Cathy Tabbakh 

You work between France and the UK. Do you draw from the painting traditions of both countries, or do your influences come from elsewhere?

I get inspired by many different traditions. I collect antique vases and pots, often from flea markets or antique stores from all over the world. I have a fascination for ornaments and various surrealistic objects such as leaf plates, a watermelon letter holder or a lemon salt and pepper shake, these are a few of my own objects. I get inspired a lot by what’s around me and will add a surrealistic twist to it. I also think I kept some influences that I studied in art history and archaeology. My parents were greengrocers, so I have always been drawn to food and market / garden life.

Some of the objects in your paintings are realist and others more expressionist. What effect do you hope to achieve by this combination of styles?

I don’t like to obey a certain style or composition, I love the freedom I get in my work. I enjoy mixing various inspirations and styles to make it my own.

Your still lifes of flowers in vases have dramatic titles and a strong sense of mood and the passage of time. How do you think the still life form can contain all this emotion and time?

I feel like the fusion between shadow and light is very powerful. The shortness of this moment, waiting for that glowing golden hour to touch the still life. You never know how it’s going to react and it’s never exactly the same. I find that fascinating and it definitely changed the way I work and the way I see light. All my work used to be very 2D and flat, since the last couple of years I’m working more in 3D, thinking of how the composition could feel more voluminous by the use of shadows and various textures.

Your paintings often have strong light sources that create shadows, and sometimes the shadows are exaggerated. What do you convey with shadows?

Depending on where the shadow is coming from, the shadow can be exaggerated or blurred naturally. I chose to interpret it in a more surrealist way. I don’t wish to copy exactly what I see but give it my own interpretation. I usually saturate the palette a lot, to give it a more dramatic aspect.

Some of your compositions have a playful, geometric architecture. Are you referring to a certain modernist architecture? Do you consider your paintings from an architectural perspective?

I play around different themes in my work: still lifes with shadows, surrealistic stills, architectural compositions and bathroom scenes. I get inspired by many architects but I’m particularly keen on Luis Barragàn’s work that I discovered some years ago. The way he thinks of lines and colour is amazing and mesmerising. Even in my still lifes with shadows, there’s always a game of lines. The light is depicted in a very straight, angular and architectural way.

What about plant life, and its interaction with vases, interests you? And how does this relate to your interest in water and marine life?

I collect plants, I love watching them grow and the way that they seem to be constantly dancing, in movement. They can also be surprising! During the second lockdown in the UK, I started painting fish in bowls, unconsciously. I then realised the symbolism behind it. I was myself feeling like a fish in a bowl, able to see the world but not touch it. I have since been painting many different fish and tried many different combinations. My favourite so far remains the fish vase. This is a theme I am still in constant exploration. 

Click Here ︎ to see Cathy’s work.
Cathy’s Instagram: @cathytabbakh

Interview by Christian Prince.

Jacob Gerard

Your style, especially in your figures, can appear cartoonish, but it also has this rough realism, like in your depiction of Mickey Mouse, where you humanize him with small eyes and dark circles. How would you describe your style?

No clue. Trying to describe what I do, or even how or why I like something is really hard for me. I’m horrible at expressing myself verbally. That’s why I enjoy painting. I can sit there and spend a week or two on a single image or thought, taking one image I like and then painting it in the colors I think compliment it, tediously painting and repainting it until I feel like it is a coherent thought.

I wish every conversation I ever had could be more like that. The first time I try and express a thought, it always comes out all jumbled and non-sensical, like I’m just stringing together random sentences.

I wish I could go back and layer in new words, sentences, thoughts, ideas until I get something that seems more like a clear expression of myself and my feeling on the subject, ya know?

Your colors are disarming and distinctive. You seem to take familiar, primary colors (blue, red, yellow), and alter them just enough that they become weird and unfamiliar. What role does color play in your compositions?

My style has altered in the last few months, especially in the way I use color, so it’s hard to speak on the way I use composition. I honestly just go with my gut a lot of the time.

Lately, I’ve been starting by painting everything a cool blue then layering warmer colors on top. I usually know what color I want to work around, like in the last cowboy painting I did, I knew I wanted a red shirt and that was it. After that, I just kept changing the colors around until everything seemed balanced. Sometimes in the painting I feel like the color plays a more important role then the image itself.

You paint big and small cats. There’s one painting where a big, gothic black cat is panting over the universe. Do cats hold any sort of totemic significance for you?

