shawn patrick anderson

ACME Studio is three years old! Before we blow out the candles (this Friday at 4/12 7PM, come on by), we thought it’d be fun to find out the story behind how this baby was conceived, from the father and mother himself Shawn Patrick Anderson. 

The year is 2010. Shawn and crew have been building sets and working out of a leaky, rat-filled garage space across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard for about four years.

“My friend Mary Ellen shot the band Chairlift in that space, and then another friend Dennis shot Sonic Youth,” said Shawn. “And I had lunch with my friend Andy, the pornographer, and was telling him about that, how cool it was that people wanted to shoot there. And he said, okay, Shawn, why don’t you get a better space? And I’m defending the shit hole I have, my rat space. I’m going on about how I’ll get a shuttle bus to ferry people from Manhattan all the way over to my rat space.”

“But eventually he convinces me, because Andy is someone who knows me, knows my abilities, and wouldn’t set me up for failure. So I call my friend Mike, who is THE real estate guy in Williamsburg, and say do you have a space? And he said, well, one.”

Mike took Shawn to see only one space, at 63 N. 3rd St., which was little else than an empty room with cinderblock walls and some broken windows. Actually, let’s just show you a picture:

“And I thought, absolutely! Without a doubt,” Shawn said. “Let’s get it. I knew this would be an amazing thing to do.”

And ACME Studio was born. 

Three years later, ACME has welcomed artists, celebrities, CEOs, lecturers, authors, builders, programmers, dancers, musicians, and strippers. It has hosted three weddings (including the nuptials of Andy, the above mentioned pornographer), art openings, art installations, dance performances, dinner parties, product launches, taxidermy classes, and more than three parties. ACME’s crew has build an indoor heated pool, a faux snow cave, driven a Smart Car through the front doors, had circus performers dangle from the ceiling, and docked an enormous, LED-lit styrofoam spaceship over the cyc. And there was Buddy, the studio bunny.

“The motivation of ACME has never been about money, it’s been about offering a space where people can come and do their own projects, bring their own ideas, and take what we have and what we’ve offered and make it their own,” Shawn said. “ACME aims to be a catalyst to help creative people be creative. When you have 4,000 square feet of space to play with and you don’t have to apologize or ask permission, and you run with it, it’s like, yeah. This is what New York City is about. And we’re just getting started.”