Vol. 19 — July 10, 2020
This week we’re sharing inspiring podcasts to listen to, talking about a new online gallery exhibition to check out, and are introducing you to a new cool friend: Elise McMahon of LikeMindedObjects.
Calling all NYC artists itching to create their newest piece in Brooklyn’s largest cemetery: Green-wood Cemetery is seeking a local mid-career artist for it’s new residency program taking place between January and September 2021. The chosen artist will put together an art installation or performance on the cemetery's grounds and present a lecture and open studio in relation to the piece. Read more about it (or apply) here! PS- we heard that Green-Wood is the spot for prime bird watching if you’re into that.
There are a lot of inspiring podcasts that we’ve been soaking up lately. Our cool friend Jordan Sondler talked about mental health, how she started monetizing her passion, and her experience with therapy on the Let’s Highlight Real podcast this week and we think you should listen to it ASAP!
One of our favorite sources of design inspiration, Domino Mag, just released a new podcast series: Design Time. The first two episodes (up now), Kelly Werstler on Mood Altering Color, and Claire Paint Founder Nicole Gibbons on Curating Color with Confidence will inspire you to redecorate your entire apartment — perfect for our move across Brooklyn this week :’—)
SHOP & SUPPORT
Over the last few months New Yorkers have continued to show up for each other in novel and warming ways. An amazing new idea we’ve seen popping up across the city is a network of Community Fridges from Bushwick to the Bronx. In order to ease food insecurity and mitigate waste, these community fridges serve New Yorkers by simply existing. Anyone is encouraged to take the food they need or give anything they may have. At the end of the day, it’s nice to know we can look out for each other.
Faye Webster, a fave you should definitely be listening to, just put some of her (cancelled) tour merch up for sale. 100% of proceeds will be split between Glits & The Okra Project to benefit Black trans people — a good cause and a smiley balloon graphic!? Wins all around, get yours here.
Creative Growth, Oakland, CA based studio + gallery for over 150 artists with disabilities, just released our new favorite online art exhibit. Their rug program which has been growing since the mid 80s, helps artists with disabilities create hand-made rugs that serve as both art and function. Their newest show is featured on their sire as an online viewing room. All of the pieces are sold out but you can still view the show here. Our favorite piece is Latina Superwoman by Lulu Sotelo :)
Elise McMahon of LikeMindedObjects
Meet Elise, a Hudson, NY-based artist turning out Brooklyn’s favorite quirky furniture. Her face mirror is instantly recognizable and her use of everyday material in a unique and sustainable way is consistently exciting and clever.
What led you to your career as an artist?
My parents were artists and self employed, my grandfather too, he was what he called "an artist reporter", he would make films, go on location to happenings like NASA shooting off rockets and civil right protests, he would bring his large pad of paper and draw in pencil to later lay in paint in his studio, he drew the court hearing for the murder of Emett Till, he would draw what he saw and get the stories into the magazines of the 60s and 70s, Time, Life, etc, he would make films with his drawings to tell the story of culture, religion or politics. Both my parents and grandparents had completely artist homes and this is where I spent all my time until I was 18, studios spilled into living space, there was no 9-5, everyone was involved in the family business and late work nights when a deadline was coming, all hands on deck schleps to an install or mural project was normal, so I had this example of independence, hard work and relating your personal practice to a larger cultural commentary and storytelling.
What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?
The hustle energy, people are DOWN to make a project happen, not just any old project, the project has to be worth the effort, but if it is, people really bring amazing energy and content to it. I had a collaborative artist Newsstand at Canal and Bowery for a few years and it was amazing the work that came out of it, performances, publications , affordable art objects, custom newsstand snacks , I also helped organize the Hester Street Fair on Essex St for a summer and it was incredible to see the hustle of people bringing their small business to market every Saturday, 4 am load ups, install, to then smile and host and chat and sell all day, only to pack it all up at 6pm and drive home and unload. It takes guts to put in that effort for an unknown day of business, and if there is a bad selling day, learn what you can and shrug it off, and get up the next Saturday and try again.
Could you tell us about how you used your platform and skills as an artist to raise money for the NAACP, Black Lives Matter NYC, Innocence Project, and ACLU?
Simply I am just saying "Yes" to opportunities to help raise funds. I am a part of a couple shows right now that result in donations to these organizations, the Essential Goods show with Fisher Parrish which is up through the month and the Protest Tshirt Show with Hester Street Fair @ 22 Ludlow. Go check them out! These were easy asks to say yes to, donate a print for a tshirt, share the profits from a sculpture, really this feels like a small gesture on my part but I see this can grow as a wave of the art and design world moving in the direction towards cultural awareness and ethical allocation of funds. At this most entry level activism I just say yes to when something is asked of me, like helping build out some social justice education space at my local community garden (check out non profit KitesNest and consider donating) or at my collaborative store in Hudson NY, Enkyu LikeMindedObjects Shop, we hosted a bake sale, organized by Forsythia Forsythia, that raised funds for local anti racism organizations . Singularly I have done some product sales where 100% of the sales go to a gofundme page for a local to a Hudson Valley Black owned business that is working to fix up and open a West African food truck (Alima Cuisine, go check her out!) and have also made a 10% donation commitment for any sales off my webstore for the foreseeable future. I don't feel this is "enough" so will continue to look for entry points to doing more on my part and saying yes when asked . I really do feel like artists make ethical small business owners, they have been trained to be critical of every material purchased, every person hired, the labor performed, the cultural output and input, natural problem solvers which we need to get away from consumer culture corporate greed back to self sufficient communities, for people and the environment. I am excited to see the collections of small gestures across the art and design community add up. I hope the community really builds this foundationally into future practices of making work and money so it is a sustainable long term shift.
@likemindedobjects on Instagram
Summer Hydrangeas in Rockport, Massachusetts