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Today on our journal, we are thrilled to feature Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer, the creative minds of Cold Picnic! We had the opportunity to stop by their wonderful studio space in Brooklyn. They are both amazing individuals and we are so honored to have them be part of our shop!
What do you listen to while you are working?
Phoebe: It always varies. We'll obsessively listen to something over and over and then we can't listen to it anymore. Recently a lot of Korean psychedelic like Shin Joong Hyun and Kim Jung Mi but right now the Jackie Brown soundtrack nonstop. When we can't pick anything out, we listen to the rap caviar mixes on Spotify.
Tell us a little bit about Cold Picnic.
Peter: The name was something we just liked the sound of and it somehow seemed to suit our brand more than any other more deliberate names did. We started informally making things together under the name Cold Picnic in 2011, but it took a few years after that for the brand to come together as something other than a hobby.
What peeked your interest to work outside of fine arts and kept you working with it today?
Phoebe: When I was getting my first degree in sculpture at UPenn most of my friends were a few years older than me and getting their MFAs, and some had recently finished and were teaching at university level. They were so serious about art and their knowledge seemed encyclopedic. I think that intimidated me, and because I was young and silly I retreated to some extent, instead of taking advantage of all I could have learned from them.
I studied fine art art partially as a minor rebellion against parents with practical government jobs, but I ended up going back to school to get a more practical degree - maybe to rebel against art! After a few corporate design jobs, I realized I needed to find a balance between fine art and commercial design work, instead of constantly oscillating between the two.
Where do you find balance?
Peter: It isn't easy! We have two dogs, so they force us to get fresh air every day. Our studio is the floor below our apartment, so there's always the danger of holing up between work and rest and never seeing daylight.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
PETER: The projects we have the most fun with are tend to be the ones that we are terrified of starting and which are completely outside our comfort zone. We did an installation for our booth Site Unseen Offsite one year where we made a modular seating arrangement using our shag rugs. Making them took up our entire apartment and our fingers were sore for days after from hand sewing the rugs together, but we were so proud of the results. Now we're making a series of dioramas for a very belated lookbook for the Passenger rug collection. We're still in the painful early stages, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end!
We love the Private Parts Collection! Can you tell us more about how it started?
Phoebe: We had just released our first rug collection and were working on another. We noticed that we had to keep dropping designs because they looked too phallic or boob-like. I don't know if we were interpreting ordinary designs in a certain way, or if we were in fact sketching boobs and penises all day, but the idea must have been there, lurking without us realizing, because that hasn't happened before or since. We finally just went with it!
Are you guys currently working on any projects?
Peter: We just released our first line of quilts based on our Passenger rugs and are finishing up designs for our new rug collection.
The best pizza is from __________.
Phoebe + Peter: Santarpios in Boston! We also love Pequod's deep dish in Chicago, Emmy Squared Detroit style in Brooklyn, and Rosa's (Grandma style or plain pepperoni) in Queens.
Best advice you’ve received.
Phoebe: We're both open to advice but somehow Cold Picnic insists on autonomy. Whenever we've tried to deliberately steer the brand in a direction based on well meaning advice from friends or the example of other brands whose business model we admire, it's never quite worked out. So we just keep working and, without wanting to sound mystical about it, the next step has always made itself clear to us.
Thank you Phoebe and Peter! Thank you Elli, who shot all these beautiful photos! See more of her work at: www.ellilaurenphotography.com