Local Talk Series: Q+A with Maryanna Coleman

Your work ranges from real life to fantasy which is unique to other artists we have had at the shop. What inspiration drives your subject matter?

I love children’s books and their whimsical illustrations, as well as “realistic” paintings – of architecture, animals, nature, and more.  I try to weave a little of both styles into my paintings. 

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What artists were influential when you were honing your craft?

Ludwig Bemelmans (illustrator of the Madeline books), Caitlin McGauley, and Beatrix Potter’s whimsical styles and animals are some of my favorites!  Other influences (whether or not they show in my work) are Michael Sowa, Kathryn Freeman, Matisse, Maira Kalman, Janet Hill, Erin Armstrong, Wayne Thiebaud, Edward Gorey, Tracey Sylvester Harris, William Joyce, Erika Lee Sears, Dorothy Shain, Ashley Longshore, Cj Hendry, Donald Robertson, Pauline de Roussy de Sales, Charlie Mackesy, and many more.

 

How did you actually start your life as an artist? When did you know you had something special to share?

I’ve been making art since I was a kid, and continued to take art classes through high school.  I majored in Studio Art at Gettysburg College, and sketched/painted on the side for fun after graduation while working in “corporate” jobs.  I started an Instagram account of my art and sold a few pieces here and there – it gradually took off after that!  It’s fun to think back to locally hand-delivering some pieces, then eventually shipping internationally.  What initially started out as dog/pet portraits has evolved into wedding art (wedding scenes as gifts, invitations, etc), scenery and house/architectural portraits, and book illustrations (most recently Louise Penny’s past three books!).

 

Watercolors are such a specific art and clearly you are masterful with your approach. How did you address this particular discipline when developing your technique?

I taught myself!  I actually hadn’t “played” with watercolors since I was in grade school (or maybe early high school?).  I always worked in acrylics/oil/charcoal/drawing, but when I was in my small NYC apartment, there was next to no space for oil painting.  I started playing with watercolor when I realized it was the quickest/easiest set up/clean up, and could spend hours on something as small as 5x7” as opposed to a 5 ft canvas.  I definitely owe larger/general painting skills to my art professor from an oil painting class in Florence.

 

I see lots of animals in your show. Do you work on commissioned pieces as well?

I do!  I started with many dogs because I really wanted (and still want) one and am just drawn to them.  That developed into many commissions of pets – whether for a birthday, anniversary, wedding gift.  They always make for fun and meaningful presents.

 

My favorite is the dog in a military jacket. There's something about his posture and facial expression that is intriguing. Tell us about this piece.

My friends actually had me paint their dog in a British militia style coat for no other reason than they love history and think the dog looks British – and I love it!  He feels simultaneously refined and unsure of himself to me.

 

What does living in Montclair contribute to how you see the world through your work?

Living outside New York City gives me more space and quiet.  I am able to have both the greenery of suburbia as well as access to the buzz of NYC and Montclair.

 

What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

Iced coffee (or very specifically cold brew at Local!) with either almond milk or regular milk.

Thank you!

Learn more about Maryanna here:

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Local Talk: Q+A with iconic Montclair artist: Fern Bass

Fern! So happy to have your work @ Local. Your work is well known 'round these parts. Tell us how and where you began your artistic journey.

I started out at The Brooklyn Museum Art School when I was 11ish. I would ride the Flatbush Avenue bus excitedly clutching the wooden paint box my uncle Herbie gave me. I remember the first time I walked into the art school I was euphoric. It was like, “Wow! I’m allowed to do all of this cool stuff? For the whole day?!?

 

We spoke (and laughed a bit) together while hanging your work speaking to the art scene in Greenwich Village in the 70s and 80s. What elements of that environment influenced your current state of art?

Well, I was at Pratt in the late 70’s early 80’s and deep into the study of graphic design and working as a waitress in the West Village. I was working so hard I didn’t get out much, so I wasn’t that aware of the art scene at the time. Anyway I’m more of an old schooler-I love the art of the Italian Renaissance, the Post Impressionists, the German Expressionists, Edward Hopper and Fairfield Porter.

