tiny modern retreat in north georgia

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Jennifer Sams is a hunter by trade—an antiques hunter. It makes perfect sense that the owner of City Issue, one of Atlanta’s best sources of pristine midcentury furnishings, should wind down with her partner in a modern weekend cabin outfitted with Danish sconces, tulip chairs, and abstract paintings. Andrea and I spent a couple of days last October photographing, styling, and interviewing at the 500-square-foot cabin in the blue hills of Ellijay, Ga., and the article is finally out in Atlanta magazine’s HOME fall issue. Here’s a peek at the photography, including a couple of outtakes.

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graham keegan dyes with foraged plants

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On assignment for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine in December, I spent a day with LA textile designer Graham Keegan. He uses plants such as bougainvillea and sumac from the streets of his Silver Lake neighborhood to dye accessories and bulk yardage. I got to help him pick Peruvian pepper on Sunset Boulevard, brew the leaves into a dye bath, and block-print a scarf in two shades of olive.

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Was I in an artist’s studio or a witch’s lair? It was a little hard to tell at times.

I took all the photos for the article, too, which was a first for me. My story is in the July/August issue, but you can catch a sneak peek below.

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teen artist masters realism in glitter

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My favorite thing about journalism (it ain’t the paychecks) is that it connects me with extraordinary people, like 17-year-old Hope Lennox. Throughout high school, the recent graduate of Atlanta’s Pace Academy eschewed football games to stay home and make art, teaching herself to create realistic portraits in glitter. She developed a surprisingly sophisticated take on a medium I associate with cheesy birthday cards! I’m sharing a few of her paintings here, and you can read all about Hope and her process in my profile for the Atlanta INtown paper.

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Q&A with actor and artist kevin christy

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Kevin Christy poses next to his portrait of Flannery O’Connor for the Atlantic

I pestered Print magazine into letting me interview actor and artist Kevin Christy, best known lately for his role as Lester on Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Kevin’s double life fascinates me: He’s a commercial illustrator and fine artist who pays the bills with minor parts for TV and movies. Most freelance creatives have bread-and-butter side gigs, but how many film for Dude, Where’s My Car? in the morning and paint a portrait for the Atlantic in the afternoon?

His dual gigs have more in common than I first realized. Rob Clayton, Kevin’s former teacher at Art Center College of Design, put it like this: “Being a character actor is really similar to being an illustrator. Because you get known for a particular thing, people hire you for that thing, and if you get big enough, you’re allowed to change and develop a new thing.”

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Concert poster collaboration with Brett Kilroe and Tina Ibanez
Kevin uses familiar logos as clues and emotional triggers in his latest personal work
Kevin uses familiar logos as clues and emotional triggers in his latest personal work

I think our talk revealed a few valuable lessons for artists and designers, and it’s also good for a few laughs (Kevin does stand-up comedy, too). Have a look on Print’s website and let me know what you think.

lustrons featured in fallout 4 game

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I’m no gamer, yet this morning I found myself watching the trailers for Fallout 4 on a loop and snapping screen shots. Why the sudden interest in virtual combat, you ask? I noticed on TV commercials that the latest creation by Bethesda Game Studios, launching Nov. 11, prominently features Lustrons and Lustron-inspired homes in its landscape. Since players’ mission is to shape the fate of a world destroyed by nuclear war, it snaps into place that the designers were inspired by prefabricated homes like mine, manufactured just after World War II.

fallout1fallout3The boxy, steel homes and their midcentury advertisements ooze optimism, normalcy, and domestic peace. So it makes sense that Lustrons are powerful symbols in an animated wasteland. You can watch the Fallout 4 trailers here and catch up on posts about my own Lustron here.