Clayton Patterson and Elsa Rensaa

The other day as I was heading home from the gym, I spotted a pop-up art gallery with wide-open doors and a welcoming bright neon sign that read, “Elgoog”. Curiously, I walked in and scanned around the bright white room filled with photo frames of black and white drawings. It was boho punk! I wondered to myself, “who’s the photographer?” and saw the names, Clayton Patterson and Elsa Rensaa. I took some pictures and went back to my apartment to do some research. I learned that this Canadian-born photographer was celebrating his farewell exhibition about his Lower East Side career along with his life partner, Elsa Rensaa, at the Galerie ABP (which stands for Au Bon Punk) on 58-60 at 9th Ave. During the 80’s, their photographs, paintings and writings influenced their LES neighborhood and it documented the cultural and economic changes that expanded beyond the streets of Essex, Houston, Ludlow and Stanton but influenced and changed all of NYC including such artists and celebrities like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Madonna and Blondie. “From an era where an unknown artist could live in a loft in Soho or in Tribeca off income selling prints in the streets. An era that is long gone.”

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