Ya, I love cats. I grew up with a lot of animals, dogs, cats, crows, pigeons, snakes, rabbits, lizards, even a possum for a few weeks once; you name it. But I always felt the most connection with my cats. Like when you have a cat as your friend, you know that’s a real friend. That’s your buddy. That cat can be anywhere, do anything it wants. So if it’s hanging out with you it’s because it wants to, because it really loves you. Unlike dogs, I mean I love dogs a lot, but they’re idiots. They just love you because you feed them, and they just need you most of the time. So ya I guess I put cats on a pedestal…they’re cool.

Also they have this vibe like they know something you don’t, Like their third eye is open and they’ve seen through the multi-dimensions stacked ontop of eachother like glass plates playing out every infinite scenario. So they know what could have happened and what’s going to happen and none of it really matters because we’re all just going to be reincarnated as bushes so eat and nap all you like.

Many of your scenes are distinctively American—there’s western scenes with cowboys, and a scene of a woman diving into a motel swimming pool. Do you think about Americana when you paint?

Oh yeah, for sure. I’ve really been leaning into it lately. It’s honestly kinda subliminal to me, not really a cultural criticism or anything. If anything, it’s a critique on the inner workings of my brain. I don’t even realize I’m doing it, like It’s all just so engrained into my brain like some MK ultra shit. I guess that’s a very American thing, being force-fed pop culture, and stories of grandeur. There’s always a single polarized person achieving this hero status through some arbitrary measure of greatness. In that sense, I kind of think the way I usually use a singular image is very American, almost like brand advertising. And what’s more American than advertisement? One singular conglomerate manipulating an image to suit the wants of the consumer to maximize profit. I don’t know what I’m talking about, but yeah, I guess I’m into a type of Americana. Not sure if it’s in the traditional bread and butter sense, but yeah.

Flowers seem to have a tragicomic symbolism in your work, as in the scene where bundles of flowers spill out of a totaled car. Do you see flowers as symbols?

Well, I’ve done flowers before and Im still on the fence about how they look in my paintings. Specifically in the car painting with the flowers spilling out, I wanted to paint these cars being torn inside out. Not really about the car crash itself, but the wreck it leaves behind. I see beauty in the twisted metal. I think a lot of people look at them and think they’re violent, which I didn’t intend for them to be. But yeah, the flowers are kind of symbolic for blood and guts, (haha ok, maybe it is violent), but like if the car was a living creature, as it lay there twisted and broken, the flowers spill out of the passenger side door and pool up under the car.

Watermelons appear in several of your works, and often seem to have a humorous, ironic quality. Water also appears often, although you always paint it abstractly or cartoonishly, or, in the scene with the boat, there’s no water at all. What’s behind your interest in water and watermelons?

I do paint water a lot; that’s kind of an ongoing project. It’s usually not in a fun happy way. I usually associate water with doom and gloom. I think the ocean is the most terrifying thing on the planet. I went in the ocean once and a rip tide started to pull me out then smashed me into a jetty for like 20 minutes. I felt like someone was holding onto my ankles and pulling me down and out. So yeah, I don’t fuck with the ocean anymore.

But when it appears in my paintings it usually has an all-encompassing vibe. There’s no escaping it. It’s rising up and swallowing everything in its path, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at the thing it’s destroying and the how you look at the destroyer. You might think wiping the slate clean is a good thing thing, who knows?

And for the watermelon, I just like the colors and shapes, and how when it’s cut and viewed from different perspectives, it takes completely different forms. I don’t know… it’s a very artistically versatile fruit. You throw a watermelon into any painting and it creates this ambience, I dig it.

Click Here ︎ to see Jacob’s work.
Jacob’s Instagram: @_jacob_gerard

Interview by Christian Prince.

Yool Kim 

You studied color at university, and your palette is very distinctive. What is your approach to color? What were you hoping to do with your degree in Color Studies?

Originally, I really wanted to major in painting, but due to my circumstances at the time, I majored in makeup for my undergraduate degree. In graduate school I went on to study personal color and color science.  As a result, I worked in cosmetology for 10 years.  Naturally, I look closely at a person's face, and over time I came to realize that color suits each person is different depending on their environment and psychological state.  I also learned that color and psychology are inextricably linked.  As a result, my craving for painting grew more and more, and now I have brought it into my practice -  color is an important part of my paintings.

How long have you been painting? Who are your major influences?

Although I studied art as a young girl, I have been focused on painting this style for the past year and a half.  At first, I was able to express my complex thoughts with face illustrations, and naturally came to a form with arms, legs, and torso.  The influence of my paintings is me.  I express the feeling of the moment and my condition in the most honest way, and I don’t want to hide it, so I project it into the picture.