 

How did Bass Arts Studio come to be? What is your proudest thought provided its existence?

After working as a graphic designer for 15 years I quit to stay home and raise my girls. That’s when I started painting again. Then I got divorced and began teaching at a studio in town and found that I really loved teaching. When my ex exited he took his fleet of Porsches with him and I found myself with an empty garage and then...light bulb! I renovated the garage and bought easels and started a school. That was 15 years ago.  Such a better use of a garage, dontcha think?

 (yes, indeed)

 

You have a wonderful focus for artistic direction for teens. Not to get too deep, but on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is artistic development for children at this stage?

 I think it’s totally important. 10 of 10. I don’t know how I would have gotten through high school without spending 95% of my time making art. It was a lifeline for me.  I super identify with my teen students. They badly need an outlet for their angst, the intensity of their emotions, and their hopping hormones. They need to feel seen and acknowledged. I try to connect with them, see where their talents lie and reflect that back to them.  Developing technical skills grows their confidence and gives them the tools to communicate their ideas.

 

For yourself, how can you balance teaching with maintaining a high degree of personal creative inspiration?

 I prioritize! I am a very good time manager and a benign neglector. I only do what is absolutely necessary and let the rest go to maximize my time in the studio. I rarely shop with the exception of groceries.  I guard my time like it’s the most precious resource I have (because it is). There’s a lot of parallel process and cross-pollination between my personal work and my teaching, one discipline feeds the other. And I drink a lot of coffee! I am lucky my husband is extremely organized and does a lot of household stuff. (I have the fun job-I cook)

 

Tell us about the work you chose to share with our local community.

I have a thing for Parisian waiters. I love the graphic pattern of their long white aprons against their black vests and pants. And the graceful way they hold their trays and acrobatically move through space. A while back I did a series on dancers. These waiters are serving but their gestural movement feels very related to dance. 

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 What plans do you have around new creative projects?

I am probably not done with the cafe series, but I am planning to do a whole series on dogs.

 

Since you started, is there one experience that confirmed you did a beautiful thing?

There have been so many, it’s hard to pick. Many of my students have gone on to art school and art careers. That’s very gratifying. Last week an eleven year old in my Drawing Bootcamp was marveling over a large figure drawing she did and said, “Wow, I never thought I could do this!” That was a beautiful thing.

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What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

I like a nice cappuccino. Whole milk please.

Learn more about the one and only Fern Bass by visiting her website @ https://www.bassartsstudio.com/

 

 

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Local Talk: Q+A with multi-media artist Colleen James

Thanks so much for sharing your work @ Local! Initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Tell us about these images and especially the composition.

The series Wave is intended to draw the viewer in on a few levels. The ocean has a calming effect — a respite in nature from our busy lives. The image is at once familiar and unfamiliar. I’ve combined images to create something that is intended to pull you in, to make you look closer and ask if it’s real or imagined. I like to play with collage — to physically cut/paste/combine the images in a new abstract way.

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Santa Monica has this really magical/ special mojo, what pulled you into using this location as your canvas?

I was traveling for work and woke up early one morning. The moment of sunrise is so special, especially when you’re alone — the quality of the light, the magnitude of it all.

Art is a passion project for you, yes? At what point in your life did you start putting concepts together?

Art is more of a way of living for me, and always has been. It’s a kind of meditation. My mother was an artist, and my two sisters and daughter are artists. I studied painting in college, with a focus on portraiture, and up until a few years ago I was exclusively into realism. Since 2015 I’ve moved to collage and abstract painting. I’m also lucky to have a day job that I’m passionate about (working for the furniture brand Knoll).

How, why and when do you take on a particular project?

I like to experiment and work in a multitude of styles and mediums at once. In my studio I usually have 3-4 projects going at any given time. Right now I just finished a portrait for a friend, and I’m also working on a large color block painting. I find that keeps my work fresh.


Is there a particular medium you prefer working with?

