Annie Coggan

Collect visuals to guide the mood of your brand

Do any of these statements describe you?

  • I need help visually defining my brand.
  • I need photographs of my work and I don't know where to start.
  • I am struggling with how to showcase my work online.
  • I want to start a blog but I have no idea what I want it to look like.

If so, then this post is for you!

No matter what you do or make, it's imperative that your work looks amazing and unique, but sometimes it's hard to get started. One of our fortes is pinpointing exactly what makes each of our clients unique and how to share that compelling story with words and images. The journey to defining the mood of your brand often starts by not looking inward, but rather by collecting images from your world that stand out to you or inspire you. What is your taste? What colors are you drawn to? You see everything in your unique way and no one can replicate your taste and vision.

Starting a Pinterest board is a great way to figure out your visual style. Artist and designer  Annie Coggan  uses Pinterest in a really effective way—check out her boards to get a sense of her visual style.

Starting a Pinterest board is a great way to figure out your visual style. Artist and designer Annie Coggan uses Pinterest in a really effective way—check out her boards to get a sense of her visual style.

To get started, give yourself the following *fun* assignments:

1. Start some private Pinterest boards. This is a great way to create a visual archive where you can store images that strike you as you come across them. Perhaps you are looking to start photographing your products; start a board that collects beautiful images that can inspire your future product shots. Or maybe you need a new logo but words aren't enough to share with your designer; start a board that collects colors, fonts, imagery and more that you feel truly represent notions of your brand. Go on some Pinning sprees and then analyze your boards to get on the track to creating your own beautiful visuals.

2. Take your own photographs. We all have high quality cameras with us all the time: our phones. Whether you choose to post photos on Instagram or keep to yourself, photographing the moments in your life that exemplify your work and your brand is an amazing place to start defining who you are visually. If given the same subject, an entire group of people will take a different image when given the chance to stop and look. Give yourself an assignment to take a photograph a day that represents your brand and your work. This will be fodder for future visuals and even future blog posts!

Instagram is another great way to start keeping track of your personal visual style. Here is a screenshot of  Heartell Press'  visually cohesive Instagram page.

Instagram is another great way to start keeping track of your personal visual style. Here is a screenshot of Heartell Press' visually cohesive Instagram page.

With all of this, have fun! You're at a really exciting point in your journey to telling your unique story to the world about what you do. If we can be of any help along the way, let us know! This is our passion.


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

DELVE Interview: Annie Coggan from Chairs and Buildings

Welcome to DELVE Interviews, a look into the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. These conversations are a branch of our DELVE Workshops and Networking Events, where we celebrate and discover everyone's unique paths as artistic and creative forces. 

Annie Coggan, photograph by Kind Aesthetic

Annie Coggan, photograph by Kind Aesthetic

We are happy to share an interview with Annie Coggan, whom we have had the pleasure of working with over the past few months. Annie is an inspiring person who, like many creative people, wears many hats: she is a designer, artist, educator, writer, founder of a popular design blog called Chairs and Buildings, and a principal at Coggan + Crawford Architecture and Design based in Brooklyn, NY.

Annie was a speaker at our DELVE: Fabrication event at the Textile Arts Center back in January. Since then, she has been working hard to reframe all components of her practice to more effectively be able to share them with the world. Her personal site is a beautiful look into the past twenty five years of furniture and art work, a collection of her writing, and a showcase of her Roommaking, which is how she frames her interior design work.

Roommaking derives from the belief that there are three layers of an interior: the wall layer or architectural layer, the furniture layer and the object layer. This framework establishes the depth of the project and enables her to compose rooms completely. The colors and elements put into place have an authentic quality — although they are new to the space there is a ‘rightness’ to the condition.
— Annie Coggan

Plus, she also just relaunched Chairs and Buildings, a popular design blog that she has been writing for the past seven years. Now, the new platform will dive deeper into design issues that  bring forward how designers think beyond what the consumer requires. Each month presents a unique topic, investigations, photo essays and guest contributors. Read July's issue here on the subject Botanical. It's fantastic.

Needless to say, working with Annie was fun and inspiring for us.  We helped her archive her work, tell her incredibly unique story to the world, and learned so much from her ideas and unique way of thinking about design and history. Enjoy the interview, and thanks, Annie, for sharing with us!