Your paintings are heavily psychological, representing extreme emotional states, and yet they are also quite figurative and composed. It’s like there’s manifestations of the unconscious, but also a regulating order. What do you understand about the psychological aspect of your work?

A person like me changes from disorderly and complex thoughts to frame the world around them. One struggle I try to convey is to accept change and a longing for mental and physical freedom. I express this in my paintings. When I draw, I place importance on color, background, shape and emotion of the person, and layout.  As a result, like the methods and rules of the Tetris game, random sticks coming down from the top are regularly fitted into the frame, and the complex background (to the world) expresses the desire to show that I stand out or coexist.

Your figures often have a dotted border and a dot on their faces? What do these accents mean for you? Are they symbolic or merely decorative?

I really like the dots and freckles on the face.  I like the feeling of touching a ball.  In my drawings there are always dots.  Dots show differences in my drawings and signify change.  Similar to the dotted line, it is an expression used to express salience and outstandingness.  Even if there are no dotted lines in my drawing, there are always dots.  Location or size doesn't matter.  I think the thing that is unique to me, not the ordinary, stems from the desire to stand out.

You paint long, spindly hands, and a lot of your figures have only two or three limbs. This makes them somewhat abject, like maimed animals, but also adds to their appeal and mystery. What do you think about the body parts of your figures?

I want to let go of my limbs. My arms and legs symbolize heaviness, I use them by expressing different personalities and various moods by overlapping my complex thoughts on the faces I draw.  There is no need to have two limbs, I want to break the rules of beauty set by the world.  As long as I have just one limb to express freedom and make me known, that's enough.  I think the meaning of “do what you want to do” has come to mean a lot so far as the body is concerned.  I like to express motions that are impossible in reality, this results in drawing different human proportions, often those found in animals.  There is a cat that appears often in my drawings, and although it has a human form, it also reflects the psychological part by comparing the inner heart and body to a cat.

Your paintings are one-dimensional and have prominent backgrounds. Some of your backgrounds are just one or two solid colors, while others are complex: patterned with checkerboard or lines or chaotic scribbles. What do backgrounds mean in your approach to composition?

The background is the world in which my present and past psychology are compressed and expressed.  However, this world is not constant.  Sometimes it is standardized as a single color, but when complexity fills up, it is expressed by giving variety to the color.  In addition, graffiti expresses my noisy surroundings and compares the pain of my childhood to games, numbers, pyramids, dotted lines, circles, and X marks, recalling my unhappy childhood and expressing hope.

Many of your figures are half-animal or surrounded by animals, so they bring up questions of the human/animal divide. What do you want to express about the animality of humans (or vice versa)?

I never thought of separating people from animals.  I want to reflect on the symbolism that stands out in the images and actions of certain animals.  Cats often appear in my paintings, but in fact, I am afraid of cats.  But to me, cats are queens and kings.  I admire the freedom that comes from the strong, hard-to-reach, yet flexible gestures of cats.  Cats have what I long for, something I am missing.  I'm still obsessed with cats, but I don't know when that will change again.  I change from moment to moment, and my thoughts are always on my tail, and I am also curious about what kind of creature I will meet at the end of my thoughts, and it is a task that I work  to express.

Click Here ︎ to see Yool’s work.
Yool’s Instagram: @yool___kim

Interview by Christian Prince.

Jason Lustig

Jason Lustig is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from the S.F. Bay  Area Jason’s work is largely informed by the environment he grew up in. Often moving between  cities, mountains, and coastal areas, Jason uses these as the main settings of his paintings and  then adds charmingly mischievous characters to live inside them. Using a bright and saturated color palette, his paintings capture  moments in time from other worlds that seem to parallel our own.

Click here ︎ to listen to Jason’s interview with Yale University Radio. 

Click Here ︎ to see Jason’s work.

Jason’s Instagram: @one_tooth

Natalie Savage

Many of your still life paintings are scenes of tables filled with mouth-watering food (and good drinks). It is almost as if one can consume your painting. What is the decision behind painting edible items? What kind of impact do you hope your art has on its viewers?

There was never really a decision to paint food, it was more just an inevitable thing as I’m basically food obsessed. I definitely grew up in a family that discussed what we’d have for dinner while we ate lunch. I find meals such a fun subject to paint--beyond the obvious vibrant colours and shapes of food--I love imagining up sunny sprawling lunches or fancy little evening nibbly drinks. I hope the impact it has on viewers is to bring a pop of playfulness to items we consume everyday.

