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Art & Life with Mikey Kendrick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikey Kendrick.

Mikey, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a 27-year-old HTX native. In 2015, I graduated from UH with a business degree and – like many business-oriented Houston grads – a focus on O+G. I worked a handful of oil and gas related internships and full-time gigs both during school and post-graduation over a span of 2-3 years and learned a lot about the organizations I worked for and the industry in general. Over the years I met a ton of good people and did some interesting work, but – like a lot of young professionals – once the corporate glamor wore off, I found myself in an employment situation nearly completely devoid of any near-term opportunity to do progressive, impactful, creative, and fulfilling work that didn’t inherently feed a growing array of compounding sociopolitical and environmental burdens. At the time, the decision to set out to find a new life path that might afford me that missing opportunity felt much less a like a choice than it did the only generally defensible option.

I virtually turned the city over looking for work that fit the profile I had in mind and found absolutely nothing. After about six months of a lot of looking and no finding, I started thinking seriously about starting my own business concept. Furniture had always been somewhat of a hobby horse of mine (for-fun projects, things for friends, etc.) and, starting from scratch, I decided to take the skills I had in combination with a new standard of business philosophy rooted in whole systems design, and turn it into something I could make a living out of while providing tangible, measurable, observable value for both the local Houston community and, preferably, society at large. And, of that whirlwind of creativity and excitement, out came Year of None.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
As a furniture maker who draws design inspiration from a multitude of modernism genres (from post-war functionalism and brutalist architecture to new age minimalism), my work is concerned with providing my clients with practical tools for living. Furniture is a functional art form, which makes it a craft. And, as such, it is deceptively philosophical in nature. The intent, of course, is to provide each client with the one right tool that lasts a lifetime. The trick is to take this work and tie it into something bigger. People and businesses all over the world are actively working together to shift the paradigm from “cheap and accessible” to “accessible and well made with a high standard of social ethics and environmental sustainability,” and furniture manufacturing deserves no immunity here.

All Year of None work is made by me personally, here in my one-man studio on the East End, meticulously handcrafted from sustainably sourced, domestic, untreated (chemical free), solid hardwood and constructed with traditional solid wood joinery free of any and all highly processed or inorganic materials (i.e. rubbers, metals, plastics, etc.). All threads, fabrics, and other upholstery materials used are USDA, Oeko-Tex, GOTS, or GOLS certified responsibly sourced, all natural and organic. All wood finishes used are 100% plant-based, organic and chemical free. As part of a continual effort toward achieving true zero waste measure, Year of None is partnered with the Blackwood Educational Land Institute in Waller, TX to whom 100% of the shop’s wood waste is donated for composting where it is used for local sustainable produce farming and educating local schools and business groups on local sustainable farming practices. Year of None also holds a recurring annual subscription with TreeEra.com in an effort to cancel out the relatively modest carbon footprint associated with small batch handmade furniture manufacturing operations, rendering it Houston’s first carbon negative furniture shop.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I can’t altogether speak credibly to the situation for artists, although Houston’s art scene certainly seems to be thriving and steadily developing these days. That said, from a maker’s standpoint, resources in Houston are seriously lacking. The East End’s TXRX Labs is the only Houston-based organization that I know of which seems to be attacking this issue head-on. TXRX is making some truly phenomenal strides towards developing the city’s maker community and independent maker resource base. Outside of that, there is maybe a handful of amazing small-scale local retailers, such as Forth + Nomad, that are doing the noble and necessary work of pushing local makers’ product. But, I would love to see Houston focus on growing its maker-oriented support systems starting first and foremost with items of the utmost importance such as maker studio space, comprehensive material supply stores, creative co-ops, permanent selling spaces, and local marketing platforms. It’s all about re-localization of timeless craft.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently, my only true storefront is my online shop, YearofNone.com. But, my work is also on display and available for purchase at Forth + Nomad – an amazing new local artisan outpost situated in the new Heights Mercantile complex on Yale. Of course, I certainly encourage any curious locals who are interested in visiting my studio to reach out via email, FB, IG, or any other medium to schedule a casual appointment to tour the space, have a chat, and learn a bit more about my work, process, and ethos.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stephanie Williams – Portrait Photography

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