my artist cadre
From the very beginning, it was my intention to take full advantage of living in LA, home of artists and dreamers, to help co-create my crazy ideas. As I set out to do just that, I didn't realize that I would organically collect a select few of them as my "artist cadre" I like to call them. That's the name given to the group of parents who volunteered in the art classes at my kids' school, and I was one of them. I liked it, so I dun stole it. It just fits.
These are folks who were friends and artists or artists first and now friends. Doesn't matter. We work so well together and they inspire me and take my ideas and add their own touch and it's all just super, super groovy. While I may still source specifically for a skill set to acheive a certain special goal, this is my go-to crew for my creations:
fine artist/specialty faux finishes
Susanna has kind of become my side-kick in creation of a lot of stuff. I believe you'll be seeing a lot of our collaborations. At least a year before I found the Shop, I scored these two magnificent frames from Craigslist. She was someone I knew through friends and we were "intimate acquaintances" -- my term for people who dig each other and are friends but don't really hang out. So anyway, I scored these two giant frames on Craigslist. I wanted just one, but the dude had two and I couldn't leave the twin behind. It had SO much potential.
I knew Susanna was phenomenal with metallics and painting and faux finishes so I asked her to create a gold one for my home, for an idea I had. While she was working on it, I started talking about this loose collection of dreams and projects I wanted to do - a bigger vision. She TOTALLY got it, when most people couldn't quite figure out what the hell I was babbling about. One project turned into another and then I got the shop. She is the creator of the gorgeous green metallic hand-rolled graphic striped wall in the shop, the backdrop for my work. It adds so much to the feel of everything.
She's a scrappy, brilliant and talented woman and has years of experience with so many mediums she's like a substrate resource librarian for me. I joke that she's about the only one who can keep up with me. Except it's not a joke. We go through a lot of coffee together, she and I.
www.susannaeggli.com -- I did her photography & web site too, we did partial barter so I could get more of her incredible time and talent I couldn't possibly afford as a start-up art shop. She did all the fancy painting that makes it look so good. Check it out. :)
rescued wood designer
Bart is our token Testosterone. We try not to objectify him, but he's in touch with his feminine side and likes my nice-smelling candles and pretty flowers too. Who doesn't? I knew him from around the neighborhood for two years prior to opening the shop, he too is a Midwestern transplant. But I never even knew he was a secret reclaimed wood carpenter/designer!
I ran into him on the day I had JUST gotten the news that my paperwork had been reviewed and I got the shop. It was going to happen. OMG. I was on a pink cloud! So he sez "Hey, if you ever need any furniture for it, I build reclaimed wood stuff like this (shows me pix and video on phone)"
WHAT? Seriously? Yeah.
Just my style. Exactly. The kind of stuff on my Pinterest boards, and here he was being already a pal of mine. WOW. Well, THAT was easy! Check! Oh, and when we had our first meeting we discovered that he lives walking distance from the shop. Ridiculous meant-to-be stuff, fo shizzle.
Sooo, once he began working on the shop, the project got bigger and bigger as we had our muse and kept getting new ideas or adds to other ones. We co-created so well together. He has great vision and a fantastic work ethic. It's a true test of a human to see how they react under extreme pressure, and we had tons of it. And he just rolled with it. Always. Or laughed. Or got determined. If he was super-pissed he might get quiet. That's it. He has brought so much to how it looks here and helped me wayyy beyond what we had set out to do originally.
As we continued to work together over the first couple months of getting the doors open, I continually shared ideas for products and came up with new ones and he was so game. He was as excited as I was to try it out and come up with cool new stuff. So I kept him, and here we are making beautiful candle altars and frames and magnetic strange humongous modular installments for photos. :)
www.bartonsol.com -- Same as for Susanna, I created his brand and web site and took his photos of him and his work in partial payment for work I could never have possibly have afforded on a start-up budget. Synchronicity gave us both what we needed, when we needed it, without question.
seamstress & maker of groovy
Wendy loves thrifting and yard sales and flea markets to her marrow, just like me. But she knows how to sew really well, which I totally suck at. Oh. And cook. And laugh. And listen. And be honest and refreshingly authentic and present. Wendy also makes really artful stuff. All kinds of it. But if you call her "crafty," she will cut you (ok, not really - she's too nice).
"A force of nature" her husband calls her. Yep.
Wendy is a friend I met through yet another Expat Midwestern kindred, who knew we needed to meet. You will start to see a pattern here (Get it?? A pattern? She sews! yuk yuk). Wendy doesn't have a web site yet. I think maybe I don't want anyone to find her and steal her.
fancy-pants set designer, sourcer of magic
I met Dena through Wendy. Pre-qualified awesomeness! Plus she's a Midwestern kick-butt, gitter-done broad like me. No whining. Good manners. She designs sets on big fancy Hollywood shows like Raising Hope, Sons of Anarchy, The Shield and more. I bet she could get me a live giraffe if I needed one by tomorrow, for a discount. I'm not kidding.
We met when she was looking for extra projects for her Summer Break last year, Wendy introduced us as people who should know one another. Wendy knows these things. She does. We met and I painted pictures in the sky of doing crazy themed scenes for crazy art projects. She didn't flinch or clutch her purse or anything.
And then she gave me the gift of her daughter Luna for the Summer as my assistant. After working with a kid that spectacular, I knew her Mom was made of special material. Added her to Cadre. Done and done.
I did her site for her too (her own portfolio images) It's cool, just like her -- check it out: www.denaallen.net
personal & photo assistant
Juliana came into my shop and said she loved my aesthetic and what I was doing and would really love to work with me doing anything at all and was just willing to learn. That, my friends, is chutzpah that I dig.
So now she works with me and helps me with everything from dishes and kids to retouching and photo assistant work. Turns out she not only has guts, she also has an incredible artistic/photographic eye and shares a similar visual/energetic OCD that makes a great retouching helper and someone who knows that I need to have the coffee cups in my cabinet put away in order of style/shape/color, not all mixed up. Yeah, I have issues. She gets it. I like that.