Allison Schulnik / Ariele Alasko / Dana Stevens / Erin Considine Jessica Hische / Johanna Fateman / Joy the Baker / Kaye Blegvad Mindy Abovitz / Rebecca Goldschmidt / Tuesday Bassen
Got A Girl Crush Magazine n0. 2 Summer / Fall 2012
04 10 14 18 22 26 32 34 38 44 48
Ariele Alasko Jessica Hische Mindy Abovitz Tuesday Bassen Kaye Blegvad Dana Stevens Rebecca Goldschmidt Joy the Baker Allison Schulnik Johanna Fateman Erin Considine cover designed by Caroline Hwang
As we tried to find a defining tie that binds all the women in our second issue, we began to piece together venn diagrams of their energies. Ariele Alasko’s beautiful salvaged wood tables could undoubtedly serve Joy the Baker’s unreal baked goods. Rebecca Goldschmidt is a dedicated champion of creative women on her blog Big Big Things, and we could easily imagine her organizing pop-up events with artist Allison Schulnik and jewelry designer Erin Considine. In fact, Dana Stevens recently reviewed Wes Anderson’s latest cinematic adventure, Moonrise Kingdom, which is graced by the typography of Jessice Hische. Tuesday Bassen and Kaye Blegvad bonded across the pond over their shared passion of subversive illustration and are now close pals after they both moved to NYC. Johanna Fateman wrote zines in the 90s which ultimately lead to her meeting and collaboration with Kathleen Hanna to form seminal feminist electroclash band, Le Tigre--paving the way for women like Mindy Abovitz to create niche publications like Tom Tom Magazine for female musicians and beat-makers. And when you add in all our amazing contributors, we might as well start singing the Cheer’s theme song. It’s a nice thought. That this issue could be that very chain which ties all these amazing ladies together in an infinite loop. You really don’t need to dig very deep to find connections between people. We hope this issue sparks you to go out, create something of your own, and keep adding to that chain. illustration by kelly lynn waters
Kelly Waters a designer/illustrator residing in San Francisco. She pines to design her own home one day, but until then she is happy bringing the dreams of others into reality with her design skills and sweet-talking to building department officials. See her work at kellylynnwaters.com. @kellylynnwaters Lisa Butterworth is a writer, editor and daydreamer living in Brooklyn, New York. Sheâ€™s a big fan of cool ladies doing cool things and has more girl crushes than you can shake a stick at. Lucky enough to spend her days reporting on all things pop culture as the senior editor of BUST magazine, she also enjoys adventures on bikes, good bad movies and anything that involves delicious food. @lisabutterworth
Rebecca Goldschmidt is the founder of BIG THINGS, an Oakland-based art & culture blog, online shop and events series. Besides taking photos, writing, researching, and planning events, you can find her in many places around the world on her bike, rummaging at thrift stores, eating snacks, laughing and generally celebrating life. @bigbigbigthings
K. Nicole is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance graphic designer with a background in photography, a focus in promotional design, collaboration, and craft. Recently the stars aligned and she was able to launch a company that gets to do all of these things. You can see that work at alaskahousenyc.com, her personal work at helloknicole.com and everything else @helloknicole
Erin Griffith has written for BUST, Huffington Post, Adweek and Time Out New York. By day she blogs about tech for a website called PandoDaily. By night she blogs about tech for a website called PandoDaily. Sheâ€™s also really into sandwiches.Â @eringriffith
Caroline Knecht is a writer, editor and book designer living in Brooklyn. She loves jokes, fonts and that perfect pair of jeans. And treats. She really loves treats. @carolineknecht
Leslie Cheng is a graphic designer livng in San Francisco. When she is not working at Benefit Cosmetics, you can find her eating too much candy for her own good and rewatching Felicity over and over. @lesliecheng
Siri Thorson is a writer and stylist born in Washington state and living in Brooklyn, New York. Her interests also include photography, filmmaking, piemaking, cat-fancying, gardening and the sea. @irisnosroht
Natalie Snoyman is an archivist and regular contributor to AudioVole. She grew up in a very warm place by the ocean and now lives in a much colder place by an archipelago. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and learning new skills. @marine_fishes
Noel is an environmental scientist; shop owner; and equine, reptile, and amphibian enthusiast who hopes to someday move to a cave where she can exclusively make art all day, every day. She also firmly believes in the Oxford comma. @pourporter
Caroline Hwang is a painter and a doer living in Brooklyn, New York. Among painting, illustrating, and doing, she loves to cook and eat and drink coffee. When she’s not making art, she spends her time cuddling with her dog, Pinky. @carolinehwang
Kaye is an illustrator, designer, general maker-of-things. Born and bred in London, England, just returning from a two-year tenure in Brooklyn. @kayeblegvad
Amanda Stosz is a photographer and artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York, by way of Providence, Rhode Island, via Northampton, Massachusetts. She is fond of bicycle adventures, cooking experiments, burritos, and is an avid dog and people watcher. amandastosz.com. @amandastosz
Kate Miss is a graphic designer, jewelry maker and photographer living in the land of eternal summer otherwise known as Los Angeles. She is a plant hoarder, a coffee snob and names all the feral cats in her neighborhood. You can follow her blog at forme-foryou. com or see her work at katemiss.com. @katemiss
Tuesday is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and web designer that loves eating snacks and petting cats. tuesdaybassen.net @tuesdaybassen
Kristen Wentrcek lives in New York and runs Wintercheck Factory, her furniture and product design company. For an in-depth bio, go to www. wintercheckfactory.com or for realtime updates and her precise geolocation,@wintercheck.
interviewed by Kristen Wentrcek & photographed by Meg Wachter
(brooklyntowest.blogspot. com) began as means to document the adventure of a lifetime in a sixteenfoot truck driven across the country from New York to California with her good friend (and equally talented artist) Amelie Mancini. They pillaged abandoned barns for wood and picked up various treasures from thrift stores and junk shops along the way. Upon arriving in California, Ariele began a six month journey of building and designing an entire restaurant (ilvecchiorestaurant. com) from scratch. In her hometown of Pacific Grove, she her developed a keen eye as a salvager and woodworker, though she also studied sculpture at Pratt Institute. Ariele has since returned to Brooklyn where she lives and works, designing and creating beautiful headboards and tables from salvaged wood, inventing, finding, thrifting and building something every day. 5
So, you’re a skilled millworker with lots of tools. Do dudes just flip their shit when they meet you/see your work?
Most guys glaze over when I tell them what I do. It’s not really in many guys’ “inner vocabulary” to respond well when I say, Yeah I build furniture, or, My table saw blah blah. Rarely do they ask, Oh
wow, what kind of furniture? What kind of wood do you use? Where did you learn to do this? Okay,
some do. But I’d say many of them probably have that moment where they think of something good to say long after the conversation has ended. Then there’s the obvious, where they look at me, can’t put two and two together, and just think Yeah, right. But my favorite are 7
guys like my boyfriend, who just handcrafting products that are think it’s awesome. functional. They’re still artistic and beautiful, but definitely useful Now that you bring it up—where to a wide variety of people in their did you learn this? I have a homes. Have you had to refine manufacturer who does all of your process to accommodate my final products but I build my that shift (time, material, cost, prototypes in-house. I can build design-wise)? and fix things that I know nothing about because, for some strange You’re correct that I began to reason, I just understand how make things that pulled away from materials and hardware work “gallery” sculpture. I always had a together. However, I always felt tendency to build more functional like the finer finishing has to be art, which was something that I taught (or contracted out, in my struggled with while in college—I case). It’s definitely next level. always wanted to build things for What’s the story for you? Do you the home. Once I just let go of that just get it, and have built on that hang-up (years later) and fully knowledge/experience or do you accepted that it was okay for me have some training (or maybe to build furniture instead, it was both)? a huge relief. This is what I really wanted to do. I have always worked Well, I went to school for sculpture, with found, salvaged materials, so and studied that for four years; I didn’t actually have to refine my working in the wood shop, processes much. In fact, it was experimenting with all sorts of more like suddenly, my processes materials. I got comfortable with worked... better! power tools while I was there, that’s for sure. But knowledge and And yes, now the things I build, understanding of materials come though I still see them as art, are naturally to me, and I can pick up useful. I think that’s the best part to almost anything and figure it out— me, is that what I make now is easier just the other day I decided to cut to attain, accessible, functional, and some butterfly joints for the first fits into more people’s homes. In time. I definitely feel that I learned furniture building, there’s suddenly more once I started working on room in this world for me, if that my own, at my own pace, with my makes sense—and I love it. own tools (which is a huge part of it because all tools are different I completely understand being and you have to get to know them). into functional design. From I definitely ended up teaching my experiences and anything myself through doing. That’s the that I’ve read (both past and best way to learn: pick something current), it always seems like you’re passionate about, and just this is such a male-dominated start doing it. sector. Naturally, there are some exceptions, but whereas men I always use butterfly joints as lean towards functional products an example to my manufacturers like speakers, lighting, furniture, to explain where my skill set axes (LOL) and tech products, ends when it comes to building. I’m seeing an equal amount So you started with sculpture, of women that are designing and based on your site (and tell jewelry, clothing and handbags. me if I’m wrong), it seems like Both are great, but any guesses you’ve shifted focus towards why there’s that split, especially
being on the opposite end?
