Dedicated to providing services & support for an endangered creative culture. Offering space, tools, workshops, materials, services & solutions from active creative industry professionals.
Interview with director & founder of Bluelab Industries, Blu Silverwoks Studio Blue Productions The Artist Village Art Army Providence. Rick Scianablo
Interviewer:. How did the idea of Studio Blue come about?
R: It probably got the bug around 1992 on a dirt BMX track behind the party experience store on larkfield road in long Island NY where I grew up. We all hung out there and made the track rock. It Rocked. Then there was a half-pipe next to the church in the woods, I would ride my bike on it, everyone was ridiculous, we would have little parties there. I found trouble wherever we could. When i was 16 we moved out of the city to a farmhouse upstate NY. It was a culture shock for sure, I started playing guitar and a few of us formed a band called Ohm - the sound of creation. It sounded exactly what you might imagine. We got better. Started recording ourselves with my homemade microphones and a tape deck. We eventually would invite people over and have little concerts in the yard, we put lights in the trees, we made a thing. It kept us out of trouble for the most part.. Our band was asked to play at our high school graduation, we played some originals and the typical satirical material - we don't need no education, 2001 space odyssey, good times bad times, free bird, whatever,.. Bare with me here... Then I moved to Florida worked at my families silver jewelry company Tombstone Silverworks played some music with my cousin and friends, learned how to sculpt and cast some silver shit and drink Guinness. I learned good things..
Interviewer: I'm sorry,I meant how did you come up with the name Studio Blue
R: oh hahaha, the walls were blue. and.... for psychic reasons i'm not at liberty to talk about.
Interviewer: Did you attend college for the things you do now?
R: yes, went to college at Mohawk Valley College in Utica New York around 1999, i took a lot of philosophy sociology classes, i liked people and thinking, every figure drawing class and photography class i could, learned web development, photoshop, welding, painting, coding programs, networking, software, how to build and maintain computers ect. But music eventually took over, I founded "Jam Sessions @ MV music organization or club" the school's first musicians club, that was fun. Eventually got a budget, learned how to manage a budget and and make a good case for our existence. We hosted big concerts on campus, Melvin Seals & The Jerry Garcia Band came a few times, our band opened for them and we became good friends. I made administrative rooms in the office hall that were not being used much into accessible art and music rooms, after hours. I ran that for 3 years, purchased equipment, music gear and made spaces accessible for me and whoever signed it out or blocked out a time between 6pm and midnight 2 or 3 nights per week. We pushed boundaries, it was helpful to many.. After reaching the limits of the establishments potential tolerance of our noisy group, i found some friends in town and collectively put together a studio in a building off campus, without all the restrictions, It was better. Eventually i had an opportunity to move to Providence and do a bigger thing. And here we are. Doing the same thing 20 years later...
Interviewer: Did art or music class in grade school have a big influence on you as a kid?
R: No, i remember in 5th grade I took drums in band class, the teacher yelled at me a lot, because I held the stick wrong and one day he threw a chalkboard eraser at me and told me to go home until I learned how to hold the sticks correctly. I never went back. I didn't touch an instrument again till i was 16 and not seriously until i was 20 or so. I never studied as I should have. I mostly played with the radio, whatever came on, or to my favorite records from my parent's collection. Yes real records. So not much happened in terms of art or music in grade school, it was more about figuring out people and myself on a basic level.. I sometimes wish i started being interested in anything relevant during grade school. Who knows what life would look like now.
Interviewer: Who are your main influences?
R: Good or bad?
R: Ha hA, i think they are equally as important but i guess, im pretty boring with mainstream influence - Picasso, Basquiat, Coltrain, Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Beck, Beastie Boys, Spielberg, Elon Musk, Sad Guru, Chewbacca, Bruce Bickford, Hendrix, Miles Davis, Robert Johnson, Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, James Brown, Beatles, Roberto Rodriguez, Anthrax, Corey Henry, j.Scofield, Clint Eastwood movies, Looney Tunes, King Diamond, Tesla, Anton Webern, Mr. wizard, Stravinsky, Bob Ross, Jim Henson, The Muppets, My Family.
Interviewer: Did you ever play in any bands people may have heard of?
R: Probably not, I did some obscure things, played lead guitar in The Shower of Bastards - improvisational madness, The Dukes of Havok - Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra covers and originals, Slug - grateful dead tribute band - 30 songs per night 2 nights pr week for 2 years. That's how i paid the rent then. We opened up for the Jerry Garcia Band with Melvin Seals, I was in the Utica City Orchestra for a year or two but so was everybody else. haha thats funny. When I moved to Providence i mostly produced and engineered recordings. I played a little with a band called Brio and filled in when people need a crazy guitar guy, nowadays i play dual Fender Rhodes and various keyboards and it's getting quite interesting.
Interviewer: What are you working on these days?
R: STUDIOBLUE hosts over 20 artists in residence and manages over 15k sq ft. We are working on developing more opportunities for people we dont have space for. We host open art nights, sculpture for casting classes, offer all age music lessons, audio engineer apprenticeships, do live recordings, screen printing & 3d printing items every week. To see current service list click here.
Interviewer: How does a music studio help the creative production community?
R: Well, It starts with music for me, but i think whatever you are doing, if your not having fun your doing it wrong. We all work separately and together to make projects and pieces better. In a place where things are set to make that easier, it makes it possible for people to do more better, hahaha do more, better. Surprisingly many creative mediums are connected and creative people find common ground pretty organically and that is a great place to be.
Interviewer: Space seems to be a big part of your organization. Can you explain that?
R: I believe space is the ultimate currency for creatives, especially in a city. It determines how big you can work and how loud you can be and how messy you can be, These restrictions immensely define what your art or creation can be. With so many restrictions how can you ask people to feel free to express themselves? We work on a barter system or sliding scale, always trying to manage working on interesting projects rather then only projects that people have a lot of money behind.. 20 years and 6 locations later, we certainly dont have the money we wish we did, but we have produced & supported countless artists, groups, creative projects, events & venues and people along the way. Helped a lot of people make things happen when no one else could. Made many life long friends, learning something new every day isnt anything to complain about.
Interviewer: Whats next?
R: Its time to let the anchor down and own our space. We are responsible for supporting a valuable creative community and at 15k sq ft we are out of space. We are Providence we want to remain here as an inner-city resource for creative people. Just another reason for talented people, students and thinkers who live here, to stay in Providence.
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Studio Blue offers artist and program development services for individuals, educators, after school programs, adults with disabilities, senior citizens, military veterans & special events.
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