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Artist

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Kristy Hadeka & Sean Tice

May 7, 2013

Days before I made it to the Red Hook work space of Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka, they were putting the finishing touches on Brooklyn Slate Co’s new home, a space that took a hard beating during Hurricane Sandy. A line painted on an exposed brick wall shows where the water came up last October. At the time they were beginning construction on their new office and showroom, and had begun to store all of their merchandise and computers.

Months later, their space is a rustic, welcoming meeting space where they can work on new designs and meet with clients. I was happy to learn that behind the homey facade, Sean and Kristy were as warm as their aesthetic–serving as true advocates of their new neighborhood and neighbors. Take a look inside their work space and see what makes Sean and Kristy (and Garp) of Brooklyn Slate Co such Uncommon Artists.

What are your most essential tools?
Sean: An oversized work table, drafting light box, and good music playing. Editor’s note: The music was indeed very, very good.

Where do you find inspiration within this space?
Kristy: When we found this space, it was completely stripped down and raw. We built it out using materials and colors that make us feel really comfortable and at home. It’s open, airy, and relaxing – perfect for finding inspiration.

Where does down time fit into a day in the studio?
K: Red Hook is a great neighborhood to walk around and explore – whenever we need a few minutes, we pick a direction and go for a walk.
S: Our dog also accompanies us at the shop on most days, so we take him to the park in the morning and late afternoon. I usually stop by Baked for a coffee or tea, then we go and throw the ball around.

What was the toughest lesson you learned as a young designer starting a business?
K: You should never be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need feedback on an idea you’re working on, or you find yourself managing an area of the business with which you have no experience, it’s important to know you can always go to someone you trust for feedback.

How and when do you decide to celebrate a victory?
S: We celebrate small victories every Friday with Beer Friday, when we pair a new beer we haven’t tried before with a cheese. Often, someone on our team will bring in something homemade for us all to enjoy, and we’ll pair a beer with that.
K: A big victory always requires the team head to the Ice House, one of our favorite watering holes in the neighborhood.

What are some new skills you are trying to acquire to perfect your craft?
S: We recently started developing other tabletop items that aren’t necessarily made of slate. I typically sketch ideas by hand, but I’m learning Google SketchUp so I can create more detailed renderings.

How do you recharge your creativity?
K: We both love running. It’s a great way to reset or gain perspective, especially when you’re stuck on an idea. There’s also so much to see in New York, and running is the best way to do it.

Where does collaboration come into play with your craft?
S: Collaboration comes into play in two ways – on the one hand, we’re always exploring ways to collaborate with other producers in New York. Within the company, everyone is encouraged to speak up as new ideas come to them. Our shop and office are one and the same, which encourages open communication between everybody. Even if you’re not participating in a particular conversation, just overhearing a discussion can plant a seed in your own mind.

Design

Art Crush: Denise Fiedler

May 3, 2013

I think I have spring and summer fever. The lingering cold and snow here in Colorado has me daydreaming of warmer temperatures… and crushing on Denise Fiedler’s collages. They capture that easygoing charm of summertime so perfectly.

Denise started making collages in 2009 after one serendipitous bout of spring cleaning. While going through her attic, she stumbled upon a box of vintage books and newsprint, which she’d collected over the years from flea markets. Inspired by her forgotten treasures, she decided to transform these ephemeral materials into works of art. She calls this unique artistic endeavor paste.

The yellowing pages and iconic subject matter give her work a wonderful sense of nostalgia. It’s like we’re looking into the past at a simpler time of bicycle rides, ice cream cones, and family road trips in the ol’ station wagon.

To construct these delicate outlines, she carefully carves silhouettes from the vintage pages and assembles the cutouts to adeptly capture the design and essence of her subjects. Denise draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including architecture, animals, food, and people who have caught her eye.

Which one is your favorite? I think I need the ice cream collage. Just imagine, it would be summer on my wall all year round… that sounds pretty great.

See more from Denise in the Uncommon Artist Gallery and read more about the works featured above: Ice Cream, Sunglasses, Woody, Hydrangeas, Dogs.