It is quite odd that there aren’t more women actually building or designing in this field, that it’s still so male dominated. I know of very few examples of women doing this kind of thing. I think society still plays a role, even though we’ve come so far. Every time I walk into a hardware store or lumberyard, I’m consistently greeted with the same abashed attitudes and outwardly doubtful stares. I’m sure you also get this all the time. You’d think that by now we wouldn’t have to prove ourselves so much everywhere we go. Like when I’m purchasing a power tool, and the guy asks with doubt, Well what are you going to use it for?—which is a ridiculous question to ask someone! And they are only asking me because I’m a lady. An even more hilarious example is when I was into Home Depot once and bought an entire cart full of 4x8 sheets of plywood, and the guy next to me, who was buying a roll of tape, had the nerve to sarcastically say, “Hey, you building a playhouse?” Yeah. That really happened. www.brooklyntowest.blogspot.com
Jessica Hische is a design powerhouse. With an impressive list of clients ranging from Wes Anderson’s latest film Moonrise Kingdom, to a special Valentine’s Day stamp for the United States Postal Service, Jessica is always working on something amazing. She’s also a frequent “procrastiworker” and has several side projects that she does in her own time. A few them include a lettering project “Daily Drop Cap,” a flow chart titled “Should I Work for Free?”, and most recently, an awe-inducing personal wedding invitation. She recently moved from Brooklyn to San Francisco and works at a collaborative studio
named Title Case with fellow tal- As a freelance designer, how do you decide which projects to take ented letterer, Erik Marinovich. on? What are your driving forces With lettering becoming more in making a decision (e.g. client, popular in graphic design lately, subject matter, quote, timeline, where would you like to see it etc.)? progress (e.g. what other types of media, fields, in relation to the There are a lot of factors that affect web, mobile)? which projects I can or can’t take on, but the biggest one is timing. I’d definitely like to see more let- My schedule can be really bonktering on the web—because of the ers because of conference travel, explosion of fonts now available for client work, and managing side use online, more and more people projects, so if the project is too big are choosing simple type-based and the timing is too tight then it solutions for their logos and blog can be tough to say yes. I generally headers. Many argue that using leave holes in my schedule for bightml text as a logo is better for SEO ger budget jobs just because those purposes, but there are certainly are the ones that allow me to take ways to use images prominently the time off to create and keep up in your header without losing the with my side projects, but if somefunctionality of text. There are a ton thing is cool and I really want to do of typefaces out there to use, but it, there is always a way to sneak it nothing beats a completely cus- onto my calendar. The only jobs I’ve tomized logotype. ever turned down purely because
interviewed by Leslie Cheng & photographed by Andrea Cheng
of subject matter were for cigarette more. I also really like the idea of companies. expanding my knowledge about entrepreneurship in general, and What type of music do you like to the web world is a good entry point listen to while you work? to that since so many folks are trying to make web-centric products. There are two modes that I work in: daytime studio mode, in which Do you ever get the designer’s I listen to a ton of music (hipstery version of a “writer’s block”? indie rock, nostalgia mixes I make What do you do to get out of it? on Rdio, etc.), and nighttime workathon mode, in which I marathon The number one way to battle createlevision seasons in order to get a tive block is to stay busy. I notice lot of work done. Favorite TV shows that the only times I really strugto marathon include “Law & Order gle to make work or complete proSVU,” “Battlestar Gallactica,” and jects is when I don’t have enough “Arrested Development.” going on. I need to be able to procrastinate productively (procrastiIn your career, you’ve seen a lot of work)—to take a break from what success in various fields such as I’m currently working on to work illustration, typography and web on something else. Then I can design. What other areas would come back to the original project you like to learn more about? later, when the spirit moves me. I’m still pretty new to the web stuff, I get the most done when I’m the so I definitely want to explore it most busy—I work efficiently and
constantly if there is always a productive way to occupy my attention. You write and advise a lot of current students on topics like “the dark art of pricing” and “should I work for free” and it’s such a helpful resource! How did you educate yourself on these topics and did you have any mentors along the way to guide you?
The biggest business mentor I’ve had is my rep, but most of what I’ve learned is through experience. When we price jobs, I’m very much involved in that process and we talk about why a price makes sense for any given client or project. Because I had a rep very early in my career, I didn’t have to learn through making terrible mistakes (though I of course made a few along the way when I didn’t run things by him first). It’s definitely incredibly im11
portant to have a person or people around that you can bounce prices off of, if only to make you feel more confident when you present them to the client. Social media seems to be a big part of the way that you promote yourself and all the side projects that you do. How has that been received and has it affected the way you go about future projects?
I think the reason that I’ve had such a good response through social media is because I love to connect with and talk to strangers. People on Twitter are incredibly sensitive to folks being disingenuous, so I just try to be myself as much as possible and to talk about, make and promote things that genuinely interest me. As soon as you turn social media into a pure networking tool it’s not fun anymore. I love Twitter because it’s like a global internet chat room. You’ve come out with several websites like “Daily Drop Cap,” “Mom, This Is How Twitter Works,” “52 x 52,” “Don’t Fear the Internet,” and “The Internet Sends Me Cake.” What inspires all of these whimsical ideas? Do you find it hard to maintain them all?
It’s definitely hard to maintain all of the sites. I’ve had to hire my mom to help manage Inker Linker, and a few of the sites exist now as archives rather than active projects (Daily Drop Cap, for instance, is no longer an active project, but the website will remain online as long as I live and breathe). The hardest site to maintain is Don’t Fear the Internet because the content we create for it takes an incredible amount of effort to put together. Most of the videos take between 10 and 30 hours to create, and though we have a donate button at the bottom we definitely haven’t had
enough donations to cover even the cost of hosting it. Nonetheless, I’ll keep maintaining them and creating more projects because by doing so I get to exercise parts of my brain that would atrophy without them. My side projects allow me to write, to learn and to express opinions that you don’t get to do when drawing the word “cheer” in ribbon letters. What has it been like living in San Francisco vs. Brooklyn? How do you like to spend your weekends?
San Francisco and Brooklyn have a lot in common, but there are definitely some key differences. San Francisco is a lot smaller than Brooklyn, and nearly everyone I’ve met since moving here lives within (or nearly within) walking distance of my house. This makes a HUGE difference socially—in Brooklyn I would often go weeks without seeing friends that lived a few neighborhoods away, particularly if they lived further south in Brooklyn (I lived in the northern part). All hangouts would need to be epic events, not low-key dinner parties or meeting out for one drink after work. The community of creative people in San Francisco is a lot smaller but it’s very tight, and aside from the freelance designers and illustrators there are obviously a ton of folks working in the start-up realm that I would have never met had we not moved here. I wish I could make all of my friends from Brooklyn move out here because truthfully they are what I miss most about the city. I get to travel back often, which has helped with adjusting to SF and making the move less intimidating.The biggest positive change that came about from the move to SF is that I now share a studio with friend and fellow letter-
er Erik Marinovich. This has been my best studio experience to date and I’m very, very happy to have someone around every day that I get along so well with and whose opinion I completely trust when it comes to work critiques. I think the both of us are going to benefit tremendously by being paired up over the next few years. The other major positive change is the ability to get out of the city on the weekends. In Brooklyn, it is just too much of a pain to rent a car and drive out of the city. One time it took me three hours to drive from La Guardia to the Holland Tunnel. In SF, when you hop in your car you’re in a redwood forest in a half hour or less. You had the dream project of working on titles for Wes Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom. What was that experience like?