Mrs Welty's Garden Chair by Annie Coggan,  Photo by Jennifer Hudson

Mrs Welty's Garden Chair by Annie Coggan, Photo by Jennifer Hudson

Can you briefly describe your path as a creative professional and what drives the unique vision for your furniture and embroidery projects, Roommaking and Chairs and Buildings?

I studied History and Fine Art with architecture classes at Bennington College and I have a Masters of Architecture from Sci-Arc in Los Angeles. So I am a “progressively” trained architect–this means that I was educated to think like an architect but not always just make buildings. I always was attracted to more intimate scales and stories of space. For years as a young architect, our work was very service-oriented so to push myself I always had a battery of “other” clients like Virginia Woolf and Flannery O’Connor. Making spaces, places and objects for them specifically pushed my thinking and created my method of making things now. Now that our architecture practice at Coggan + Crawford is more constant and stable, my furniture and object work now meld into that world and all the work is highly charged and imaginative.

Can you describe a day, or week, in your professional life?

No one day is the same because I have an active teaching schedule. I like to work on email, writing and general getting to know the world in the early morning, around 6:30 or so. I try to get an hour walk in everyday because I just think better if I get out. I meet clients and have meetings during the day. Evenings and weekends, I stitch and work on my furniture pieces.

A drawing from a historic house project,   Lee House, Arlington,   by Annie Coggan

A drawing from a historic house project, Lee House, Arlington, by Annie Coggan

What is your favorite project that you've worked on, or are currently looking forward to?

Immediately, I am working on a very small but delightful kitchen for a client, and on a wing chair that has embroidered facades and maps of Marie Antoinette’s Le Petit Trianon.  I am also doing some long-range work on my Historic House obsession – should I write a book or should I make a historic house myself? These are the kind of things that go through my head!

Since we've worked closely together over the past few months, can you share what you've learned about your practice and how we've helped you?

I appreciate that your method of working is artifact based; the result of working with you is a web site (in my case two) and a deep and thorough archive. For someone that is a maker, it was a relief that there would be a strong result after some pretty deep self-reflection. I found that you asked the right questions about my work so I could push the narrative of my process further.

And finally, where is one of your favorite places to go to be inspired?

Well, Paris is always the first answer. But I am always very excited about house museums and understanding that kind of intimate domestic scale first hand. I have found making the time to have coffee with an artist friend really gets me going these days, something they say or something in their studio will want to get me back to my work table. I always want to work creatively so I rarely “need” inspiration; I just need more time to make.

Annie Coggan's Full Bio:

Annie Coggan is a designer, artist, educator, founder of Chairs and Buildings, and a principal at Coggan + Crawford Architecture and Design based in Brooklyn, NY. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Coggan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Bennington College in Vermont and her Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles CA. Her work has been exhibited at A D/B Project Space (Brooklyn), Gestarc Gallery (Brooklyn), Barbara Toll Fine Arts (Manhattan), the Textile Arts Center (Brooklyn), Mississippi CAAD Visual Arts Center, and more. She has curated exhibitions at TODA (New York), Irondale Center for the Arts (Brooklyn), amongst others. She currently is on the faculty at Pratt Institute and The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She has been featured in Furniture A+D, Journal of Architectural Educationdesign*sponge and Remodelista, as well being contributor to the literary journal A Public Space, AIA’s e-oculus, and Architect Mag. In 2010, she was an artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn and continues to teach workshops and was a founding member of the Board of Directors. Coggan has recently re-launched Chairs and Buildings, a platform for expanding the discussion around design thinking.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

NEW DELVE Fabric(ation) & Toolkit + Post-Networking to dos

Last Friday evening, many people braved the bitter cold to join us at the cozy Textile Arts Center's Manhattan workshop for DELVE Networking, Fabric(ation) + Art. It was a seriously inspiring group of artists, graphic designers, architects, fashion designers, students, Textile Arts Center fans, interior designers, entrepreneurs and more. Fiyel Levent and Annie Coggan gave inspired talks about their work and process, each diving into what the idea of fabrication means to them.

We had the chance to announce our brand new Toolkit for Artists and Creatives that is part of the DELVE suite of services, which also includes events and bespoke workshops. If you are an artist or creative looking to grow your community or build your practical professional skills to enhance your practice, check out our new site and take action on projects that are important to you.

Plus, in this post we also wanted to share some tips for what to do after these networking events to keep building your community.

Scroll down and keep on reading to learn more....

