ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE
A dual-city fine art collaborative of sisters. Laura Naples and Kristen Giorgi work independently from their home studios, yet inform the other’s work in an ongoing conversation. Their inspiration reflects the observation of how the other is leaning, both in her thoughts and process; how their perspectives differ, and the moments when they collide.
Q + A
Have you both always been artists? Where did you study art?
K: We arrived here through different creative pathways.
I studied fashion merchandising at Kent State University, which gave me a fine arts foundation and was where my love of painting started. I worked as a buyer and merchandiser in the fashion and interior design industries. I returned to painting after the birth of my daughter, Vivienne. I stayed home with her as a baby, and during that time of introspection, ultimately realized I was once again ready to express myself visually.
L: Growing up in the Midwest, Kristen and I both took studio art lessons from local artists. I studied visual communication at Ohio University, which provided a background in both fine arts and journalism. I worked as a graphic designer across different industries—stationery design was my favorite. During this time, I had two children, Catherine and James, and stayed home with them while I engaged in different creative projects, from freelance design to calligraphy.
What made you decide to form NG Collective Studio?
L: The idea originated while Kristen and I both stayed home with our children when they were very young. During that time, we both looked at the visual and creative cultural references happening outside of our little nests, and longed
to engage in an expansive way. We talked every day, and realized that we both felt the impulse to work out some of
what we felt on paper and canvas.
K: It really began as a tentative experiment. As sisters do, we encouraged each other to get started and to keep working.
What makes your work a conversation?
K: We noticed that our work felt distinctive from each other, yet complimentary in palette and expressive rhythm. We set up a shared Instagram account so we could each see what the other was working on, and felt energized by the resulting feed that contained elements of both of us.
L: We loved the resulting interplay, and the new dimension it added to our relationship. We had always understood each other on family and friendship levels, and then began to know each other’s creative capacity and process. We discussed what informed our work and shared favorite methods of working with different media.
What were some of your creative influences growing up?
K + L: Our mom, Sandy.
K: She is not an artist, but as a kindergarten teacher and collector,
took us to museums and shows to learn about art.
L: As she recognized our aptitude, she encouraged us to take studio classes
which increased our creative confidence.
K: She also has an innate sense of style, which made us aware of the fashion
and design worlds that inform our work today.
Who or what do you currently reference in your work?
K: Some of our most influential artists have been Agnes Martin, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Hepworth and James Nares. I always lean heavily into references from fashion in my work - in particular
L: I am currently interested in the dialogue-based work of contemporary artist Agnieska Kurant, and the refined elegance of interior designer Joseph Dirand. We often are influenced by the designers we work with on commissions, including Alyssa Kapito and Gillian Segal.
Do you paint together?
L: Typically we work separately and develop individual series of works, although we have in the past painted side-by-side (“Talks”, 2016). In that process, we would each take turns laying down marks, mixing colors and suggesting lines and forms. It is so much fun for us and a goal to do more work like this, but the geographical distance between us presents a challenge.
If you work independently, in what ways do you collaborate?
K: We often are approached to pitch a body of work for a special project or collection, in which case we get to act not only as co-creators but also curators. Thoughtful design and editorial, often contributing to external elements such as signage, display and collateral, is all part of what fuels us. We get so much energy from sharing our perspectives in those planning and execution processes.
Where are you based?
K: Since Laura and I started NG Collective, my work has evolved to a full-time practice from my home studio in Atlanta. But I love to travel and I’m always bouncing from New York to LA, Miami to Paris. I don’t sit still for long.
L: I also work from my home, in Cleveland, Ohio. My studio time falls around my other position, working in the Director’s Office at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Is there a third sister?
K: The lovely Arianne DeBurro might as well be our little sister, but she is, in fact, not related. She is my assistant, collaborator and muse.
L: We do have a third sibling, our brother Doug. He does not work in the arts but, as a pediatric nurse, is forever on call for all of our questions about our children. So he is essentially a part of the collective, too.