Anti-Depressive Living

Jonathan Adler + Simon DoonanJonathan Adler + Simon Doonan

Iconic potter, designer, author and the colorful personality Jonathan Adler is dedicated to bring style, craft and joy to your life. This Tuesday he came to Oslo with his fabulous husband Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador at Barneys, New York. Anti did the PR, but luckily I also got ten minutes with them to talk a little about creativity and everlasting love.

Back in 1994 a shy, nervous man at 27 walk through the door at Barneys, NY, with his very first ceramic collection, hoping they would sell it. This was after being fired from five jobs in the movie business (mainly because of his bad attitude and the fact that he slept with his coworkers), and many years after his first meeting with clay.

Jonathan: It all started at summer camp when I was twelve. I fell instantly in love with clay.. and my pottery teacher. Laughing. 

Jonathan Adler + Simon Doonan

Have you ever regret that you tried the movie business before you went all in as a potter?

J: No, not at all. It was good for me to be unemployed. It made me desperate and determent. I learned a lot.

So, what was your biggest dreams as a child?

J: I come from a creative family. I dreamt big, but I never thought that it would be possible to be as successful as I am now. There are many good creatives out there, very few can make a living out of it.

Simon: We saw a lady that knitted on the tram from Grünerløkka. She was so good, but it was probably not her source of income. We are very very lucky!

Simon Doonan worked as creative director at Barneys for 30 years, now he’s an author and has written several books and columns. Jonathan and Simon met in 1994 on a blind date, set up by their friend Gerard.

S: We met on a restaurant down town. I liked Jonathan a lot, but it wasn’t until Gerard told me that Jonny liked me too, that I allowed my self to know and feel what I felt. I was sure he thought I was old and boring.

J: And I did. But I liked him.

Milla Åpning Aker Brygge

20 years later they’re happily married. They’ve been through a lot together and has now a large New York apartment, a Scandinavian inspired summerhouse in the Hamptons and a dog (which they are totally obsessed about) called Liberace.

Please describe your journey together.

J: Very interesting! It has defiantly been fun, with lots of joy and happiness, but much has happened work wise as well.

S: Jonny is much more creative now than when I first met him. He used to wear rollerblades and do his pottery in a creative collective. I’ve seen him grow.

Even though both are very creative in different departments, they have no trouble finding time for each other. They are very structured and love spending time in they’re happy and colorful home in New York, where they watch a lot of TV and play PingPong. Jonathan has written several books about interior design, one of them is called «My prescription for Anti-Depressive Living»

What do you think is the correlation between a happy life and a home?

J: Totally linked! You can tell if someone is happy through their home. It can be chic and pulled together, but it should also have a level of life!

S: It has to be a little bit fucked up.

J: Yeah! A little bit fucked up, a little bit lived and colorful! I try to ad flavor and glamour to peoples life through my design.
Milla Åpning Aker BryggeMilla Åpning Aker Brygge

The pureness of scandinavian design has always been Jonathan’s main inspiration. Scandinavians tend to use a lot of white and neutral colors and he likes that, but wouldn’t mind to mix it with some colors.

J: Just ad a little pop of color! Or gold! Paint your front door orange! As long as you keep it elegant – elegant is always something to strive for. People look at my things as fun. The only way things can be fun is when something is elegant.

Any last words for young creatives?

Jonathan: Be patient and get a day job.

S: Don’t assume you’re going to make a living out of it, just enjoy it and be creative! It will probably not make you rich, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! It doesn’t matter if you have to work at a renting company as long as you can go home and paint in the evening.

Jonathan, if not pottery, then what?

J: Then I would probably be a homeless prostitute.

S: A retired prostitute, darling!

Both laughing.

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