It was incredible. I was thrilled beyond compare when I was hired for the job, but the coolest part of the experience was being art directed by someone whose opinion you wholeheartedly trust. There were very few moments during the process where our opinions didn’t align perfectly. He’s as much of a picky perfectionist as you’d imagine him to be, but when you know that someone is requesting endless revisions because they have a real vision of what they want it to be and know that you can get it there, you never question their requests. Do you have any girl crushes at the moment?
I always have girl crushes! I think mine at the moment might be Lynda Barry, Olimpia Zagnoli, Kelli Anderson and Nadine Chahine. www.jessicahische.is
interviewed & photographed by Meg Wachter
Tom Tom Magazine (tom-
tommag.com) “seeks to raise awareness about female percussionists from all over the world and hopes to inspire women and girls of all ages to drum, all while strengthening and building the community of otherwise fragmented female musicians.” Starting Got a Girl Crush as a magazine took direct inspiration from Tom Tom’s creator Mindy Abovitz—another woman with no previous experience in the production of zines, just a passion for creating a platform for women (and, in this case, women of a particular niche). Mindy also originally started Tom Tom as a blog to centralize a community of female drummers and beatmakers in the seemingly overly male-dominated music scene. But it appears that harnessing her chutzpah for hammering on a drum kit or organizing shows into magazine creation is an easy fit—Tom Tom is the only magazine in the world dedicated to female drummers. 15
The concept of the mag isn’t limited to just lady beatmakers—it’s a beautiful glossy that gives its contributors the same freedom of expression that can only come from a fellow creator/artist. Since its inception in 2009, Tom Tom has spawned an internet TV channel, clothing line, and tailormade gear for female drummers. The magazine also co-sponsors international drumming contests for women and is now being carried in Guitar Centers nationwide.
ed it (and still does). At that point I had been drumming for over ten years and my world was informed both by highly encouraging women-centered music spaces (Rock Camp for Girls, The Woodser and Vibe SongMakers) and then the more typical dude-centric music spaces (i.e. at my jobs working for Main Drag Music or East Village Radio). The split between those two worlds is truly what drove me to want to make media about women drummers. I wanted more people to know the incredible music world When and where did percussion/ I was a part of. rhythm become an integral part of your life? Did you first play Did you previously have any exdrums or any other instrument? perience in publishing, distribution, editing? I got a bass guitar from my oldest brother when I was 15 and started a Nope. None at all. duo with another riot grrrl in town. In between that band and get- What has the learning experiting on the drums I was given my ence been like? grandmother’s mandolin. It wasn’t until my last year in college that I The learning experience is like became obsessed with the drums. boot camp. So intense. I only recI would find myself waiting around ommend going into publishing if until my friends who owned drum you have insane amounts of enerkits went to work so that I could gy, passion and willingness to parplay their drums. A year later, when ticipate in an uphill battle regularly. I was 21, my best friend bought me my first kit, a red percussion plus. What has the feedback been like for the mag and what are your Did you have any female drum- plans for it in the future? mers as inspiration when you first started? The feedback has been unanimously wonderful and supportI was heavily influenced by ‘90s ive. We get the occasional snarky, booty bass, soul, punk, ska and the “Aren’t you afraid you will run out riot grrrl movement. The female of content?” ignorant comment, drummers on my radar then were but outside of that we are conin bands like L7, Luscious Jackson stantly being praised. That part is or Bratmobile. nice and makes all the hard work feel worthwhile. Tom Tom’s future How and why did you start Tom plans are vast! If all plans pan out, Tom? Tom Tom will present a drum set for women, a clothing line, a book, I started Tom Tom as a Wordpress a label and more of the same great blog in my living room (which at the magazine in the years to come. time dubbed as a show space—The Woodser) in 2009 because the fe- Why was it important to you to male drumming community need- start a female-focused drum-
mers magazine? What was you inspiration to do it?
It was (and is) important to have a magazine that focuses on women drummers because we are a marginal group at this point in time and are often: a) left out of existing drum media entirely, b) celebrated for one week out of the year or c) only glorified if we are as good as the guys. Plus this magazine is not only intended to highlight existing drummers but to act as an invitation for other girls and women to drum. How do you balance your time between running the mag and continuing to make music?
I don’t. This magazine has taken and amazing amount of energy and focus and has taken me off my kit and into the office. However, it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to start a band and practice regularly. Who are you crushing on right now?
Hm. Good question. I crush out on lots of drummers and beatmakers because that is who I research most of the day. Right now I am pretty into Delia Derbyshire (a beatmaker reel-to-reel splicer from the ‘60s) and Sophie Rae (the lead singer of Claire’s Diary). www.tomtommag.com
interviewed & illustrated by Kaye Blegvad
Tuesday Bassen (originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and now based in Brooklyn, New York) and Kaye Blegvad (born, raised and now working in London, England) share the same illustration sensibilities as a “sugar and spice and everything nice— on a knuckle sandwich.” When the two met Kaye was in her final year at Brighton University on the south coast 19
of England when Tuesday, who was studying a year below Kaye, did a semester abroad. Both ladies’ work embodied strong aspects of societally deemed “femininity” (flowers, mythic creatures, love) with more “unladylike” themes (the occult, black eyes, armpit hair, zombies), it only makes sense they became friends. They are both selfstarters who are constantly working on their own projects—Tuesday paints kitschy ceramics and Kaye has her own jewelry line. We were excited to have them interview and then, conversely, illustrate each other! Okay, give me a couple sentences about your work. Introduce me to it like we just met.
My work is a super cute, fairly grotesque conglomeration. I use clean, crisp line work, which I was once obsessive about, but now try to loosen up; it’s a challenge. How about your early work—what kind of things were you doing in high school and college? Have your work and your process changed dramatically over time?
My work was a lot more malleable in high school—I would look at someone’s work whom I admired and then my work would look like a poor facsimile. I wavered between being really into vinyl toys, Blythe Dolls, Mark Ryden, and that whole Lowbrow/ Pop Surrealist scene and looking at dreary (lovely!), gray and brown, wonky drawings by people like Marcel Dzama and Carson Ellis. I felt pulled between them and I think that there are elements of both in my work now. In college, I tried HARD to make things perfect. Too perfect. I think
that my college experience was all about honing my craft, but learning to letting go a bit. My process now involves a lot less copying (duh), a lot more handwringing, and a lot more of trying to pay attention to what I like and what my natural process is.
beige-powersuit-wearing Republican. That’s not happening ever, so the closest thing was, in my teenage mind, getting really into Dolly Parton and liking the color pink. What a surprise, my parents were forever supportive. We went to Dollywood for my high school graduation present and everything was How does being female inform full of unicorns, rainbows, and your work? What do you think more airbrushed teeshirts than I your work would be like if you could ever want. were a dude? I realized then that it doesn’t matter Being female is a huge part of my what your superficial interests are, work; I have immense pride that I as long as you have a good foundaget to be a woman! My whole life tion to back it up. I don’t care if peoI’ve had a very strong matriar- ple think of my work as “girly” and chal presence, and my mother/ I’ve definitely been judged on that, grandmothers have always told but I don’t want to make work that and shown me how important it is compromises and is more “mascuto defy gender norms and be the line” to be considered more hireastrong, self confident person that I ble or badass. I already am badass! am. Whenever I can, I make work that subtly or obviously subverts On that note, your work seems any poor stereotypes of women to have gotten a little more femiand acts as an empowering im- nine over time, with a bit less of age to anyone. That said, I’m not an emphasis on the gross-out making any “tree of life” images— stuff that you used to do. Was they’re all girls that are kicking the that deliberate, or are you just getting more comfortable with shit out of someone. letting your girly sensibilities all I’d like to think that if I were a man, hang out? I’d make similar work. I surround myself with people that aren’t as- Ohhh, yeah! This relates to my presholes (ha!) and don’t like people vious answer, but I’m all good with who undermine anyone because of it. My interests are changing, I’m not nearly as into the John Waters their gender or sexual identity. level gross out stuff that I once I’m wondering how you feel about was, though I still love it. I appremaking typically “girly” work. Do ciate gross jokes and like drawing you feel like you’ve ever been dicks ’n boobs as much as the next judged on that? Did you ever dude/ette, but I realize that I can make a conscious decision to ex- reach more people, even if I tone it plore themes that were a bit un- down just a little. expected for a female artist? If you had total control of your own Growing up, I wanted to be an en- creative destiny, where would tomologist. I was never interested you wanna go? Do you have big in “girly” things or anything pink, future plans for your work? cute, or princess related. As the spawn of two young, punker par- Well, I feel like NYC is a great physents, I thought that my only way ical destination for illustrators! I’m to really rebel was to become a already here! If I could do some
magic and conjure up some serious cash to make it less stressful to be here sometimes, I would. Creatively, I’d like to experiment with more mediums, collaborate with more folks in NYC and make more products. I used to have lots of backup plans for everything, but right now, I enjoy not knowing what I’m doing and figuring it out as I go. I know you’ve got tons of friends who are also illustrators and creatives (like ME). Has it ever been tough to balance competitiveness and camaraderie with them, when it comes to getting jobs and talking about projects?
