We visit the brand new studio of artist Tuesday Bassen to find out more about what goes on behind-the-scenes in her perfectly accessorized life.
Photos by Esther Lee
Hi Tuesday! Can you tell us a little bit about your work space? How long did it take to come together?
My studio is based on a historic street in Chinatown that once acted as an intersection between Little Italy, Chinatown, and Sonoratown. At the time of the photos, we'd only had it for a week! Before then, I used my apartment as a studio and slept at my boyfriend's house. My shower was filled with industrial bubble wrap and the apartment was so full it was unusable for anything except work. The space in Chinatown was previously an AT&T store and we had to tear out all of the gross commercial carpet and composite slat walling - but even before then, it was one of the best poultry butchers in Chinatown! I imagine that we have a lot of chickens haunting us.
You have a store opening soon as well – what can people expect to see for sale there?
We do! The store is called Friend Mart and in addition to my own work, I'll be carrying the work of other independent artists. We plan to open June 15th at 970 N. Broadway.
What other plans do you have for your storefront/showroom?
The best part about having a shop is being able to use it as an extension of the pop-up series that we curated under the same name: Friend Mart. We plan to host monthly events and workshops, potentially in collaboration with other tenants in our plaza.
For an artist to have a workspace + storefront is a big deal – how do you manage the creative side of things with the business side of things?
I have to admit that getting into the swing of being both a good business person and an artist was hard for a long time, but I've armed myself with hours of research and a schedule that I adhere to pretty strongly. I work on the business and fulfillment side M/W/F and the creative side T/TH/S 9:00-6:00 and don't work after 6 or on Sundays. Whatever works for you, but this is how I hit my stride.
Do you have any tips for other small business owners out there?
These aren't sexy answers, but: SBA.gov is a really great resource. It helped me navigate the legal ins and outs of operating a small business. If you're making a livable wage from your business, consider hiring an accountant. If you're not an expert in federal, state, and city taxes, you could find yourself in hot water quickly. When in doubt, Google it. Though it is nice of your colleagues to help you periodically, no one likes to figure out your business for you. Looking for manufacturers? Google it. Looking for shopping platforms? Google it. You get it. Your business will be unique because you took the time to find the right resources for you.
What's been one of the most exciting moments for you as an artist so far?
Connecting with women that enjoy my work and seeing artwork democratized actively through products like pins and patches. I strongly believe that you should make work for "the people" and not just for art directors or your peers and reject the idea of art existing solely in galleries. There's nothing more thrilling for me than seeing a piece of my artwork ON someone.
Finally, one pin you'd like to see that you haven't seen yet.
I'm mostly excited to see more exploration of materials! Glitter, epoxy, transparency...
To see more from Tuesday, follow her on Instagram
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