“Everyone is eccentric,” Maira Kalman says. “You just have to find it.” With her characteristic humor, tender observations of our human foibles, and gorgeous sense of color, she asks, “Who are we? How are we documenting ourselves? Is this a dream? Are we in costume?” In partnership with The Met, MoMA and The Guggenheim, Maira explores these essential questions through painting, publication and performance.
Enchanted with the gesture of the human hand, and the gestures of nature, Gabriella Kiss creates jewelry that reconnects us to the wonders of the forest and its floor. Her discoveries are our treasures.
Using local cotton, local talent and local traditions, Natalie Chanin has brought Alabama to Haute Couture. Natalie’s story and her artistry is bound up in the landscape and the legends of the region along the Tennessee River.
New York-based painter and sculptor Sheila Berger follows an odyssey that begins with a bird's nest found at her childhood home in St. Louis. Using encaustic, plaster and steel examines nurturing and explores the fragility of nature.
Gael Towey’s great love is storytelling. “Portraits in Creativity”, the series of short-form videos directed and produced by Towey, seeks to capture the bravery of artists and artisans, and reveals the visual seduction of the creative process.
In 1990, as Creative Director, Gael helped launch Martha Stewart Living magazine. She designed the inaugural issue, initiating the distinct and iconic visual style that would give life to the joy of creativity for the next 22 years and counting. She helped spearhead the launch of five additional magazine titles and several product businesses that reflected the changing lifestyles of modern American women. Martha Stewart Living became an inspiration for our current DIY movement and put Gael in touch with artists, growers and craftspeople all over the country.
After 22 years at the creative helm of the company, Gael stepped away in order to pursue her long-standing interest in narrative. “Today I am endeavoring to translate those 20+ years of experience as a creative director and editor into moving video profiles, which capture the artist’s voice as he or she tells their story.”
Video is immediate, and it can be as—or more—visually compelling than print . Towey looked for subjects whose worlds are lush with imagery. “I wanted to tell the story about how artists take risks and push themselves toward discovery and change,” she said. “I want the viewer to take that journey with the artist, so the sights and sounds of the studio become integral to the narrative.”
The subjects of these films are all experienced, each working in their respective fields for 20 or 30 years. They are comfortable saying, “I don’t know where this will take me.” They follow their instincts and use their knowledge of materials and craft to investigate and discover a direction. The videos are not meant to be comprehensive—they tell the story of one moment in these artists’ careers, and end with as much room for possibility and discovery as they began.
Gael works with small teams to produce and direct these short-form documentary videos, matching the cinematographer with the subject. The amazing photographer team Gentl and Hyers shot the Gabriella Kiss video—their iconic, beautifully-composed stills working in tandem with film to give the piece a distinctive, elegant style that suits the stillness present in Gabriella’s work and process. Gael traveled to Alabama with cinematographer and editor Joe Tomcho to capture the landscape and the natural beauty that drew Natalie back home ten years ago and continues to inspire her work.
Gael’s goal is to find clients who would like to work with her on videos exploring these themes. “These videos serve as a snapshot of my interests and the direction I would like to take in my work. I hope to find collaborators who want to grow the creative engagement of their brands and platforms with videos like those in this series. ”
Under Ms. Towey’s creative direction, Martha Stewart Living won numerous awards in many categories, notably among them, the prestigious American Society of Magazine Editors awards for Design, Photography and General Excellence, and the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award, which recognizes the role of forward thinking organizations that have been instrumental in the advancement of design, the Chrysler Design Award in 1999, The Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial Exhibition for product and packaging design, Martha Stewart Living: Boundless Beauty stop action cover was named one of the top ten magazine covers of 2010 by Time Magazine and App of the Year by Society of Publication Designers and Ms. Towey and her teams of designers have also won numerous SPD and Art Directors Club. Most recently Ms. Towey is the recipient of the AIGA medal for 2014 the highest honor in the design profession.