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Zoe Alexander Fisher’s Handjob Gallery//Store

In 2007, San Francisco native Zoe Alexander Fisher was 16 and designing an eponymous line of girly cocktail dresses that sold in local boutiques and landed her in the pages of Nylon and Teen Vogue. A mere six years later, the entrepreneurial 22-year-old has today unveiled her latest project, the Handjob Gallery//Store, and it couldn’t possibly be more disparate: It’s an online shop stocked with the kinds of weird and wacky handmade curios infinitely more likely to baffle the general public than to send it stampeding towards Saks. What happened in between?

A coming of age, of sorts. After realizing she loved making clothes but hated everything else involved in the fashion business, Fisher went to school to study sculpture and art history, where she found a calling examining the complicated relationship between fine art and function. “There were all these debates in my art classes saying that if you could use it, it’s not art, and I felt such a strong divide was unnecessary,” she says. One 60-page research paper later, she had the idea for Handjob Gallery//Store , which invites practicing artists who don’t normally work in design to create limited-edition objects that do more than just sit there and look pretty. “It comes from an almost selfish interest in getting other people involved in this dialogue,” adds Fisher, who’s now based in Brooklyn.

To build the shop’s lineup, she called on her creative friends to suggest artists they knew whose work had the potential to branch out into design, and trolled the blogs for similar discoveries of her own, including Mel Nguyen, for example. She also reached out to artists she’d long admired, like Paul Wackers, whom she credits with helping inspire the project in the first place: “Paul was making bowls and vases that were so beautiful, but they weren’t given the same respect that his paintings were,” she recalls. “He’s repped by four galleries across the U.S., and yet these amazing ceramic pieces he just sells at craft fairs. So I reached out to him, and that’s how this whole thing started.” Handjob Gallery//Store’s collection of limited-edition commissions, most of which are one-of-a-kind, now numbers in the 60s, and Fisher plans to develop it further as objects sell out. To celebrate her launch, we chose our favorite 10 items from her shop — whose name, by the way, refers to objects that are made by hand — pictured below.
3 copy Brett Ginsburg and Dean Roper, Heiroglyph Vessel #1, $200. “The Hieroglyph Vessel serves as the first of several collaborations to come between Brett Ginsburg and Dean Roper. This joint effort was rendered through Roper’s approach to form and Ginsburg’s response to surface. Created through a highly vitrified and translucent porcelain and adorned with amazing abstract multicolored shapes, this vessel serves as an excellent vase or liquid container, and has the ability to be illuminated as well.”
10 copy Tom Forkin, Ceramic iPhone Dock, $200. “Multimedia artist Tom Forkin’s exclusive edition for HANDJOB Gallery//Store is a handmade  iPhone dock/stand made of roughly glazed ceramic. “Stick your device into a pile of mud, a heap of excrement, a glob of waste,” says Forkin. “The illusion of the absurd is re-understood through a glazed ceramic appliance. Perception/memory become corrupted while power is supplied. A typical hand held device carries between 2,700 to 4,200 units of bacteria, including abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination.” Forkin’s iPhone dock re-imagines the aesthetics of iPhone accessories, turning your iPhone into an art-object, its display and use into an artistic pedestal.”
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Joseph Hutchins, Primordial Ooze Planter, $150. “Joseph Hutchins’s exclusive HANDJOB Gallery//Store edition, entitled Methodology:/\:Content, features one-of-a-kind porcelain objects which he produces through an intricate process of production that is both digital and handmade. His final objects are thus mediations between industrial and digital processes of design, and the handmade craft aesthetics of his artwork. They sit awkwardly, yet elegantly, between the clean lines of functional design and the organic sensibilities of art and craft — suggesting functionally and use, yet given no prescribed function.”
34 copy Dan Allende, Danpaper Grade 3, $90. “Danpaper, opposite of most sandpaper, is used to satisfy the desire to make smooth things rough again. Stemming from Dan’s brutal craft sensibilities and heavy hand, he needed to create his own line of custom sandpaper, rougher than anything commercially available. It’s rougher than an eight dollar bottle of whiskey, and the two go predictably well together.”
40 copy Nikki Mirsaeid, Necklaces, $175 ea“Nikki Mirsaeid’s edition for HANDJOB Gallery//Store features four one-of-a-kind necklaces that perfectly combine a minimal and elegant design aesthetic with the badass functionality of industrial materials, including an industrial-strength magnetic clasp and plastic tubing.”
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David Kirshoff, Untitled Light #1, $250. “David Kirshoff’s edition of five one-of-a-kind Untitled Lights, made elusively for HANDJOB Gallery//Store, exist as experiments into the cultivation of a new mode of aesthetic for the home — based on abstractions on that which is known as ‘furniture.’ Kirshoff’s Untitled Lights integrate his uniquely artistic aesthetic, a beautifully chaotic and organic mess of material and form, with his academic background in industrial design — pure prescribed functionality.”52 copy Will Preman, Folds, $25-$35“Preman’s handcrafted Folds — light-duty decorative pockets – are great for storing small, light objects on the wall or for purely decorative use. The striped design and other patterns are made with pen and marker using an automated drawing machine and drawing by hand. Variations occur with speed, pressure, amount of ink, and color in both the machine’s mark and his mark. Certain characteristics established by the drawing machine are emulated by hand, and vice versa.”
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Audrey Snyder, Ring Jugs, $48 ea. “Being 75% water, Audrey Snyder is currently researching where this water comes from and how it moves around. For HANDJOB Gallery//Store she’s made an edition of permeable containers for water. The earthenware vessels act as filters for tap water, slowing down the immediacy of your plumbing, and allowing for a moment of material contemplation. Pipes versus cups versus holes. These water filters use the porous properties of unglazed ceramic to filter and purify tap water.”
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Kait Mooney, Bloc Bag, $150“An object made through an abstraction of form associated with ornamentation. Through the use of industrial materials, exaggeration, and minimalist sensibilities, the object that might be perceived to function will be pared down to signify an abstract function.”
HJGS_melnguyenMel Nguyen, Anatomy Photo Prints, $25 ea. “Nguyen created an series of photo-print poster works entitled Model Anatomy. Model Anatomy is interplay between the prototype-product model and the fashion model, which both become sculptural constructions for material and formal tests. The garments act as skin, wrappers, and netting that cover, expose, and frame the model beneath it. Levels of abstraction in material and body are used to emphasize pieces of assembly. The garments and models go through multiple stages of evolution, and the design becomes the animation of design.”