On April 13 we're gathering in Soho to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Soho UO store in NYC. Come by to celebrate with music, drinks, pop-up shops, and more (stay tuned for more info on the party!) We've also teamed up with some of our talented NYC employees to showcase the creativity and talent that we're lucky enough to call our UO fam. Leading up to it all, we're highlighting some of the amazing talent who will be part of the event: We’re upping our houseplant game thanks to Lulu Planters — take a look at how each one is made with a visit to founder (and UO display artist) Andrew Lewis’s New York studio.
Photos by Natalie Fong
Can you introduce yourself please — tell us a bit more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
I’m Andrew, aka Lulu, an old nickname from my first year at UO and it’s stuck with me over the years. I grew up in Kansas, came to New York about 7 years ago and started a great career at UO building displays.
How did Lulu Planters start?
Pure necessity. My roommate has a bit of a black thumb, and I kept coming home to dead plants after trips. I did some research on self-watering options and started prototyping. Each trip became an experiment. Once I got them to take care of themselves, I started making them look a little better. Initially they were just gifts for friends.
How does a piece come together — walk us through the materials and process involved.
The actual planter is an acrylic container I paint, using the lid as the water reservoir on the bottom. To hold the two containers together, I repurpose scrap acrylic to make “rings”. These are decorated with polymer clay that I blend to create stone textures and patterns. Water is wicked from the bottom up by the plants roots.
How does living in NY influence the work you create?
Walking home from work as been a long tradition of mine since moving here. I honestly have come up with all my best ideas during these walks. There’s just enough distraction to loosen the mind and the solutions usually just float to the surface. It’s also a great motivator as you’re surrounded by people making a conscious choice to pursue their individual dreams here. It’s not the most practical city for this, but it might be the most rewarding.
Who are some other artists you are into right now? Who are some of your influences as a creator?
Olafur Eliasson has always been a favorite. The ability to create emotional change by manipulating environments has always been fascinating.
Tell us something we don’t know about what goes into creating one of your pieces.
Coors Banquet and HGTV.
What’s a new idea in your work you are looking forward to or curious about exploring in the near future?
I’d like to start incorporating my planters with a larger array of materials and create pieces that change over time as the plant grows. I worked with bonsai as a child with my father and brother and it was very rewarding cultivating and watching something change over time. Patience is definitely a virtue in a time of instant gratification.
What is your job title and role at UO?
I’m a Display Artist at our Herald Square location. I studied interior architecture, but this job has actually taught me more about how construction works and an understanding that what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate to real life. Sometimes great ideas just don't translate to real life, and that's okay. Eventually something will work. You just have to keep trying.
What’s next for you?
I’m always keeping an eye on the horizon for a cabin and a couple of goats.
Shop Lulu Planters in person on April 13 at the UO Soho 30th Anniversary from 6-9pm at 628 Broadway