Tag Archives: Brooklyn

  1. 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.

  2. 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.”

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.’

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 01.22.13
    What They Bought
    Mociun, Brooklyn

    Caitlin Mociun may have been the author of a cult-hit fashion line for only a few years, but the lessons she learned from that stint — about the way she wants a customer to feel, or about the way a body moves in space — inform nearly everything she does today. That first becomes clear when she talks about her massively successful fine jewelry line, which she launched almost as a palliative to her days as a clothing designer. “I never really liked doing my clothing line, and when I switched to jewelry it was such a different response,” Mociun told me earlier this fall when I visited her year-old Williamsburg boutique. “It seemed to make people feel good about themselves as opposed to clothing, which often makes people feel bad.” But it’s when she talks about her boutique that you realize that nothing in the shop could be the way it is if Mociun weren’t first a designer.

  16. 12.13.12
    Sighted
    Merijn Hos at Beginnings Gallery

    Could New York’s best new gallery be in Greenpoint, Brooklyn? We’re beginning — no pun intended — to think it just might be so. Beginnings, a small storefront gallery on a side street off Greenpoint’s main drag, opened earlier this fall, the brainchild of seven like-minded friends and artists (two of whom are erstwhile members of Philadelphia’s artists-for-artists gallery Space 1026). At the outset, the goal was to create a warm, welcoming space that would be a home for emerging artists but also a place where even first-time art buyers might be encouraged to actually make a purchase. In their inaugural exhibition, the curators asked questions like: “What’s art for anymore? How can contemporary art be bought and sold in a healthy, progressive way? How can new artists support/be supported in their community? In the 21st century, what are the most satisfying and effective roles of the gallery? The gallerist? The gallery-goers?” The refreshingly honest answer? “We got no idea, but we’re happy to present this art and these artists.”

  17. 11.26.12
    Up and Coming
    Assembly, Furniture Designers

    Even for struggling post-grads, the constraints under which Pete Oyler and Nora Mattingly of the fledgling design studio Assembly created their debut furniture collection would be considered rather limiting. The couple — he a Kentucky-born RISD furniture grad, she a Pratt-educated interior design major — were living in a cramped apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant with a third roommate, sharing a studio space in even farther-out Brooklyn, and commuting nearly four hours to a woodworking shop in Westhampton, Massachusetts, where Oyler had apprenticed for two years before grad school. But rather than chafing against such strictures of space, the two worked with them, creating pieces that were easily transportable and could be effortlessly placed in any small space: side chairs with smaller-than-usual footprints, glass-and-blackened-steel lamps with hand-blown shades hardly bigger than the bulb, even a stripped-down toilet paper–holder that doesn’t consist of much more than a brass cylinder that mounts directly into the wall.

  18. 10.04.12
    An Afternoon With
    Sight Unseen and HTC, New York Design Tour

    As you may have noticed, Sight Unseen isn’t just a web magazine: Considering all the time we’ve spent getting up close and personal with designers, we’ve become intimately involved in the design scene over the years — particularly on our home turf. Three years ago, we created the Noho Design District, an offsite event during New York Design Week, as a way to help promote the work of some of our local talents. And we’re frequently asked to bring the Sight Unseen experience to life for other brands and institutions as well, like with the pop-up shop we curated for Creatures of Comfort, the book launch we hosted with Rizzoli, and the panels we’ve led for the likes of DWR and the Museum of Arts & Design. Last month, we were approached by the London tour agency Urban Gentry with a new kind of proposal: to craft an insider’s journey through the New York design world for a group of international journalists, in town for the launch of HTC’s new 8X and 8S phones. After a bit of brainstorming and a flurry of phone calls, we managed to line up a two-day itinerary that would make any design lover swoon. Read on to follow our trek from the now-private Johnson Trading Gallery showroom in Queens to the Noho headquarters of Roman & Williams, and beyond.

  19. 09.27.12
    Sighted
    Isabel Wilson on Freunde Von Freunden

    There must have been something in the air back in 2009, because Freunde Von Freunden, the Berlin-based website whose voyeuristic, photography-based interviews are of a piece with our own obsessions (i.e. barging in on people’s home and workplaces and showing ourselves around) — started just a few weeks before Sight Unseen’s launch at the end of that year. “We never look for apartments but for people,” they say, and that’s always been our mission as well — to get at the personality behind the product, and the narrative behind each new release. To that end, since we introduced you last week to Isabel Wilson’s textile and jewelry line with Chen Chen — and considering we’ve more than covered her partner in crime — we figured it was high time to get to know the RISD grad’s incredible,intricate work. Luckily FvF beat us to it, with a gorgeously photographed editorial by photographer Brian Ferry, which appeared on the site just last month, and which we’re excerpting on Sight Unseen today.

