We had the good fortune of connecting with Allison & Jeffrey Matherly & Noble and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allison & Jeffrey, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Nice’n Easy was born out of a surrender. Each of us were at a place where we were considering giving up on pursuing a creative career. The agreement we made when we created our first installation was that we wouldn’t talk about art or making in the usual language we were accustomed to. Going to art school and working in museums and galleries had embedded a certain set of ideas about art in us that left us frustrated and feeling a bit jaded. Nice’n Easy became a way for us to hit the reset button and approach the creative process with a fresh set of eyes. We still use and are grateful for the specialized knowledge garnered at school and from institutions but our ways of thinking and seeing had to be deconstructed for a moment before we could rebuild our identities and the principles we hold.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It wasn’t something totally intentional at first but what arose in our work were often themes or motifs that are widely recognizable. From something as visually identifiable as water or a sunset to more nuanced yet familiar notions of romance and desire, we found our ourselves exploring our shared and divergent experiences with such subjects. How we work together and how our individual visions compliment each other drives us to establish a dynamic that allows people some identification with the themes present whether they feel comfortable or uncomfortable around our work. In our collaboration there is always some degree of compromise from either side, neither of us totally get our way all the time. Historically, artists are often celebrated for their unwillingness to compromise, while this certainly has it’s merits it also has it’s pitfalls. We see reaching useful compromises as a very powerful quality much need in today’s world. For us, the collaboration “Nice’n Easy”, isn’t only between the two of us, but between the people we work with as well and potentially models systems of future and more expansive collaboration beyond just art-making.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’ll give a one day itinerary. Morning walk on the beach at South Point or through South Point Park. Must stop by Enriquetas for cuban coffee and breakfast. Go see some art. Visitors usually ask to go see wynwood, so we would do a drive through to check out some murals but then go visit some of Miami’s best galleries and institutions like Primary Projects, Locust Projects, Emerson Dorsch gallery, Dimensions Variable, Tile Blush, PAMM or ICA (great choice with free admission). Maybe wind up at MOCA North Miami then go to Cafe Creme for lunch right next door (We recommend the quiche and the mushroom risotto). We always try to introduce visitors to the Everglades and give them an idea of what is the life water of Miami so maybe an afternoon bike ride through Shark Valley in Everglades National Park and catch the sunset over the sawgrass prairie. Back in town we could get a authentic Caribbean dinner at Naomi’s Garden then head over to the beautiful urban garden The Center for Subtropical Affairs for jazz night.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Allison: My dad was a graphic artist and supported me going to Dash (Design and Architecture Senior High). My Mom at the time was against me being an artist so my Dad drove me to the interview without her knowing. Since then my Mom has accepted my decision to pursue art and is now one of our biggest supporters. She also instilled in me invaluable qualities that have undoubtedly helped me on my journey such as a strong work ethic, the power of a positive attitude and being budget conscious. After returning to Miami from school in Boston, Frances Trombly and Leyden Rodriguez Casanova gave me my first art related job working for Dimensions Variable then put me in a show at Art Center of South Florida (now Oolite Arts). They have been mentors in art and parenthood for me as I’ve entered motherhood myself. Jeffrey: I was very fortunate to have the support of both of my parents who are also makers. I owe the most to them. Cliffton Chandler, a Central Florida based artist was the first person I met who completely blew my mind with the ideas about art he shared with me. The entire visual arts faculty and staff of New World School of the Arts, notably the former Dean Maggy Cuesta and my painting professor Aramis O’reilly. It is a small school and everyone is like family there. Beyond that there are so many artists, curators and cultural producers who have inspired us, shared opportunities and supported us along the way. We are bound to leave too many out but just to name a few: Franciso de la Torre, Typoe, Jill Weisberg , Leilani Lynch, Amanda Sanfilippo Long and Zack Spechler.