Oil or acrylic painting is my favorite — I love the feel of the paint, the excitement of a new canvas. It’s where I find my happy place.
 

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Is there a project that you have been working towards for some time but haven't taken that next step? I ask this question because so many of us have thoughts to building a creative model or platform but just stop short before fully committing.

I start a painting series and usually stop after 3-4 pieces and start something completely new. At some point I’d like to find a language that I stick with for a longer period. I feel fortunate to have a passion and practice that I can lean into even more as I grow older — age presents no limitations when it comes to art.

What does living in Montclair mean to you as an artist?

I’ve be deepening my involvement in the community of artists here in Montclair. It’s an incredibly rich and welcoming group. 

You are donating proceeds of sales of this project to Toni's kitchen which is an awesome gesture. Tell us more about your connection to this truly unique and valued organization right here in Montclair.

My husband and I both volunteer there. The mission is so important — the people who run it are incredible as are the people they serve. I like the idea of using my art to connect with the community.

What's next for you in the art space?

I’m working on an abstract series on paper and canvas. I’m inspired by the repetitive patterning of artists like Damien Hirst and Agnes Martin. You can find it on my website at colleen-james.art

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What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

I’m pretty simple when it comes to coffee. Good, strong drip coffee with milk.


Local Talk - Q+A with New York Street Photographer Scot Surbeck

Scot, let's start with the evening you hung your photographs @ Local. I was anticipating perhaps an hour or so to place all of the images and then 4 hours in, you were almost done. Clearly, there's a highly complex process driving your craft. So two initial questions:

How do you approach each project so there's a comprehensive contextual experience? 

I study the exhibit space and how people move through it, the lighting (both natural and artificial), and the sound (ambient and music). I  envision the experience of entering and first seeing the pictures, and then moving  in for a closer look.  I then try to create an exhibit that has a strong emotional and visual presence and also enhances the space.

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How did you approach the project for Local including the masterful grid display system?

The large patina metal panels and high ceiling allowed me to create a show that is relatively dense with images  and includes large scale (20" x 30") pictures mounted high that can be easily seen because of their size.  By carefully and precisely arranging the photos, a grid was created which seems appropriate for pictures taken on the grid of streets in New York City.

You have a super intimate relationship with NYC which is evident from the manner in which you capture a variety of moments. NYC is arguably the capital of the world so no surprise in selecting this market but what specific elements draw you in?

 I always feel fully alive when I'm in New York City and I look for that energy in the people and situations around me.

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Of the current collection of images @ Local, which one brings you back for re-interpretation?

I can't say there's one that I keep coming back to. They are all equally interesting to me. 

At what age did you begin your craft and what was the initial driver for you to consider photography as a path?

I've loved photography all of my working life, most of which has been spent as an architect. There was no one moment when I became a street photographer. It happened gradually, then gathered steam. Now street photography defines and nurtures me, and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Photography is an evolution, personal development as well as technology and equipment. Do you like where we are today and where photography is going or do you prefer a past time with arguably simpler option?

My learning curve as a photographer was greatly accelerated by the transformation from film to digital, and the development  of image processing software such as photoshop and light-room. It simply became much easier - and less expensive - to learn how to produce decent work. Technology doesn't produce fine art however. In order to do that, you're on your own.

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What's next on you journey? Is there a project that you are working on or working towards?

My journey is street photography. I want to get better, to keep evolving as an artist and a person.

What's your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

Black coffee, room for half and half, sweetened slightly by stevia.

More of Scot’s work here: https://www.scotsurbeck.com/index

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Local Talk - Q+A with Illustrator Gina Stritch

How did you learn and hone your craft?

After fifty years, I'm still learning and honing. I'd say the best way to do anything is to just do it: sit down or stand up and draw, pencil and paper, pen and ink, computer, or whatever tool you have on hand.

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You interact with so many pets and pet parents, what has been the biggest learning for you?
 

