Aquarium Gallery. Many thanks to Hannah Sadtler, Lauren Blair, Alex Kriegsmann, Ursa Eyer, and Sadie Sheldon.

    Joey Hartmann-Dow

P.S. There will be more information about how to support the rebuilding of the Aquarium Gallery and Studios soon.


Naked Planets: New Work

Press Release for Naked Planets --  Showing in Rochester, NY June-July 2016
Pop-Up Show in New Orleans, LA on May 28 (details)

Joey Hartmann-Dow, Artist
267-281- 8983

Naked Planets
Opening Reception: June 5, 2016
Art & Music Library Gallery, University of Rochester


Map Art Featured at UR's Art & Music Library Gallery
Rochester, NY., May 19, 2016 -- University of Rochester alum Joey Hartmann-Dow brings her signature map art to UR's Art & Music Library Gallery for a solo show "Naked Planets", opening June 5.

The artist's new work plays with the intersection of the familiar and the unknown in the context of relationships between earthly and celestial bodies. She pushes the viewer to blur the line between planet and creature, obscuring the differences between them, while exposing the contrasting resilience and vulnerability of both.

The opening reception for Naked Planets is 1pm to 3pm on Sunday, June 5 at the Art & Music Library Gallery (Rush Rhees, University of Rochester).

Summer hours are:
Monday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed