Cobble-Hill artist Adam Suerte calls himself “the hugest fan of the Brooklyn Bridge,” and has the tattoo to prove it. Despite what some may call a “hard exterior,” this Brooklyn-born painter and tattoo artist explains he’s actually an “easy-going guy.” Suerte is the creative mastermind behind the piano recently installed on the Pier 1 promenade, and was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about his creation. His piano is just one of 88 scattered throughout the 5 boroughs as part of Sing for Hope’s “Pop up Piano” program. The pianos will host impromptu performances all over the city for two weeks before they are donated to local schools. Suerte joins the ranks of artists such as Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, and Diane von Fürstenberg, who contributed personalized pianos to Sing for Hope, “a non-profit organization that mobilizes professional artists in volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals, and communities.”
Suerte got involved with Sing for Hope after seeing a “pop-up piano” last year on Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn. His piano, appropriately named “Brooklyn Love,” is adorned with Brooklyn imagery in Suerte’s signature graffiti-style, including the Brooklyn Bridge, subway cars, streetlamps, a pigeon, and yes, even a rat. Suerte says that much of his artwork is inspired by Brooklyn landmarks. Though it’s only been in place for a few days, the painted piano has proved irresistible to Brooklyn Bridge Park visitors – just ask the young girl who happily plunked away at its keys for the duration of our interview. The piano invites spontaneous recitals, where musically-inclined park visitors of all ages and skill-levels sit and play pieces from the provided sheet music, practice from memory, or simply make up melodies of their own. As for the piano’s placement against the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the iconic skyline of Lower Manhattan, Suerte describes this as “the most ideal location.” Adam admitted to us that he had been hoping that the piano would be chosen for Brooklyn Bridge Park, and found the setting complimented his design perfectly. “I don’t know if the skyline is a backdrop to the piano or vice-versa.”
As a lifetime resident of Cobble Hill, Suerte explained how much he loves the park, especially the Granite Prospect which overlooks the East River, and the park’s waterfront promenade, which feels like “an enhancement to the Brooklyn Promenade, bringing people even closer to the water.” “It’s hard to believe this hasn’t always been here” Suerte explained. He was also present for the inaugural weekend of the Pier 6 rooftop concession last Saturday, where he enjoyed “a beer and a hotdog” from Bark Hot Dogs. Not far from Pier 6, Adam owns and operates Brooklyn Tattoo with Willie Paredes on Atlantic Avenue. He says his favorite part about Brooklyn is the fact that “you can look up and see the sky wherever you are, without having to turn your head.” “It’s easier to breathe, and has all the necessities of the city without being as dog-eat-dog.” While he loved designing a piano, Adam remains more of an artist than a musician. Despite his mother’s best attempts, Adam admits he never really learned to play the piano: “I didn’t like to practice. Art was really the only thing I did without being forced to.”
Weather permitting, Adam Suerte’s piano “Brooklyn Love” will be featured at Pier 1 until July 2nd.
For more information on Adam Suerte and Brooklyn Tattoo, visit www.adamsuerte.com and www.brooklyntattoo.com.
For more information on Sing for Hope and Pop up Pianos, visit: www.pianos.singforhope.org