present joys

Katie Vonderheide


Words by:

Katie Vonderheide

Katie Vonderheide is the talented muralist, sign painter, and founder of Beautification Solutions. You’ve likely seen her bright, spirited work around town as her client list includes Triple Beam Pizza, Plant Material, Big Bud Press, and so much more. We love seeing how Beautification Solutions continues to contribute to our city’s rich history of signs and murals–read on for Katie’s Joys!

Yoko Ono "Box of Smile"

Yoko Ono said about this piece, “I just wanted to have a box that people can look into, and when they're sad and angry and all that, to see how it looks smiling.”

My friend, Chris, gave me this gift many years ago and when I held it and read “Box Of Smile” I smiled and upon opening it saw my own smile reflected inside. It was pretty magical to have this feedback loop of joy present in this work and reflected back at me. Yoko Ono was the first artist to inspire me to see art in everything and to shape my life in an artful way. This piece continues to make me smile every time I see it. I love it.

L'artichouette: Jeux à déguster by Michael Schuyt, Joost Elffers et Sally Foy

This book was an unexpected thrift store find. It was very cheap and from what I can see is easy to find online. It is so absurd! This is a collection of images where food is turned into other things like animals, faces, and letters. I love the idea of art intersecting with food and elaborate preparation with the conclusion of eating it. It’s much more fun to eat a carrot that looks like a flower, right?

Kitchen Mouse Mount Washington

Speaking of food, one of my favorites in LA, Kitchen Mouse, opened up in Mt Washington recently. There are lots of hand painted details all over that were painted by myself, often with help from my friend James. Erica, the owner, designs everything but she is always open to collaboration and ideas. We always lean into cuteness. My favorites there are (obviously) the waffles and also their croissants but I really love everything there. So hard to choose a favorite!

Eighth Assembling: A Collection of Otherwise Unpublishable Manuscripts by Richard Kostelanetz

“ASSEMBLING is a collaborative annual intended to provide a communications channel for alternative, "otherwise unpublishable" printed art by imaginative minds who genuinely believe in their work.

By "otherwise unpublishable," we mean not things that are physically unprintable but works so unconventional that they could not possibly pass through current publishing channels.”

I love the artwork submitted in these books but also the idea behind it. Even though the list is long and varied, all the work seems cohesive when brought together in these volumes. What binds the work together is this egalitarianism and fuck the system attitude.

Paper Shredder Scissors

I visited Japan recently and my mouth dropped open when I saw these. These scissors are quite possibly the most fun office supply in my office (or to exist ever?). It’s so satisfying to cut paper into tiny squares essentially turning trash into confetti.

A few more joys from Joyce and Michelle...
Aladdin Nuthouse

Alerting all nut and dry fruit aficionados of East LA and beyond, this place is magical. Visit in person or place an order; roasted nuts in a handwoven gift basket, yes please!

Button Down Dressing

Getting lots of compliments on this dress. It might just be because people are surprised to see me in a dress, but it’s nice either way.

Artists’ Homes

Keeping an eye on this list in case of future travel.

Meal Memories

At times I find joy in thinking about a really great meal. Some people think about past lovers, I think about former focaccias… this week I’m thinking about Livingston Marseille.

Fitting Room Details

During a recent visit to Noodle Stories, I appreciated that each fitting room was equipped with a complimentary makeup cover. No concealer on the Comme!

Clé de Peau Concealer

A cult favorite for good reason, this concealer leaves the nicest finish and is a cinch to apply. I like using a small fluffy brush to lightly sweep it under my eyes and around any areas that need some extra coverage.

Caramelized Onion Magic 

This pasta dish was a hit at a recent dinner party and the secret ingredient “Caramelized Onion Magic” is truly transcendent.


I attended a recent screening of Gumby & Friends episodes at Lodge Room and it was the sweetest, most heartwarming night. Bruce is also now a fan.

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