“I just am”exhibition photography Sayaka Maruyama
――What was the first think that came to mind when you heard the theme ‘I just am’?
Confetti System： Its powerful.
――What’s your creative process like when going from ‘concept’ to ‘finished piece’?
Confetti System： Our creative process is pretty organ, we like to build on top of each other’s ideas until it becomes our ultimate fantasy. We always have a vision of what a particular project is going to look like, but definitely welcome spontaneity, allowing our ideas to flow and take on new forms. We’re very lucky to be working together, it’s very easy as we have a very similar thinking process, even a psychic connection!
――This exhibit featured several different artists, so how were you able to communicate and achieve balance (with the other artists)?
Confetti System： In this case we really trusted Urara to curate the mix, its felt right. So glad to be a part of this project.
――Nick studied ceramics and graphic art, whereas Julie studied sculpture and photography. In what ways have your various academic backgrounds been helpful when creating and branding your work?
Julie – grew up in New York City and went to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and studied fine arts, concentrating in sculpture and photography.
Nick – I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and went to college to study ceramics and graphic design at the University of Michigan.
Nick- My grandmother managed a Jams factory, some of my earliest memories are of visiting her after school and trimming threads and looking at the industrial sewing machines and seeing how all of the fabric got cut and sewn into clothes.
Julie- From an early age, my parents always enrolled me in after school art classes.As a teenager, I started seeking art classes on my own at schools like Cooper Union and SVA. When I was young, we always had a ton of home/shelter magazines at home from my dad’s job. I think these had a huge influence on me, being 7 and obsessively studying the way and the reasoning why objects and spaces were designed.
Before we started working together, we both dabbled in many different areas of work. Nick worked for a few fashion designers, produced custom clothing, and worked as a stylist at Martha Stewart Living. Right after college, I (Julie) was a studio assistant for a sculptor, Tom Sachs, did a lot of work set designing for film/tv/music videos with Michel Gondry, and worked at ABC Carpet and Home creating window and store displays. I also worked at Martha Stewart Living as a prop stylist.
――Confetti System started in 2008, abs in the span of over 10 years, what are some achievements that you’re most proud of?
Confetti System： Wow great question, the goal with our original collection of handmade garlands and pinatas, was for them to feel as if they had existed forever, and for them to feel like they belonged to everyone. In 2008 the work was very singular, and now a decade later the aesthetic has spread around the globe and some of our pieces have been copied many times over. Versions of our original collection are now ubiquitous, reproduced by large companies, but it’s never quite right. We love that we have been able to continuously produce our original collection for people who share the same love for the handmade.
――Was there ever a “turning point” of some kind for both of you?
Confetti System： Our exhibition at PS1 MoMA a few years ago was a turning point.. They gave us complete control of a huge two story gallery space. We were inspired by theatrical rigging and fly systems and created a large multi-functional space in which we suspended dozens of objects, each piece was hung from a pulley that allowed us to raise and lower each element and create hanging compositions with our pinatas, metallic walls, flower branches and oversized fruits. We created different sets for each of the different events we held in the space. It was such a gift to be able to be handed such a large space with no limits, it pushed us toward new directions in our work.
――Confetti System’s balance between traditional celebration and new conceptions is outstanding! How do you achieve that kind of balance?
Confetti System： Our work is really an expression of our combined cross cultural memories from our childhoods in New York City and Honolulu, drawing inspiration from the rich sensorial experiences that often occur in temples, clubs, and other places of healing.
Its very intuitive, our work is really about transmitting a mood and energy to the viewer, and potentially creating moments and memories for them. We hope our work of paper and other simple materials reach something emotional in the viewer. In the end we want people to have fun and maybe take a moment to be in the present. We’re very lucky to be working together, it’s very easy as we have a very similar thinking process, even a psychic connection!
――The 2D and 3D aspect of your design and the combination of these 2 elements are one of your uniqueness. What do you think of the balance between these 2?
Confetti System： We did both start by styling for print magazines, so it was often precisely that line between 2D and 3D that we loved playing with, even before we began working together.
――We understand you hand-cut and create most things by hand. What about this process do you find essential and why do you like it?
Confetti System： imperfections in the most perfect handmade piece. We love that you can feel it in our work.here is so much control offered in cutting things by hand, there is a warmth to the
――We find the materials you use so unique, what is your inspirations behind your creations?
Confetti System： Again our work is really an expression of our combined cross cultural memories from our childhood, drawing inspiration from the rich sensorial experiences that often occur in temples, clubs, and other places of healing. Some of our favorite works are by James Turrell, Imi Knobel, Sheila Hicks, and Terry Riley. It’s often the contrast between material and message that we are attracted to.
――when you were both discovering your identity, how did you find the things you love and how did you ‘sharpen’ your senses?
Confetti System： There is a richness to both Hawaii (Nick) and New York City (Julie) that let both of us exist in many overlapping cultural and creative communities, allowing us to find ourselves at our own pace and lead us toward what we do today.
text Ryoko Kuwahara