PaperCity Magazine

June 2018- Dallas

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42 P laster artist Stephen Antonson's Brooklyn studio is like stepping into Dr. Zhivago's frozen dacha, where everything, including furniture and chandeliers, is shrouded in snow and frost. This beautiful, otherworldly scene from the classic movie is how Wells Abbott owner Lauren Hudson remembers her first visit to Antonson's atelier, when she arranged to bring his one- of-a-kind plaster pieces to Texas for the first time, via her showrooms, Wells Abbott, in Dallas and Houston. "It's like magic inside," Hudson says of Antonson's workshop, with its surfaces dusted in powdery white gypsum and white plaster chandeliers dangling like icicles from the ceiling. Hudson ordered almost everything in the studio that wasn't already sold, including a massive plaster desk that took him 10 weeks to produce. The artist also created large plaster chandeliers for the entry of both Wells Abbott showrooms, along with table and floor lamps, and decorative accessories. Antonson is a classically trained artist who studied at Carnegie Mellon University and earned an MFA in photography at Hunter College. After years of showing his paintings and sculptures in galleries, he visited a New York plaster artist's studio in 2002, and it changed his world. "There's something ghostly about plaster's whiteness that I like," says Antonson, who also gets a charge out of working in a fast-drying medium. "Plaster starts out as a liquid, like paint, but you only have five minutes to work with it before it becomes solid, like sculpture. All your decisions have to be made in that time frame." For a while, Antonson was a freelance set builder who made his own furniture and lamps out of plaster. Visitors to his studio began asking him to make things for them, "and it just morphed from there," he says. His company, Stephen Antonson by Hand, now produces collections of plaster tables, lighting, mirrors, and decorative objects such as vases and candlesticks, which are carried at a limited number of showrooms including Dessin Fournir in L.A., New York, and Chicago. Wells Abbott carries the line exclusively in Texas. Magazine editors go MASTER OF PLASTER IN A DRIFT OF WHITE, STEPHEN ANTONSON'S ETHEREAL PLASTER WORKS HAVE ARRIVED AT WELLS ABBOTT SHOWROOMS. B Y R E B E C C A S H E R M A N Stephen Antonson at work in his Brooklyn studio

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