Beyond the Studio: Kristi O’Meara

Kristi O’Meara, originally from Kansas City, lives and works in Chicago, IL. She works as a studio assistant for Nick Cave, maintains an active art practice, runs The Patternbase, and contributes to Make Space.

I first met Kristi February 2011, when we both got hired as studio assistants for Nick Cave. My first impression of Kristi was admiration for her unapologetic personal style. She combines miscellaneous patterns and colors, wears unique silhouettes, and challenges the conventions of everyday style. I specifically remember drooling over some lycra leggings she wore to the studio. She created the textile design, sent them off to be printed and constructed the leggings herself. INSTANT FRIENDS. Kristi lives and breathes art, which is apparent in many aspects of her lifestyle, from her studio practice to her haircut.

Kristi O'Meara19

I went to Kristi’s apartment on a Sunday afternoon/evening after work. While I was photographing, she was cooking delicious Mexican food. Later, we sat on her deck, ate and listened to Biggie. Aside from having opposite schedules, Kristi and I find it hard to hang out because we are both committed to our studios and websites. So, it was really great to just sit in the nice weather and catch up. We were joined by our friend/Kristi’s roommate, Sovannra (equally just as fabulous).

Kristi recently moved into a new apartment that borders the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and Humbolt Park. I’ve visited her apartment a few times, including her housewarming party and to give her a helping hand on her kickstarter video. One of the bedrooms in the apartment is shared by Kristi and her roommate, Sovannra. This shared space was converted into a dressing room filled with thrifted gems, which are almost all patterned. Since Kristi wears unique outfits everyday, I didn’t expect her collection of clothes to be as modest. She keeps her closet minimal by selling and giving away the clothes she thrifts, to replace them with new pieces. It’s in constant flux. My favorite room in Kristi’s apartment is her bathroom, mostly because it has this rad shower curtain being used as wall paper.Her bedroom had very few patterns can be found in this room and color is limited; it’s peaceful and subtle.

Kristi O'Meara21

On her personal style:

“This is probably really cheesy, but more than anything I think Tumblr kickback-fashion reblogs are my main source of inspiration. If you snuck a peek at my hearted images or scrolled through my dashboard, you would find a plethora of 90’s designer fashion, streamlined casual business wear with a sophisticated goth feel, and tech-age experimental garments. I like to layer and I like to thrift, so somehow this mish-mash of media, fashion design and the accumulation of found goods finds its way into my wardrobe, my paintings, and the way that I arrange most everything.”

On how her home has inspired her practice:

“I just moved from a tiny 1.5 bedroom apartment with terrible lighting to a huge 5 room apartment filled with windows. I think moving into a bigger, brighter, more open space has done wonders for my practice. Everything has it’s place and that oppressive, cluttered feeling has been replaced with a capacity that allows for larger work to be made and multiple projects to happen simultaneously. I like this because it’s interesting to see how each project drives and influences the others, and it makes reoccurring themes and processes more apparent.”

On how her practice has inspired her home:

“As for how my practice has affected my home… It’s invading it completely and utterly! My hallway is lined with emtpy frames propped against the walls, awaiting completed works. Canisters of drying paintbrushes usually clutter the small amount of counter space we have in the kitchen. My living room doubles as a studio and sewing station for my roommate and me. My bath makes for a great dye kitchen, and my bedroom is my office/reference library. Anywhere I look in the apartment there is something that makes me think, “Oh, I really need to work on _____.”

Most prized domestic possession:

“Does my cat count? His name is Grapefruit, he plays fetch and is the most well-behaved pet I’ve ever owned. He just gets me. I can snap my fingers or say his name and he knows exactly what I’m trying to communicate. If he doesn’t serve as a valid answer, then I’m sure it’s my computer. If ever there were a fire in my apartment, those are the only two things I couldn’t leave behind.”

Kristi O'Meara

Current food obsessions:

“Heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, milky tea with a diabetically dangerous amount of honey and tofu tikka masala.”

What are you listening at the moment?

“The Liars new album, ‘WIXIW’. Sonatas by Franz Schubert, Grimes, CocoRosie, Françoise Hardy, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Daily French Podcasts, and A Dance With Dragons on audiobook.”