One Half of This Creative Duo Never Uses the Same Notebook Twice (and the Other, None at All)
Step into their prismatic Los Angeles studio.
Published Jan 6, 2023 1:49 AM
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Visiting a person’s workspace is like taking a peek inside their brain. Whether it’s at home or in an art studio, Nice Work explores where creative people do all of their, well, creating, so that you can steal their on-the-clock style.
Names: Sebastian Curi and Macarena Luzi
Relationship status: Married
Luzi: Rug maker and painter.
Where we work:
Curi: A year ago, we were looking to move to Chinatown because it’s a neighborhood that has always inspired us. There are lots of small businesses, so just by walking around you can find new and interesting things to see.
Luzi: The minute we saw the tall ceilings, we were in awe. We knew it would make the perfect studio space for us.
What time we start:
Luzi: We’ve been trying to get up earlier so we can catch up with the sunshine now that it’s winter in Los Angeles. I admit 7:30 is the best I can do.
What time we clock out:
Curi: We usually are out by 7 or 8 p.m., but it varies. We try to break the routine every chance we can; for example, we start an hour later and grab a coffee, or leave earlier and catch up with work on another day.
How we get to work:
Luzi: We live pretty close to our studio, fortunately, so we hop in our car and drive for about five minutes. Our mini dachshund, Panchi, joins us.
Three words that describe our space:
Luzi: Bright, joyful, warm.
Curi: Open, colorful, inviting.
Most important thing on my desk:
Luzi: I love classic stationery items: my desk organizer from High Tide L.A., my notebooks, and my Post-its.
Curi: A big pile of different papers and an organizer with graphite pencils of all kinds.
What’s on the walls:
Curi: I come from a graphic design background, and I always loved printmaking and posters, so this studio has a ton of prints. Some of the artwork is ours, some is from friends, and some we bought from other artists who we admire and just wanted to have around.
Current creative fuel:
Luzi: Art books, podcasts, and Nathalie Du Pasquier.
Curi: Alex Katz’s latest exhibition at the Guggenheim really took me to a place of awe. And books. I buy art books quite often, and they are around the studio all the time for inspiration or just fun.
What we turn to when we’re stuck:
Luzi: If we’re at the studio, I take a break, move on to a different task, and get some distance. I’m also a cook, so cooking is always a great way to distract myself and try to refresh.
Curi: I sleep. Time helps to digest ideas, to create distance and to look with fresh eyes at what we’ve done.
How we stay organized:
Luzi: Google Calendar, my notebook, and project schedules.
Curi: I like to approach work methodically. I have a schedule for each project, a way of separating work files and dailies so I can review the production and assess what it needs. Google Calendar and Gmail are tools that help me a lot, but most of all I just like to think about the projects I’m doing so it stays in my mind until I finish.
Luzi: I like fountain pens. I’m using the Kaweco Sport and absolutely love it.
Curi: I like graphite pencils. I use a Derwent graphic 9B, a Koh-I-Noor Toison D’or 2H, and a Triograph 6B for rough stuff.
Luzi: I usually have a few notebooks around, for my notes and to-do lists. Any notebook works for me.
Curi: I don’t use notebooks. I discovered some years ago that I prefer piles of paper on shades of gray, yellow, and off-white. Most of the drawings I make are like that because I work with negative space and figures, and it’s just more clear in that way.
Work bag I carry every day:
Luzi: It’s either a roomy backpack from Le Bas if I need to carry a lot of things around or my favorite fanny pack from Cotopaxi.
Curi: I use a big tote bag from Herschel that I can fit everything in, from my MacBook and my sausage dog’s clothes to my pencils, paper, and iPad. It is quite big, but it carries my life without problems.
Technology I can’t live without:
Luzi: Wi-Fi, my iPhone, and my very first Wacom Cintiq.
Curi: I listen to the radio and music during the day, and my Bose speaker is by far the most beloved piece of technology I have at the studio.
Desk chair that I could (and do) spend hours in:
Luzi: My Eames upholstered shell armchair.
Curi: I use a Herman Miller Cosm with a low back in red, and I spend hours in it just drawing.
Conference table we convene around:
Curi: At some point we wanted huge tables at the studio for our oversize silk-screen prints. We couldn’t find ones that were big enough and light enough to work and move around, so we asked our friends at Waka-Waka to make us two simple plywood tables in a light shade. One has Floyd table legs and the other has two yellow sawhorse legs that we bought at Ace Hardware.
How we fight the 3 p.m. slump:
Curi: We exercise at that time three days of the week, and that actually breaks the routine in a perfect way. Exercise is also a way of releasing a lot of stress, and for people like us whose work doesn’t demand too much movement, it’s a necessity. Another way of getting over a sleepy afternoon is going for a walk and grabbing a coffee at our favorite coffee shop, Endorffeine.
Coffee or tea we run on:
Luzi: Good old-fashioned English Breakfast or Earl Grey for me. Mate as well—it’s a nice Argentine tradition that we like to share.
Curi: For coffee, we use a Stagg Electric Kettle and the Stagg Pour-Over Dripper.
Biggest splurge that was worth it:
Luzi: I bought a German industrial-grade tufting gun that is really the best on the market for rug making.
Curi: Last year I bid on a couple of tables from Alvar Aalto and I absolutely love them. They are very fragile and old, but I just love how they look.
Luzi: Most recently, it’s talk radio for me. I find that I’m most focused when I’m listening to conversations instead of music in the background.
Curi: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of mix playlists with Jacob Collier, Thundercat, Vulfpeck, Khruangbin, Kokoroko, Hiatus Kaiyote, and other artists. I like to keep it upbeat.