medium /// weekend brunch


Happy weekend! Today, collage artist Hollie Chastain and I are pretending to be at Aretha Frankenstein’s in Chattanooga TN. Ready for a giant stack o’ pancakes? Of course you are!

JC: hi hollie! oh my word, this food looks good! what are you gonna have? any recos?

HC: oh man, that’s the big question. there is usually a bit of a wait here, because it is amazing, so i have time to think and fret. i’m thinking the sodbuster omelette this morning with coffee and orange juice. but if you’ve never had their pancakes, then you have to try those.

JC: is this your usual brunch place? your kids must LOVE it here!

HC: they do love it! i don’t bring them as often as i should. is that awful? i think it is. brunch is usually my recovery, quiet, down-time with the husband or a friend after a night out when the kids are at the grandparents so they miss out. now i feel bad and i’ll have to bring them this weekend for some yummy goodness.

JC: you better! they might smell the pancakes on you when you get home! speaking of kids, you sometimes have children in your collages – are those your kids? do they represent your kids, or are they totally unrelated?

HC: some of them are my kids but i’ve only done that intentionally maybe once or twice. a few times i have unintentionally worked them into compositions. i don’t notice it at first until someone points out that it looks just like one or the other of them.

JC: so when we’re finished, what are you going to do for the rest of the weekend? art stuff? family stuff? both?

HC: i think that all of my time is a little bit of both. during the week i work until family stuff pulls me away and it’s the opposite on the weekends. i just got a fresh and wonderful batch of books so i know i won’t be able to stay away from the studio all day. i can feel those covers calling me!

JC: oh, your book covers…. i LOVE your book covers!!! do you have collages planned in your mind and then you go looking for the covers, or will finding a good one spark an idea for a piece?

HC: thanks! i really love making them. i never plan them ahead of time. when i find one i like i sit down with my scraps and move things around until something feels perfect. most of the time i will first decide what i can’t bear to cover up on the original cover and that is the beginning of the shape of the composition.

JC: where do you find all of those old books, and images that make their way into your collages?

HC: any thrift store or antique store usually has a book section and within that section a box or shelf or bin full of scrappy books. old textbooks are the best. the paper quality is heavy and sturdy because it had to survive years of constant manhandling by children. they also have the best doodles! i always try and find things that are at least a little bit falling-apart-ish but still have sturdy, straight covers. i remember being in a tiny little shop, in a tiny house, outside of nashville and  i found a ratty old newspaper from the 60s. as i was purchasing my stack i patiently listened to the owner describe in detail how to steam off the price sticker – i couldn’t manage to tell him i was going to disassemble it for the parts.

JC: ha! probably best not to break it to him! ahhh, thanks so much for having brunch with me hollie! let me get the cheque ; )

HC: you are too kind. thanks, this has been super fun!


Ah, another weekend, another {pretend} brunch with one of my favorite artists, at their favorite brunch spot! Today I’m visiting with my lovely friend, painter Samantha French, in Brooklyn at Cafe Ghia. Grab your coffee, and join us!

JC: hey samantha! so, what’s good here?

SF: i’m starting with a coffee and orange juice. they’ve got a killer waffle with seasonal toppings, so I’ll have that along with the fruit & yogurt with maple granola. Yum.

JC: ok, you had me at “killer waffle”- i’m in! so, who do you normally share your waffles with?

SF: you can usually find me at brunch with my boyfriend, aaron and our two dogs (if it’s nice enough to sit outside)

JC:  aaron is an amazing painter too! do you ever paint together, or do you have your own separate studios?

SF: he is! and he just opened a group show in NY last week.  we’ve always kept separate studios, but still frequently bounce ideas off each other – he’s my go to when i need help with a technical drawing issue or an honest critique. though we’ve never actually collaborated on anything, we’ve talked about it. our painting styles are pretty similar already so we’d probably do something out of the ordinary from our typical work, more experimental.

JC: you should! i’d love to see what you guys might come up with! so, what are you doing later? do you normally spend the weekend in the studio, or do you use saturday and sunday for other stuff?

