Tag Archives: Brooklyn

  1. 12.05.13
    Eye Candy
    Behind Flamingo Plaza, by The Perfect Nothing Catalog

    Since it opened in the summer of 2012, Frank Traynor’s Perfect Nothing Catalog — an ice shack–turned-shop that its owner transplanted from upstate New York to Brooklyn — has already relocated twice: from its original home in a Greenpoint garden to the backyard of a gallery in Bushwick, and, very briefly this summer, to a subway platform in Williamsburg. That particular pitstop, set up outside a more permanent subway retail outlet called The Newsstand, was a show called Behind Flamingo Plaza. “It was named after my high-school hangout, an all thrift-store strip mall in Miami — a very formative space for my aesthetic and a vibe I wanted to honor,” explains Traynor.

  2. 11.22.13
    The Making Of
    Material Material, by Doug Johnston & Debbie Carlos

    The practice of two artists collaborating by mail is nothing new; after all, that’s how Peter Shire communicated ideas to his Memphis colleagues back in Milan and how Alex Segreti and Kelly Rakowski of New Friends got their start (with the former in Philly and the latter in New York.) But what happens when you elevate that practice to something more like a parlor game? We here at Sight Unseen had been wondering that ourselves (and an exhibition on that very theme is in the works, fingers crossed!) which is why we were especially tickled when we found out that Debbie Carlos and Doug Johnston — two of our favorites — had recently happened upon the exact same idea. The Michigan-based photographer and the Brooklyn-based designer spent the summer creating a series of objects under the name “Material Material,” for which they shipped each other the raw materials from which they could fashion several objects. The results were recently shown at the San Francisco shop Little Paper Planes. We asked Johnston and Carlos to take us through the project from start to finish.

  3. 11.15.13
    Excerpt: Book
    David Altmejd, from Studio Life by Sarah Trigg

    Sarah Trigg spent more than two years photographing the ateliers of 100 artists around the country for her new book Studio Life: Rituals, Collections, Tools, and Observations on the Artistic Process — including boldfaced names like Carol Bove, Rob Pruitt, Theaster Gates, Tauba Auerbach, and Nick Cave. And yet you won’t see any of their actual artwork in its pages (we’ve added our own to the David Altmejd excerpt below), nor will you see any overall depictions of their spaces. That’s because Trigg, an artist herself, took inspiration from the most important elements of her own Brooklyn studio and decided to exclusively zoom in on any residue, mascots, collected objects, rituals, makeshift tools, and architectural details she found during her visits. “I placed a lens on daily studio life without expecting artists to defend or explain their work,” she writes of her process. “It was crucial, therefore, not to overshadow the results with portraits, artwork, or depictions of the overall grandeur of the studios — all of which have established venues for exposure elsewhere.”

  4. 11.02.13
    Saturday Selects
    Week of October 28, 2013

    In a perfect world, we’d all be spending our Saturdays sleeping in, making brunch, then reading the paper in our pajamas all afternoon. Our smartphones would be switched off, and we wouldn’t open our computers until we were forced to get back to work on Monday morning. But who are we kidding? Days like those come around once in a blue moon, and we’re not exactly Luddites over here anyway — we like spending time online, when it’s for our own enjoyment, anyway. Assuming there are those of you out there who agree — or are just helplessly addicted to your RSS — we’ve decided to start a weekly recap each Saturday in order to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. If you’re lucky enough to be reading this on Monday, we salute you. But for everyone else, we hope we can make it worth your while to consider spending a little bit of your downtime with us each weekend, pajamas or no.

