Illustrators Share a Small, Art-Filled Queens Apartment

updated Apr 30, 2019

Illustrators Share a Small, Art-Filled Queens Apartment

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Siobhán Gallagher & John F. Malta
Location: Ridgewood, New York
Size: 520 square foot
Years Lived In: Siobhan: 3 years, John: 1 year, renting

Imagine: world’s cutest couple of professional illustrators living together in a gallery-like home filled with their friends’ magnificent art! Siobhán Gallagher, senior designer at Abrams Books and author of IN A DAZE WORK, and John F. Malta, visual artist, professor, and published author himself, are each other’s biggest fans. Together, the pen-and-paper-wielding duo reside in a cozy — albeit high-walled — two-bedroom in Queens, NY.

Here they make art by day and night and cover the walls with posters and paintings made with love by their talented, creative buds. Throughout their home touches of humor (and a little horror) work their way into a colorful aesthetic fit for the likes of hip New Yorkers.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: From Lisa Hanawalt’s watercolor paintings to Beavis and Butthead animation cels, we love mid-century thrift with lots of graphic imagery.

Inspiration: Memphis Design and Usonian Architecture. We envisioned our adult home to be a more grown-up version of our teenage bedrooms. John had his plastered with local punk gig posters, and Siobhán had photocopies of magazine covers and poems in her childhood room.

Favorite Element: The staircase in our room, which leads to our own private roof entrance!

Biggest Challenge: Finding space for all our books and art! We each had extensive art collections and libraries separately, so combining them meant paring down and finding the best ways to complement each other’s favorite items.

What Friends Say: “I could look at the walls for hours!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The tenant before us tried to add tiles on the walls above the kitchen and bathroom sinks, which remain to this day and…aren’t great.

Proudest DIY: Turning the loft space above our bed into a work studio. We used to use it as storage for suitcases and random items for so long, but decided to reorganize and clear out space when we were asked to do a duo art show at Cooler Gallery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (which opened this month and is still up for a few more days!). We needed a space at home to build and chop down over-size woodcut panels and the loft seemed like the perfect spot.

Biggest Indulgence: Siobhán’s biggest indulgence was the first piece of “legit” art she bought when she couldn’t actually afford it. The investment was a Steve Powers’ “Everything is Shit Except You Love” print she bought when first visiting his Icy Signs studio in 2014.

John’s big spend was on his first trip alone to NYC when he visited the Giant Robot location in the East Village, now closed, to check out a show where artists draw on post-it notes. He bought one by Matt Furie, and another by Nicholas Gazin. They were only $25 each but at the time he only had $200-$300 so it really felt like an over indulgence.

Best Advice: Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money to make a space your own. That being said, befriending a lot of artists helps.

Dream Sources: Definitely owning original art from our favorite artists. Siobhán wants original Chris Ware art or pieces from the Hairy Who Collective, like Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, and Ray Yoshida. John would love paintings or drawings by Raymond Pettibon, Henri Rousseau, The Hairy Who Collective, and Robert Crumb, as well as any original cover art by Tim Jacobus from any one of the Goosebumps books.


Art featured in entrance hallway are by: Katja Spitzer, John Malta, Siobhan Gallagher, Austin England, Dennis McNett, Jon Pham, Kelsey Dake, Rand Renfrow, Bendeck Cattleborn, Homeless Cop

Art featured above kitchen cupboards from left to right: Grant Kratzer, Charlie Malta, Siobhan Gallagher, Chris Ware, Dustin Williams, Matt Volz, Siobhan Gallagher, William Emmert, Land, Matt Volz

Art featured above stove: Eric Kenney

Art featured around TV are by the following people: Penguin Group, Daniel Zender, Steve Powers, Siobhan Gallagher, Luke Pelletier, John Malta, William Emmert, Jesse Fillingham, Mike Marine, Land

Above the couch features art by the following: Nathan Alexis Brown, Bill Rebholz, Noah Harmon, Rand Renfrow, Tim Olsen, Tara Booth, Luke Pelletier, Siobhán Gallagher, John F. Malta, Bryce Wymer, Jeff Lowry, MinJin Lee, Bawbee, Josh Freydkis, Patrick Kyle

3 Black and White pieces on the right-hand wall: McBess

Kitchen table & chairs — IKEA

Throw blanket on couch — Alum Creek Thrift Store in Columbus, Ohio
Side table — LÖVBACKEN, IKEA
White furry pillow — Target
Large lamp overlooking couch — Milton Greens Stars Sophia Adjustable Arc Floor Lamp with Marble Base
Small lamp overlooking couch — Target
Gold & marble corner storage container — Target
Small pillow on gold storage container — Todd Oldham pillow, Fishs Eddy
Rug — Nate Berkus, Target

Wardrobe — IKEA
Dresser — Wayfair
Bed frame — IKEA
Bookshelves — IKEA
Nightstand — Amazon
Storage ottoman — Container Store

Thanks, Siobhán and John!

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