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Jess MeanyJess Meany

Please meet Nick Vaaler!

Please give a warm welcome to Nick Vaaler! He joins our team as our first ever Studio & Production Assistant. We are so thankful for nick as our team grows. Learn more about...

Please give a warm welcome to Nick Vaaler! He joins our team as our first ever Studio & Production Assistant. We are so thankful for nick as our team grows. Learn more about Nick through some questions we ask him below. 
Tell us a little about you! How have you landed where you are today?
I’m an artist originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and I have been heavily focusing on watercolor and ink for the past 8 years, but in that time I went to school for architecture.
Through the architecture world, I was lucky enough to travel and live many places, translating my artwork into many different mediums, one of my favorites being woodworking. When the pandemic hit I was living in Paris and eventually was forced to come back to America, and I eventually landed in Los Angeles. 

What led you to find interest in reworked materials and sustainability?
I’ve always had a love for antiques, and often get called an old soul. I think one thing that draws me to vintage clothing and objects is the materiality they hold. There is a quality to used materials, whether that be fabrics, wood, cast iron, etc. that is extremely hard to recreate in the world of new production.
As an architect, I often felt bad about creating new buildings while all of my favorite historic typologies were being destroyed. I really love the thought that old things can continue to be used, or reworked into something new rather than sitting abandoned or destroyed. This scales from buildings all the way down to scraps of linen.
What is a special memory you have creating something from materials with a past life?
Wood, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting materials to work with, and has so much to tell about it's past life when you transform in into something new.
While going to school in Lawrence, Kansas, I built a coffee table out of fallen old growth maple. The entire table was built around a specific Italian case glass vase from 1952 that I had bought.
Every dimension was thought of to allow the vase to sit perfectly below the surface, letting the flowers resting right on top. Working with nearly a two inch slab of wood was so much fun, and rewarding, and the way it speaks to the vase continues to make me happy.
Can you describe a favorite part of your life here in Los Angeles?
I love how much access I have to live music. I see shows sometimes four times a week, and it feels very much a part of my community now. Seeing performances is inspiring and has allowed me to meet a lot of friends who make Los Angeles feel a bit more like a home.
What is something of yours that you treasure?
I treasure many things, old vases, cameras, furniture, favorite sweaters, but throughout the past two years the thing I’ve treasured the most is my classical guitar. At the beginning of 2020 I had hardly ever picked up a guitar, and decided I should get one. I ended up finding one from the late 60’s and fell in love with learning. I play it every day for hours, and the way it sounds and looks brings me so much comfort. By now I’ve written an entire album on it, and still get excited every time I get to play. 
We are so thankful to have Nick on our team! You can already see his attention to detail in so many of the pieces we have been bringing to the site.
Thanks so much for checking out our work!
Photography by Dominique Powers


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