Erik Benjamins, Joyce Chai, + Michelle Jolliffe
Erik Benjamins is a Los Angeles-based artist, writer, photographer, and friend. We worked with Erik during our early Present days where he helped us compose our studio's own strategy and tone of voice. A pure delight of a person, Erik keeps us inspired with his talent, kindness, and infectious optimism. He shared his recent joys with us–relax, read on, and enjoy!
I’ve recently returned from a 3-month residency at EKWC, a ceramics utopia in The Netherlands. Among many kilns and busy hands, I made some serious progress on a long-term tile project. A few years in, I’m absolutely obsessed with tile and tiling. I love their scale, modularity and practicality as much their accessibility, poetry and possibility. Some of my favorites working today in the ‘tile zone’ include Taijimi Tiles, Studio GdB., Dzek, Kismet Tile, FAM, and as a proud Californian, Heath Ceramics.
After arriving extremely late to the Dosa / Christina Kim party, I don’t think I’ll ever leave. Her universe found on the 7th floor of her downtown LA studio is like nothing I’ve ever experienced: a sprawling, harmonious space of creation, collection, experimentation, archiving and hosting. I first visited during a weekend open studio—which she hosts every few weeks—and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to make a few visits in recent days. I’m continually stunned by the scope, rigor and energy of her work, which spans from conceptually and materially rich art installations to a stunning line of womenswear. Notably, and with great inspiration, each project or season of clothing always recycles archived materials from her decades-long practice.
Anna and I met while in residence together at the Banff Centre in 2018. Hearing her sing back then for the first time was something I’ll never forget. She’s just released her second full length album, in|Flux though I always wander back to her absolutely incredible NPR Tiny Desk (at Home) Concert, which she filmed on the wild Irish coast, where she was living at the time.
While working in The Netherlands, I stumbled across this book at the Texteil Museum (absolutely amazing place) and it stopped me in my tracks. I had never heard of Vlisco before, but have always been in love with the batik dying process. This book features photos and histories of the heritage company’s incredible design work over the last 170 years and the textiles are joyous, colorful fever dreams. And let’s be honest, the Dutch design the best books.