Business + Services

Brooklyn Roasting “Geishka” Mystery Solved!

Earlier this fall, we told you about a mysterious art piece that just appeared one day at Brooklyn Roasting Company while the coffee shop was under construction. No one knew the artist or the origin of the piece. Thanks to a tipster in Sweden, who came across our site via this swiss miss post, the mystery behind Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Geisha painting has been solved!

When we posted our story about the mysterious “Fox and Geisha”, we got an email from  Rikard, who expressed shock that no one had yet identified a work done by the very well known and renowned artist named Koralie.  “Are you trying to be ironic?” he asked. With the help of Rikard and Google, we easily confirmed that we had found the source of our Geisha.

Koralie’s partner is the street artist known as SupaKitch–aka “The Fox.” This French artistic duo currently reside with their two children in Clinton Hill–where they’ve been working from for the last three years.

Koralie and SupaKitch are heavily inspired by Japanese art and their work reflects that. Images of dragons, geishas (Koralie’s icon is actually a “geishka”: half geisha/ half matroika doll–see her explanation below), and foxes (a common subject of Japanese folklore) can be found in the pieces they’ve done throughout their careers. While much of their art adorns city walls, they have also shown their work in galleries around the world.

We caught up with Koralie to discuss her inspiration behind the BRC “Geishka” and future plans for her and SupaKitch. She even pointed us to the short documentary below that shows her and SupaKitch at work (pay close attention around the 3:52 mark).

SUPAKITCH & KORALIE by elr°y on Vimeo.

What made you pick DUMBO to put up your piece?
DUMBO is one of my favorite places in New York City. It is the perfect mix between an elegant village and a big city–with the most beautiful views of Manhattan. But this is like a secret spot–there aren’t too many tourists. I feel very good in this neighborhood.

Did you put up your piece with the intention of “giving” it to the business behind the plywood?
When I do this kind of work it is for my pleasure and for the pleasure of the residents … this is something that is free for all. I don’t always know how long my artwork will stay up… that’s just the game of the city! Usually I don’t like it when someone appropriates my street art because I do it for all the people. But in this instance, it’s another story since I knew that this space was under construction and I imagined that someone would pick up the plywood. That is why I’m very happy that my Geishka lives amongst all of the wonderful coffee aromas!

What does that piece or any of your pieces represent to you? Why did you choose a Geishka as the focus of your street art?
I’ve created a graphic icon, half sensual/half shy, that I named “Geishka,” a mix of a shy Japanese geisha, a bright character from a Manga and an elegant Russian matriochka. I always depict this character but it’s actually just an excuse because I’m not interested in her as a subject matter but rather more in how I’m going to set her up, with the symbols, colours and shapes from all origins that will go around her with her in a balance of power and refinement, and where one will eventually read a story with 2 levels of interpretation: an immediate emotion, then a detailed analysis. I’m also inspired by mandalas for their geometrical and repetitive composition as well as the way to proceed: a work of precision.

Do you have more pieces up around the City? Any future plans to put up more pieces?
Before I lived in NYC, I put many pieces of my artwork on walls throughout the City, especially in Manhattan [ed note: SupaKitch got engaged to Koralie while they were doing a wheat paste together in NYC]. But since I live here now I know that is illegal…that’s why this is just my third piece in 3 years (I did 2 pieces in Williamsburg before DUMBO). I would love to do more, but I would prefer to do some commissioned work. When I paint for an order, I paint with my husband, SupaKitch.

When we spoke to Koralie, she also told us that her and her family will be moving back to France in December- leaving a small piece of her legacy behind in DUMBO. For more visual candy of Koralie and SupaKitch in action, check out the videos here, here and here.

Image via “SupaKitch & Koralie” by elr°y