November 3, 2010

An A-List Interview: J Schatz

A baby bird - one of Schatz's inspirations from nature.

This week, we’re getting a glimpse into the world of Jim Schatz and the inspiration behind his company’s beautiful nightlights and banks. It turns out that Jim and I share our favorite destination spot in Maui, a place I love so much my husband and I got married there. (And we love humpback whale season, too!) Now I will forever look at my son’s blue Egg Lamp with a connection to Maui and the beautiful, calming blue waters that just may have been part of Jim’s inspiration.

A beautiful ocean sunset.

Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Jim Schatz:
Create moments of wonder everyday.  This is what you will find on our studio wall “We are here as a team to create moments of wonder through the creative and innovative use of the materials at hand.”
 
AW: What inspires you?
JS:
Laughter, my partner Tom & our dachshund Emma, family & friends, birds — especially the chickadees, ocean sunsets, nature hikes, light-dappled trees, flowers — especially woodland and tropical, chipmunks, free association, most WFMU dj’s, whales, and riding bike down my road in the morning as the sun burns off the night fog rising from the meadow.
 
AW: What color are you loving right now?
JS:
Cobalt blue, a color that is brilliantly reflected in the creek at my home each evening right before darkness descends.  The dark tidepool blue we use on our products has the same richness and intensity.
 
AW: What are you currently reading?
JS:
Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man, Thoreau’s Walden, Mark Twain’s Mississippi Writings and David Allen Sibley’s Guide to Trees.
 
AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?
JS:
Maui, hands-down.  March is the perfect time to visit because it is the height of the humpback whale’s yearly return.  You can sit on the beach and watch the mom’s with their newborns — simply breathtaking and incredible.

The artist and his partner, Tom.

 AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre? 
JS:
Phillip Glass.  His composition for the album Uakti done with the Brazilian group of the same name is transcendent.
 
AW: What is your most favorite baby gift to give?
JS:
Of course it is the Star Egg Nightlight.  When my nephew Ben was a baby I was developing the nightlight so he was one of the first babies to grow up with it.  It quickly became a comforting part of his nightly bedtime routine.  First it was story time and then it was time to turn on the stars and go to sleep.
 
AW:  What is your fondest childhood memory?
JS:
1975, a farm in North Dakota.  It is summer and the hot sun is making the penny hot against the railroad track.  You put your ear to the track and listen hard because you know it will be coming soon.  And then you hear the low rumble and rattle of the Burlington Northern as it nears.  You start running fast in the field alongside the track as the train nears pumping your arm in the air as the conductor blows his horn loudly before coming through the intersection and flattening your penny. And after you search in the dirt by the track to find your newly flattened penny, planning to return later to repeat again and again.
 
AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
JS:
Becoming an artist.  Being able to wake up each day and create work that is appreciated and loved by my contemporaries is fantastic.  It is life affirming, challenging and never dull. 
 
And please complete the following:
 
…make(s) me laugh.
Sparkles and Stubs, my woodland chipmunk friends…make me laugh.

 

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