Creative Couples: Anna & Mike05 January 2010
Anna Wolf and Mike Perry hardly need an introduction. Both are prolific in their respective talents. Anna takes amazing photographs for fashion and lifestyle clients such as Urban Outfitters, MTV and more recently, Target. Mike is a graphic designer, art director and artist who has published two books about hand drawn type and patterns. Their work makes sense together, which is something I don’t see all too often. Together they understand the triumphs and difficulties of running a small business while giving each other complete support.
How did the two of you meet, and how long have you been together?
A: Mike and I met on a photo shoot. I was too stressed out to notice him at first, but as the shoot when on I realized that I really loved being in the same room as him. We’ve been together 4 years.
M: We met while working on an Urban Outfitters catalog. At the time, I (Mike) was working in-house at Urban. Justin and Steve over at National Forest recommended Anna for a catalog that we were doing in-house. Me, Jim Datz, who was the AD on the job, and the whole team spent a brilliant week in Oregon trying to get any ounce of snow possible. The shoot was so fun, and Anna and I hit it off. That was four and a half years ago.
What’s it like working with your better half?
A: Amazing. We work really well together. We do travel a lot so that we have our space… and when we’re in the studio together, we go for hours without talking. We just get into our thing and don’t come out of it until the day is over.
M: We both trust each other and believe in each other’s work. But its great because at the same time Anna loves telling me that something of mine sucks. We keep it open and honest. That said we don’t do that many projects together.
Can you describe your creative workspace?
A: We just moved our studio from the first floor to the 3rd. We’re farther away from the noise of the train (even though we can still hear it!), and we have more window light. The studio is filled with books, art, photo equipment and computers. Always a lot going on.
M: We have a great space in this beautiful green building in Crown Heights Brooklyn. The space is 1,400 sq feet. We have a photo bay and lots of table/workspace. We share the space with Jim Datz (mentioned above). We put up a ton of book shelves when we moved in so that we had plenty of space.
What are the benefits of living/working together?
A: Everything I guess. Mike is my best friend and he’s so supportive of my work. I run most of my decisions by him and value his opinion more than anyone’s.
M: Well, we really like hanging out so it works out really well. In addition to that, as a couple we understand how complicated it can be to run a small business.
A: It’s easy to get comfortable… I have a tendency to be anti-social at times, since so much of what I do is meeting and working with new people constantly. So when it comes time for my personal life, sometimes I just want to check out and hide.
M: There are moments when we hang out all day, we get home, we’re not excited to see each other, like I think some couples feel when they don’t see each other all day. That said unless we are working on a project together we do our separate thing. We then usually have a days recap over dinner.
Has your work changed as a result of living/working together, if so how?
A: I think my work has changed just from being with Mike, not necessarily from living and working together. Mike really encourages me to make tons of work and to keep moving forward even when I want to sit around and analyze things. It’s really liberating to not think so much and just make. Mike really pushes me and I love that.
M: I am super into photography now. Where as before I liked. Now I love it. One disadvantage is that I stopped taking photos.
Are you currently collaborating on anything at the moment?
A: Mike asked me to curate the latest issue of Untitled, which is out right now. We’ve also been working on screen prints together and always have a million things we talk about wanting to do!
M: I have a big art show in March and we are collaborating on a few photo screen prints. And we have been talking about some film based ideas.
Any advice for future creative couples?
A: Believe in your partner. It’s one of the most amazing feelings to be in a relationship with someone who supports your creative endeavors completely.
M: Be honest with each other from the beginning. And the usual couple thing. Don’t go to bed angry.
Anna & Mike
Thanks you two! I look forward to seeing what 2010 has in store for the both of you.