say hi to_ Object-ify 139
I grew in up in New York and moved to Europe six years ago. Anytime I go back to visit, I feel like the city has completely changed and I have all new things to discover. The last time I was home I called up my most in-the-know-design-friend of mine to give me a little curated list of new 'must sees'. On his list was 'Object-ify 139'. I ventured down to my old stomping grounds in the Lower East Side to check it out and I certainly was not disappointed. I had the chance to meet the lovely owner and founder, Maria Candanoza, who I have kept in touch with ever since.
Object-ify 139 is a unique shop built off of artist collaborations, independent magazines, original prints and affordable artwork and objects. All of the same principles and topics that say hi to_ identifies with. Always eager to support local talent and get a great unique piece for the home, we of course left with a candle from their 'Burn Your Idols' series.
We had a little chat with Maria about Object-ify 139, how they got started and what they aim to do next. Have a look below!
| Kristen | Can you tell us what Object-ify is about and how you got the idea to start it?
| Maria | Object_ify 139 is an artist run space in Manhattan's Lower East side, selling art objects, prints, artist multiples, books and magazines. It’s main focus is to showcase new and emerging artists, and to give the general public the opportunity of owning their work at affordable prices, while creating a community of creative engagement.
The idea for Object-ify started when I learned about Collab’s space on Bowery in the 80’s. Theirs was a pop-up that they ran themselves where they sold affordable objects, sculptures, etc in editions. This was when I was still in school, the idea generated from there and took shape after I worked in galleries after I graduated college.
There were a few specific things I was trying to accomplish, first have a curated book and magazine selection, sometimes I invite different people to curate the book selection (Maia Ruth Lee, B. Thom Stevenson, All in Magazine) as well as the record selection (Mister Saturday Night.)
Second to create a space where young artists and designers could exhibit and sell their work.
And third bring the public *new* and affordable art and design pieces without the pretentiousness that is often associated to galleries.
| Kristen | Do you do Object-ify alone or do you have any partners?
| Maria | No partners, it’s just me! I have people that work with me at the store but I run it by myself.
| Kristen | What were you doing before Object-ify?
| Maria | I went to school for Fine Arts at SVA here in New York, while I was there and after I graduated I interned and worked at different galleries in the city. I also had a studio where I did my own work, mostly book making and sculpture.
| Kristen | Do you commission the objects that you sell or how does that relationship with the artists and your shop's products work? Do they come to you with ready made objects that you curate or do you collaborate together to create something new?
| Maria | All of the above! There are many ways in which objects come to the store. One of the things that was important to me and where I wanted to differentiate Objectify from galleries, is that we have open submission, in that way I just curate the objects in the store. When we have artist’s collaborations we work together on new objects or prints. For example with illustrator Rachel Levit, we wanted to have her beautiful ceramic heads but also wanted to have a more affordable version of them so then for the event at the store she created plaster sculpture heads that retailed for $85, as opposed to $400 for the ceramic ones. We also designed a print together with one of her illustrations, the original painting is also available at the store. I had been wanting to do enamel pins for a while so we both picked three of her drawings and we produced the pins.
For other projects like the Burn Your Idols Candles, I asked 11 different artist to pick an object that represented an “idol” for them. I defined Idol in this case as something that you look up to but that can also hold you back. The artists then picked all sorts of objects from a live cast of a breast to an African fertility Statue, I then casted this objects in wax, and like that the Burn Your idols series was born.
For projects like the anniversary box set, from last year or the Planner for this year, I commissioned artists to do work for these specific ideas. For the anniversary box the idea was the the 20 artists that were in the store when it opened would each do a print or object to go in the box, there were certain restrictions, but all of the objects ended up being very diverse from c print, silkscreen and riso prints to temporary tattos, stickers sheets and a sculpey keychain.
For the planner I asked 53 artists to pick a week of the year that was significant to them in some way and design a spread as well as the actual week (with a template we already had.)
| Kristen | Is there one thing you were not expecting that you encountered along the way to launching Object-ify?
| Maria | Hm...so many things! It has been a learning experience from day one. About working with artists, managing people, everything that goes with running your own business as well as discovering new interests. For example I initially went to school for painting, then sculpture and printmaking, but now my interests are mostly rooted in graphic design. Something I definitely discovered through the store and collaborating with other artists and designers.
| Kristen | Do you have any advice you'd give to someone thinking about opening a shop?
| Maria | I think the most important thing is having a clear mission. If you do then you can do all the other essential things like getting a good team together, a clear brand identity and design, and a cohesive aesthetic.
| Kristen | What would you like to do next?
| Maria | We’ve been doing pop ups which has been great! We had one in Japan last month in Tokyo and we are doing another one in Miami for Basel. I would love to continue to do those and maybe do more specific ones where we work with artists from the city in which the Pop-up is located. A lot of our thing right now is working with local artists which I love, but I would love to explore other cities in this way.
Also publishing, we produce a lot of the stuff from Objectify, like posters, scarves and postcards but we’ve only published two books, Chad Moore’s June and the planner this month. This is an area that I’m very invested in, also the idea of books as objects. Chad’s book had three fold out posters and it was binded in a very specific way, and the planner even though is functional as a planner and as an art book, I consider it also just a beautiful object, I would like to explore this further with other projects.
139 Essex Street
New York, 10002
Tuesday to Sunday 12:30pm - 8:30pm