In this mass produced world there's an easy disconnect between products and the people who make them. Part of the fun of seeking out unique items to decorate our homes is meeting the people and learning the stories behind them. People like Andrea Mihalik, the former photojournalist-turned-furniture-rehabber. As you can see here, Wild Chairy turns out wonderfully colorful seating from formerly rundown old chairs. It's probably no surprise, then, that Andrea cites Alexander McQueen as inspiration. Her appreciation for fashion is evident in the mix of fabrics and bold color combinations she chooses for her chairs.
Name: Andrea Mihalik, Wild Chairy
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the coal regions of Pennsylvania in a town named Shamokin.
Where did you study/train? I went to Tyler School of Art and got a degree in Photography. For my upholstery training I took a class at The Furniture Joint in NYC with Matthew Haly. After that I did a 4 month internship with BDDW in Philadelphia.
What was the first thing you made and sold? When I was in high school I photographed the boys basketball games and sold the pictures to the local newspaper which helped launch my 12 year photojournalism career.
Who is your design idol? I love Alexander McQueen for his tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his collections, Roberto Capucci for his artistry with fabric, and Kelly Wearstler's expressive, risk taking designs. You didn't think I could name just one, did you?
Where do you find inspiration? Trying to create the unexpected keeps me inspired, I often look to fashion and different textures for ideas.
What's one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? I wish I'd painted Willem de Kooning's (Woman) series in the early 1950's. I love their explosive nature, sense of rebellion, and use of color.
What's your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? Love what you do, do what you love and work harder than anyone else out there.
Check out more of Andrea's designs, including a gallery of chair before and after photos, on her website: Wild Chairy.
(Images: Wild Chairy)
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Meet the Maker