Teaneck—People learn how to draw here, but there aren’t any pencils. They learn a variety of brush strokes, but there’s no scent of oil paint or turpentine. Instead, Noel Gussen is teaching art to students aged 8 to 80 in the very space where he also curates exhibitions, right here in his semi-eponymous gallery, the Grassy Noel, on 396 Cedar Lane.
Located near Carly’s Craze and Picklelicious, Gussen teaches classical drawing, painting and photography, but he does it with his fleet of Apple iPads serving as both brush and canvas. (You can also bring your own device). He teaches both small groups and private lessons for any age, and also hosts workshops on individual subjects. He even offers parties for children aged 9 to adult, where participants can learn how to make a short film or edit photographs.
In the same 800 square foot locations where students learn classic techniques, they also fill the art gallery Gussen curates, which is hung with his own works when a show is not adorning the walls. Digital or paint-altered photos on canvas, photos on aluminum, and classic paint on canvas are shown on any given day. Currently on the walls: part of a series of digitally altered and painted photos on canvas that began as portraits of Gussen’s own fans on Instagram.
Gussen, a digital artist and classical painter who dabbles in a wide array of media and mediums, has a BFA from West Virginia University. As an art director and instructor, Gussen has developed various art curriculums for children and adults. He is a former “lead creative” for the Apple store. His paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including “Gathering of the Minds” in Morgantown, West Virginia, and “Ruach in the Golan,” in K’far Hanasi, Israel.
One might ask what brought this artist and art gallery to Teaneck, but he would tell you that it was to come home. Gussen was born here, and his brother, Adam Gussen, is Teaneck’s deputy mayor. Educated in local public schools such as Whittier School, Ben Franklin Middle School, and Teaneck High School, Gussen became a bar mitzvah at the Teaneck Jewish Center and was a USY advisor. He now lives just a few blocks from the gallery in Teaneck with his wife Sandra.
Gussen has high hopes for the Grassy Noel, which he sees as “a haven for art and tech enthusiasts, from novice to experienced,” he said.
The Grassy Noel is active at all hours of the day. Daytime instruction in the studio delivers an understanding of basic to professional artistic expression and techniques in digital painting, drawing and collage, as well as serving as a Mac lab for those requiring electronic media consulting, workshops or refreshers, including digital photography, graphic design, digital painting, and basic skills. Evenings consist of gallery exhibitions, showcasing local and international talent, bimonthly openings and receptions, family nights, and guest lectures.
Gussen also offers a bijoux retail experience to assist patrons with art and tech related supplies and accessories. He invites the community to visit the gallery at 396 Cedar Lane, or on the web at http://www.thegrassynoel.com.
By Elizabeth Kratz