It’s funny that you mention it, because I often feel competitive with you specifically! It’s definitely because I respect you, your work, love everything that you do, and often feel like “Dang! Why didn’t I think of that?!” or “No! I don’t want Kaye to do this too because she’ll do it better!” I hate that feeling and I know that it’s irrational and lame, but I think that it’s been engrained in women especially to be jealous or wary of other badass ladies. Why would you ever be threatening to me? We’re really good pals! You’ve got my back, I’ve got yours! I feel like I fight those demons everyday.
to keep fighting the good, friendly most of these ladies: You! Yelena fight, and spread the love, even if Bryksenkova, Katie Turner, Leah you feel insecure once in a while. Goren, Chloe Fleury, Anke Weckmann, Lizzy Stewart, Becca Stadt**To a degree, it’s lame to email lander, Gemma Correll, Brittany someone out of the blue and ask Burton, Candy Graves, and so many for all of their contacts. You have to more. Amazing talent everywhere! do a little work, but asking for a litGot any pithy advice for chicks tle leg up is reasonable. out there who’d like to make a While you’re out there flying the career out of creativity? flag for female artists, do you ever feel like the art world is a bit It’s hard to make an impact in the of a boys’ club, or like you’re at a illustration world. Be prepared to disadvantage for being female? work, be nice AND genuine about How do you combat that? it. Meet as many people as possible, take on tons of projects, and Definitely, there is some serious don’t let anyone take advantage of boys’ club stuff happening, but the you. people that enforce it just don’t realize. Most have no idea that they www.tuesdaybassen.net are being inappropriate! There was a debacle in the design community last fall—there had been a deluge of little projects that felt male-exclusive, and it all came to a head when a designer did a large project that included zero female illustrators/designers. None.
When he was asked why there were no ladies involved, he said something to the effect of “I guess I don’t know of that many talented female designers.” Wow. Really? GOOD Magazine rebutted with their “Top 25 Favorite Female Illustrators” list, which was an excellent way of showing support and giving That’s why I try to give it alllll away. a resource to people who just don’t I’m open with sharing sources know. and projects with other folks,** because I never want the illustra- My way to combat it is by making tion community to feel like “No, you the best work that I can and by don’t belong here. You can’t know reaching out to as many people as this client’s name. You can’t contact possible. them. I’m hoarding all of the art directors to myself. I am a rock, I am Alright. Tell me a little about some of your favorite female artan iiiiiiiiisland!” ists! It gets easier to let go of those misgivings if you really try, but some- Easy. The best part about the list times it still stings. It’s important is that I now know/am friends with 21
interviewed & illustrated by TUESDAY BASSEN
Quick, Give me a quick haiku that defines your work.
Angry young woman Making drawings mainly of Angry young women You were lucky to grow up in a very artistic household. I know that my parents tried to cultivate a very weird personality for me as a child (switching my pencil to my left hand, giving me the Butthole Surfers to listen toâ€Ś).
Do you feel like your Dad, Peter Blegvad, helped cultivate your dark sensibilities?
I definitely think most of my interests and sensibilities come from both my parents. They’re both pretty alternative, both artists, and both always encouraged me in all creative pursuits. My dad is the one who has more deliberately sought out the peculiar as an object of study and fascination, though, and our work shares more obvious connections—the occult, surrealism, dreams, monsters, folk art, alchemy…. All good things. I don’t think they made conscious efforts to instill ‘weirdness’ in me, though, and I don’t feel I was deliberately steered in any direction— more that it was fairly inevitable through osmosis! I was always surrounded by odd little artifacts, playing elaborate “imagination” games and making various installations and drawings with them. I owe them a lot. How has your work evolved from teenagedom to adulthood? Has your process changed at all?
Well, as a teenager, I don’t even know what the hell my work was! A lot of miserable, goth-inspired stuff, that’s for sure. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought maybe I wanted to go into fine art, and thought seriously about being a textile designer. I actually dismissed the idea of illustration, I think, partly because I would have been the third generation in my family to be an illustrator (after my grandpa and my gad). At the time I felt like I should branch out, but now I’m proud to be three generations in! My first year of college I was still all over the place, but it was more rec-
ognizably connected to what I do now. My drawings were a bit more cartoony; I used a dip pen and ink instead of a brush like I do now— a lot of black and white. I made papercuts, three dimensional illustrated paper sculptures, looser drawings—things I’d actually like to get back into. My process started to settle down around second and third year of college, and now I actually feel like maybe I’m too comfy in it. Time to switch things up again! Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of other designers and Illustrators who are distressed that they feel overly competitive at times with some of their best female artist friends. Do you feel like that’s an issue for you? How do you combat it and how do you draw the line between admiration and jealousy?
It can definitely be really tough! Especially when you’re very close to someone, and see all aspects of their work and events in their career as they’re unfolding. I’m lucky that most of my close illustrator friends have styles that are very different from mine, so I don’t suffer the anxiety of competing for the exact same type of jobs. And I mostly manage to avoid the feeling that they’re making “my work, but better”—it’s just different! I have certainly felt like that in the past, though, and especially in college, when you’re really trying to figure out your own work. Then it can be dastardly tough if a friend is making work that makes you think, “Damn! That’s where I thought MY work was headed!” Now I feel like the difficulty is more to do with general career stuff, who seems more success-
ful, things like that. I’m always really happy for my buds when they do well, but it does sometimes make me think, “Darn, I wish I was getting such good jobs, or was so good at networking,” or something. I am always amazed with you in particular, how clued up you are about all the current illustrators and designers, and how you seem to be buds with most of them! It makes me wish I was braver about approaching people, particularly folks I admire. Have you ever been afraid to call yourself a feminist for fear of being shunned or making someone else feel awkward?
Definitely. I’m sometimes hesitant to identify myself as a feminist, partly because I know I don’t have the debating chops to defend my position as strongly as I’d like, partly because I’m not as well-versed in the subject as I feel I should be, and partly because I don’t want to be just dismissed as “a female on a rampage” or similar nonsense. I don’t think being a woman, or being a feminist (doesn’t the first imply the second?) should be the only defining element in my work. And I don’t want my work to become a feminist diatribe. But at the same time, I like drawing women, I particularly like drawing tough women, and they’re always going to feature in my work. So there’s not really any point shying away from the word ‘feminist’ anymore. It’s clearly what’s happenin’. You’re moving back to London really soon—is that were you’d ultimately like to be? In your mind’s eye, what the is most creatively ideal situation that you
could hope for?
Oh lord, it’s hard to say where I’d ultimately like to be! Too far away to imagine. But I’d like to be in London—my hometown—for a while. I’ve been in New York for two years, since I graduated college, so I’ve never really seen what it’s like to be an adult (let alone a working illustrator) in London, and I want to give it a go. It may be that I stop getting any work, or the town is devoid of artists, and perhaps I’ll flee back to NYC in a year with my tail between my legs! But I hope not. The most creatively ideal situation would just be a good workspace, a good living space (these have both been damned hard to find in New York), and a life surrounded by wonderful, creative friends. That could happen anyplace! But I have high hopes for London providing that. I already have the friends part sorted. If you could collaborate with any female artist, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
I’d love to collaborate with Kiki Smith. I interned for her for a while when I first moved to New York, and she’s become a good friend, ally, and a real inspiration. I’ve never seen anybody produce work in the quantity, and of the quality, that she does. And in a million different mediums! I’d love to make a giant drawing with her, or a huge, huge sculpture.
ly settle in, I just hunker down and wait for them to pass. But it always helps me to get out of the house, walk around, look at art, and make projects for myself when “official” work is thin on the ground. Who are your top 10 favorite female illustrators?
