Guys: running a biz takes a village, and I’m happy to share my latest secret to life long happiness: VET YOUR VILLAGE. Make damn sure that they check all the boxes. And before I praise my favorite vendors ever, let’s spell out those boxes:
The big Spring Auctions are coming up in NY and at our recent team meeting, said team had some questions. And I had answers that we were all surprised to learn, and I hadn’t previously shared. I spent a few years at Christie’s, went to Sotheby’s institute (which provides a useful window into auction house life) and dealt with the major houses through other jobs, so the way these auctions work is ingrained in me. Here’s how they relate to you, budding and curious art fan:
It’s exciting to get in early on a project like this WIP Toronto house. With a blank slate, we want to explore different mediums, proportions, a neutral vs colorful palette… We are getting SO excited that we starting brainstorming ideas.
The best part of getting in early is that we can preserve an “art wall” in this room. Meaning: we have the opportunity to collaborate with the team (architect, contractor and designer) to ensure we have no plugs in the way, no awkward switches or fixtures to work around! Yay for teamwork!
Remember when we went out to Quogue to see this new build? Well guess what!? Things have happened since that fine fall day. The house has windows, electricity, and even some walls... [running water is TBD]...and a completion date of April may have been in an email but let's just say May to be safe. We've bought over 15 pieces for this gorgeous Hampton getaway and wallpaper, art lighting, paint colors are more are all part of the conversation with the clients, designers, and build-team OH MY. Here's the latest.
Wallpaper is quite on trend and I’m proud to say Katharine and I got in on that early. Years ago we shared ideas, sources, and [strong] opinions on wallpapering our own homes and I may have gone to some extreme lengths to get the right papers for very specific needs. And it was worth it because good spaces = endless enjoyment. Here’s the rundown:
Since beginning to work with Mason Lane in October, I've started to get why art matters. It's not that I didn't get it beforehand, but I hadn't really thought about it. I have a finance background, love design, and swoon over pretty homes... but I've always gone for a quick fix on the wall thinking that paying any extra money or attention made no marginal difference. After 4 months with this team, I'm a convert! Here's what I've learned about why art matters:
Gallery walls are tough for even the Above Average Joe. And when the DIY efforts don't look IG-worthy, the whole process is deflating. We know. We've come to the rescue many times while promoting our view that gallery walls are a DDIY (Don't DIY) project. But let's take this one step further and address the STAIRCASE GALLERY WALL. It’s a lil bit daunting. But here’s what you need to know, how to estimate costs, and what you should outsource (and to whom)…
Last month I went to Art Basel Miami Beach on behalf of Mason Lane. As a newbie to that fair /entire scene, there was a lot to take in. I went to 9 number of fairs, 2 private collections, and 1 beach across 4 days, and here’s what I learned:
Big News: Our friend Laura Mann is taking Mason Lane beyond Brooklyn.
Bigger News: She has GREAT. TASTE.
Laura Mann is an art and design groupie based in Toronto. She’s bringing in a whole NEW roster of artists, galleries, and creative ideas that don’t make their way south of the border. So, with that, we are pleased to introduce Mason Lane Canada.
HAPPY FIRST DAY OF RESOLUTION IMPLEMENTATION. For those who have worked out, eaten kale and meditated already today: CONGRATS. I’m not one of you. BUT I do jump onto the New Year’s resolution band wagon and enjoy a fresh opportunity to goal set. And the best news ever is that my ONE resolution of 2019 doesn’t just benefit me — IT CAN HELP YOU! YAY! LET’S DRINK TO THAT! Ew, never mind, I’m off alcohol for a half day — but here it is, my declared resolution of 2019: BE. MORE. BALANCED.
Clearly everyone and their mother is publishing and swooning over gift guides this time of year. These are fun for the first few minutes and then they’re not when you realize you’re bombarded with 100 things to buy for everyone everywhere. As a general rule, I value experience over materials (which is why we make the experience of making your space more complete so enriching). And bonus point: science agrees; having meaningful experiences with people proves to lead to greater happiness, more memories, and less clutter. On that note, here’s our short and sweet Experience Gift Guide of 2018.
