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Over the years, I shared my art through celebrations of my daughter's birthdays handpainting crafts & totes. Now I want to share that love with you.
Stephanie Scoufaras: Astoria's Hummingbird Artisan
Life is her canvas.
The art and cultural scene is thriving like never before in the cozy and trendsetting neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City.
Long recognized for their deliciously diverse restaurants, the communities of Astoria and Long Island City take a back seat to no one when it comes to bringing together a melange' of painters, sculptors and young innovators who are re-defining just what it means to be an artist.
Whether you're in the mood to enjoy a beautiful traditional watercolor, a ceramic creation with a little contemporary zing or a thought-provoking sculpture, there is a myriad of options available to local residents.
Enticing options range from MoMA PS1 and the fabulous Noguchi Museum to the Plaxall Art Community Center and, of course, Socrates Sculpture Park.
But why confine yourself to just the museum and gallery scene when, in reality, great art is all around you?
Many of your neighbors are up and coming artists, whose work makes our community an infinitely more interesting and visually appealing place in which to live.
Throughout Ditmars and other parts of Astoria, you'll find eye-popping graffiti art decorating store-fronts and walls. Many of our neighborhood's restaurants and bars proudly display the works of local artists.
Who knows; that young lady who is sitting at her easel, drawing caricatures of passers-by on their way to the Broadway and 31st Street train station, just might be destined for a showing at the Museum of Modern Art one day!
And, while strolling along Ditmars Blvd. or 30th Avenue's colorful " restaurant row", don't be surprised if you run into some very eye-catching artwork being casually carried in the hands or on the shoulders of your fellow Astorians.
These signature, handpainted totes are the work of Stephanie Scoufaras, a long-time Astoria resident,craft-maker and painter. Stephanie's unique designs and color blends transform a plain tote bag into something special indeed; your very own fashion statement.
Her totes come in large and small sizes. Some of them display clever or meaningful phrases such as " A well-read woman is a dangerous woman."
The phrase, "one size fits all" is most definitely not in this vibrant artist's vocabulary.
Always coming up with something different and visually striking, Stephanie takes pride in the fact that her totes speak to everyone. Breaking boundaries every day in her workshop; Stephanie refuses to create with a specific demographic in mind.
You could say that's one of the most beautiful and authentic things about Stephanie's brand Hummingbird Artisan. It is tailor-made for a multi-cultural community such as Astoria.
Art has been an important part of Stephanie's life ever since she can remember. You could say that it's in her DNA.
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Stephanie at one of Astoria's most loved cafes, the New York City Bagel and Coffee House, on 29th street and 23rd Avenue. The Coffee House's zen, rustic ambiance was the perfect place in which to talk about Stephanie's journey in life as a woman, mother and artist. We can now add entrepreneur to the list. There's simply no stopping the multi-talented Stephanie!
We wanted to know just what fueled Stephanie's passion to put brush to canvas and do crafts. "I have always had a passion to incorporate art into my life. Being creative gives me the freedom to express my imagination and emotions. Honestly, I feel most centered and relaxed when I am engaged in some form of art".
The story as to how Hummingbird Artisan sprang to life is quite intriguing, indeed. Stephanie never started out wanting to launch a brand while making her fame and fortune along the way. Her path as a designer and tote artisan evolved in a very natural and organic manner.
Stephanie's designer tote bags were born out of love for her daughter Natalie. But let's allow Stephanie to continue with her tale. "Hummingbird Artisan got started when I made up some goodie tote bags for my daughter's birthday parties, a tradition that I started when she was two years old. I wanted to give Natalie and her friends a memento of the party that was personal in nature. Just buying a few tote bags off the shelf at the store and stuffing them, didn't seem to me to be the way to go."
Stephanie's totes were a gift from the heart. Soon, friends and family began asking if she could make a tote for them. It was then that this artist knew she was on to something!
Building a business from nothing is never easy, especially when one is a mom and also has a full-time day job, as was the case with Stephanie. However, there was not a doubt in the world that this determined artisan would find a way to make it work! The love that Stephanie has for her child is evident when you look into her eyes as she talks about Natalie. An abundance of pride shines through.
"There's no question that Natalie is my biggest inspiration and muse. She is my Hummingbird, full of life, joy and a reminder to go against time and stay in the moment." When you meet with Stephanie, one of the first things you notice is her sincerity as well as the positive energy that she exudes. Those qualities are what breathes life into her paintings and totes. Good vibes always!
Stephanie, however, is not alone on this artistic journey, particularly from a spiritual perspective. The hummingbird is forever by her side. When it came time to choose a name and a logo for her brand, there was no doubt that the joyful hummingbird would be involved in some way.
