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Photography by Maggie Shannon

What Artist Isa Beniston Wants and Needs

The LA native has it out for plastic storage bins and would really appreciate $10K to outfit her kitchen in pink Smeg appliances. Published: December 07, 2018

Isa Beniston’s art is a visual dreamscape of witchy cartoon faces, otherworldly creatures, and SweeTart-hued doodles. “My design aesthetic is like if a small-town bakery let its one punk employee make their signage,” she says. Working out of a sun-drenched studio in downtown LA, Beniston handcrafts wearable art and miscellaneous homewares for her curated online marketplace Gentle Thrills. Her pieces are at once weird and familiar, jarring and sentimental—in other words, the perfect holiday gifts for your best friend and the coworker you actually like (sorry, but the season is upon us). We asked Beniston what she wants and what she needs.

Wants: A pile of Dusen Dusen towels as tall as my body

I love everything Ellen Van Dusen designs! She nails it with throwback patterns in artificial ice cream colorways that match everything and nothing at the same time.

Needs: A new white sheet set from Ikea

So boring! But sleeping in all white sheets and a comforter was some of the best interior design/lifestyle advice my mom has ever given me. Every night and every morning I feel like I’m staying at a swanky hotel in heaven.

Wants: This white long sleeved Big Bud Press jumpsuit to paint in

Big Bud Press makes the best jumpsuits. I’m a small lady, and this jumpsuit is the only one-piece item I’ve tried on that fits me perfectly (comfortably! flatteringly!) without needing to be tailored. I wish I had one for every day of the week, but especially at least one for the studio.

Needs: To accept that air conditioning is worth paying for

I have a south-facing studio, which means I get cooked by beautiful but terrifyingly direct sunlight every day from about 1 pm until 6 pm. Thankfully, I also have air conditioning, but maybe because it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever had AC, I never use it? Most of the time I forget it’s there. Consequently, I am always sooo hot and the most clothes I can manage is a sports bra and loose-fitting cotton overalls. A long sleeved jumpsuit could be the end of me. Or could it be a new beginning...?

Wants: This checkmate shag rug by Aelfie

Do I even have to explain myself? 9’ x 12’ of shag checker heaven? Ugh ugh ugh.

Needs: To clean my current cowhide rug

My current living room rug that’s black and white and (allegedly) cowhide is just barely hanging in there. I should honestly just throw it away. But I bartered to get the thing for $75 and cleaned it myself with a toothbrush, so it would feel like throwing away a dream. Real talk: I’ll probably use it to upholster a pouf, eventually.

Wants: Wall-to-wall clear acrylic drawers

I have a lot of stuff, and I justify my ownership of said stuff by keeping it contained in well-labeled boxes and tubs. But the tubs and boxes are always sooo ugly! I’ve never met a tub I didn’t hate. Purple handles? Semi-pearlescent, greyish-blue lids? Yak!

Needs: To stop inventing furniture that doesn’t exist

I really need to stop this. It’s a bad habit. Until I have enough money for any of these hairbrained ideas I am just going to be in a constant state of disappointment! Instead, I should try to practice radical acceptance of plastic storage solutions.

Wants: A couch at the studio

I’d love to be able to see all of the pillows I make with my mom out on display! I’d also love a place to lie down before I’ve had my 2:30 pm iced tea and it seems too hard to go on with my day/life in general…

Needs: A bigger studio

This one is truly a need and not a want, I SWEAR! My current studio is 335 square feet—I know because I measured it yesterday after a friend said it was at least 800. Incredibly, it manages to look bigger than that while feeling much, much smaller. I’ve gotten good at consolidating and organizing (see: plastic storage solution conundrum). I’ve made peace with muscle racks (although they don’t know it yet, I’m painting all six of them pink the next time I move), and my work table even breaks down into a pile that can be pushed aside during photo shoots thanks to collapsible sawhorses! But we are definitely busting at the seams at the downtown Gentle Thrills studio, and I am ready for an upgrade!

Wants: A Susan Alexandra bag

I actually accidentally wrote this down as a need, which is very Freudian and so I should probably buy one now.

Needs: Literally any laptop case

I’ve been using the same one since 2008. It looks like something chewed on it, it doesn’t have a handle so I’ve dropped my computer countless times (and dented it!), and it features a really creepy appliqué I sewed on as a tween. I wouldn’t be surprised if this laptop case is the #1 reason I have a complex about looking a lot younger than I actually am (well, that and every single person I meet telling me they thought I was 16 but it’s a compliment—thanks y’all, that feels really nice to hear as a 25-year-old adult woman!).

Wants: A kitchen full of pink Smeg appliances

Who wants to give me $10,000?

Needs: To remove 6 months’ worth of compost out of my freezer

This want + need is probably the best example of my real life vs. my fantasy life.

Curated By

Frances Thomas

Quiddity Content Editor

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