I listen to what people say and draw the best drawing I can draw. I try not to intellectualize what I do. My philosophy is simple: draw the pet and make the owner happy, but NEVER compromise. Draw as if your drawing MUST stand the test of time. I don't aim for photo images, I aim for the best, simplest drawing I can draw. It's all about the drawing: pencil, ink, maybe a little watercolor, that's it. 

 

I've noted that pet sketches can come off extremely campy OR spot-on, with the artist being able to capture not just the image but the personality and character of the pet. Each of your sketches tells a different story and are so powerful, how do you approach each subject to extract that special something?
 

Source material: the better the photo, the better the drawing. If I get a good photo, you get a good drawing.

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Are there any particular artists that have influenced your approach?
 

Honestly, no, I'm into my sixth decade and am who I am. I don't try to be anyone else. I admire John Singer Sargent and many, mostly American artists. I admire the work ethic and business sense of Andy Warhol and I like the drawings of Al Hirschfeld, just to provide a few examples. Are they all commercial artists? Yes, but they were also extremely talented and intelligent and diligent.

 

Do you have pets, if so - tell us about them?
 

I have dozens and dozens, hundreds of pets, but they're all on paper. 

 

Tell us a bit about the images you have shared with us @ Local.
 

The drawings on the magnetic wall are all originals. Some are oil pastels and ink, (but I mostly stopped using oil pastel because it's messy and smears), and the others are watercolor and ink. Some are based on professional photos, but some are just good cell-phone photos. Some are popular breeds, some are unknown breeds. Some of my favorite drawings are mixed breeds. I used the drawings I used for a practical reason: it's what I had at hand. The drawings I don't have have been sold and the best artist is one who sells his or her work.

 

What's the best way for you to work with clients? Phone call, in-person meetings, simply sharing a photograph?
 

All I need is a good cell-phone photo emailed to me. I can work with a poor (hard copy) photo, tooand sometimes, maybe that's all a person has.

 

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Local Talk: Interview with Local Artist Amy Putman

So excited to have you up at Local! Thank you for sharing your work with us. Tell us, your artistic approach all stems from your experience with your parents. What was it like to have parents that encouraged this direction?

Thank you for having me! I’m a huge fan of Local and so happy to be there.

My parents were a huge influence because they encouraged all things art.  From art lessons and books, to countless museum trips, art was valued and appreciated. My mom is a weaver and she would invite me into her loom-room to talk about design and analyze color. My dad’s interest was photography so he built a dark room in the basement and taught me how to process film and make prints. They also gave me honest, thoughtful feedback about my work which was important. I learned how to listen and figure out what was or wasn’t working.

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You have a strong sense of activism in your personal life working on such influential programs like the Million Mom March for Common Sense Gun Laws on the National Mall in Washington DC. How has this mindset worked its way into your art?

I’m motivated by issues of social justice and this past year has magnified the polarization and divisiveness in the United States and around the world. I’ve been working on a number of mixed media pieces on canvas called the “Fence Series” which grew from the debate about building walls. It’s a look at what we love and what we fear, through the perspective of the fences that divide us.

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Collage is a recent treatment for your work. It's candidly an area that is a bit of a juxtaposition for me as it seems extremely simple but on the other end - where do you start? So, where do you start and how do you know when it's done?

The process of creating a collage begins with the collection of images that will eventually be used to make it.  I have collected thousands of images in an ongoing, obsessive treasure hunt for whatever inspires me. When I’m not ripping up magazines I’m carefully cutting up the

images, creating puzzle pieces. Imagine having a puzzle box with thousands of pieces in it, but without a picture on the cover for guidance as you put it together.  I never plan what I’m making. It’s a spontaneous process which makes it fun as well as challenging. I always have several collages going at once because I won’t finish a collage until I find the perfect piece.  This can take days, weeks, or even months

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You have quite the busy schedule showing locally here in NJ as well as other states but then jump into Europe to show in such richly artistic centers like Berlin.  Do you find that your work is interpreted very differently by market?

There is a lot of international interest in collage.  To my surprise, Instagram opened doors with exciting opportunities. Through it, I was invited to show in Berlin and also featured in a beautiful book called, “Making the Cut | The World’s Best Collage Artists Vol 1” published in Australia.