Pia Bramley, Rose Blake, Martha Verschaffel, Laura Carlin, Caroline Gaedechens, Maira Kalman, Anke Feuchtenberger, Leanne Shapton, Esther Pearl Watson, and I’m gonna cheat and give you a man for the last one because he’s just so good I can’t exclude him because of his gender: John Broadley. What solid advice can you give to the eager young person that is hoping to become an illustrator?
Find a steady source of income from something else to keep you going. Ha! You’ve gotta love it, and I think it’s got to be something that you’d be doing on the side even if you weren’t getting hired to do it, so it’s just an extra bonus if you do get hired. And know that it’s tough, you ain’t gonna be rich anytime soon, and maybe not even earning a living anytime soon, but hotdiggedy-damn if it ain’t worth it. www.kayeblegvad.com
Working freelance has its ups and downs—how to you beat the blues? What things do you do that get you feeling warmed up, happy and productive?
Wish I knew! When the blues real25
Dana Stevens has impacted my daily life in a few subtle but extraordinary ways. Let me explain. Some people like to end their days by winding down with a book, while others prefer a nice glass of warm milk. For me, itâ€™s getting under the covers and listening to a podcast. In addition to writing hundreds of movie reviews a year for Slate magazine and 27
appearing on Charlie Rose to talk cinema, Dana is the host of a few of my favorite podcasts. In Slate Culture Gabfest, she gets together with her fellow Slate writers to cover the past week’s cultural current events—from highbrow to pop. Slate Spoiler Special is her other podcast, which as the name suggests, is a “postview” of current movies—reviews meant to be played after you’ve already seen the film. There have been times when my only motivation to go see a movie is so I can come home and listen to what Dana has to say about it. To put it simply, there are many nights when Dana’s voice is the last thing I hear before drifting off to the land of nod. Naturally, I had a bajillion questions I wanted to ask her, and she was kind enough to answer a few. What was your experience like with movies growing up? Are there any movies that hold a special nostalgic value for you?
I guess like anyone I have very sharp-sense memories of scenes in movies seen as a child. I have a false memory of the ending of The Wizard of Oz: that at the very end, after “There’s no place like home,” the camera tilts down under Dorothy’s bed, and the ruby slippers are there, proving that the trip to Oz really did take place, and the shoes— just the shoes—are in color against the black and white. I have such a clear memory of this that to this day I’m surprised when I see the movie and it doesn’t end that way.
about 11 or 12 I wrote a letter to Roger Ebert, who at the time was hosting “At the Movies” on PBS with Gene Siskel, and asking what I should do to become a movie critic like him when I grew up. And he wrote me back with good advice: see every movie you can, good and bad. I still have the letter somewhere, and he’s still—more than ever, now—a hero of mine. I so admire his love for movies and for life. But in the years between that letter and actually starting to write on movies professionally at age… oh my God… 40, I didn’t cling to the movie-critic idea the whole time. I just knew I wanted to be some kind of writer. How and when did you figure out that you wanted to be a movie critic? It’s something that I sort of came at sideways, because I had just finished a doctorate in Comparative Literature and was trying to get a tenure track job in academia (which, if you don’t have a friend in that career, is about like trying to get a job in the NBA in terms of its feasibility for the average aspirant). During the years that that was almost-but-not-quite-happening and I was scraping by teaching Portuguese language classes, I started a movie blog to give myself something to do, basically as a writing practice. I would just see a movie a week and write a thousand words on it. After a couple of years that led to my becoming TV critic at Slate. And then eventually, when Slate’s great critic, David Edelstein, moved to New York Magazine, I wound up getting his job. My editor called to tell me I had the job while I was on maternity leave and I remember the strange novelty of both experiences: “I’m a parent! I’m a movie critic! Both are new and weird!”
For some reason my father took me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was ten, just he and I—I have no idea how that came to be, but I remember thinking that the ending, when the fetus floats out into space, was something completely incomprehensible but somehow How has being a film critic afvery grand. And then when I was fected your moviegoing experi-
ence? Is it easy for you to switch off Movie Critic Dana and switch on Movie Fan Dana, or do they inevitably get cross-wired?
On the best days MCD and MFD are as one, I guess—that would be the ideal, to go into a movie with both a fan’s excitement and a critic’s clarity. (There are plenty of screenings when I feel like I have neither one going for me…). But the sad fact is that cinephile me often has to take a back seat to professionalcritic me, because I have to review whatever the big release is that week rather than holing up with whatever Film Forum retrospective I might naturally gravitate toward. And it’s harder for me to enjoy a movie for its own sake, maybe—I do find my mind taking things apart even when I don’t have to write on them! Then again, that simultaneous analysis has always been part of the pleasure of movie watching for me, so I don’t mind too much. Are there any movies you wrote a negative review for that you’ve watched again later on and wish you could take back?
Great question! There are some movies I’d like a do-over on just because I’m afraid I didn’t get them the first time, like Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. which struck me as a failed experiment even as I admired the audacity of it. But then a bunch of people I admire went nuts for it and I wondered what I’d missed. Are there any new filmmakers you’re excited about and watching out for?
Tons. The Iranian-American director Ramin Bahrani has made three movies and every one has been extraordinary: I can’t wait to see what he does next. Lynn Shelton has a wonderful light touch with actors; 29
interviewed by Andrea Cheng & photographed by Amanda Stosz
I’m curious about her new one, Your Sister’s Sister, which is about to open. And this is TV, not movies, but Louis C.K. and Lena Dunham are both brilliant, and I can’t wait to see what they do next in any medium. Your podcast Slate Spoiler Special is meant to be listened to AFTER watching a movie—it’s a genius extension of the moviegoing experience! For critics in other industries, it’s all about spoiling it for their audience yet for film critics you have to gracefully dance around and not reveal too much of the plot. How do you work with this limitation and how do you think this affects the experience you create for the person reading your article?
The Spoiler Special podcast was a brainchild of Slate’s brilliant podcast producer, Andy Bowers—his idea was that it would be fun to eavesdrop on the conversation a critic might have with a friend on the way out of the movie, with no holds barred as to what plot points could be revealed. Because I have that as a potential outlet, I can tolerate the strain of tap dancing around spoilers in a review—otherwise I might go nuts, because a lot of movies are hard to discuss in any depth without revealing something.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the movie industry is heavily ruled by men, and it seems to be the same case within the critics circle. Do you find yourself fighting for a seat at the table, and what words Second of all, how have podcasts of advice can you offer women changed the landscape for writ- who face similar challenges? ers like yourself? I’m sure in the world of Hollywood I love podcasts: making them, lis- and film production that feeling is tening to them, talking about them, way more tangible (and from the turning other people on to them as stories you hear, pretty discouraga medium. I don’t necessarily see ing). But to be honest, I haven’t ever what I do on the Slate podcasts as felt like being a woman was a disparticularly connected to my writ- advantage to me as a critic. A lot of ing—it’s exploring a different thing, great film critics have been womalmost like being a performer in a en, from Pauline Kael on down, and a lot of my favorite contemporary way. critics are also(Stephanie ZachaWhat podcasts do you currently rek, Manohla Dargis). So my only inspiring words of sisterhood for have on rotation? aspiring female critics are “Good I listen pretty regularly to Filmspot- luck, and please don’t take my job!” ting, Marc Maron’s WTF, BBC’s Start the Week and the Slate podcasts, And I’ve always wanted to know, especially the Political Gabfest and is there a difference between a our books podcast, the Afterword. ”film“ and a ”movie“?
glecting something somewhere. I can’t claim any special status in this regard, but yes, I’m pretty much hanging onto functionality by a thread at all times.