Speaking of food and drinks, do you have any particular favorites (and do you also cook)? And do they feature heavily in your work? You feature specific items like a Perelló olive can and Kikkoman soy sauce bottles; are these products current personal favorites or ingredients that you grew up on?

I love to cook. Probably would say it’s my favourite thing to do (closely followed by painting). I read cookbooks in bed like novels.

Yes, I definitely chuck in all my favourites into the paintings: prawns, mussels, fish; basically any seafood being a biggie. It is very difficult not to paint the things you love the most!

Food is a universal language that is able to transcend boundaries and create special connections between unlikely people. As your work features it so heavily, have you ever had a viewer or buyer remark that his/her favorite dish was featured in your painting? If so, how did it make you feel to be able to have this connection?

Yes, absolutely. I think food is a powerful thing in that way. We all have our favourites and we all have our own memories and sentiments attached to certain foods/drinks/dishes. And so it’s lovely to hear when people reach out to me to say how much they connected with a painting as it reminded them of happy times.

Equally as important as the subjects in your paintings are the robust and bold colors that coat your canvases. It’s hard for a viewer’s eyes to wander elsewhere from your work because the pigments are so rich and captivating. How does the use of strong color play a crucial role in your artworks and practice in general?

I’m completely drawn to colour! I have tried to experiment with toning it down in the past and use a more neutral palette. I just wanted to see how the works would look in this way, but somehow every time the painting is finished there’s big slabs of bright pinks, neon orange, or deep blues. It’s almost as if I can’t help it. The bolder, the better for me--and not just in my paintings, I also drag this colour palette along to interiors and what I wear!

Still life, in the hierarchy of artistic genres, has a long history of being devalued and seen as ‘less important’ compared to other subjects such as historic or landscape paintings. However, you paint still lives of various sizes, even creating canvases as large as 160 x 220 cm. What does it mean to create such large still lives and what do you think is the importance of this genre?

I guess I find the valuing of certain artistic genres above others to be a bit silly. I’m a big believer that things shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Not to say art isn’t important, it very much is. But, if one finds joy in something then that should be enough. And it’s great to be playful with it as well.

I think there’s something quite fun about having a massive canvas with just a plate of fish on it or an oversized popping champagne--just because why not?

Last great media (show/movie/book/music)?

Show: I’m so late to it but I just started watching the French show Call My Agent!, it’s so fun.

Movie: Saltburn, a mad, fab film. It’s completely intoxicating, and I also loved the 2006 aesthetic.

Book: Currently reading Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and am just loving every page. Also recently devoured the audiobook for Capote’s Women-- it’s like Real Housewives of New York but in the 50s.

Music: I basically flip flop between Sade and the BeeGees. I should probably listen to some new music haha.

Click Here ︎ to see Natalie’s work.
Natalie’s Instagram: @nataliesavageart

Interview by Tiffany Kang.

Court Tree Collective was established in 2013 by a group of artists and creatives with the primary purpose of representing and supporting the work of emerging and established contemporary artists. Since its opening Court Tree Collective has been a staple to south Brooklyn’s emerging art scene and in a short time has exhibited a number of important exhibitions. In addition they have curated a number of exhibitions at satellite locations throughout the states and abroad.

We are a family-run art gallery specializing in emerging artists to offer a unique and intimate experience for art enthusiasts. Court Tree Collective showcases outsider art, which often defies traditional artistic conventions, alongside works by up-and-coming artists to add depth and diversity to the gallery's offerings. Visitors can expect to encounter raw, authentic expressions of creativity that challenge perceptions and ignite curiosity. By nurturing rising talent and championing unconventional voices, the gallery plays a vital role in fostering a vibrant and inclusive art community.

Our gallery is curated by artists for artists, which fosters a dynamic and supportive environment where creative visionaries can thrive. With firsthand understanding of the artistic process, the curators can showcase works that resonate deeply with both artists and audiences. This curated space celebrates diversity, innovation, and experimentation; it provides a platform for emerging and established artists to connect, collaborate, and showcase their talents. By upholding a community-driven approach to curation, the gallery becomes a vibrant hub for inspiration, dialogue, and artistic exchange.︎



Industry City
51 35th Street,
BLD #5
2nd FL, Suite B236
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Mailing Address

Court Tree Collective
728 41st Street #1F
Brooklyn, NY 11232



Gallery Hours

Thurs - Sat 12 - 6pm
Sun 12 - 5pm
*and by appointment

The 36 St subway station {D, N, R, trains} is the nearest one to Industry City in Brooklyn

©2024 Court Tree Collective