Last Friday evening was a wonderful and productive event because:

  • We had the opportunity to hear about and be inspired by the processes of two talented architects/designers/artists who redesign, beautify and transform the way we use and think about everyday objects and the spaces we inhabit.
  • The Textile Arts Center, an organization that symbolizes experimentation and learning based on fabric and textiles, is a great space to think and talk about fabrication.
  • Meeting new talented people from all around the city (and world) really opened our eyes to so many more inspiring projects that are going on.

Hearing Fiyel Levent talk about her process was really enlightening, and it was amazing to hear how her travels around the world have influenced her designs for furniture, objects and paper goods. Experimenting with different materials is very important to her work. She took us down the fascinating path of how she actually makes her intricate, beautiful objects. She left us with an important thought: from designing her furniture and objects to her paper goods, fabricating locally has become incredibly important to her as she moves away from creating every single one of her pieces on her own. 

Courtesy Fiyel Levent  These intricate shavings were a by product from her screens on the right, an unexpected surprise. 

Courtesy Fiyel Levent

These intricate shavings were a by product from her screens on the right, an unexpected surprise. 

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Courtesy Fiyel Levent  The blue foam cylinders, collected from art supply stores all over NYC and then some, became the molds for this gorgeous wine rack for a private client.

Courtesy Fiyel Levent

The blue foam cylinders, collected from art supply stores all over NYC and then some, became the molds for this gorgeous wine rack for a private client.

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Annie Coggan's work explores, in her words, "rooms, objects and stories: three preoccupations and their subsequent consequences." First, Annie took us on a tour of incredible rooms that she has designed, and the objects (especially chairs) that she remakes for certain persons from history. Each space, object and drawing is infused with deep historical meaning, usually based on a specific individual chosen and interpreted by Annie. As a mother, teacher, instructor, designer and artist, her fabrication methods thrive on self-imposed rules, whether all materials must be salvaged, or she works on projects in pieces through embroidery in the evenings so she can always be producing.

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Thanks to everyone who attended and participated and we hope to see you again soon!

LINKS
Annie Coggan/Chairs and Buildings
Fiyel Levent Atelier
Fiyel Levent Paper Goods
Textile Arts Center

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If you collected any business cards or made new friends last Friday at our event, here are some suggestions to schedule into your calendar this week:

Follow up and say hello! Just send an email and check out the other person's website. Simple. Do it before you forget. Add each other to your mailing lists.
Connect on social media. This is a great way to stay in touch. It seems we all use Facebook these days to share art events and Twitter is an easy way to stay in the know. 
Comment and interact with the event organizers. We have a blog and hope you'll comment on pieces that interest you and leave your website and introduce yourselves. Join our community!
Schedule a studio visit. We are huge fans of studio visits with new friends of colleagues. So if you've hit it off with someone, there's never a better time to get some feedback on your work, or vice versa. We all live here to create and share what we do.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Friday Links- January 17

Annie Coggan tells us about a major source of inspiration, Dorothea Tanning, in this article.

Fiyel Levent talks about her travels during her life and how they have been crucial to her creativity.

Artists- can a jump on this year at Cue Art Foundation on 1/22/14 with Jackie Battenfield's planning workshop. It's only $10. Can't beat it.

Constellation 617 has some great interviews with Creative People.

From this Hyperallergic article: "The University of California’s storied academic imprint is making freely available online 700 titles published between 1984 and 2004, Open Culture has reported. The books encompass a broad range of topics, with a healthy dose of critical and historical writings on the arts."

On that topic, reading is totally good for you.

Loving these nighttime photographs of the Gowanus by Miska Draskoczy.

Our DELVE Networking event is next week at Textile Arts Center on 1/24 exploring all things fabrication!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Guest Post–Annie Coggan's Inspiration: Dorothea Tanning

We are excited that our Delve Fabrication + Art speakers, Annie Coggan and Fiyel Levent, have agreed to write guest blog posts for us this month! First up, we have Annie Coggan, who runs the fantastic blog, Chairs and Buildings, as well as being an educator, artist/designer and entrepreneur based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Canapé en temps de pluie (Rainy-Day Canapé)  , 1970 Tweed, upholstered wood sofa, wool, Ping-Pong balls, and cardboard, 32 1/4 x 68 1/2 x 43 1/4 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Anonymous gift.

Canapé en temps de pluie (Rainy-Day Canapé), 1970
Tweed, upholstered wood sofa, wool, Ping-Pong balls, and cardboard, 32 1/4 x 68 1/2 x 43 1/4 in.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. Anonymous gift.