  20. 09.20.12
    Sighted
    Reed / Chen: New work by Isabel Wilson & Chen Chen

    Isabel Wilson and Chen Chen have only been friends since May, but creatively you could easily see how they might have been separated at birth. Wilson, a RISD-trained textile designer who has done work for brands like Tucker and West Elm, creates digital prints by photographing objects and patterns — like close-ups of butterfly wings or details of her own paintings — and manipulating them in Photoshop, rescaling and warping each one into something abstract. Chen, a Pratt graduate who cut his teeth working for Moss, has built a brand based around a series of objects that reconstitute studio crap as beautiful objects, like resin-based coasters or cement bookends with stone scraps bulging from their triangular forms. In other words, says Chen, “We both work in layers to create abstract patterns from very common everyday source material.” It was only a matter of time, then, before they found an outlet for their collaborative efforts.

  21. 09.12.12
    Studio Visit
    New Friends, weavers

    Back in 2009, Kelly Rakowski was a graphic designer at Todd Oldham in New York, and Alex Segreti was living in Philadelphia, working in the textiles department at Urban Outfitters. In her free time, Rakowski ran a blog called Nothing is New, for which she scoured image archives on the web, unearthing old exhibition catalogs, classic spreads from magazines like Domus, and vintage ceramics and textiles. Segreti had a blog as well, called Weird Friends, where she documented similar obsessions: craft, pattern, art, ceramics, textiles, and dogs. The two had never met, but when Rakowski emailed Segreti on a whim one day to tell her how much she liked her site, they began to bond; when both expressed a desire to learn how to weave by hand, they decided to embark on an experiment. They shipped each other yarn, so they’d have the same palette to work from, and a few months later Rakowski made the trip to Philly. They had dinner, retired to Segreti’s apartment, and showed each other their weavings. “They kind of looked the same,” Rakowski remembers. “It was crazy. Now we always come up with the idea together but work separately, and when we meet, we forget who did what because everything magically works.” The two eventually made their design partnership official, merging the names of their online identities into a fitting moniker: New Friends.

  22. 08.27.12
    Studio Visit
    Ryan Wallace, Artist

    To get an idea of how Ryan Wallace approaches materials, look no further than one of the walls of his studio, paneled with the kind of slatboard that a Chinatown souvenir shop might use to stack metal shelves full of I ♥ New York T-shirts. When Wallace found the studio last year, it was perfect otherwise — a clean, well-lit space above Paulie Gee’s pizza in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, right near his apartment. “At first I thought the wall was kind of gross,” he says. But he slowly began to accept it on a purely functional level; the way things could be hung at different heights was ideal for a painter. “I thought, ‘What can I do with this?’ A thing like that gets planted in my head, and eventually it finds its way into the next thing I’m doing.”

  23. 07.12.12
    Self Portrait
    Bec Brittain’s Lattice Candelabra

    When we last did a studio visit with Bec Brittain, we made a brief mention of her new candelabra design, which — as depicted in that slideshow — was just a formless pile of metal tube segments at the time. While it’s still something of a work in progress, Brittain decided to share it with Sight Unseen readers today anyway, originally planning to photograph it on the High Line and then ultimately finding inspiration a bit closer to home. And when we say home, we mean the building that houses her Red Hook studio, also referenced briefly in our March story: the E.R. Butler headquarters and production facility, which we only got a quick glimpse of that day, but whose awesomeness we may have failed to properly convey. It’s a 10,000 square foot renovated warehouse with a hauntingly beautiful courtyard and the kind of gritty factory floor most makers go nuts for, and in the photos she shot for us, Brittain borrowed that industrial scenery to use as a metaphor for her own working process.

  24. 07.06.12
    Studio Visit
    Prince Ruth for Urban Outfitters

    When we first got wind of the new Scandances by Prince Ruth textile collection for Urban Outfitters, we had two questions: Who is Prince Ruth? And what the heck is a scandance? The latter question, we found, was easy to answer: It’s that jittery, seismograph-through-the-lens-of-an-acid-trip effect you get when you manipulate an image while it’s in the process of being scanned. As for the former, we assumed — this being Urban, who has an additional collaboration out this month with Sight Unseen favorite Caitlin Mociun, and who’s previously worked with friends like Rich Brilliant Willing — that Prince Ruth was some under-the-radar designer we somehow weren’t cool enough to have noticed. And in a way, that’s exactly what it is: Prince Ruth is the name of a Brooklyn-based surface design studio run by Zoe Latta, a 24-year-old textile artist and RISD grad whose work is more famous than her pseudonym would suggest.

  25. 06.11.12
    Studio Visit
    Symbols + Rituals, via Where They Create

    We first spotted the collaboration between Nanse Kawashima and Eri Nagasaka on Dossier magazine’s website, where the writer noted that “it’s kind of hard to describe what exactly Symbols + Rituals is.” To us, it looked like a perfectly curated collection of vintage curios, some sleek and some dark and witchy — Super Normal meets supernatural. But beyond the objects that caught our eye, Symbols + Rituals is also a freewheeling creative agency where Nagasaka’s interior design background and Kawashima’s work in fashion combine to produce everything from videos to art exhibitions. If their activities resist definition, they don’t mind a bit; read their interview with Sight Unseen to learn more about what they do, then check these exclusive photos by contributor Paul Barbera of Where They Create to get a glimpse at how and where they do it.

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