"I have always been drawn to hummingbirds and what they represent. It is said that they are the angels of the earth, bringing happiness and positive expression to all who encounter them."
The unalome symbol, as related to drawing the body of the hummingbird, represents the path to enlightenment and peace in the Buddhist culture. "Both have a deep meaning and connection for me and I wanted to express that in my logo and company name. It's really all about meeting life's challenges and pushing through until we arrive at that straight, calm path. That's what the hummingbird encourages us to do".
Although the Hummingbird Artisan has been carving out quite a name for herself with her ever-evolving collection of totes and cosmetic bags, Stephanie Scoufaras is now bringing her one-of-a-kind Paint and Sip events to the Astoria and Long Island City community.
Please be sure to mark the date of Wednesday, October 23rd, at 7 PM on your calendar. That's when Stephanie will be hosting her next,long-anticipated Paint and Sip Party at Arcadia Bar and Kitchen.
Located at 12-21 Astoria Blvd. Arcadia is only a short walk from either the 30th Avenue or Ditmars Blvd. N and Q train stations. And this charming place is just minutes away from your office or apartment when you ride with Lyft or Uber. This promises to be a fun evening! Come with a date, colleagues from work or fly solo and plan to make new friends at the event.
Going out to a bar or a movie after work is a great way to de-stress from a busy New York day. But let's face it. You've been there and done that. Too many times. Do something different and bring out the inner artist that you've been dying to release but just didn't know-how.
Admission is only $45 per person and includes all paint materials plus two glasses of wine as well as a delectable selection of Arcadia's mouth-watering appetizers. We asked your host for the evening to take us through the process. What exactly can Aplez.com's readers expect when they attend the Paint and Sip Party?
One thing is for sure; you will feel totally engaged from start to finish!
"When people come to my paint events I personally greet them at the door and then bring them over to the bar to receive their drink and art supplies. I also like to take a few moments with each of my guests and chat, get to know them a little."
It's the personal connection that matters most to Stephanie.
Continuing on, Stephanie explained that, "Once everyone has checked in and been seated at their easels, I will go over the theme of the evening, what scene or subject we will be painting, making sure to look at the basics. The important thing is that everyone feels comfortable".
After the actual painting has commenced, Stephanie will circulate among her guests, giving tips and instructions to anyone who may be in need of assistance.
"I absolutely encourage personal expression with the painting, "Stephanie told us. "If we happen to be doing a beach scene and there are no shells in my painting, then, by all means, add them. Make the painting YOURS! At the end of the evening, take your artwork home and be proud of what you've accomplished."
During the events' two hours, there will be ample time to mingle and get to know your fellow artists. Soft music will be playing in the background to set the right mood.
And, if you're worried about paint getting splashed on your clothes, there's no need to fret. When you walk over to your assigned seat at the painting table, you'll find a handy apron that will afford more than sufficient protection from any accidental paint splatters.
You will be working with acrylic paints. This type of paint dries fairly fast. Stephanie feels that it is the easiest kind of paint for beginners to work with.
Okay; you're more than interested and so ready to RSVP. That's great!
But there's a little voice inside you that says "I want to sign-up but I've NEVER painted before. Or, not since I was a kid, anyway. Can I REALLY do this?"
Stephanie has a few words of encouragement for you. "The best part about being a painting instructor is seeing those who feel that they are not skilled in this form of art take on the challenge and surprise themselves in the end."
"At every event I host, I always come across a person who has never, ever touched a brush or hasn't painted in a very long time. I want our guests to realize that everyone has their own style and there is no such thing as "bad art". If you make a mistake, improvise and incorporate it into your painting."
In other words, don't worry about what the person next to you is doing on their canvas. Be YOU. Paint YOUR style. During the course of the evening, you will be able to express yourself through art, freely and without judgment. You are here to have a good time. It's not a competition.
Stephanie will be by your side every step of the way. With a little bit of patience and caring, thorough instruction, those who are lacking confidence will amaze themselves and be able to turn out a beautiful work of art by the end of the evening.
You got this, pure and simple!
In the past, Stephanie's events at other Astoria locations like Joe's Garage Bar have filled up rather quickly. So, don't be left out! Get in touch with Stephanie and reserve your spot now.
To make a great thing that much better, your host will be gifting one of her signature totes to the first twenty people who sign up. So, let's get this paint and sip party started!
It's time to fly like a hummingbird and make your artistic dreams a reality. The sky is the limit.
Hummingbird Artisan Contact Info:
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Address: 12-21 Astoria Boulevard
City: New York