 

What has living in NJ meant to your POV on art and the artistic community? 

There’s a large and wonderfully diverse community of artists here and those I have met have been incredibly supportive and inspiring. Montclair has so much to offer for people interested in the arts, including the Montclair Art Museum, the Yard School of Art, and Studio Montclair with its beautiful new space for art shows on Bloomfield Ave. I believe that when you put yourself out there great things can happen, but many of the great things that are happening are because there’s so much interest in the arts here.

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Please tell us about the work that you have up at Local?

This is a body of work that grew from my fascination with the surreal. I love the surprise element of the design process and how a collage reveals itself to me as I create it. I try to make art that engages the viewer so they keep looking and try to figure out what’s happening.

 

What's next? What are you working on presently?

I’m incredibly excited to be collaborating on a new series of mixed media pieces with an LA based internationally renowned photojournalist who focuses on human rights issues.

 

What’s your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

My favorite coffee is a latte especially when there’s a heart in the foam on top.

www.amyputman.com

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Local Talk: Interview with Local featured artist Michael Stahl

Michael, we have known you for 14 years! I know this as you photographed our daughter when she was first born. What struck me then as it does now is that you absolutely love your craft. The initial consultation, the photography, the bracketing of images - the entire process. What is it about this discipline that keeps you so motivated?

Well, I've always been a darkroom rat.  I spent countless hours with my film and trays and chemicals making black and white prints.  So I just love the process of creating images.  I find it easy to stay motivated because every session is different and is nuanced in some way.  The important thing for me during a session is making it feel like the camera disappears.  In most cases that does happen as I strike up a rapport with the person in front of me. That's a special feeling.

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Alright...putting you on the spot - you have photographed countless families in the area, is there one that stands out for any particular reason? 

Nice try. But I cannot say that any ONE family stands out.  We've had memorable moments during session (newborn peeing on a dad, for example).  But we also do have families that we see over the years and it's very rewarding for us to see the children as they grow.  We've been doing this long enough to have toddlers that we've photographed come back in for a high school senior portraits.

 

Having been a photographer for 20+ years, what can you say is the greatest lesson learned thus far?  

Patience!  Of course there are days when our subjects might not be in the best mood for a portrait.  So we try to have a laid back approach in which there is plenty of time for even the most reluctant person to come around and present their true self to me.  

 

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What photographers (past or present) have been meaningful to you and why? Which should we take a moment and explore? 

Richard Avedon--I love the simplicity of his studio portraits.  George Hurrell for his dramatic images of Hollywood stars.  And I own Ansel Adams' series of technical books on creating the black and white print and of course his landscapes just stop you.  Bill Brandt broke a lot of "rules" with his edgy and stark portraits.

 

Montclair has been a geographical focus throughout your work. Why is this town so special for you?  

It's such an eclectic town so we get to meet so many interesting people, which results in interesting portraits.  We also love to do our part to support local organizations. The folks in town have really supported our efforts to help out the Food Pantry and animal rescue organizations.

 

In this world of cameras on a variety of devices, and filters to match any desired mood - how do you continue to articulate the essence of professional photography?  

I think it has to do with having a specific point of view and style.  I am flattered when people tell me that they can recognize our work.  Because style is not an app you can download or something one can copy.  It has to come from within.  But we also have to provide something that one cannot do for themselves.  That's why our focus continues to be well lit studio portraits.   

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Black and white seems to evoke quite a bit of emotion but color obviously has its purpose? How do you toggle between the two and ultimately commit to a particular direction?  

We default to black and white  That has always been my passion.  But color does have its place and we work closely with our clients to determine the direction to take.

 

What advice do you provide for someone considering a career in photography?  

Heed your passion.  Photograph things that are meaningful to you.  Seek out a mentor and look to professional organizations (PPA for example) for guidance and educational opportunities.  And don't forget that you are a businessperson, too.  Value yourself and your work and others will also.

 

Tell us something about photography that only you or a few people know. 