Design

Art Crush: Audrey Heller

April 26, 2013

Miniatures fascinate me. Maybe it’s because I watched the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids a lot when I was little. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m 5’3″ and holding tiny things makes me feel like a giant… we’ll never know, but I do know this: Audrey Heller’s photographs are seriously crush-worthy.

Audrey transforms common foods and objects into exciting uncharted worlds for her tiny figurines to explore. Her playful and imaginative juxtapositions create some pretty surreal scenarios. Ordinary objects like grapes, cappuccinos, and breakfast cereal become unfamiliar – even dangerous – landscapes.

Like film stills, Audrey’s photos leave you wondering what came before the scene you’re looking at and, more importantly, what will happen to our tiny protagonists next. I’m a little worried about those scuba divers… I mean, how will they get out of that bowl? What if they get eaten? What happens when that shredded wheat gets soggy? Because you know it will…

Audrey is truly my favorite kind of artist – one who thinks outside the box and inspires us to do the same. You can’t help but use your imagination when looking at her photos. They make you think and that’s really what art should do, right?

Audrey Heller lives and works in her native San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1996, her photographs have been shown, shared, published, and collected around the world.

Get a peek inside Audrey’s studio here and learn more about the works featured above: Ripened, Cafe Society, Challenging Conditions, Bound, Fish Out of Water.

Design

Art Crush: Valerie Galloway

April 19, 2013

Happy Friday! Erin from artsocial here to talk about another uh-mazing artist from the Uncommon Artist Gallery, Valerie Galloway.

Guys, Valerie is speaking my language. I’m such a fan of interesting patterns and graphic elements like stripes and polka dots. Plus I studied French in college, so I’m definitely digging the Parisian je ne sais quoi in all of Valerie’s work.

Valerie finds inspiration from post-war Paris and old family photos, especially those of her French mother and aunt with fabulous hairdos from the 1960s. She’s also inspired by French New Wave cinema, old American TV shows from the ’60s and ’70s, and the movie Amadeus, which she says had a huge impact on her creative life.

Her inspiration is without a doubt captured in each work. The blushing maidens and femme fatales, the characteristically French sense of fashion, and the mile-high patterned bouffants all carry the spirit of her influences… and that pink polka dot afro is just plain AWESOME, don’t you think? I can’t get over it.


And guess what? These prints of Valerie’s original watercolors are available exclusively at UncommonGoods. So check ’em out, mes amis! That empty wall in your living room? Yep, these prints would look so great there.

See more from Valerie in the Uncommon Artist Gallery and read more about the works featured above: Polka Dot Parisienne, Hello Gorgeous, Shocking Pink Afro, Lost at Sea

Design

Art Crush: Kate Lewis

April 12, 2013

Hello there! I’m so excited to be guest posting on The Goods. On artsocial I talk a lot about my art crushes. Well, let me tell you, the Uncommon Artist Gallery has some seriously crush-worthy artists. Like whoa. They need to be discussed. First up is Chicago artist, Kate Lewis.

Kate creates still-lifes of her sunny Victorian home using vibrant acrylics and watercolors. Like intimate portraits, her work captures the thoughtfully designed corners of her home and daily life. From bold patterns to vases overflowing with flowers to stacks of colorful books, Kate’s work proves beauty really is in the details.

Kate finds inspiration from design and fashion magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and from decorating her own home. Her beautifully constructed and colorful paintings mirror the trends in interior design we love so much. Unexpected colors and patterns? Yes, please.

Twinkle Twinkle (above) is definitely my favorite. It’s as if we’re guests at her effortlessly charming backyard party. I can almost hear the music and taste that watermelon! Delicious.

Kate captures the essence of what life at home should be. Calm and inviting spaces filled with fragrant bouquets, good books, and big comfy chairs. She makes me want to redecorate! I should at least start buying more fresh flowers… OR I could get one of Kate’s paintings. Art is way better than flowers, don’t you think?