  5. 10.31.13
    Sight Unseen Presents
    The Sight Unseen x Snarkitecture Pumpkin-Carving Contest

    When we decided a few weeks ago to host a good old-fashioned pumpkin-carving contest with our friends at Snarkitecture — and to invite more than a dozen of our favorite architects and designers to compete — we figured there would be lots of intricate, hand-drawn patterns (there were, courtesy of Daniel Horowitz’s pumpkin in the form of a brain). We knew at least one group would employ meticulous typography (ditto, thanks to Benjamin Critton Art Dept.) What we didn’t guess — perhaps naively, in hindsight — was that the designers would come armed with such an array of power tools, Japanese machetes, kitchen electrics, Arduino-coded LEDs, drywall screws, and the like. As a result, what unfolded last night at Snarkitecture’s Greenpoint studios was nothing short of amazing. Here’s what went down.

  6. 10.22.13
    The Making Of
    Lena Corwin’s Made By Hand

    The sense that anyone can attempt these 26 DIYs — which include tie-dying with Shabd Simon-Alexander, jewelry-making with Jennifer Sarkilahti of Odette, and marbling with Ilana Kohn — comes in part from the incredibly detailed, step-by-step photographs, which were taken during the course of a weeklong shoot last fall at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, of the photography site 3191 Miles Apart, who also shot the film photographs documenting the day-by-day of the shoot, which we’re sharing here today,

  7. 10.08.13
    Sighted
    Q+A With Shabd on Martha Stewart Living

    When we interviewed Brooklyn artist and fashion designer Shabd for our Paper View book a year and a half ago, it was all about the fine art practice she sidelined in order to start her tie-dyed clothing and accessories business. But with this post, everything comes full circle — now that Shabd has a book out of her own, filled with tutorials on her dyeing techniques, we’re finally taking the chance to hear more about what she actually does on a daily basis, by way of an interview recently posted on the Martha Stewart Living blog. As you may recall from our original story, Shabd learned to tie-dye somewhat by accident, after attending a garden party where it was one of the featured activities, and then, according to the interview, which we’ve excerpted parts of below, “spent a year playing around and developing new techniques to create dye patterns that were more grown-up and modern, beyond what I had seen before.” You can learn to master them as well by buying her book, “Tie-Dye: Dye it, wear it, share it,” but meanwhile, check out the Q+A after the jump that delves deeper into Shabd’s methods and inspirations.

  8. 10.03.13
    Self Portrait
    Keehnan Konyha’s Safe House USA

    How do you know when someone’s a child of the ’80s? Posting photos of Lisa Frank’s headquarters on their blog is a pretty obvious clue. Brooklyn interior designer Keehnan Konyha has been tracking his eccentric tastes on his freestyling eponymous site for the past three years, and dipping into his formative decades liberally, so it didn’t surprise us a bit when he totally went there for his Sight Unseen Self Portrait. His newest project is a bedding textile company called Safe House USA that’s inspired by streetwear and the visual influences he tracks on the web, and he couldn’t imagine a better way to showcase his first collection than to pin it up to a white metal grid in a way that should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the era of cheesy department store displays and layaways at TJMaxx. Published here are the exclusive photos Konyha shot of the series — which is printed with internet-approved motifs like faux marble, punctuation marks, and the black and white mottle unique to composition notebooks — along with the backstory behind both the collection and his vision for this project.

  9. 09.27.13
    Up and Coming
    Helen Levi, ceramicist

    If, like us, you began hearing the name Helen Levi only a few months ago — well, there’s a pretty good reason for it. At this time last year, Levi was balancing four part-time jobs, working as a photo assistant, a pottery teacher, a bartender and a waitress. “I’d been doing pottery since I was a little kid, but mostly gifts or for myself,” she told me when I visited her Greenpoint studio last month. “It’s the dream to be able to make stuff you want to make and have that support you, but I never really thought that was possible.” Then, at a random cocktail event last fall at one of the Steven Alan shops in Manhattan, Levi met the man himself: “I met Steven Alan by chance and was telling him about my work, and he was like, ‘Send it to me.’ I didn’t even have one photograph!” Levi laughs. “But once I met him, it was the spark. I quit all my other jobs and I just tried to do this. Maybe it doesn’t work out and I go back to balancing four things, but it didn’t take a huge investment of money. And so far it’s working.”