"I'm not photogenic" is BS.  There is something about everyone that is photogenic.

 

What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

Straight, strong drip with a little half and half--early and often!

 

www.portraitsbymichaelstahl.com

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Local Talk: 10 Questions with Montclair photographer Andrew Wander

Your book, Stately Homes of Montclair’ represents a significant amount of exploration throughout Montclair and its homes - how and why did you initiate this project?

I decided on "Stately Homes of Montclair" because as I settled in this town back in 2007, I viewed history in it's architectural brilliance, it's European design and realized that this project had never been attempted.

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Why Montclair as your geographic focus?

Montclair is noted to most as a culinary mecca.  Now, it's more than just a place to grab a bite.

 

How did you start your career in  photography?
 

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I don't have a career in photography.  It is a part time vocation. I videotaped weddings and events from 1983 until 2007. My main vocation is providing legal video services to lawyers. Depositions, courtroom playbacks and site inspections are my thing.

 

How do you feel about how photography has evolved over the years with the introduction of social media and the ubiquitous nature of cameras?

Photography has come along way (see my website: www.andywander.com).  As digital has taken over, it's another world for better or worse it is here to stay.

 

How did your project mindset change from when you kicked off the project to its completion?
 

The project changed a great deal from the on-set.  I started collecting photos throughout town. Then I decided on 3 essential chapters; Exteriors, Interiors and added: Backyards, Courtyards, and Rose gardens.

 

What was the biggest surprise in this process?

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I found a Rose garden based on an English Rose garden.  When I went to cover it, the owner answered the front with shovel in hand.

 

Was there one particular home that meant more to you than the others?

Sure...that is a difficult question.  Come to my April 29th lecture at Van Vleck and I will present the top 3.

 

No one really needs a home save the scale of most of these structures and we’re seeing a movement as of late towards micro-living with just the essentials. Do you think theses types of structures endure?
 

Yes they do endure...The rich will always have a place in our society.  The mass and spaciousness provide an environment for any artist for reflection and creativity. Try living in a residence shown in my book. Oh, you would need about $16,000. per month but, the experience
would be priceless.

 

Tell us something about Montclair that only you or a few people know.

There is a home here that belonged to an arms dealer.  He was
ready to move in to his "stately home" but, the war ended and he never did.

 

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What’s your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

My favorite tea is earl grey.  Typhoo is worth every penny.

Local Talk: Q+A with Josh Miller from Montclair State University

I'm inspired at the entrepreneurship and innovation coming out of Montclair State University. Tell me a bit about about MixLab and the genesis of the department.

The MIX Lab is an innovation center at MSU where students utilize technological tools to think and create in an innovative manner. We all work on projects both personal and with outside clients to help push the boundaries of innovation and entrepreneurship. Altarik and I work extensively in the lab to create innovate on everything from packs to other ceramics. The classes taught in the lab allow students the opportunity to think in the world from a different perspective. To us, Innovation is not just about using the newest technology, but to continue moving forward in progress and problem solving. 

 

What are the types of projects that draws your team's interest?

All our work in the lab has led us to form our own startup Urban Nomadic (urbanomadic.com). We are drawn to projects that have a strong ecologically and design focus. Plus collaboration is really important to us. Being able to work with other designers and innovators is critical to us. 

 

What are some of the team dynamics that create a healthy and effective approach to innovation?

I’d be lying if I said we (Altarik and myself) didn’t argue a lot. Yet, I find that it’s the respect through arguing that keeps us working together so well. We aren’t just colleagues and co-workers. We are friends and brothers. having that kind of dynamic among us allows us to be able to work through differences and come to great innovations. The other key part for us working others — we are always looking for people who want to design something transformative.

 

In our current environment, what brands or people do you consider to be driving true innovation?

I don’t search for innovation among well-known large corporations. I’m surrounded by innovation both here in the lab and in the local design ecosystem of Montclair. Through the lab we have met people who have some brilliant ideas and have seen some products that are surprisingly non-mainstream. MADLab, the architects behind the design of the Local coffee shop are a great example — they taught us a lot. When it comes to people, I’d like to point towards the two people that have taught me how to be an innovative individual: Iain Kerr and Jason Frasca — the co-directors of the lab

 

What are some of the short term as well as long term goals for the department?

