Mar Vista Art Department

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Today’s inspiration comes from Amy Cherie, owner of chic concept store, art studio and event venue Mar Vista Art Department. Located in its namesake town, the shop’s origin comes from a need to bring together a creative community. Offering a refreshing experience and an artistic alternative, Mar Vista Art Department doubles as a unique shopping experience or a chance to learn a new craft ranging from candle making to calligraphy basics. Amy is a creative in the truest sense of the word, and we hope you enjoy exploring her style in today’s living room experience.

What’s your everyday uniform?
Jeans, tee and birks!  

When/why did you start MVAD?
I started MVAD in 2015 to bring a creative community space to the budding neighborhood of Mar Vista! We wanted to bring a unique artistic alternative for people to attend during weeknights and weekends— a refreshing new experience rather than another night at happy hour. We find it therapeutic to get down and dirty while learning something new. It has been a great way to support local brands, small business owners, and other creatives in the area. We also support the Mar Vista Art Walk, which attracts 1500 people.

What do you do to stay creative?
I’m always trying something new in the studio, making concrete molds for planters, or using natural dyes to dye our duvets. I recently took a welding class, which was a lot of fun! I’ve always loved transforming my environment; late at night I’ll come down and rearrange the store. Oh— I also started taking piano lessons a couple of months ago!

Best advice you ever received?
I love all things Steven Pressfield. His books changed my world. He really nails advice on how to get through resistance as a creative. His book “The Art Of War” was my first read by him.

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.”

“The amateur tweets. The pro works.”

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How has your business grown over the past year, and where do you see it growing in the future?
The past two years have been a wild ride. I left my “professional” career, fell in love, and started a business with my partner. We started with no investment— just our own capital and a whole lotta help from our friends. It was SCARY as hell. But! Within two years, we are profiting, having a good time, and expanding our event space into a larger building next door. Life is good.
What is your favorite thing about your store/studio space?
The color palette. Also, the way it has transformed from a masculine space to such a modern, contemporary space.  

What’s your favorite accessory/furniture piece?
The center table I designed and built for the LA Design Festival in 2013. People make offers now and then, but I don’t think i’ll ever actually let it go.

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When it comes to decorating, what’s more important— style or functionality?
[Both]. Everything has a place. Everything is hidden. [So] only the pretty details show.

How would you describe your interiors style?
A random mix. I used to try to hard to be “a certain” style, and then I just started collecting things I genuinely liked; and they all seem to work together effortlessly.

What is your favorite room or corner in the space and why?
The egg chairs in the store-left window! [That spot] is inviting. There’s a lot of plant life in that corner. I like sitting with the plants. Haha.

What interior design concepts are really inspired by right now? Is there anything you are over?
Clean, minimal, white with walnut, cozy and inviting with plant life. I’m so over reclaimed wood!

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