Shop Studios is more than just an art studio. It is also a shooting location for some of the nation’s top news programs. And a prop shop. And a private event space. And a production design service. And a museum. In fact, within its niche, there is not much it does not do.
Shop Studios first caught our eye when it hosted Sophie Theallet’s buzz-generating fashion show during New York Fashion Week. But this is just one of its recent high-profile events. The studio regularly hosts national news programs, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, and 48 Hours.
“On Tuesday, we shot a Barbara Walters special…that was upstairs,” says founder and owner Jacques Rosas as he reviews the week’s events. “And then downstairs, that same day, we shot 48 Hours. And then on Wednesday we shot Good Morning America downstairs and Amy Robach interviewed Robin Williams’ widow…So that’s kind of the normal traffic,” he explains.
Shop Studios’ multi-use space puts it in a ground-breaking position. Ordinarily, news programs cannot show any art in the buildings where they shoot because of copyright law. However, because Rosas is the in-house artist, he has released rights to his paintings, allowing them to appear in the background during the programs.
“[This approach] has helped us create something unusual and make a little bit of art history,” Rosas explained. “The end result for me as an artist and expressionist is that I find a way to get my art out into the world…I reach an average of about 5-10 million people a week.”
In person, Rosas is an energetic presence who is passionate about his work. He speaks prolifically and enthusiastically about the wide array of projects Shop Studios undertakes. The studio’s web page encapsulates his sentiments:
“We are artists, production designers, museum exhibition designers, lighting designers, and event designers, fabric stylists, showroom stylists, fashion show producers, freelance creative directors, florists, caterers, cooks, hosts, everything!”
Rosas, partner Eric Steding and their small team build props in the studio and will create, design, and light the sets for all their shoots. The studio recently created a custom doorway for a Tennis Pent House event and a custom display showcase for Corona products.
Rosas is understandably proud of all the business has accomplished. “Whenever I think about it, the word that keeps coming to mind is ‘unbelievable,’” he marvels.
Shop Studios originally opened over 20 years ago on 49th Street, primarily as an art studio and prop shop. A few years later, the business moved to a gear factory across the street where it opened a stage and studio space for news organizations and other private events. It has occupied its current location on West 39th Street for a little less than two years. From the studio’s rooftop, Rosas has witnessed many of the recent changes in the neighborhood.
“That building wasn’t there, that building wasn’t there…” he says, pointing to building after building as he surveys the area from the rooftop. As for his own building? “The wrecking balls are coming soon,” he says, referring to the unconfirmed possibility that development may overtake his space within the next few years. “It’s a space and a space in time.”
Rosas is philosophical about the changes, though, and has plans of his own to grow with it. “It’s always been my dream to create a museum…so we’ve renamed the gallery The New York Museum of Contemporary Art,” he explains (he has acquired copyrights to the name). He believes his business has a place in the new Manhattan: he envisions the museum as an art gallery and studio tower, a soundproofed and waterproofed facility where art is on display for news organizations and others who use the space.
His studio can bring the “Rockefeller Center feel” that developers are looking for, he insists. “I bring something with me that’s unbelievably special. I literally bring the most desirable clientele in the world. I bring art and culture, I bring celebrity, I bring news, I bring all of that with me. It’s taken me years to build it; I’m unbelievably proud of what we’ve built.”
In-text images from http://www.shopstudios.com. Below images courtesy of Shop Studios.
Shop Studios is located at 528 West 39th street New York, NY 10018 212-245-6154