Creative Couples: Joel & Justine

15 December 2009

joel-justine
Justine & Joel in their gallery, Cairo.

Joel Leshefka and Justine Ashbee are two Seattle artists behind Cairo, a small independent gallery providing a unique platform for upcoming visual artists and musicians. Joel, a photographer, also runs a vintage clothing boutique called Twenty Twenty, where he began curating shows. Justine’s work has been featured internationally including the ROJO gallery in Barcelona. Both artists share a similar aesthetic, a bond that provides support for each other and their respective creative endeavors.

How did the two of you meet, and how long have you been together?
Joel: We met a party for Tokion magazine, about two years ago.
Justine: We met at a Tokion party in Seattle at the Rendezvous. We have been together ever since – almost three years.

ashbee0
Justine Ashbee

What’s it like working with your better half?
Joel: I think it’s been a really inspiring… we have a lot of similar interests and aesthetic inclinations. We both care very passionately about the art and artists we work with, and having such a close relationship has really strengthened and honed what is that I am most attracted to and inspired by artistically.
Justine: It is at times challenging and also totally inspired. We approach life in very different ways, so we each have a totally different way of doing things, solving things… our creative process is very different, but when we agree on a result it is fun and inspired. We are both so passionate about what we do, and really want people to enjoy the experience of it.
We are both very visceral and tend towards similar aesthetics, and that creates an unspoken bond between us about what we do, why we do it, and with whom we work with.

joel2
Joel Leshefka

What are the benefits of living/working together?
Joel: Make up sex.
Justine: We can read each other really well, respond to the cues of one another pretty quickly, compassionately.

cairo2

http://cairocollection.blogspot.com/#mce_temp_url#
Cairo

Any disadvantages?
Joel: There are all the old standard cliches, about working together, being lovers, friends, and roomates.  It can get really intense sometimes, and ultimately requires A LOT of processing and good communication. Ultimately, these are good things though, and I think we’ve both grown and learned from things that one might describe as a ‘disadvantage’.
Justine: Constant communication is necessary for true growth to occur . The ‘disadvantges’ of being lovers and business partners has been some of the most profound work we have done to grow and heal in our lives and with each other. Being able to overcome our challanges together has been immensely powerful for us as a couple, and as individuals.

joel3
Joel Leshefka

Has your work changed as a result of living/working together, if so how?
Joel: I find that I’ve been exposed to more concepts and disciplines that I now seek out on my own, based on my relationship with Justine. She is an incredible artist, has true vision, and has a great eye and ear for things. All of which has rubbed off on me for sure.
Justine: Absolutely. Our ways of doing things have rubbed off on eachother, and I feel so much more grounded than I ever was. Joel has an incredible talent of listening to people’s ideas, and then offering great plans & ways for people to accomplish their dreams – I love that about him. I am an idealist, anything is possible- he is a realist, and so makes things possible – so I love to create new realities with him – his persepctive is intriguing to me.

ashbee2
Justine Ashbee: Rojo installation in Barcelona

Are you currently collaborating on anything at the moment?
Joel: We are currently working on supporting each other’s private, solo endevours. I’m opening another clothing/art boutique in Seattle, and Justine is exploring a long held passion for experimental music, while continue to develop her career as an emerging international artist. I think our focus is on helping the other acheive everything they are setting out to accomplish.
Justine: We are currently collaborating on being incredibly passionate and supportive of one another’s solo endeavors. There is a strong amount of love and trust between us, that we can really feel supported by one another.

joel1
Joel Leshefka

Any advice for future creative couples?
Joel: Do it with integrity, honesty, and vision. You can’t fail.
Justine: Be willing to do the work, always show up with an open heart & mind, and then anything is possible.

ashbee1

ashbee3
Justine Ashbee

Thank you Joel and Justine. Keep Seattle and beyond inspired.

Comments

15 December 2009, 3:04 pm Looks Good To Me » Blog Archive » Feels Good: Creative Couples on TSA says:

[...] in his Creative Couples series on The Strange Attractor, Andy interviews Seattle couple Justine and [...]

22 December 2009, 3:35 am Edie Tsong says:

you all are amazing!

18 March 2010, 1:32 pm sun says:

really good things here^^thanks

14 October 2011, 6:26 pm Barton Gaskins says:

Unquestionably believe that that you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the internet the easiest factor to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while other folks think about concerns that they plainly don’t realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the entire thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

11 June 2014, 10:00 pm home improvement ideas says:

Hello.This article was extremely motivating, especially because I was investigating for thoughts on this subject last Tuesday.

Leave a comment