PaperCity Magazine

January 2016 - Dallas

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happen — bugs running on water because of water tension, for example. The patterns in nature never cease to fascinate me. As Niki put it to a friend recently, I want to understand everything, and I won't stop until I do. I love places where I can experience physics — the beach, the forest, a waterfall. THE IMPORTANCE OF CURIOSITY. Niki: Being curious is important in a creative career, but I really think it's more important in just being a human. If one has no curiosity, they have little to no reason to engage in the world around them. Curiosity throws you into a place where you will naturally uncover the unknown, the forbidden or unusual. Curiosity fuels the discoveries that further mankind. I hope that I'm always curious. If one remains curious forever, their mind will never grow old. Simon: Curiosity is the only important thing. I don't see any reason to be here except to be curious. I always think of people as the universe's way of looking at itself. According to quantum physics, something must be observed in order to exist. The universe needs us in order to exist, or it would just be a tree falling in the woods. This is how I approach the world. I've heard that children can't see the color blue until they have a word or concept for it, because it's so ubiquitous in nature that it goes essentially unnoticed without a conceptual framework in place. Imagination and curiosity are the engines of creation and existence; conceiving of something really can make it manifest. IDENTITY. Simon: I focus on gender identity quite a lot because I grew up in a world that isn't quite okay with my own gender identity. It is really terrible, in my opinion, that the casual use of phrases like "that's so gay" can be responsible for people like me living a large portion of their lives trapped in a personal prison. In everything I do, I wish to fight against those thoughtless behaviors which make so many people scared to be themselves. I hope that our work shows how much we embrace everyone and everything, and that it shows that we value love and joy over anything else. Niki: Categorizing furniture in terms of gender is pretty absurd … We do it all the time. It's really fun. I think it helps us break down the idea that it's okay to do that with humans. It really isn't. At least in our minds. Using objects to express emotion and sexuality is just a way of relating to people. It comes back to the idea of speaking a language that people can comprehend just through a visual. Talking about sex through a piece of art brings the taboo to the table. It allows a moment of vulnerability. That vulnerability is the bridge to compassion. Compassion is understanding. MAKING IT WORK. Simon: We are always pursuing our curiosity and allow that to guide us. We're usually working on many things at once. Running tests on certain ideas, finishing production on others. We have made a studio that is very flexible — you can pretty much make anything you decide to make on a whim. Most of what we're doing is bouncing ideas off of each other and building little objects for fun. COLLABORATION. Simon: We recently collaborated with a group of women from Khayelitsha Township in Cape Town, South Africa. It changed my entire life to embark on that collaboration; it taught me a lot about the real value of personal relationships and strengthened my drive to talk about gender and race equality. We are always excited by new challenges, bringing other people into our work teaches us about ourselves and helps us know who we are. WELL-KNOWN COLLECTORS. Niki: Haha … No thanks. Who cares. WHAT'S CAUGHT YOUR EYE. Simon: We recently saw Chris Ofili's show at the Aspen Art Museum. I have never been so moved by any show I've ever seen. There was a very dark room full of deep- blue paintings. After a while my eyes adjusted and these haunting images popped out. I actually started crying. ON COMING HOME. Niki: We are super glad to come back to Texas. It's a wonderful and unique place. It's had a long-term effect on who we are as people, and it will be fun to explore our roots. After Houston, we'll spend some time in our hometown of Austin. It's been over five years since I've had the opportunity to spend a week there. GETTING IN ON THE FUN. Niki: We recently collaborated with Cultured magazine to create a candle set for their back cover. It will be relatively inexpensive, and all proceeds go to the National YoungArts Foundation, an incredible organization. Please buy from that. You can own a piece by us and do some good! Simon: And you can buy our work through R & Company in New York! THE HAAS SISTERS? The twins latest? At last month's Design Miami, The Haas Brothers unveiled their new Afreaks series, a fresh collection fraught with sexuality and whimsy, based on a collaboration with The Haas Sisters, a collective of female beaders base in Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town, South Africa. View the collection at; available at CURIOSITY THROWS YOU INTO A PLACE WHERE YOU WILL NATURALLY UNCOVER THE UNKNOWN, THE FORBIDDEN OR UNUSUAL. CURIOSITY FUELS THE DISCOVERIES THAT FURTHER MANKIND. I HOPE THAT I'M ALWAYS CURIOUS. IF ONE REMAINS CURIOUS FOREVER THEIR MIND WILL NEVER GROW OLD." — NIKI HAAS Gold-topped accretion vases with porcelain slips in CHG-10.2 glaze, designed and made by The Haas Brothers, Los Angeles, 2015 JOE KRAMM Unique Queef Richards Mini Beast in tan goat fur with Chester Cheetah feet in silver-plated bronze and carved ebony horns, designed and made by The Haas Brothers, Los Angeles, 2015 Simon (foreground) and Niki Haas in "Cool World," their first solo exhibition at R & Company, New York, 2014 JOE KRAMM JOE KRAMM

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