When you do have free time, how I guess to me they’re interchangeable? Apparently Pauline Kael do you like to spend it? thought “film” was pretentious and Stop torturing me with this notion never used it, and generally it does of “free time.” I’ll get some when get associated with more highbrow my kid starts to hate me, I guess. I productions. I guess I vary between would spend it sleeping late, read- the two just to avoid word repetiing, listening to classical radio and tion in my reviews. snuggling with the dog. www.slate.com/ This being a magazine about girl authors.dana_stevens.html You also host a weekly podcast crushes, who are some of your facalled Slate Culture Gabfest with vorite female filmmakers, actors two fellow Slate writers. First of and writers? all, how do you manage to raise a family in the city, watch hundreds This is not all movie-related, but of movies every year, write arti- here is a quick stream-of-concles for a large fraction of those, sciousness list of some of my girl AND find time to host podcasts? crushes: Louise Brooks. Barbara Stanwyck. Judy Garland. Diane Did you notice it took me over two Keaton. Emily Dickinson. Clarice months to get these questions Lispector. Nicole Holofcener. Maya back to you? I think any parent of Deren. Agnès Varda. Juliette Binoa small child who also has a more- che. Meryl Streep. than-full-time job has to be ne-
Hi, I’m Rebecca from BIG THINGS, an art & culture blog and shop based in Oakland, California. This year I’m producing BIG BIG CITY, a series of art markets, workshops, and interactive events engaging local communities around the country. We kicked off the tour this February in Chicago and Brooklyn, and GAGC asked me to document my travels! Here we go! Friday, February 3 Hello, Chicago! Excited to be home and hug the family. It’s not too cold and my faux fur purple coat is ready for its winter debut.
profiteroles and crème brûlée, oui FRIday, February 10 oui! Happy 25th Birthday to me! A splendid day: lunch with Lina at Monday, February 6 Café Gitane & new pair of orange Work time! Party errands with Deb- shades. Head to the piers to cover bie Carlos, my Chicago co-pilot— the Rag & Bone fashion show for booze, snacks, colorful napkins! work & an awesome, fancy pizza Dinner at Chicago fave, Sultan’s dinner with my Metier girls from Market, and an evening with my old San Francisco. SF roommate baking cookies for tomorrow… I’m nervous and get to Saturday, February 11 bed too late! BBC: Brooklyn! Flurries make for a cozy day at LaunchPad in Tuesday, February 7 Crown Heights. Meg from Brooklyn BBC: Chicago is tonight! A mar- Skillshare/GAGC helped plan a fanketplace of local artists at Public tastic mini-market and workshops Works Gallery in Wicker Park. It’s on confetti eggs, bookmaking & a family affair: my brother and old- Japanese tea ceremony! Lots of est pal, Dorothy, tending bar; mom kids, college buds, artists and inselling vintage; Debbie and friends ternet friends all together and exand lots of other Chicago talent cited about the projects. Success! selling their work. Despite the Later, I deliver Tracy to her surprise mid-week winter date, it’s packed birthday party and get the news of all night—YES! Two ex-boyfriends Whitney’s tragic death! The Chinaand old high school homies show town karaoke plan ends up being up, mom wins the raffle and the the perfect tribute. night’s over in a heartbeat. Debbie & I are so happy and completely Sunday, February 12 exhausted! Late nights = late mornings. Bagel breakfast and boutiques with Trina Wednesday, February 8 on the LES. Dinner on Dumont’s Adios, Chicago… Hello Brooklyn! heated patio, a show at Union Pool, Happy to be staying in Clinton Hill cookie stockpiling at Momofuku, with Tracy & Jake. We slurp up ra- and a late-night Manhattan stroll men for dinner and catch up on gos- with a new friend. sip—refreshing to see old friends and feel the snowy BK vibes! Monday, Feburary 13
Saturday, February 4 Thursday, February 9 Grandma’s 92nd birthday is celebrated with cupcakes in bed. I hang Spend the day in SOHO zenning with mom and try on her vintage out at the Earth Room and run into clothes—she’s on Etsy! Alice from Oakland’s Feral Childe while shopping—sometimes NYC Sunday, February 5 is so small! Pretty macarons with Olivia, Chinatown night market & Minimalism show and an experi- my first meeting at Occupy Wall mental New Music performance at Street! the Museum of Contemporary Art. Dinner in Lincoln Square with Dad & family at a lovely French bistro—
Back to Oakland, boo! The best trips always fly by! I couldn’t have expected anything better than how this whirlwind turned out. I’m eternally grateful to Debbie, Meg and all my friends and family for their collaborative efforts. In the end, this is all about connecting good people in vibrant communities to make ideas come alive… and we totally did it! See you in the next BIG BIG CITY! www.bigbigbigthings.com
PhoTOS & TEXT BY REBECCA GOLDSCHMIDT
interviewed by Lisa Butterworth & photographed by Kate Miss
When I arrive at Joy Wilson’s charming, breezy house on an impossibly gorgeous day in Venice, CA, I’m greeted at the open front door by a cake. On the floor. “Welcome!” Wilson says as she emerges with camera in hand and I realize I’ve stumbled into the middle of a photo session that is no doubt intended for her mouth-watering blog Joy the Baker. It’s where the 30-year-old posts her triumphs in the kitchen (recent winners include peach cobbler scones and strawberry cream puffs with chocolate sauce), but it’s not only her tantalizing recipes and eye-popping photography that make her blog so captivating. It’s also her attitude. She’s got a sassy writing style and an infections lust for life that’s just as appealing as the magic she works with butter and sugar.
Judging by the photos on your ing that is not the style they teach blog, your first book signing was at the French culinary school. And a big success. I’m totally down with that. I have books upon books of baking techWe had over 120 people. Isn’t that nique and in the beginning I would crazy?! That was exactly my re- read about different kinds of yeasts action when I went to stand up in and how they react with different front of people. I was like “Oh my flours and I would go try it myself god! You guys!” And then I started in the kitchen. to cry. [laughs] It seems like your family has had Can you tell me about the evolu- a big influence on your style in tion of your blog? the kitchen.
It’s all super haphazard. I feel like at any moment I might just have to go get a waitressing job, nothing is secure. I started the blog four years ago. I was working two jobs, as a baker and as a fromagier at another restaurant. So I would bake in the mornings, have a few hours off, go work a night shift at the restaurant and I would come home at midnight and start blogging because I was crazy. I got let go from my baking job, and a year and a half later I got fired from the restaurant. You got fired?
Her first book, Joy the Baker I know! Who gets fired from a resCookbook: 100 Simple and Com- taurant? [laughs] They fired the forting Recipes, is out now; she’s whole cheese staff. That’s when on the cover rocking a sleeveless I was like OK, I might be able to dress that shows her shoulder tat- pull this off; it was the push off too, something she had to convince the cliff. So I got rid of everything her publisher not to airbrush away. [to save money]—gym, cable, inAnd that’s just another reason to ternet, which was crazy because love Wilson, she is unapologeti- I really needed that. But I would cally herself, whether you like it just go to this coffee shop down or not. The two of us sat down to the street where I could get it for chat just after she kicked her self- free. I moved to a tiny, gross place funded book tour. We dug into that with weird Craigslist people and in cake—a cornmeal visitor’s cake a few months I finished the book (“It’s the sort of thing that you have proposal that I was totally slacking every ingredient,” she says. “You on when I had a job.
My dad is a really good at-home baker. He would work the graveyard shift at the post office and come home at four in the morning. He would always want to bake something ’cause he was hungry so he would make waffles or pancakes or cookies. He would wake my sister and I up and make us help him. My dad taught me a lot about how to bake and also my aunt DeeDee, who was blind. As a kid, she’d teach me about how things are supposed to feel, like batters. Oftentimes her cakes would be totally crazy looking and her frosting would be lumpy, but it tasted really good. A lot of your recipes are comfort food. What is it about food that you find comforting? Is it the process of making it or eating it afterward?
I think it’s both. It’s the whole kitchen process. Whenever I think of something I want to make, I try to think of a feeling I want or a person that I want to remember. Like, if I’m thinking of my aunt DeeDee, she always made this spice cake with lemon and chocolate in it, which sounds sort of crazy but it’s really delicious. Comfort is what people You’re a self-taught baker. Do want from food, I think they’re one you ever feel self-conscious that and the same. you didn’t go to culinary school?
can make it, put it in the oven, and go take a shower really fast”)—and fawned over her fluffy marmalade cat Jules Steven while we talked getting fired, late-night baking, No, I feel like I have a style of bakmean reviews, and Julia Child.
