Leslie Diuguid needed a real studio. In 2019, she was running her fine-art print business, Du-Good Press, out of her bedroom, on the garden level of a house in Bed-Stuy that she shared with five other people. Diuguid had outfitted the room with small, DIY versions of all the things that a functioning printing-press studio required: flat files, a paper trimmer, a light source, a hand screen-printing press. But the room was only about 150 square feet, which meant it didn’t leave space for a real bed; Diuguid set up her drying rack on top of her futon during the day, and turned the futon back into a bed each night.
In 2020, Diuguid started searching for a commercial space in the neighborhood. “It took me years and years of looking,” she says. Every place was too expensive or looked run-down or filled with junk, but one day, while touring another property down the street, she saw a “For Rent” sign at Rodriguez Dry Cleaners on Patchen Avenue. It was one square room, about 750 square feet, and — miraculously — clean and empty.
An entrepreneurial streak runs in Diuguid’s family. Her late grandfather, Dr. Lincoln I. Diuguid, a Cornell PhD graduate and chemist, when confronted with the limited opportunities afforded to him as a Black professional, “went to St. Louis, Missouri, and started his own business, Duiguid Chemical,” she says. The idea to start her own business occurred to her in 2015; she thought, “I could do what my grandpa did, call it the same thing, and make it about prints.” So far, Du-Good Press has worked with artists including Shepard Fairey, Tauba Auerbach, Hassan Rahim, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden. And Diuguid’s first solo show, “Meet Me at the Fence OK Bye,” debuts at the Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, this month.
Upon moving into the former dry cleaner, Diuguid was able to haul in her larger equipment, which had been sitting in a storage unit: a clamshell automatic printing press, an exposure unit that lets her work on pieces eight times as big as before. She decided to keep the exterior as it was. And her old studio now functions as her bedroom; last year, a friend gave her a bed.
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