The MIX Lab as well as Altarik and I strive to continue the development of innovations. In the short term, there are a few projects we are working on, some of which could become viable businesses in the future. As Urban Nomadic we are working on a long-term project to eliminate fashion waste through the use of revolutionary biodegradable materials. Altarik and I would love to continue to develop our innovative custom ceramics with restaurants or individuals who are in search of some really unique designs. In regards to the MIX Lab’s long term goals, we are continuing to expand our capabilities as well as who we contact and how to continue to foster innovation. 

 

What were your major product design inspirations for developing and ultimately building the bowls?

When creating this design, I was given the guideline of coffee culture while incorporating local celebration. I believed that if I dug deep into the roots of coffee culture I would find ideas that were no longer “the norm”. This is where the bowl concept came into play. Originally, this bowl was designed as a coffee bowl, but the design had a few uncomfortable niches to it. I discovered along the way the idea of a known face on a cup or bowl and decided to try to create angles that were not usual in bowls. From this, I found a designer who had a work of art like the bowl and felt that I was on a good path. The rest of the design process comes from working closely with Rob and Adele to create a product that they would be proud to use and present. As for the local part, we found a river bank in Glen Ridge (with great help from an MSU professor) with an abundance of rich clay and believed that it was only fitting to use a little part of the world right here in creating these bowls.

 

What were some of the challenges that your encountered along the way?

Earlier, I spoke about learning new things as being a key goal. When I asked Altarik to join this project, I found very quickly that time was against us. When learning new skills, and trying to meet a deadline all at once becomes stressful, one tends to look at their partner for stability. That was something we did with each other constantly as we did our best to meet (and sometimes fail at meeting) deadlines and tasks. All in all, I would say this was a challenging project by nature, but well worth the time and effort.

 

What were the most important takeaways for this project?

The most important takeaways are that it is possible for local designers to do things that no one else can do. It was humbling to see Local so ready to put the bowls out for display and use. We learnt that we could do some much more than we realized at first: we could dig up local clays, we could design custom products, we could work with great clients like Local and that the design and architecture community is generous and supportive. Basically, we can away excited to continue this work of collaborating with others in the local community to develop new products and innovative concepts.

 

Tell us something about design that very few or no one knows.

This design is an accidental design. I was still learning to use the software in the beginning and was going for a different structure to represent known faces and used a feature wrong that presented me this shape. Sometimes accidents bring out the best products. Design is all about processes and truly anyone can be innovative. I think that we need to move away from the notion of a “creative genius” but instead look at things from a set out processes to get towards a place. Really, it is all about doing things and if you fail, the worst outcome is that you will learn from it. 

 

What is it about being in Montclair that supports and drives the program forward?

It has a lot to do with the aspect of “Local”. In Montclair, there is a large culture of innovation and generosity from MSU to MadLab, to Local — everyone was more than willing to help us far beyond what we could ever have imagined. There is a community with a lot to teach and share. I find that Altarik and I connected well with Rob and Adele and that helped us to want to bring them a great product. For other students, here at MSU, it’s the passion of not only solving problems but creating new problems for worlds worth making and innovating that continues to progress the program.

 

What does local mean to you?

Local to us means the belief in what the community can provide to us and what we can give back in return. It is a symbol of support and love from people that we may know or soon meet that continue to help push in a positive direction. Local is the embodiment of positive goals with belief in each other.  It is really about making and emerging with the things you have around you. We also believe that local is about sustainability and collaboration. Through our newest project, Urban Nomadic, we are not only looking to work for people who are trying to make a difference, but we are trying to make a difference ourselves through the use of renewable resources. Local is not just about the people, but also about the environment we share with everything in the world and our aim is to protect as much of that as possible.

 

https://www.montclair.edu/entrepreneur/3d-printing/mix-lab/