I didn’t anticipate writing a tribute in my first “A List” blog, but life is full of surprises. Last week I learned some shockingly sad news about a great artist, giggle partner, mother and wife, active 30-something professional – and good friend. She died. Of colon cancer. In less than a year. Her name was Gale Kaseguma and she was the beloved artist behind “Kidmodern” children’s art.
Six years ago when I was first developing the giggle concept, I met Gale and her husband, Craig. They happened upon the first giggle concept store and felt a connection. Lucky for me, they stopped in and introduced themselves. Soon after, I visited Gale’s Brooklyn studio and was introduced to her bright, bold, happy – full of life – children’s art. To me, a welcomed departure to only pink and blue…A fresh willingness to be playful even with babies, rather than just sweet and soft…A warm and vibrant use of color…All things that inspire us at giggle. And all things that Gale’s collection is still loved for today – both at giggle, in our giggle customers’ homes and beyond.
When I first met Gale, Kidmodern was gallery-based art only and all originals. I was convinced Kidmodern should be seen by and shared with more than would be possible with galleries and originals. So we collaborated to develop museum-quality, hand-stretched canvas Kidmodern prints and debuted them at giggle (this is a photo of our first giggle store on Chestnut Street in San Francisco; Gale was our first official “kids art” debut). And since 2003, they have owned their place among our “giggle picks” for art that is as perfect for babies as it is for the kids that they so quickly become. Check out our current giggle collection here. In our flagship store in Soho, we are lucky enough to even display (and sell) a rotating feature of some of her original works. And while the Kidmodern collection has now grown beyond giggle and beyond wall art to include items like coordinating nightlights, rugs and more, every year since our inception Gale and I have collaborated to release her newest collection first and only at giggle. It is with heavy heart that I realize as I sit here and write that 2010 will be the first year that giggle will not debut a new Kidmodern collection.
If such a thing is possible, Kidmodern is an “Ali’s A-List” classic. One of my first giggle product crushes, and a crush that hasn’t waned years later. While not a “newest/latest” find this week, Kidmodern prototypically defines what the A-List is all about. And while now not “new,” today her originals are the definition of limited edition and will earn a place forever in giggle’s history (and my heart).
Beginning September 2009 and through the end of the year, we will be donating 20% of all Kidmodern sales at giggle to a charity of Gale’s husband’s choice. To shop Gale’s collection, please visit giggle’s website. And if you live in New York City or nearby, plan a trip to The Art Gallery at the Garden of Ideas from September 5th through September 27th. The gallery and grounds are open Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm. They will be featuring a memorial celebration of the life and art of Gale Kaseguma and the Kidmodern Collection.
Join me in celebrating the life of an amazing woman and artist.