  10. 09.26.13
    What They Bought
    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 so-called 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 — officially launching this evening at Sight Unseen’s Back2Cool pop-up shop — 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.

  11. 09.16.13
    At Home With
    Erin Considine, textile and jewelry designer

    Midway through our visit to Erin Considine’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment earlier this summer, we began talking about her parents, who — no surprise here — are interior designers. She told us a story about her father being on a job site in Connecticut in the 1980s, where a company was giving away all of its Knoll furniture. A set of Mies van der Rohe Brno chairs here, a Saarinen Tulip table there — these are sorts the things the Brooklyn jewelry designer grew up with. When my jaw dropped, she shrugged. “It’s just being in the right place at the right time,” she says.

  12. 08.22.13
    Eye Candy
    Julia Dault, Artist

    Julia Dault tackles canvases with swift swipes of paint and rhythmic repeats. Dault’s sculptures mimic the structure of her painting (or visa versa) with tubular and reflective curves, with lines and colors belted together into a tightly contained bulbous form. Many of Dault’s pieces are named after 1980s pop songs, Electric Youth (hello, Debbie Gibson), Rico Suave (yess), 2 Legit (to quit), etc etc – suitable names for these wet and wild works. Dault lives and works in Brooklyn.

  13. 07.26.13
    Up and Coming
    Katie Stout, Furniture Designer

    What were you doing at age 24? Muddling through grad school? Working as a CAD monkey? Moving back in with your parents? If so, you might be more than a little jealous of recent RISD grad Katie Stout, who at that tender age already holds the post of gallery director at New York’s Johnson Trading Gallery, where Paul Johnson not only represents her work but encourages her to introduce him to that of her peers (like Noho Next alum and future SU subject Misha Kahn, for example). Before she landed the job, Stout’s only previous employment was a one-summer college internship for the novelty housewares brand Fred and Friends: “I showed the creative director my portfolio, and when he saw a table I’d made as a sophomore that was an udder with milk squirting out of its teats, he asked me what I was on,” she recalls. “Obviously I said nothing.”

  14. 07.23.13
    Eye Candy
    The Perfect Nothing Catalog

    The Perfect Nothing Catalog is a idyllic little shop/shack nestled amongst an overgrown garden on a quiet street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Owned and curated by Frank Traynor the Perfect Nothing Catalog is unequal parts shop, gallery and clubhouse. Traynor searches for works that are artist made and wallow in weirdness, featuring vases by Chen Chen and Kai Williams, striped candlesticks by Bree Apperley and amethyst daggers by Michael Bauer. The handmade goods mix effortlessly with found objects, artworks, and vintage GAP fashions (specifically made in the USA) and incredibly smart and sturdy denim sweaters by Made in Lieu (made in Greenpoint). The Perfect Nothing Catalog lives in an summer eden in contrast to the city’s steamy concrete – an enchanting summer shopping experience.

  15. 07.03.13
    At Home With
    Annie Larson, knitwear designer

    If you follow Annie Lee Larson’s Instagram — and chances are good that you do, considering the New York knitwear designer’s followers almost tip into the five digits — you might envision that she lives in some Peter Halley-meets-Memphis–inspired fantasyland, all primary colors, geometric patterns, and kitschy throwback accessories (hello Bananagrams!) But the truth is, Larson’s 5th-floor East Village walk-up doesn’t appear all that crazy upon first glance. A pretty but small, light-filled, plant-friendly apartment, the place is largely decorated in black and white, save for a trio of painted shelves where Larson keeps her most prized possessions, and a one-two punch of colorful striped and polka-dot bedding. It’s only upon closer inspection (and I mean, really close, considering Larson’s love of miniatures) that her oft-photographed influences begin to reveal themselves — dice, Swatch watches, Japanese toys, and ’80s electronics among them.

