In keeping with the creative spirit of Art Basel Miami Beach’s 12th annual fair, we joined up with online gallery Paddle8 and asked three of our favorite up-and-coming artists to put their signature styles on our signature Transport Tote. The result is a collection of completely unique leather totes-as-canvases that are so inspired you might want to hang them on your wall—and while we wouldn’t blame you for the inclination, we recommend wearing them instead. (No plane ticket? No problem. Our one-of-a-kind bags are available online here, in addition to our Miami store; details on the launch event below.) The three artists—New Yorkers, all—were putting the finishing touches on their totes when we popped by their studios last week. Click through to meet the creators.
Denise Kupferschmidt, 34
Using bold, abstract shapes, Kupferschmidt paints and layers paper to depict hypnotic abstracts that we can’t get enough of. Indeed, the graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston has an unusual array of interests: her most recent Google searches included “Pygmy Love Song” by Francis Bebey (“an amazing Cameroonian musician who I discovered on the radio the other night”) and music videos by Bikini Kill, the all-girl punk band Kupferschmidt fell in love with in the ’90s. While her own references run the gamut, her art is anything but noisy. She has been painting high-contrast shapes in black and white mostly, but her monochromatic figures gracefully recline on the canvas.
Donna Chung, 34
Reappropriating found materials, from papers to delicate metallic tubing, Chung can turn anything into a canvas, including a leather tote. Her light-flooded studio is a quiet sanctuary, thanks in part to the absence of an Internet connection. She trusts “100 percent in intuition and accident” and works in layerable, oversized clothing that accommodates her changing shape—she’s painting for two these days and is expecting her first child in four months. Her BFA and MFA took her to opposite sides of the country—Rhode Island School of Design and California College of the Arts—but when it comes to inspiration, she looks abroad to the anthropological museums of Europe (and channels Carmen Sandiego, one of her style icons): “The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen has the most extensive collection of plundered objects from around the world.”
Caris Reid, 30
The Boston University graduate’s paintings riff on the meeting of the banal and the mystical, creating narrative portraiture of what she calls “moments of transcendence.” (We call it genius.) Her newest works are also her brightest, as she’s inspired by botanical gardens and colorful, busy textile patterns from the ’20s and ’30s. When asked to name her favorite artists, her choices are equally vibrant: “Dorothy Iannone reminds me to be more playful. Fernand Léger makes me want to drink more coffee. David Hockney makes me wish I were drinking that coffee while painting in Los Angeles, in the 1960s. Matisse reminds me to feel unapologetic for wanting to capture beauty, and to buy more plants. Charline von Heyl makes me want to be throw all of that away and be less precious. And all the artists I know make me want to support the arts, and other artists.”
Feeling inspired? Find our limited-edition hand-painted Transport Totes on view and for purchase at our Madewell store in Miami and at paddle8.com. Pop by our store on Thursday, December 5, to celebrate with us and shop the collection. Net proceeds of the bags go to support The Bass Museum of Art.