June 12 2016
If you are acquainted with the worlds of art and design, then you know that as irreverent as it may seem from the outside, there are a lot of unspoken rules that govern the field. Art is displayed in galleries, collectors determine it’s worth, designers must wear black at all times. It is on the fringes of these constraints that the most exciting work often happens, and it is where we find Jarod Taber and Marki Becker, a duo collectively known as Wash & Fold. We sat down to chat with the two in anticipation of their first show, Sta•ple, opening Thursday June 16th.
Marki: Funny enough, both from California. I am from Oakland, and Jarod is from Santa Barbara.
Jarod: We both live in Brooklyn
How d you take your coffee?
J: Always a cappuccino
Whats your Sunday ritual?
M: I like to wake up at a reasonable time, but stay in bed for awhile. Walk to my coffee shop and then keep walking and looking at things. Essentially just aimless exploration.
J: Sundays are generally my day to go out and skateboard with my friends. I spend the week working on various projects and by Sunday am like a little kid waiting for Saturday morning cartoons. We hit the streets around noon and don’t wind up back in Brooklyn ‘till late.
So, What brings two Californians to New York ?
M: Honestly, I moved to New York to talk to people. I went to Architecture school in California, and by the end, I wanted to meet people doing similar things who didn’t exist in this odd “club” that is architecture. So I came out here and tried to do as many different things as I could and pick people’s brains about what they love and how they go about life. It has been amazing to meet talented and inspiring humans all of the time.
Jarod: Though my area code is from Santa Barbara county, I moved away from the central coast long ago to pursue my own ventures in the Bay Area. I grew up making skateboard films as a kid with my friends and knew from a very early age that I wanted, maybe, to try and do something with this in the future. I moved to the Bay area when I was 18. After watching San Francisco and Oakland swiftly change over the 6 years I spent there, I decided to move to New York City two years ago to continue pursuing new grounds for skateboarding and filmmaking.
So where did you guys meet, back in California or out here?
M: We actually met out here, California vibes are hard to resist when you are on the East coast.
Haha, I know how that feels, it’s like a magnetic attraction
J: Precisely. It is so easy to spot too, it’s kinda funny
But you did more than just become friends – you’ve started an agency – what inspired you to take that leap together?
J: It happened pretty naturally actually. It was never intended to become an agency in the beginning. We were just having fun, working on cool project and wanted to give it a name.
M: It worked out really well actually because we both have really diverse working backgrounds that work together but don’t really collide. Neither of us is ever stepping on the other’s toes. It also allows us to branch out more. We both love trying to do as many different types of things as possible.
What are the skills you bring to the table? Marki we know you’ve studied architecture, and Jarod you’ve got a lot of video work out there.
M: Oh man, there are so many things haha. I did study architecture and I worked in set design for quite a while in the fashion industry – I have a natural tendency to be really interested the way that people experience the world on a variety of scales from objects and clothing to city layouts and buildings. I also just love things that make me smile! Colors, patterns, oddly shaped objects etc.
J: I do really enjoy doing many other things outside of filmmaking. I got into building furniture for a while, and find that working with my hands provides me an escape that I don’t find while working in visual media. That said, this is where we have crossover in addition to bringing our different backgrounds to the table when working on our projects. We both like to build, we both like to design and we are both very visual people. I also fancy handling the business end of things, which is always crucial in a collaborative relationship. It allows Marki to focus on her things and for me to keep everything organized.
So to the matter at hand – Sta•ple – can you tell us a bit about what it is and the inspiration behind the show?
M: Yes! Staple is our first attempt at trying to use an existing space to house art and hopefully take pressure off of the viewer and the artist. Everyone here in New York has eaten dumplings, they are cheap, abundant and part of surviving here. For us, the mundane or normal nature behind the space, and the comfort a person has in a place like this is so much different than a gallery where you feel like you have to act a certain way or look at art in a “considered” manner. The idea is that you don’t have to even notice the art if you don’t notice it, but when you do it is more of a discovery. The word Staple is much more about the space than the art itself, we didn’t want to put a lens on the viewer but rather give them a chance to feel they have discovered something.
The show is a collaboration with our friend and photographer, Josh Olley, who helped select the artists for the show and has been putting it together with us since the beginning.
What’s the experience of approaching the owner of a dumpling shop to ask if you can put on an art show like?
J: Well… You frequent a dumpling shop for 2 years prior to even the idea of a show and establish a relationship. I’m one for making connections in the neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, that relationship you have with your local barista that facilitates the always enjoyable (maybe not always) morning banter is essential, but establishing a relationship with the three ladies that own the dumpling shop around the corner that has been there for 20 years is a bit more unique. After 2 years we approached them and they were happy to host us.
I’ve had you guys on for a while now, but before I let you go, what’s next for you guys?
M: We’ve got a couple things in the line up that we are super stoked for! For one, we designed a parklet that is going to be built in Oakland which is in the process of trying to be funded and we are starting work on a music video for my brothers band, SWMRS.
J: In the long run we’re discussing a potential project on skateboarding and architecture… More to come on that soon. Meanwhile we’re just trying to meet new people and collaborate with as many homies as possible.