  16. 06.18.13
    Sighted
    Paul Loebach Q+A on Core77

    One of the things we love so much about the website Core77 is that it makes the very wide, sometimes dry world of industrial design feel like such a small, warm, tight-knit community; it’s all that insider info, combined with a jovial, conversational tone and a knack for rounding up essays and other up-close-and-personal content from so many great design voices. We’re all about the up-close-and-personal here at Sight Unseen, so we love it every time Core starts a new series devoted to things like entrepreneur profiles and Proust questionnaires; their newest column — called, simply, the Core77 Questionnaire — is only two subjects old, and we’re already looking forward to finding out what the designers we admire love and hate about their job, how they procrastinate, and where they see themselves in 10 years. Last week’s interview was with an old SU mainstay, the Brooklyn furniture and product designer Paul Loebach, whose responses we’ve excerpted here for your reading pleasure.

  17. 05.29.13
    Eye Candy
    Sheryl Oppenheim, Artist

    Sheryl Oppenheim swirls paint on paper creating marvelous marblings. She’s collected and bound her works in booklets titled Alba Amicorum. Oppenheim’s dazzling Black Hours series are full size marbled “drawings” made on Dieu Donné paper.

  18. 05.23.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part I: The Noho Design District

    Each time we start to celebrate the end of yet another successful edition of our Noho Design District project — this one being our fourth, if you can believe it — it’s not long before a certain realization hits us like a ton of bricks: We only really get a few short months to recover before we have to start the process allllll over again. We began planning in the fall for the 2013 edition of the show, which ran from May 17-20 and which we’ll be recapping on Sight Unseen today and tomorrow, and it’s almost impossible to fathom how much work could go into a four-day event that nevertheless flew by so quickly. There were spaces to secure (thanks, SubCulture!), flyers to finagle (thanks, Benjamin Critton!), and press-preview pastries to provide (thanks, The Smile!). And of course we had to find the perfect brand to partner with to help support all the amazing emerging talents we offer a platform to (thanks, Jawbone!). But in the end all that work would have amounted to naught had our exhibitors failed to bust out with some of the most stunning and inspiring designs we’ve ever shown, from the simplest concrete domino set to painstakingly elaborate chandeliers, light-up neon desks, and textile installations. In case you weren’t lucky enough to join us for this year’s event, we’ve put together a roundup of its highlights, the first half of which is featured in the slideshow at right; stay tuned for coverage of Noho Next, ICFF, and other offsite shows to come. And thanks to everyone who joined us this weekend!

  19. 05.02.13
    Shop
    New For Spring in the Sight Unseen Shop!

    Geometry, shapes, ceramics, iridescence — these are a few of our favorite things, so it’s no wonder they’re all over our spring shop update! We’ve been stockpiling the amazingness for weeks, including our first men’s ring (and first piece by Jonathan Nesci) and our lowest-priced item ever: mix-and-match ceramic stud earrings by Jujumade that are a steal at only $18 each. The rest of the names you’ll recognize, like Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, WWAKE, Object & Totem, Katy Krantz, Gemma Holt, and Iacoli & McAllister, the latter of whom have reprised their Sight Unseen–exclusive Necklace No. Ultra for a third time in hammertone, a crackled enamel finish that will play a starring role in their new furniture launch this month. Check out all the new jewelry offerings after the jump, then stay tuned for a second round of exciting spring additions next week — housewares!

  20. 04.29.13
    Noho Design District
    Sign Up For Designer Master Classes at the Bowery Hotel

    During this year’s 2013 Noho Design District, Sight Unseen is hosting a day of designer master classes on May 17 at New York’s Bowery Hotel. In each workshop, participants will learn a fun process or technique from one of our favorite up-and-coming New York designers — Fredericks & Mae, Noah Spencer of Fort Makers, or Chen Chen and Kai Williams (pictured) — then enjoy a period of guided experimentation before walking away with their own handmade objects. Classes are 75-90 minutes long, cost $50 per person, and each is limited to 20 participants, so read the class descriptions after the jump, or click here to sign up now!

