I'm always scouting unique, interesting pieces to add to Pecola's collection of jewelry, apparel, and accessories. And let's be honest, there's a lot to sift through with so many talented makers at our disposal here in Atlanta. My most recent quest to find a brand that was a little bohemian, a little rock n' roll led me to Tori Green of Greener T Designs.
Though catching up with Tori isn't always easy due to her traveling pop-up (you gotta see how she pimped out an '83 Dodge Van), I was lucky enough to get a chance to ask her all the burning questions:
DG: You are a Nashville native, a city with an equally vibrant music and art scene. What is it about Atlanta that pulled you in and has kept you here?
TORI: I love Atlanta, it always surprises me with something new. When I moved down here six years ago it was to start my career in film and I made a lot of great connections on that path working production at the Goat Farm, helping local puppeteers and artists. When I was ready to start Greener T Designs last year I had a studio space at Mutiny Artwrx, surrounded by some hard working folks that gave a lot of great advice on making a living as an artist. Then when I started showing my lamps at Paris on Ponce I met Kelly from Modern Mystic and Haley with ATL Craft, two bad ass/ inspiring business owners. Atlanta is progressing so quickly and offers a great community for artists. I really wanted to keep close to that energy and thats why I chose to have Atlanta as my home base while I’m traveling. I currently have a new studio at Notch 8 and look forward to all that this space and it’s community has to offer.
DG: Your brand offers a range of items, from sculptural lighting and illustrations to jewelry/accessories. Which do you find the most challenging and/or rewarding to create?
TORI: The most challenging would be the sculptural lights. It’s a longer process and I’m always finding a new techniques to mess around with, but that also means new obstacles.
I really love making all three; lights, jewelry, and illustrations. Any time a piece sells and someone is excited to take home something that I put time in creating it feels that much more rewarding.
DG: Those are real coyote teeth that you use in some of your jewelry pieces. How exactly do you go about obtaining coyote teeth because I’m imagining a real ‘Dances With Wolves’ type of scenario?
TORI: Ha! Not that exciting. I actually ended up searching online and finding a taxidermist that I could order from. A lot of the amethyst and quartz I will mine myself but when it comes to picking coyote teeth I’ll leave that job to someone else.
DG: Who or what is the most significant influence on your work?
TORI: Paul Klee has always been a great influence to my work. I love his line work and even have Twittering Machine tattooed on my arm. Then when I started learning more about film and stop animation I watched a lot of Michel Gondry and Jan Svankmajer. Nowadays I use Instagram to find a lot of other Jewelers and makers and the cool thing is I can send them a message and trade work. It’s pretty amazing what is available through social media.
DG: What's it like inside the studio with you when you're doing your thing? Talk a bit about your creative process.
TORI: I guess I’m more of the type to get to the studio and work until something hits me, so most of time I have to be prepared to make some bad work before getting anything decent that I feel confident to show, make a print of, or sell. I get to the studio and just make and try new things. Sooner or later I get something worth pursuing.
Music is a big part of my creative process as well. I’m always listening to something in the studio. Ozzy and Iron Maiden are my constants. Then Nick Cave, Mischief Brew, Kadaver, and Blood Ceremony. Since getting back from Nashville I have been on a Sturgil Simpson and Justin Townes Earle kick.
DG: You used to have an obsession with old sci-fi films. What’s your favorite?
TORI: So this mostly came from the influence of my dad and older brother and I would watch anything they had on. So the two I loved to watch when I was a kid was Alien and Star Wars Return of the Jedi. Ewoks are so cute!
DG: Also…Star Wars or Star Trek or Twilight Zone?
TORI: Star Trek late 1960s because of the set design and they had some great monsters/aliens.
DG: What advice would you give someone who wants to make art and design his or her full time gig?
TORI: It’s hard to give advice about this stuff without sounding like an motivational poster.
Honestly though, don’t give up. It’s a hell of a ride and a lot of the time what seems like a failure is just a learning experience.
Also in the beginning be prepared to support your business instead of having it support you. There is no shame in keeping a side hustle. I still pick up film jobs for the extra income.
DG: So you've got this van...
TORI: Yep, and I'm hitting the open road! I just converted an 83 Dodge Ram Van into a mobile home and pop up shop. I’ve started traveling and selling my work around the US. Very excited about this because it’s something I have dreamed about doing the last couple of years and I’m finally taking the leap!
*You can follow Tori on her traveling pop-up journey here