The Domino Factory is an imposing structure looming over the Brooklyn waterfront. It's due to be demolished
but serves as an iconic piece of Brooklyn and is the backdrop for Jake's work.
"We were the last non-construction crew people to tour the site before the ball swung."
Jake is inspired by the classic industrial architecture that is quickly disappearing throughout the 5 boroughs – its inherent beauty and texture, and the life stories told via the facades and lines of each structure. He is drawn to each building’s unique character and strives to capture this aesthetic in his work.
We took some time out to ask Jake a few questions about his work and the history behind it.
Domino Factory - Hand Embellished Serigraph - 36 x 24 Inches - Archival Paper - $550
In Conversation with Jake
Seeing as you've lived in Brooklyn a long time, how do you feel about the changes you see taking place around you? The tearing down of old buildings and factories, the rebuilding. Jake:
When I first moved to Williamsburg / Greenpoint back in the late 90's it was very different, and I still felt like a late-comer at that point. Back then I could actually afford to live on Bedford Ave and right across the street from my place was a building that looked like it had been bombed out. Only the exterior walls remained and they were propped up by huge wooden beams. Now there's a cafe there. That's fine with me, I think there definitely needs to be progress in a city environment but there are so many issues that arise when this kind of progress starts to take place. In general I like seeing things get better but I don't really like seeing 40 - 50 story glass towers on the waterfront. Part of the problem is the speed in which these changes are taking place. It's been happening at a very rapid pace and it's really changing the dynamic of these neighborhoods and most of the new developments lack the character of the buildings they are replacing. In the case of the main Domino Factory building and other buildings like the Cass Gilbert designed Austin Nichols & Co. Warehouse on Kent Ave we are lucky because those have landmark status but many buildings have been demolished and it's a shame because we are losing that beautiful architecture and also a piece of the history of our city.
Tell us more about how you captured the photos of the factory - it looks like you're right underneath it! Jake:
During the summer of 2013 I decided to shoot the Domino Factory as the focus for my next series. I tried many different angles to get the right photo, from the Williamsburg Bridge, from the roof of a building next door, across the river with a zoom lens, on the east river ferry passing by. I got some great shots but not the right one. Then a week before the demolition started at the Domino site I was able to get on a tour of the factory which is how I ended up with the final image where I am standing directly in front of the main factory sign. We were the last non-construction crew people to tour the site before the ball swung. Erin:
You have a unique approach to each variation you have created of the Domino Factory. What inspires each new approach and is there something that needs to remain consistent in all to connect the series for you? Jake:
The only constant is the image of the building itself. Each variation just evolves on it's own. I experiment with different colors and textures and ultimately want to have a final series that has some range. I will try to create a group in which each piece is unique and stands on it's own, but they also work as a series.
If you want to learn more about Jake's work, his background and his process head on over to his artist page
or just browse his work