Colossal Interviews

In our ongoing interview series, Colossal goes deep with some of our favorite contemporary artists, designers,
and creative personalities from around the world. These conversations are supported directly by our members.



Arinze Stanley Speaks to the Indelible Impact of Police Brutality and How Extreme Emotion is the Key to Change

May 6, 2021

Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley is known for his hyperrealistic portraits that are arresting in size and emotion and bear broader political messages. Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with Stanley about his own experiences with police brutality, how he brings his subjects to points of extreme frustration, the ways his drawings resonate with different audiences around the globe, and how he envisions his artworks as catalysts for meaningful change.



A Conversation with Curator Tam Gryn Unpacks the Innovative Mix of Art and Retail Behind SHOWFIELDS

April 26, 2021

SHOWFIELDS head curator Tam Gryn joined us for a conversation about the unique blend of shopping, art, brand activations, and events that drive the innovative retail concept. In this interview, Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson spoke with Gryn about the efficacy of structuring collaborations based on shared missions, the humor and play that permeate both SHOWFIELDS locations, and what we can collectively gain from blurring the boundaries of art and branding.



Lalese Stamps of Lolly Lolly Ceramics Discusses Her Wildly Ambitious 100-Day Project, Brand Activism, and the Need for Vulnerability

April 21, 2021

In the summer of 2020, Lalese Stamps found herself in the middle of a boom in her then-fledgling business, Lolly Lolly Ceramics. The timing coincided with increased attention on Black creatives and brand activism, two points the designer considers profoundly impactful still today. In this conversation with managing editor Grace Ebert, Stamps describes the arduous and vulnerable task of designing 100 different mugs in 100 days, the difficult decisions necessary in small business, and where Lolly Lolly is headed next.



Ýr Jóhannsdóttir Explains Her Playful Approach to Design and How Mending Will Shape the Future of Sustainable Fashion

March 22, 2021

Iceland-based designer Ýr Jóhannsdóttir received considerable attention last year for her cheeky, slightly grotesque masks, a collection that exemplifies both her aesthetics and dedication to bringing others into her process. In this conversation, managing editor Grace Ebert speaks with Jóhannsdóttir about her lighthearted, interactive approach to wearable art, her commitment to making design accessible, and how she envisions a more holistic future for sustainable fashion. 



Jeroen Smeets Shares the Story Behind The Jaunt, the Collaborative Travel Project Sending Artists Around the World

March 10, 2021

Jeroen Smeets is the founder of The Jaunt, an ongoing travel project that sends artists to new destinations around the globe with the goal of producing a single, hand-pulled screenprint. In this conversation with Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, Smeets recounts The Jaunt’s first collaboration, the surprising experiences to come out of the artists’ excursions, and what’s next for the project.



Tonika Johnson Discusses Using Photography as a Starting Point to Explore Chicago’s Ongoing History of Segregation

February 8, 2021

Though not Chicago’s true geographic center, the intersection of Madison and State streets is the central point for the city’s address system. Chicago native Tonika Johnson, however, has been viscerally aware that the north-south dividing line is not a mere postal distinction since she was a teenaged photographer, an experience she discusses in an interview with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete. In the conversation, Johnson speaks to the difference between art and photojournalism, the power of uncomfortable conversations, and why she’s bringing history to light.