Design

Using craftgawker.com to Promote Your Designs

April 9, 2013

As an avid craft blogger, I know the magic of getting a post featured on craftgawker. One DIY or tutorial posted on the site usually means thousands of new visits to my blog! We even use it as a tool to promote UncommonGoods design challenges and blog posts. But it recently dawned on me how helpful the gawkerverse could be in gathering inspiration and promoting your work so I reached out to Maria, their designer and editor, to pick her brain. As a designer herself, Maria has some great advice for using the gawkerverse to it’s greatest advantage.

How can a designer use the gawkerverse community to market their designs?
Anyone can use the gawkerverse to share their work. Our goal is to publish posts that are inspirational to our readers. Sometimes that comes in the form of a DIY or recipe, an artist’s interview, or a post that shares a behind the scenes look at how something is made.

If you are a designer looking to share your work, the best gawkerverse site to submit your work to is craftgawker or dwellingawker. A great way to get readers to check your post is to offer a printable or a DIY, as people like to participate. If you don’t want to provide a DIY or printable, another great way to get noticed is to provide an inside look at your process. Did you just create an amazing logo? Why not share some of the ideas that led up to the final? The same thing would work for a fine artist. Rather than only sharing the final painting, why not share some of the in-progress photos? People love to see how an artist/designer got from point A to point B.

Also, remember that photography is important! Photos are important for any blog or website, because most people are visual, but it is especially important when submitting to the gawkerverse. You only have a short time to draw someone in, and the best way to do that is with a photo that makes them stop and look.

What is the most creative thing you have seen submitted to the gawkerverse?
That’s a really hard question, because we get a lot of amazing submissions but here are a few posts that stand out.

This post by The 3R’s Blog utilizes a paper craft we all know how to make from our childhood and repurposes it into this modern, geometric lamp shade!

This DIY by My Poppet is a great way to restore old, hand woven, cane chairs. Cross stitching turned this old chair into a modern, colorful work of art.

This recent post by Feathers of Gold shows us how to create this awesome hexagonal ornament with stir straws!

Where do you seek inspiration?
I usually don’t have to look too far for inspiration, since I am one of the craftgawker moderators, so I see tons of amazing ideas daily, but some of my favorite design blogs are Design Work Life, Weekday Carnival, and Door Sixteen.

I try to find inspiration everywhere. Packaging, posters, magazines, catalogs, they all give me ideas and inspire me to try something different.

What makes a good gawkerverse submission?
Our goal is to inspire our readers to be creative. In our opinion, there is no better feeling than creating something! Whether your creative outlet is food, art, your wedding, your look, or an entire room, we want people to experience the satisfaction you get from making something yourself.

The most important component for a good gawkerverse submission is a great photo. Beautiful photos are always inspirational and will usually do well on our site. It’s the first thing a reader will see and it is what makes them want to find out more.

Next we look for good content. We always prefer DIY, but we will accept anything that we believe our users will find inspirational. That includes process photos, interviews, or any discussion about what inspired the blogger to create.

What are some tips for taking gawkerverse-worthy photos?
In my opinion, lighting is the absolute most important component for taking a good photo. If you don’t have good lighting, the photo won’t be successful. Natural diffused light is always best, because very direct light can create distracting shadows.

Next, composition plays a huge role. It’s always important to consider your subject matter and be sure that it’s always your focal point. An image can be perfectly exposed, with amazing light, but if the composition isn’t right, the image won’t be successful. It’s always important to consider your subject matter and compose a balanced shot that will work in our square format. When in doubt, keep it simple.

Design

Art Contest – The Fun Will Never End

April 4, 2013

The call for entries for the 2013 Art Contest ended on Sunday night with close to 200 amazing submissions. We were blown away with the response and the caliber of work that was entered, so we went back to the drawing board. Seeing your artwork only once a year is not enough. With a customer base that loves art prints and buyers who love picking them out even more – we decided to keep the Art Contest going… all year long! Keep coming back to send us your brand new pieces every month and get more involved in our design community.

For the most part the rules and prizes are still the same. Midnight on the last night of every month is the deadline for that month and the buyer’s picks will make it into our community voting app.

Check out the Art Contest page for more details.

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