Days in the Life of a Duo

The work necessary for successful cooperation is ongoing and an inherent part of everyday life. We as humans tend to couple in a variety of forms to share the joys and burdens of our mortal experience, whether it be raising a family, balancing a checkbook, traveling the world, producing creative collaborations, or all of the above.  

Laurie Markiewicz and James Alicea are partners in life and art. They have shared the responsibilities of raising a family as well as merged their minds to create collaborative projects. Recently, they put together an exhibit at AvantGarde LES, a self-described “home for innovative and experimental ideas that push the boundaries of culture”. We asked Laurie about their work.


When and how did your collaboration with James Alicea form?

LM: “In the spring, our friends at AvantGarde LES had presented the opportunity to create a show together and we happily obliged. The space provided us with ample amount of space to show both our individual work of painting/typography/photography and collaborate on a much larger scale than we have before. We were/are very excited.”

Avant Garde LES; photo by Laurie Markiewicz


What do you bring to the collaboration and what does James bring that makes it work well? 

LM: “Our collaboration piece “Crossing” is how we perceive and cope with the organized chaos of our everyday runarounds in the city that never sleeps. We have always wanted to merge my photography with his hand style and characters. We both are very much inspired by each other’s work and find it complimentary. Regardless of the work itself, James and I collaborate every day and every minute, managing home life with three pre-teenage children. Our blended family is our biggest and main collaboration.”



How do you feel your own work is affected when you collaborate with the other person versus when you work alone?

LM: “There are times when I feel a line/title from a song, a word/s or word play, and would like to add them in negative space in my photos. James and I ebb and flow quite smoothly when it comes to selecting a photo or being drawn to a particular one and brainstorming on the words and what hand styles or characters make most sense. It’s quite simple and fun for both of us. We love that others pick up on that vibe. When we work alone we are in a serious zone and aren’t that vocal about our process.”

What is 596ArtistUnion

LM: “James and I met through mutual friends and started dating in 2010. Throughout our first year of dating we were constantly brainstorming on how we could work on projects together involving our artist peers and other people in our local communities of the Lower East Side and Northern Manhattan (where we currently reside). We also wanted to find ways of connecting with artists we both knew and didn’t know and bring all of them together. One night on our stoop in 2011, (building number #596) we decided to call our “project” 596ArtistUnion. As of now, it is a platform to push both of our work collectively and the work of others we enjoy or feel inspiration from. We are still in the process of building our mission and coordinating gatherings and events.”

Laurie Markiewicz (art and photo)


Tell us about this present exhibition “Days in the Life”

LM: “”Days In The Life”, is a visual narrative of how we continue to drive and balance our art making while raising three children and maintaining a household. The work is the escape from the many stressors “trying to do everything” can cause. I carry a camera with me at all times. While running around either on my own, with the kids, just James, or all together. I am constantly taking in the beauty of real life around me. It’s also a relief knowing I am not alone in the everyday hustle. My pictures represent that. James never leaves home without a selection of markers, pens, or pencils and a sketchbook. He is taking in everyone around him either by sketching them while riding the subway, bus or sitting on a park bench. Often he will have his own interpretation of these people and build oddball characters and creatures. The words added to his drawings or paintings compliment the emotion of each piece appropriately titled, “Monday”, “Tuesday”, “Wednesday”, “Thursday”, and “Friday”.”

James Alicea. “Skellies” (top); “52 Blocks” (bottom)


Laurie Markiewicz (art and photo)


The opening was nuts, come to the closing party this Saturday!

Photo by Leopold SOALife