Artist Lindsay Risk Talks Transitioning From Nightlife to the Art World

I met Lindsay Risk when I was designing summer club Dune in Southampton for Noah Tepperburg, Jason Strauss and Matt Shendell. It was an impossible job getting a place that had fallen into disrepair open for a very fixed date within a very fixed budget. Lindsay was busy getting the back of the house stuff ready, but always found time to help. Often it was a joke or word of encouragement, while other times she offered up a hug or a smile just good enough to keep me focused and creative. She understood the traps of a creative life. The second guessing, the blocking, the loneliness. She kickstarted me through that project and has remained my friend. When things are good we talk. When things are bad we talk. She always finds time to give back. 

After a long career in nightlife her name popped up in an art show opening that I will attend this Saturday, May 31. The Bushwick Open Studios show will take place at the Myrtle Light Studios (1533 Myrtle Avenue 2nd Floor). The show will feature work by Lindsay Risk, Devin Bazemore, Dexter Ciprián, Lauren Genutis, David Hollier, Kurt Knobelsdorf, Eli Livingston, Gamaliel Rodriguez, Will Schneider, Winslow Smith, Stefania Urist, Misha Volf and Chris Williams.

People in nightlife need an exit strategy. Few can make a career of it, and even those that are successful have to prepare for a day when the booze and the noise and the hours don’t appeal or work for them. Lately I have noticed a large contingent of ex-promoters working in real estate, while others find themselves in healthy relationships with strollers and bottles with formula instead of vodka. Lindsay Risk is now Lindsay Clayton and she is an artist.

You were involved in nightclubs and bars for years what do you do now? 

I am a full time artist. I always have been at heart, but now that I am not directly involved in nightlife, I have been able to create and build my company, Rosy Bleu.  Through that, I create what I want to see on all forms of media.

You were often in an upper management position, was your goal to stay in hospitality or to do this?  Who did you work for and what jobs?

I started as a bartender for Gerber Group in 2001 at the Cherry Bar in the W. Hotel on 39th street. I worked my way up, becoming General Manager of the Living Room TSQ, & The Whiskey TSQ.  Simultaneously, I was also the General Manager for Dune Southampton for its launch in 2007, until summer 2009.  In 2010, I opened three of Gerber Group’s bars in Santiago Chile as the Project Manager. Returning to NYC in 2011, I took over as the GM of Stone Rose, NY. After working with creative geniuses from Gerber Group and Strategic Group, I was inspired to build my own company.

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Will you come back to nightlife?   

I don’t have any plans to return to nightlife in the same way that I was involved in the past, but I would love to collaborate by being able to share my creative vision somewhere down the line.

Tell me what you are trying to say through your art.  

The biggest accomplishment that I feel in my life is when I am able to touch someone through my art.  It speaks to people in different ways. My work can mean one thing to one person and something completely different to someone else. I am making the step towards my dream, creating what I want to see, and so far, the response has been amazing.  My experience working in nightlife gave me the tools to make it happen.

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