This terribly non-mainstream piece was, more than anything, a challenge to me, a bet that I made with myself, and only me, that I would give real physical life to a bunch of tweeds and stuffing. Now, when you look at its triumphant? paroxysmic? despairing? physicality you are not quite sure that materials are only tools, that the inert is the inert, that life is something else. But one thing you know: that like you and me and everyone else, this Rainy-Day Canapé will not live for centuries. But how could we care?

-Dorothea Tanning on Canapé en temps de pluie

 With this quote by Dorothea Tanning regarding one of a series of fabric sculptures that resulted in the installation Hotel de Pivot, I realized that working with fabric for anyone creates a tremendous risk or challenge.  For Tanning the five year period of making work that culminated in Hotel de Pivot was a time as an outsider. She was working with materials that she “wasn’t supposed to” as an established painter, and she was working on pieces that were not “marketable” at all. But she was establishing a world with wools and tweeds, and a formal language that had not been previously worked out by anyone on a canvas. Thus, the three dimensional world of Hotel du Pivot becomes more than an image; it’s a pinnacle point in Tanning’s artistic development.

Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 (Poppy Hotel, Room 202)  , 1970-73 Fabric, wool, synthetic fur, cardboard, and Ping-Pong balls, 133 7/8 x 122 1/8 x 185 in. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 (Poppy Hotel, Room 202), 1970-73
Fabric, wool, synthetic fur, cardboard, and Ping-Pong balls, 133 7/8 x 122 1/8 x 185 in.
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

The idea that the fabric was a challenge is logical yet subversive. At first glance, Tanning comes to fabric owning a sewing machine which she had had and carried about with her a since she was a young woman. But the scale of work that she engages with changes the norm of women working in fabric. Most pieces in this series are furniture sized.  Fabric at this scale has no structural integrity. A formal freedom can easily be imagined, but the actual execution of these forms is the challenge. Tanning succumbs to the structural lethargy of fabric; her tables are tragic and bodies are languid. In the end they need the room to stabilize their emotions, both structurally and narratively. The method of upholstering and stuffing of forms leads Tanning to the ultimate chance operation. It’s not so much the forms that are made in the room but the space around the forms that result in a surrealist condition. Why are forms in the wall blossoming out of the sofa, becoming the fireplace? This is a “triumph,” the manifestation of a dream space.

Table Tragique (Tragic Table) from Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202,   1970-73 Wood, fabric, and wool, 43 3/8 x 48 1/8 x 33 1/2 in. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Table Tragique (Tragic Table) from Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202, 1970-73
Wood, fabric, and wool, 43 3/8 x 48 1/8 x 33 1/2 in.
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Tanning used two mediums to produce the elements in Hotel De Pivot: she embraced the thick wool and tweed that was locally manufactured in the French countryside; and she gathered found objects that resided within her immediate surrounds. The tweed and wool act as a base or canvas for the work and describe the formal qualities. The found lace, ceramic, and sewing pins reinforce her poetic titles and narrative. One can read the fabric as the structure of the poem and the found objects as the filigree.

Emma  , 1970 Fabric, wool, and lace, 11 11/16 x 25 3/8 x 21 5/8 in. (body: 11 1/4 x 22 x 12 1/2 in.) The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation—Commerce Bank, Trustee, 2006.27

Emma, 1970
Fabric, wool, and lace, 11 11/16 x 25 3/8 x 21 5/8 in. (body: 11 1/4 x 22 x 12 1/2 in.)
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation—Commerce Bank, Trustee, 2006.27

Finally, I like to think of Tanning as working much as any wife, neighbor, or citizen of the world works; not the stereotypical image of the artist at work. Tanning’s marriage to Max Ernst meant that she was his help mate. Her time to work was after Ernst’s needs were satisfied. So this five year burst of fabric manipulation is intriguing in relation to her life time of work. Before this period she painted, and after this she devoted herself to writing. Tanning the polymath, and her journey as a polymath, is an exciting image, and the aforementioned structure of the fabric work establishes the sculptural work as a bridge to her final career as a poet. The framework of Tanning’s painting always involved a three dimensional space, so her need to actually build that condition to resolve the stories in her imagination is obvious. Imagining Tanning somewhere in a studio wrestling with Tweed and Wool to build the images in her head is truly inspiring.

—Annie Coggan

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.