This past Wednesday night on NYC’s Lower East Side a group of industry professionals and humanitarians crowded into the exhibition space on the 17th floor of the trendy Public Hotel. While drinking cocktails and enjoying hor d’oeuvres, the stylish crowd bid on an exclusive portrait series depicting some of New York’s most iconic comedians.
The collection entitled, “The Comedians,” was the brainchild of the talented artist and photographer Limor Garfinkle. Featured within the eye-catching photo series were Tracy Morgan, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Jim Norton, Marina Franklin, and Keith Robinson, along with 29 other comics. Each comedian was captured in a surprising and unique scenario that will surely be a conversation starter on the wall of the highest bidder. All 35 metal prints were auctioned off to raise funds for the Mount Sinai Division of ADHD and Learning Disorders.
Mingling with the crowd and sharing their experience and inspiration behind their portraits were comedians Tracy Morgan, Wil Sylvince, Marina Franklin, Mo Amer, Keith Robinson, and Modi, among others. But lining the room, it was the portraits themselves that were truly the stars of the evening. Limor’s talent and skillful eye shines through each dynamic print. Among the highlights was a delightfully colorful Marina Franklin clad in only a bikini on a beautiful beach, grasping an inhaler and a water pistol. Keith Robinson posed as a wayward preacher, holding the Bible in one hand while clutching an issue of Playboy behind his back. Digging a grave in the dead of night in a classy little black dress, wrapped in a fuzzy animal print was Bonnie McFarlane as she perches a delicate high heel on the head of a shovel.
Most remarkably these whimsical images were not photoshopped composites. Creator Limor and her team of talented designers, editors, make-up artists, costume designers, and crew created these images from top to bottom while on location. Locations include many highly desired locales, such as McSorely’s Old Ale House, the Sixth Street Synagogue, the Comedy Cellar, Big Daddy’s, and the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, all of which were generously donated.
When speaking to the evening’s crowd, Limor explained how the project series began two years ago. It was originally intended to be a one-off photo shoot with comedian Ardie Fuqua. However, that shoot inspired Limor to create an entire series. She expressed her gratitude to all of the comedians who made introductions for her as the project moved forward. Jessica Delfina introduced Limor to Jim Gaffigan, who introduced her to Caroline Hirsch of Caroline’s Comedy Club, and from there the project took off, landing on a much bigger platform than Limor ever imagined.
On stage, Limor continued to explain why she chose to lend her art in support of ADHD, saying, “People have come to me and said to me, ‘Why ADHD?’ Aren’t there better causes out there? And you know what? Maybe. But I’ve seen firsthand how devastating it can be to have ADHD or any learning disability. I’ve seen it firsthand. So, I think any mental illness is just as important as any physical issue.”
Mount Sinai’s program treats children who otherwise would not be able to receive treatment. They perform cutting-edge research in the study of ADHD, always working towards establishing new forms of treatment. They also create opportunities for children in low-income areas to receive evaluations so that they can get the proper support from family and school. Therapeutic interventions and medication management is provided for any children in need of assistance.
For more information about this important project, check out the artist’s website at limorgarfinkle.com. The event was also presented by the New York Comedy Festival.