Do you have a huge sweet tooth? You mentioned in an interview I read that if you could invite anyI do have a big sweet tooth but I one to dinner, it would be Julia think I just have a big food tooth. Child. [laughs] ’Cause I like cake but I also really like cheeseburgers and Yeah, I love her. I used to watch enchiladas and breakfast sand- her cooking show on PBS when I wiches. Baking is where I landed, was little. She was just so silly! It was like watching Sesame Street but I just really love food a lot. for me. She’s such a character The food blogging world, actually and so big and sometimes clumsy blogging in general, seems to be and her voice seems cartoonish. I run by women. Do you find that to thought that was a kids’ show, I rebe the case? ally did. [laughs] And then Jacques Pépin would come on after her and When I think of bloggers I think I would be eight years old watchof ladies. I think it’s because we ing like, “Show me how to roast a have patience and want to make chicken!” I think that was my culipretty things. It’s really cool. And it nary school. Classy. [laughs] makes a lot of the blogging world, especially the food blogging world, www.joythebaker.com super supportive. I mean, women aren’t always super supportive of each other, but I’ve found that the community is so, “Go you!” I did get one bad review on Amazon— someone said that my book was a pathetic cry for a husband. [laughs] It says so much more about the reviewer than it does about me. Who are some of your current girl crushes?
Waylynn Lucas, she’s an amazing pastry chef. She opened a glutenfree/vegan donut shop called Fonuts. She has tattoos on her arms; she’s such a rock star. Who else? Bri Emery, she’s an L.A. graphic designer with a blog called designlovefest. And Kate Holt, she’s a florist who does flowers for TV, and all the flowers for Chateau Marmont. Her company is called Flowerwild and she’s self-taught too. I met her seven years ago when she had just started her first shop and I was working at the coffee shop down the street from her. She’s really taken off and it’s all just from a passion.
interviewed & photographed by Natalie Snoyman
Hanging out with Allison Schulnik is an adrenaline rush—it’s hard not to be affected by her sincerity and enthusiasm. In addition to producing some of the goopiest, raddest oil paintings one could ever hope to see, she also creates hauntingly beautiful claymation pieces. In 2009, Schulnik directed the music video for Grizzly Bear’s “Ready, Able,” and 2011’s “Mound” received heaps of well-deserved critical acclaim. Allison’s Glassel Park studio is a perfect reflection of her personality and the very special work made there. Just like her richly textured paintings, there is always more to see in every corner of her studio. I felt downright honored to be viewing the work for Salty Air a few weeks before it was hung on the walls of the Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles. It was great fun hearing about the inspiration for Allison’s new pieces and spending time with this innately talented young artist. 39
The pieces in your most recent show at Mark Moore Gallery feature some salty characters from the sea. What was the inspiration behind your newest paintings?
I grew up at the beach and have this big collection of shells, so naturally I eventually had to pilfer their souls and implant them into my work.
They lend themselves to what I do, building and layering themselves on the ocean floor. Although I think I repressed ocean themes for a while. Maybe it was too obvious for me, and thus boring. Iâ€™m not sure what originally spawned the recent obsession Iâ€™ve had with sailors and mermaids. I had the idea to make a show that would be costumes from The Little Mermaid ballet that would
be fun to make, based off of the Disney film. But I had never seen the Disney film. I read the Hans Christian Andersen story again and got really excited. (To this day I always picture Danny Kaye when I think of Hans and what he looked like.) His original ending basically had the little mermaid committing suicide after the prince denies her. Then he changed it to her thrusting herself in the water, dissolving to seafoam and then turning into one of the “daughters of air.” Anyhow, I thought it was interesting to mix the stories. I recently watched the Disney version—there’s some good Glen Keane animation in there.
stop-motion films and traditionally hand-drawn animations. It was amazing. Learning the magic that is the moving painting. It’s very rewarding. It was the perfect mix of dance, painting, music and film. But painting seeped back in while I was in my last year there. When I left CalArts all I did was work in animation studios, which kind of led to it losing its luster for me for a bit, so I’d come home and paint every day. Guess you could say I’m a bit fickle. But I realized that I couldn’t not make a film again—it just needed to be for myself alone. Eight years later I made another film, and now I do both.
I know you studied animation at CalArts but have painted since childhood. How did you decide to pursue animation once you started your BFA?
In addition to creating tangible objects, I know you’re also a musician. What was playing in the studio while you were creating your newest work?
I knew I wanted to do something different. Maybe painting was too much in the family, so I lost interest temporarily. I started at CalArts in the art program, knowing I wanted to switch over to film. They told me painting was dead and I pretty much agreed at the time, for myself. Jules Engel let me transfer over, and I learned to make 16mm
Hardly a musician—more just a music appreciator. A lot of Harvey Milk, and a lot of Ambrosia. Sprinkle in some Jeffrey Osborne and some Scott Walker and you’ve got a ripe platform for Atheist and Dionne Warwick. I know you come from a family of creative folks. What is one of
your fondest memories from your childhood involving art?
Probably just making stuff, crumpling up dish towels and dropping them next to a cactus and drawing that. Learning about practical pictorial issues and solutions by looking, and of course dance, too, was always a special thing for me. Taking my first modern dance class and being told I was a natural. Being a part of the yearly class vaudeville. Early on, being a ham. Later on, creating things. We just had a great wealth of books, posters, etc., in the house. My mom is a painter, and my aunt and uncle as well. As a young tweener, having my first introductions to some of my mom’s favorites.... What came first was a lot of Diebenkorn, Hopper, Hockney, Sargent, and O’Keeffe. My mom’s teachers were Philip Pearlstein and Alex Katz, so of course their monographs sat on the coffee table. And of course the impressionists… then later I came across the German Expressionists on my own. I saw Soutine’s Woman Knitting at the SDMA in high school and remember that very clearly. Staring at the Trova prints that my parents have had hanging in their living room since I
was born, and they still hang there at CalArts, but I’m curious about today. some of your earlier advisers. What kind of work were you Much of your work explores creating in your high school base, primitive ideas and abject art classes, and what was your imagery. As a contemporary relationship like with your artist, what is your relationship to teachers at that point in time? the primitive? I didn’t really ever have any art We are all monkeys! I just think we training before I went to CalArts, should embrace that a little more and even there it was more about than we do. guidance. They really allow you to be almost self-taught there, Your personal website is which is good for some, bad for divided into four subjects: paint, others. They just sprinkle intense, film, thing, paper. How do you amazing knowledge on you once in determine which piece should be a while if you ask. But more in a film made with which medium? technical sense. I am essentially self-taught in painting. In high It seems they decide on their own. school, like I mentioned earlier, I Certain things lend themselves to was just looking on my own every clay, or to watercolor. Usually I try night. I took an art class once in to do everything in all the different high school but quickly transferred mediums, but I only keep the stuff out of it… I don’t really have any that worked out. Not everything can memories of it. I still don’t know the survive as a painting or a cartoon. proper rules of shading, rendering and perspective. Whatever I know If you were given the opportunity about all that is from drawing and to ask a painter you admire one painting stuff a lot. I wasn’t very question, what would it be? involved in high school at all.
It’s a crapshoot really. You just kind of hope to know. That comes with a lot of mistakes and failures. Failing horribly, and constantly, is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. Los Angeles is a magical place in many ways. How does living in this city inspire your work? I love Los Angeles. You can be a loner, and still have a community when you want it. It’s good for fickle, stubborn, hermits who like to be a ham once in a while :-) Lastly, you’re from San Diego, and so am I, and so is some of the best Mexican food! Do you have any go-to burrito joints?
Don Carlos Taco Shop’s potato tacos on Pearl St., and Bahia Don Bravo’s fish tacos in Bird Rock. www.allisonschulnik.com
I would ask Ensor to be my fairy Your paintings are beautifully godfather! layered. How do you know when a piece is complete? You had some fantastic mentors 43
interviewed by Erin Griffith & photographed by Meg Wachter
Fans of on-hiatus, post-Riot Grrrl heroes Le Tigre might have noticed some strong feelings bubbling to the surface while watching last yearâ€™s documentary Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour. The dorky dance moves, the raging energy, the political strugglesâ€”even as the band played to obsessed fans around the world. It was the perfect antidote to the resurgence of teen pop in the form of Britney-Christina-Mandy45
Jessica. What’s more, it was a consolation for those of us bitter we’d missed Riot Grrrl. For some (ahem, me), the band’s 1999 self-titled debut Le Tigre was a coming-of-age album. And now, in a frenzy of ‘90s nostalgia fueled by books like Marisa Meltzer’s Girl Power, a new generation of lady bloggers and their fans—most of them, like Tavi Gevinson, born in the ‘90s—have discovered Riot Grrrl. Fateman was there from the beginning with her zines, including Artaud-Mania, The Diary of a Fan and SNARLA. She was integral in making Le Tigre more than just Kathleen Hanna’s backing band, and her legacy as part of that is now immortalized in Who Took the Bomp?