  21. 03.29.13
    Studio Visit
    Nick Van Woert, Artist

    Visit Nick van Woert’s massive studio in Greenpoint, and in all likelihood you’ll find a cluster of white people standing in a corner, naked and clutching each others’ butts — these artificial neo-classical statues have been a recurring theme in the Nevada-born artist’s work since shortly after he began his career in earnest in 2006. Many of them get tipped over and enveloped in a cascade of colored resin that hardens in mid-drip; in one series, he hollowed out their midsections and let the wind give them garbage guts. “It was like a little trap, and the wind would blow weird shit in there that accumulated outside my studio,” van Woert says. “Anything from Doritos bags to Monster Energy drink cans. The DNA of the world outside.” It was his most literal manifestation of the mantra that drives most of his practice: You are what you eat.

  22. 03.13.13
    Eye Candy
    Pia Howell, Artist

    Pia Howell expresses emotions. Her spirited shapes, abstract but recognizable, may sometimes symbolize a woman, feelings or more directly, brush strokes. “I think about making images with components (whether they’re textures or shapes or lines) that oscillate between representation and abstraction. I’ve been really into starting to paint and enjoying that as an expressive, gestural practice but also going after like ‘the perfect brushstroke,’ or essentially the symbol of a brushstroke.’

  23. 02.21.13
    At Home With
    Brian W. Ferry, Photographer

    If photographer Brian W. Ferry shoots like he takes absolutely nothing for granted — making us pine hard for moments of intensely quiet, understated beauty that probably already exist in our everyday lives — it’s likely because he feels so grateful to be doing what he’s doing. He may have discovered his inner camera nerd way back when he was growing up in Connecticut, but just a few short years ago, he was working long hours as a corporate lawyer in London, taking pictures merely as a personal creative escape hatch. Only after his blog began delivering fans and potential clients to his digital doorstep did he gather the resolve to quit his job, move to Brooklyn, and make a career out of triggering in people a kind of strange, misplaced nostalgia. “I think a lot about taking photos that are about more than capturing something beautiful, that have a heaviness attached to them,” Ferry told us earlier this winter at his Fort Greene garden apartment, as we rifled through his belongings together.

  24. 02.18.13
    Studio Visit
    Landon Metz, Artist

    To the extent that we cover art on Sight Unseen, it makes sense that we’d naturally gravitate towards action painting — artists may always have plenty to say about the relationship of their work to the viewer, or to philosophy, or to the context of art history, but most of the time we’re interested in something a little more prosaic than that, like how they get their hands dirty, and why they’ve chosen one medium over another. With gestural works, it’s all about the process, and the liminal moments just before and after materials cease to be ordinary and paintings transform into something more than the sum of their parts. The work of the Greenpoint-based artist Landon Metz is a perfect example: His paintings are about painting, and how colorful enamel shapes laid down on a tilted canvas will move and evolve as their surface interactions and drying times are influenced by factors like humidity, daylight, and temperature. Sight Unseen contributor Paul Barbera visited Metz’s studio recently for Where They Create, and — oh lucky day! — he did our work for us, creating his own podcast interview with the artist which you can listen to after the jump.

  25. 02.15.13
    Sighted
    Shino Takeda in Inventory Magazine

    We first spotted Shino Takeda’s awkwardly lovable, one-of-a-kind ceramic spoons and desert-style dishes at Caitlin Mociun’s store in Brooklyn, but the ceramicist’s work is a testament to the fact that you can still find amazing things on Etsy if you know where to look: Takeda keeps a store there called “Shino’s World,” and browsing its vases and bowls, you really get the sense that she lives inside her own storybook, where tea sets are named after bluebirds and sake cups appear poised to kiss. But we didn’t know much more about the real Shino until last week, when Inventory Magazine took a more literal look inside her world — with editor Ryan Willms photographing her at work in her Brooklyn studio — and so we couldn’t resist the chance to feature the story here in an attempt to put all the pieces together. The text of Inventory’s piece is after the jump, along with a few of the images, but you can see a lot more back at Inventory’s own site, including a portrait of the ceramicist herself.

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