Sub-Studio is Anna Corpron and Sean Auyeung, a pair of New York architects who make and sell art prints (as Sub-Studio) and jewelry (as Brevity) that explore the intersection of natural forms and manmade processes and materials. This week we got the chance to ask them about their processes, their inspiration, and what they might see from them in the near future.
You’re architects, and I’m guessing Sub-Studio didn’t start out as a product design studio. Can you tell me a little more about how you got started, and when you began making prints?
Anna: Sub-Studio actually started as an outlet for our non-architecture ideas. The first project we ever collaborated on was the visible:invisible series), where I would take a bunch of photos of an interesting space and would make a panorama out of them. Sean would then draw an illustration on top of the photo. That’s when we discovered that we liked working with each other, and Sub-Studio was officially born about a year after that.
Sean: Actually, our first project together was an architecture competition. Shortly thereafter, we decided that if we were going to spend our free time making things, that they should be more fun and lively projects. That’s when we started printing together.
Where did the inspiration for Brevity come from? How has the reaction been so far?
Anna: I’ve always loved jewelry, and Brevity is inspired by my interest in natural forms and structures.
I’ve been very pleased with the reaction – the comments I’ve received back from those who have bought my work have been great – people seem to be very happy with the quality and uniqueness of the pieces.
Can you offer other designers any nuggets of advice about launching, building, or growing their own product line?
Anna: It’s okay to start small and build from there. I remember feeling like we needed to have a big body of work before we could show it to anyone. I’m really glad we didn’t wait that long (we’d probably still be sitting on our work) – we only had one card design when we sent it to Grace from Design*Sponge, who gave us a very lovely first blog write-up about that one card. That was all the encouragement we needed to keep developing more designs. Also – don’t be shy about sending your work to blogs – it’s a great way to broaden your audience and get your work out there.
Do you have any products or projects in the works you’d like to talk about?
Anna: We’re participating in the National Stationary Show this year (Booth #2246), and we are very excited about expanding our paper goods line with a set of journals, and some new greeting cards. It’s also always great to get feedback on your work, and so we are looking forward to the chance to meet shop owners from around the country.
We also began doing custom-designed invitation/stationery work recently and are enjoying the client-designer dynamic.
Sean: I’ve been wanting to try a graphic novel. Dealing with a larger narrative instead of single images interests me and I think it would be a great challenge to draw more and invest more in the development of the characters in the images.
Do you have plans, goals, or dreams about the future and the role Sub-Studio will play in it?
Sean: In the future, I would like there to be connections between our 2D and 3D projects. And larger scale work would be nice, but only if our studio space permits.
Anna: In a perfect world Sub-Studio would have a community aspect – we’d love to provide kids with hands-on classes centered around art and design. We’d also love to have a community art space with low-cost studios, similar to ABC No Rio. That way we can keep on making things, and we can be part of an inspiring community.