In my hometown outside New York City, there was an Annual Halloween Window Painting Contest that drove a lot of anticipation in my house. My mom marked the registration date in her planner, I sketched out designs in advance, and my grandparents spectated on event day. It was always cold, so we brought gallons of hot chocolate to share with fellow budding artists. To be honest, we weren’t event that into Halloween — just the concept of painting with The People in a relatively public forum. I’m SO proud that as a Brooklynite, mom, art-business owner and community volunteer, we recreated that experience yesterday at the 1st Annual Cobble Hill Halloween Window Painting Day.
Last Friday I went to Field + Supply. It’s a GORGEOUS crafts fair in Kingston, New York at the Hutton Brickyards. There’s a lot to discuss. The location on the Hudson, the bonfires, the smell of bonfires, and the artisanal everything were all simply wonderful. But my favorite news to share is that this fair, and the buzz it has generated, has completely changed the market for beautiful, hand crafted pieces. And finding, owning, and loving them just got easier.
I recently learned through a new favorite podcast that people are increasingly working with and working for companies that represent their values. And vice versa- they’re NOT working with and for those that don’t. This got me thinking (while running in the POURING 2 days ago) what are our values and business philosophies? What does MaLa represent? WELL, here’s what I’ve got in the 3 areas that came to mind first:
Our current projects go through many phases from initial site visits to final installs, and it's rare that we're doing a lot of installs all at once. BUT, that moment has come lots of installs for 3 projects are happening simultaneously. Funnily enough, art installers are ALSO having a moment and my go-tos are all booked/having babies/not available, so this is a new juggle. Not all current installs are necessarily the FINAL situation, but seeing this kind of progress is objectively exciting. Here are the updates:
My mom friend Diana and I recently chatted over drinks about kid-related city outings. I had just brought my girls (ages 4 and 2) to the Met’s Heavenly Bodies exhibit (ie the “Fancy Dress Show”). She had similarly brought her 5 year old there, though apparently Fiamma subsequently requested to see the decorative arts rooms, the Temple of Dendur, the Modern Art exhibit, and more. As it turns out, this is standard for Fiamma, and it’s because Diana has crafted artsy adventures for her and her mini since forever. Together they explore, obsess, and bond over artsy things throughout the 5 boroughs. It puts us all to shame/is totally inspiring. So here lies the first Q+A blog we’ve done to share how Diana leverages the city’s art scene to bond with, and instill a cultural appreciation in, her daughter.
The art world can be QUITE diverse; there’s art of VASTLY different quality (think Etsy buys vs. Koons sculptures), insane price ranges ($0 to nearly $500,000,000), and events for everyone vs. exclusive buttoned up affairs. All in all, the art world has a prevailing reputation of being exclusive and expensive. That said, it’s clearly not just that, and today I’d like to point to three arts-related organizations that are supporting awesome charitable causes.
I've recently learned that quite a few artists follow me on Instagram, which is SUCH a fun fact since I thought my following them was one sided. But considering I have this audience AND an informed point of view on the art buying process , I thought I’d share some unsolicited advice for artists who enjoy selling art.
Last week we got 15 impressive artworks into our client's East Village apartment on approval. This means that we sent pieces the client was seriously interested in buying into her space to see them on the walls. NO ONE dislikes this service; seeing options that make your space better and picking favorites is objectively fun. BUT the results are always surprising. Here are the winners and rejects from last week's session:
Last week I asked our IG followers -- presumably like-minded art + design groupies -- to help us create a list of sources for art under $2k. The responses was AWESOME and it does feel warm and fuzzy to create and engage with an IG community. AND now we have over 25 new sources to check out. I haven't verified pricing on these, but it's exciting to even peak at the variety of artists across these pages, creating photography, painting, works on paper and more, and from the US and abroad. Hopefully this is the first of many mutually beneficial crowdsourcing attempts so high five to all.
Art ranges in price from $0 to hundreds of millions of dollars, and a common misconception is that it's totally subjective. YES, it is, but so is food, fashion, music, and many other things in life and there's still a general consensus on what's good quality and what's not. Art is no different, except that in general, people are less confident assessing it because they're not nearly as exposed to art as they are to food, fashion and music.