The documentary, by the way, was slightly arduous to get out the door, Johanna told me from the warmth of her wonderfully pale pinkdrenched West Village hair salon. The documentary’s legal legwork was extensive and, while she thinks it’s a great film that represents the band, it’s a bummer that as it grew into more of a general interest story, many of the extensive, in-depth interviews were left on the cutting room floor. She told me this, as I tried not to act like a completely overwhelmed fangirl from 2004. She also talked about her new projects. Her neighborhood in Harlem. Her daughter. Occupy Wall Street. And hair. There was talk of hair. Johanna took over Seagull, the historic West Village hair salon, in 2006. She likes the idea of backing a place where people can hang out and catch up with friends. “It’s like an old fashioned meeting spot in the tradition of beauty parlors,” she said.
Le Tigre, she tells me. The band community activism. There was the
was a business. And just like with recent inclusion of her ‘90s zine Le Tigre, she was completely inex- Artaud-Mania in a MoMA exhibit.
perienced starting out. A DIY ethos helped with that aspect. While Johanna knew a lot about hair products and hair services, she knew nothing about cutting hair or, you know, opening a store. Dealing with banking and business licenses and taxes—all of that was new, but a cool challenge. That challenge lasted a few years, but Johanna’s presence at Seagull is lessening these days. She’s focused on new projects. For example, last fall she painted portraits of pets as an incentive on Kickstarter to backers of a food co-op project based in Harlem, where she’s lived for 12 years. That neighborhood, which is in the midst of serious gentrification thanks to Columbia University, is the source of much of her activism these days. She is working with activists to end “stop and frisk,” which has hurt the community because it enables racist cops to profile her neighbors. It’s something she sees happening outside her window regularly, she says. That stance is reflected in her support for many aspects of Occupy Wall Street. She hasn’t participated in the protests—she wasn’t interested in going to Zuccotti Park— but she supports fighting abuses of police of power. The spirit of the protests has been really inspiring to her artistically.
She’s also writing about art fairly regularly for Artforum. Le Tigre hasn’t performed since 2007, but Johanna, the mastermind behind many of Le Tigre’s incredible beats, has been busy writing and producing for a number of upand-coming artists. Now that she’s got an established career, she’s enjoying working with younger voices like Cara Salimando, she said. She’s super into R&B now, too, and loves Alicia Keys. This seems like a new direction from Le Tigre, I suggest. The answer is: not necessarily. The band is on hiatus, but Johanna isn’t distinctly moving away from it. There doesn’t have to be a separation between what she did with Le Tigre and what she’s working on now. Not to mention, the band members did recently get back together to collaborate with Christina Aguilera, where she, Kathleen and JD wrote and produced a song for the star. Even though you’d think the artist formerly known as X-Tina could have literally nothing in common with electro-feminist punks like Le Tigre, they managed to find common ground on “upbeat danceable tracks celebrating female friendship, strength, and of course, PARTYING,” Johanna wrote at the time. She won’t rule out performing with the band again, but there are no real plans for that. “There’s an intensity in performing,” she said— especially when you’re Le Tigre.
And even though she runs a business, she’s still and artist, first www.johannafateman.tumblr.com and foremost. She’s said it many www.seagullhair.com times, including in the Le Tigre documentary—she always knew she wanted to be an artist, she just didn’t always know what she would do. Now, she does a little of everyRunning it isn’t too different from thing. There’s the painting and the 47
interviewed by Noel Weisenbacher & photographed by Siri Thorson
Erin Considine first ventured onto the scene with her subtle, beautiful jewelry in 2009 and has been growing her fanbase ever since. Considineâ€™s line is now carried at boutiques across the globe. 49
Hot or cold weather?
then I just got tired of working my ass off and making jewelry in a way Ten years ago I would have said that wasn’t in line with my ethics or cold. I grew up in the suburbs of standard of craftsmanship. D.C. and the humidity there is unbearable—in the summer there’s In retrospect, quitting my job and no choice but to exist in air condi- focusing on my line was a huge tioning. Since moving around the risk, but turning 29 makes people country and ultimately settling in do crazy things. I was like, Yo. you NYC, my lifestyle has changed a lot are GOING TO BE 30 next year. Do and I love hot weather. I’m out in it. There have definitely been mothe elements, constantly walking, ments of duress, but I’m grateful biking, etc. I’ve embraced the heat to have a supportive partner and completely. friends, people that will help me iron muslin bags or string beads in Sustainable, ethical practices exchange for jewelry, tea and conare important to you. How do you versation. find the balance between creating and being able to earn a liv- You’re currently living and working from it without encouraging ing in NYC. Do you see yourself mindless over-consumption? there in another ten years, or do you plan or want to move someIt’s a tough balance and an ongo- where else? ing challenge, NYC is expensive! I have a relatively modest lifestyle I often have fantasies of moving. and don’t shop a ton. Occasionally I Maybe to California or to the Midaugment my income by teaching at west, but honestly the biggest thing the Textile Arts Center or taking on that holds me back from those placfreelance projects. es is the necessity of driving. I also love the vibrancy of NYC; there’s so In terms of consumerism, I’m much going on, people are making working on building my customer great and inspiring things happen base and providing more informa- every day. I’d miss that. tion about why truly safe, sustainable and ethically produced products What’s a skill you envy that you are important. And why they cannot wish you had time to acquire? and should not be cheap enough to impulse buy. Working with select My partner is a musician and he stores that understand and share understands music in the nerdithis sentiment also helps. est of nerd ways (he loves obscure time signatures and builds moduOatmeal or toast? lar synths). I try to ask him a lot of questions and pay attention beCream of Rice, lots of lumps, with cause I have never really undercinnamon and honey. stood music in that way; I’m more intuitive and not so technical. When did you decide to do jewelry full time? I also would like to seriously buckle down and learn a language, which When I moved to NYC in 2007 I de- probably is connected to my ability creed that I’d never work a service to understand music! job again, that I would make my living making jewelry in some ca- What was your first job? pacity. I held production jobs and
I worked with the admin assistant at my parents’ design firm when I was 13, not for pay, obviously, but I thought it was real. I faxed, typed envelopes, filed. I was a compulsive organizer of all of my notebook and school papers, so the job was heaven to me. Describe your personal aesthetic. Do you essentially design for yourself, or do you ever design something that doesn’t fit entirely with your preferences but you know appeals to a different aesthetic?
I have a fairly eclectic aesthetic. I love vintage and repurposed materials, but also have an ingrained appreciation for modern design and form. My parents’ house is full of Knoll furniture they “rescued” from a closing office building in the ‘80s, and our family vacations often consisted of driving around looking at modernist buildings by Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, etc. While I embrace that very sleek, minimalist aesthetic, I have a deep appreciation for kitsch and folk art as well. Place you’d love to visit soon?
Portugal, Malta, Iceland, Mexico City, Peru, Prince Edward Island, Tokyo, South Africa, the Southwest, Malaysia... Box turtles or salamanders? (This is one interview question, I’m pretty damn sure has never been done.)
Box Turtles all the way! www.erinconsidine.com
K. Nicole Murtagh again for laboring away to design our second issue, Caroline Knecht for pearlizing the text, Caroline Hwang for her beautiful cover, our contributors: Noel Weisenbacher, Lisa Butterworth, Leslie Cheng, Natalie Snoyman, Kate Miss, Erin Griffith, Rebecca Goldschmidt, Siri Thorson, Amanda Stosz, Kristen Wentrcek, Kelly-Lynn Waters, Tuesday Bassen, Kaye Blegvad; and the amazing ladies featured: Joy Wilson, Dana Stevens, Jessica Hische, Erin Considine, Allison Schulnik, Johanna Fateman, Mindy Abovitz, Ariele Alasko; our bad-ass bloggers: Cassie Marketos, Brooke Baldeschwiler, and Meredith Modzelewski; The Cheng Family and The Wachter Family for the continuous support, William Sherman at Vanguard Printing, TUMBLR for helping start this all, and to all of our readers!