Marc Hundley Interview
CREATING SPACE WITH MARC HUNDLEY
Meet Marc Hundley, the Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer and creative vision behind the Nordstrom SPACE x Dover Street Market concept shops and zine. Hundley is widely known for his graphic, text-filled art, and the multidisciplinary artist's foray into designing and reimagining spaces is powerfully evocative, leaving ample room for the viewer to experience thoughtful repose in the midst of a chaotic time in the world. Here, he takes us through his process for the project, his personal approach to design and how he hopes creativity will help us take care of each other and make sense of it all.
TO START, YOU ARE AN ARTIST, DESIGNER AND PHOTOGRAPHER. HOW HAS WORKING ACROSS VARIOUS DISCIPLINES DEFINED YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO AND ENGAGEMENT WITH SPACE?
Like any art, creating something out of a singular idea is exciting. I suppose my background has taught me to think of space as a whole, meaning I'm not just responsible for the fixtures and the physicality of it all, but also the idea behind it and how the entire experience plays out. I think of it as a play and myself as the director; I'll shoot the images, build the set, make the props for the shoot and come up with the story for the space alongside the merchandise.
YOU DEBUTED YOUR HANDMADE FURNITURE COLLECTION BACK IN 2017 TO MUCH CRITICAL ACCLAIM. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START ENGAGING WITH FURNITURE AND DESIGNING SPACES?
I've always liked thinking about spaces and how to utilize them. I've also always been someone who likes to make things myself, which is why I find myself making things to fill spaces rather than buying things if I can.
I also like to think of the social elements of spaces. When I do anything to any room or area, I think, If this were mine, what would I do? How would I socialize in it? How would I move in it?
YOU WERE ASKED TO PROVIDE CREATIVE DIRECTION AND DESIGN FOR THE NORDSTROM SPACE X DOVER STREET MARKET COLLABORATION. WHAT WAS THE PREMISE OF YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE PHOTOSHOOT AND CONCEPT SHOPS?
When I first received the commission to design for the concept shops, I thought about how Dover Street Market would essentially function as a building inside of another building, Nordstrom. So, I began thinking about the elements of a building—the stairs, roof, floor, walls, doors, windows, posts, beams and columns. I've always loved large columns lining the front or holding up the four corners of a building and how columns can make something look solid, classic and theatrical. I thought, What if I used these columns to symbolize the entrance of another building? What if I recreated the experience of walking into a completely different space? This idea then translated into the design for the shops, the shoot and zine.
WHAT FIRST SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN UTILIZING OPERAS, GREEK DRAMAS AND PLAYS AS A BASIS FOR THIS PROJECT?
When I was researching ideas for the shops and zine, I began looking into a lot of images from theater and opera. These images were so dramatic, tragic and romantic, and they displayed the costumes the actors wore so beautifully. So, I decided to think of the models as actors in a play, constructing a very loose narrative and thinking of sets. I liked to think of it as the production of a small-town or off-Broadway play, with do-it-yourself props and backdrops.
WITH SO MUCH OF THE WORLD QUICKLY CHANGING, WHAT DO YOU THINK PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPACES WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?
I like to think that public and private spaces will eventually consider the health and well-being of everyone who occupies it—from the people who work or live in it to the people who work to maintain it. If there's anything to be learned from this point in time, it's this: we have to take care of each other. If we don't, it'll affect us all.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ART, DESIGN AND FASHION CAN OFFER US IN THIS CURRENT MOMENT?
At their essence, all of these things are the definition of hope. Making anything that expresses something is hopeful. If there is no hope, why bother saying anything at all? Even if you express no future, you express it for a reason to other people, and that act of expression is an act of hope.
Since we are further away from each other, art, design and fashion can keep us connected, help us relate to each other, inspire us to feel something. The more we are creative, the more we cultivate hope—even if it's in our subconscious.
I also think because of the current moment, we are seeing creativity coming from areas that did not have much representation before. Hopefully, a new perspective gives us something to think about and expands our ways of seeing and being.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL GOALS YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PROJECT FOR NORDSTROM SPACE X DOVER STREET MARKET? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU HOPE THE PUBLIC WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THE VISUAL EXPERIENCES YOU'VE CREATED?
When I was figuring out the concept, I had a vision of a column falling and cracking apart like a geode. I thought about new voices born from ideas of the past, and the past falling by the wayside or crumbling. Out of the ruins, something new is born—I prescribe to this notion in my life as an artist and designer, and it's a personal goal I strive to portray in my work.
But I think the biggest hope I have for the people who experience these concept shops and read the zine is that they can take a pause from the busy chaos of the world. But more importantly, I hope that this pause lends time to new ways of seeing, hearing, thinking and growing.