The Creators of NYC: Sculptor & Designer Adrienne Antonson
Josh Wool spent a decade as an executive chef, opening restaurants across the south. But all that changed in 2010, when the carpal tunnel in his hands meant he could no longer work. To keep from going stir crazy, he picked up a camera and found his next calling. Two years, thousands of portraits, and a move to New York later, Wool is documenting the people who inspire him on a daily basis. In the spirit of Creators of LA, welcome to Creators of NYC.
I first met Adrienne in 2005 at a dinner party at her home in Charleston, South Carolina, where we were neighbors. We’ve each lived in a bunch of places since then — Tennessee, Florida, an alpaca farm in Washington state — but it turns out we ended up as neighbors again without knowing it until we ran into each other in Brooklyn one afternoon. Adrienne has spent the last seven years sculpting and designing, and the serendipitous meeting led to me shooting a lookbook for her clothing label, State. I met up with Adrienne in her Brooklyn apartment and studio space for the interview.
You’re a visual artist and designer. What does that mean to you?
Short answer is that I’m always making something. The longer answer is to say that I went to school for sculpture and taught myself how to sew, dye, felt, etc. That recipe of skills translates to me mostly making clothing under the label of State, with occasional breaks to make sculptural fine art work from nontraditional fibers, like human hair.
How does your art differ from your design work?
While my fashion and fine art work are quite different, there are many conceptual and aesthetic similarities. The largest tie is the nature of the materials. I prefer discarded, overlooked materials that in the end assume very distinct personalities. For State’s designs, I deconstruct thrifted garments and make them into new pieces.
And the hair?
The historic use of hair in sentimental decorations has always fascinated me, and, as I only use hair from close friends and family, I gain a unique emotional connection there as well. I enjoy the challenge of pushing the boundaries of the medium and the attraction/repulsion response it evokes. It’s abundant, free, and accessible.
You’ve lived all over the country. How are you finding New York?
New York is amazing — everything is magnified, sped-up, and electric here. Having previously lived on an alpaca farm on an island in the Northwest, it’s the polar opposite. But I like extremes.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day in the city?
My favorite days so far have included an ambling walk through Central Park ending at the Boathouse for a late lunch. It’s so elegant and always makes me feel like I’m on a vacation, somewhere very far away. Their mac and cheese is top notch and I could drink bloody marys and watch the boats all day.
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