Michelle Carollo wakes up, puts on a rock band T-shirt and pair of tattered jeans, tucks her jet black hair under a favorite hat and makes a cup of coffee just the way she likes -- extra cream and sugar.
This is when she does her best work.
The Farmingdale resident goes to her work space -- sometimes her studio in Queens and for about three months this year, the Carriage House in Islip, where each year, dozens of artists create and showcase new works of art during a variety of residencies.
Wherever she is, paint brushes, wires, tubing, wood scraps and power tools are strewn. Sketches, templates for her larger pieces, are tacked to the walls.
Carollo, 31, creates large art installations, combining painting and sculpture, from objects she finds in the trash, the side of the road or from items that friends and family drop on her doorstep. Her artwork showcases the colors black and white, complemented by splashes of bright red, green and blue, and metallic gold and silver.
"You become part of the work the moment you step close," Carollo said.
Carollo is one of about 20 artists selected to participate in a Town of Huntington project that will display local artwork in empty storefronts. It is similar to what's being done in communities throughout Long Island to combat blight and vacancies.
"From an artistic point of view, I see empty storefronts and vacant lots as places that can be transformed into public space, places that engage interaction between people," she said.
A.J. Carter, town spokesman, said Huntington has begun contacting commercial property owners and real estate agents about the project. Carollo said she will work on a new piece once she sees the space. "As a Long Islander, to be able to transform an empty storefront and promote business in my own backyard is priceless," she said.