SF: i love going to the studio on the weekends. it’s nice and quiet and seems like there is less pressure – but it really depends – if i spent all week in the studio, and don’t have anything pressing, i might just head home to relax – especially if I just ate that whole waffle by myself. plus trying to run any errands in NY on the weekends leads to chaos. i usually spend sunday evenings working on print orders that have come in over the weekend.

JC: what about swimming? do ever spend your free time swimming – without a camera!?

SF: you know, it has been a long time since i’ve left the camera at home while swimming. you never know when you’re going to need it, and i’d hate to miss an opportunity  – but I still enjoy it, so that’s all that matters.

JC: totally! i can’t believe i passed up a chance to go swimming with you in chattanooga. next time! thanks for {pretend} brunch sam… mmmm {pretend} waffles! delicious.

psst… some of Samantha’s new work ♥ …

See you next weekend for brunch in Tennessee with Hollie Chastain!


Good morning!

So, let me explain what we’re doing here on the weekend! There are so many artists that I’d love to hang out with… especially over french toast and a latte. Ah yes, two of my most favorite things. Art, and brunch. Now, I can’t fly around the world every Saturday morning, so I’m gonna fake it. Enter this new series – “weekend brunch” – a five question interview with one of my favorite artists, “at” their favorite brunch place.

Up first, Seattle based artist Shaun Kardinal. I asked Shaun to choose our destination, and he picked “Oddfellows Cafe” in Seattle… looks like a lovely place to me! Ok, grab your coffee, and let’s do this:


JC:  hi shaun… what are you gonna have?

SK: eggs benedict, a mimosa, a coffee, and a water, please. i partied a little hard last night–three liquids are essential. what about you?

JC: hm. same, hold the mimosa. i’m a light weight. so, thanks for having brunch with me! … who do you usually have brunch with?

SK: you know, i haven’t actually been out to brunch in a long time! i’m a bit of a homebody by day (definitely not a morning type), and find myself more inclined to plan ahead for a meal at home, should i expect a big breakfast on the horizon. that said, in the past, brunches have almost always been group affairs, with friends meeting again after partying the night prior.

JC: what are you doing later? do you normally spend the weekend making art, or do you use saturday and sunday for other stuff?

SK: oh my god – there’s no way i am getting anything done today. being a freelance designer, i don’t so much subscribe to weekends, so i take days off when my body requires them, and  getting out into the world for brunch was enough for today with this foggy head. afternoon movie on the couch?

JC: which movie?

SK: there are a lot of recent releases i’ve been hoping to see lately, but today i definitely need something light, not too conceptual. probably an old favorite like “stranger than fiction” or “royal tenenbaums”. maybe a woody allen flick, ideally one with diane keaton! if i really can’t pick, i’ll just put on a half dozen episodes of “arrested development”.

JC: ok, well after you recover, do you want to go {pretend} searching for old postcards? i’d love to see where you find all of the amazing bases for your work!

SK: that sounds fun. in fact, my supply is dwindling so a hunt is definitely in order soon. there is a great antique shop down on the waterfront that has a big stack of postcards i love to dig through. they also have an awesome collection of LIFE magazines, and every issue of playboy since the early 70s, should you want to grab your birthday issue – i already have mine!

JC: nice! i do have a thing for vintage playboys (seriously). ok, so this is no secret but, i LOVE embroidery on found images. how did you learn to sew so precisely? do the mimosas and coffee help with a steady hand?

SK: simply put: practice. there are only so many ways for the thread to pass through paper, and against itself, and with each piece, each pattern and with many different weights of paper, i’ve learned better and more efficient ways to solve every puzzle.

…and yah, sometimes a drink ain’t so bad either : )

JC: ah, so fun! thanks for breakfast shaun… i’ll pick up the tab this time ; )

SK: much obliged.


And that’s how we do it! A fake brunch with one of my favorite artists… I really could go for some REAL eggs benedict, a coffee, and a little vintage postcard shopping with Shaun though. Come back next Saturday and join me in another restaurant, in another city, with another fabulous artist. Happy weekend to you!