For our April 2017 issue, we examine how creatives are remaking the Queen city.
Ages: 34, 35
Company: Reverb Art + Design. “To symbolize our belief in the power of individual action having lasting, outward impact,” says Michelle.
Jobs: Principal and creative director; principal and chief communications officer
The goal: Merge contemporary art and design with politics and the community. “We certainly have mainstream design and communications clients,” says Leo. “But we also have a strong gallery focus where we draw in young, up-and-coming artists—often women and people of color—from around the country.”
The gig: Michelle’s the creative lead, and a practicing studio artist. Leo’s the wordsmith, and coordinates what’s happening in the studio and gallery based on what’s happening in the world outside.
On staying relevant: “There’s so much going on in the world that isn’t right. Creatives have always been among the most well-positioned social critics. Almost by nature we don’t accept the status quo,” says Leo. “So, if you’re a creative, you had better figure out something to say about the world. Otherwise, what are you even doing?”
Their advice: “You can’t do it all, and that is OK. Recognize your strengths and learn to accept—and request—help when you need it,” says Michelle. “Find mentors, cultivate community, have a perspective. Nobody does anything but through the helping hands of others. The trick is to enter into a conversation that’s already happening, and to do so with grace,” adds Leo. Also: “Take time off. Building downtime into our work is essential for staving off creative burnout,” he says.