2019 has been an exciting year for Common! We opened our first homes in Los Angeles, Common Melrose and Common Belmont, and four new homes across New York City, in Harlem, Brooklyn, and Queens. And we’re just getting started! As we grow, we also continue to learn more about coliving: what works, what doesn’t, and what makes Common truly feel like home for our members.
Over the past three years, we’ve noticed how important it is to connect our members to the communities around them. When moving to a new city (like 70% of our members) or a new neighborhood, finding your go-to coffee spot or even the best commute to work can be the difference between loving your living situation and feeling totally out of place. That’s why we offer our members discounts to local businesses, create neighborhood guides for our blog, and organize free outings to museums, breweries, restaurants, and more.
Introducing Local Art in Action
But there’s one aspect of feeling connected to the community that we’ve overlooked, an aspect that’s both deeply personal and often reflective of its environment: art. That’s why we’re excited to launch our first ever artist ambassador program, Local Art in Action. Local Art in Action will bring city inspired works from prominent artists into Common homes, offering members an opportunity to learn the stories behind the works they interact with everyday, and the artist who created them.
Our first artist is Carly Kuhn, aka @thecartorialist, a born and bred New Yorker who’s made the move to Los Angeles. We believe her bi-coastal spirit and dynamic prints make her the perfect artist to kick off this program at Common Grand in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. We interviewed Carly about her background as a creator, the inspiration behind her work, and her tips for discovering local artists. Read on below.
Carly Kuhn – The Cartorialist
You were born and raised in New York, and now live in Los Angeles. How did growing up in a big city affect the work you make today? Do you see a difference in the work you make while based in L.A?
Growing up in New York City you’re exposed to so many different things. When you’re at the epicenter of merging cultures, fashion, food, Broadway, etc. from such a young age, there’s a lot to be inspired by and pull from. I remember always sketching things in a notebook around fashion, and I’m sure that’s tied to being in New York City. Also, my work is mainly inspired by people. You are not at a shortage of inspiring and interesting individuals in New York City! And my art has undoubtedly been influenced by the lifestyle of living in Los Angeles. My most popular print to date is “Tiny Surfers”, a piece I don’t think would have been created if I didn’t live in California!
Can you tell us more about the two prints featured in Common Grand — MODEL BEATLES and POSE? What was the inspiration behind them?
I wanted to pick two pieces that felt timeless while also embodying the energy of New York City. “POSE” is a piece inspired by an Alexander Wang fashion editorial while “MODEL BEATLES” is inspired by a photo of four famous supermodels from the 90’s. The drawing I did ended up looking like a bit like The Beatles – hence the title “MODEL BEATLES.” Both pieces, being black and white, feel timeless, chic and raw, like the city itself.
What’s your favorite piece of art in your own home?
It’s not an official piece of art, but hung up on my gallery wall in my dining room is a photograph of my mom from the 70’s. It’s very Studio 54. People mistake her for Cher in the photo. My mom is kinda the coolest. 😉
Do you have any tips for people looking to connect with local art and local artists? Where should they look?
Instagram truly is a great way to connect, other than organically stumbling into a cool gallery or boutique. Once you discover artists you love, you can usually explore on their Instagram where they show or sell their work, and even reach out to them directly to learn about specialized commissions or events. Additionally, a lot of galleries or boutiques that feature artists have their own Instagram accounts.
What’s your favorite place?
At the beach with friends.
Two of Carly’s prints, POSE and MODEL BEATLES, are featured in Common Grand’s living space. If you’d like to discover more of Carly’s work (and maybe order one of her prints for our own home!) you can check out her Instagram and website.
Common Grand opens soon!