Grantee Yearbook: Scott Van Campen and Mark Zappasodi

Considering the ongoing success of their project "Brewing as Art"

Grantee Yearbook: Scott Van Campen and Mark Zappasodi

Considering the ongoing success of their project “Brewing as Art”

Photo: Glen Jackson Taylor via Core 77

A couple of current grantees have been featured recently on inSIde, but considering the ongoing success of their project “Brewing as Art” (supported by a 2010 DCA Premier Grant), I am proud to dig into our grantee archive and feature Scott Van Campen and Mark Zappasodi.

I had a chance to chat with Scott recently because of some pretty unfortunate circumstances. Like many on Staten Island and throughout parts of the city and New Jersey, Scott’s studio in Stapleton was amongst the buildings flooded during Hurricane Sandy, damaging a lot of materials and equipment. Though frustrated, Scott didn’t delay. Rallies of friends and family helped to bring his studio back into basic operation rather quickly, which, in addition to his artistic craft, supports his business doing custom metalwork and fabrications.

Scott and Mark received a grant from COAHSI in 2010 to “create a brewing structure that marries form and function, art and industry, past and present.” Drawing on the history of Staten Island’s brewing history, Scott’s metalworking skillset and Mark’s micro-brewing abilities, “Brewing as Art” is not just a brewery on wheels, but a performance-art piece. It is capable of brewing ten gallons of beer and is completely mobile so it may be transported to art events and festivals. “Most importantly,” they say, “It looks as if it was resurrected from 19th Century Victorian England in the style called Steam Punk.”

“Brewing as Art” as a concept and artpiece may date back to 2010, but it has since received pretty consistent attention at Core77′s OPEN, Maker Faire, and most recently in Brew Your Own Magazine!

Monica: “Brewing as Art” is a fantastic model for artist collaborations. What do you feel is integral to maintaining a friendship in balance with a professional working relationship?   

Scott: There are several factors involved in our successful relationship on “Brewing As Art”, including good communication of ideas and vision, patience, dedication and passion for the project. But, ultimately our sense of humor and having fun are what really made the project successful.  I think we both really enjoyed learning about each others ‘art’ and were able to build on each others knowledge.  It is worth noting that while “Brewing As Art” sustained some damage due to the flooding of my shop by Hurricane Sandy, it will live to brew another day.

M: This BYO Article comes shortly after your Maker Faire debut. How was “Brewing as Art” received by the NYC based maker festival?

S: The Maker Faire was a blast!  It was a great opportunity to show off our DIY brewery to the masters of the DIY movement.  We were able to introduce tons of people into the workings of our sculpture as well as beer brewing.  One minute you would be talking to a some home brewers and the next you would be chatting with a team from NASA about “Brewing As Art”.  It was a very diverse crowd and the positive response to BAA was really rewarding.  “Brewing As Art” won an Editors Choice award from Make Magazine, which is a great feather in our cap and shows our mash-up of home brewing and sculpture worked.

M: Any new projects from either/both you and Mark on the horizon?   

S: Mark has decided to jump on a great opportunity to take over a family farm in Massachusetts, where he will be starting a hop farm and continuing to master his brewing skills.  We are still throwing around ideas for future projects together.  As for me, I have a few project in the works, a portrait of an elephant in mixed media, some cigar box guitars, and working on proposals for a couple of public art pieces.

I think the thing that I am most exited right now, is that I am hoping to transform my metal working studio into a Maker Space where people will have access to a full metal shop, wood shop, computer studios, photo studio and co-working spaces.  I would really love to bring all of the artists, crafts people, hobbyists, geeks, tinkerers, and entrepreneurs together, in one location where they can work together as a community.

Scott Van Campen is a Graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Scott is an accomplished architectural metal fabricator and sculptor. He is the owner of New York Custom Fabricators and wants you to email him if you are interested in getting involved in his Makerspace on Staten Island.

Mark Zappasodi is an avid home brewer, the founder of the New Brighton Homebrew Society, a small scale hop grower, and a beer writer who lives on his new hop farm in Massachusetts. You can stay up to date with Mark on his blog, The Malt Shed.