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A graphic designer from Brooklyn with a predilection for the great beyond, Alexandra Rubin has channeled her love of space into art. Armed with her experience at NASA and skills developed at RISD Alexandra started Stars and Space, which captures little pieces of space in tangible products like star boxes and moon samples.
Read more about what Alexandra is up to in Brooklyn and get inspired by her love of stars and space.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a star gazer and an artist with a passion for science. I want to capture the beauty of the universe in my work. During my college years, I worked at NASA where I launched my own design projects that provided a new perspective on advertising at Kennedy Space Center. When the space shuttle program ended, I started this business called Stars & Space, which curates a range of my work that highlights NASA’s accomplishments.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I grew up in South Florida, and I currently live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. Moving up north was a big change in weather for me, but I love the change of seasons. In general, I enjoy the progressive nature of New York and the culture here.
What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
Everyone is nice and friendly here. There are always new stores opening up, and I always know they will be innovative and tasteful. I also love the italian influence in Carroll Gardens. From the incredible restaurants and shops, to the creativity, the people here are very dynamic and filled with a positive energy.
What is your favorite place to go locally to discover hidden treasures.
I always find something beautiful and at a reasonable price in the antique stores on Court Street.
What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
Space Collective, Swiss-Miss, NotCot, NASA and Carl Sagan just to name a few. NotCot.org is a great source of innovative and unique art that ranges from architecture, product design, graphic design, to fashion. Everything is cutting edge and smart. Carl Sagan is just inspiring, period.
As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs? Stories please!
As a kid, I had a beautiful doll collection that my Aunts would give me from France and Germany. My Mom also collected beautiful miniature tea sets that were hand painted. She gave me quite a few and I love how tiny they are!
Today, how often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? What is your modus operandi? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
I love to be outside in the sunshine, especially in the summer time, so I am often wandering around where ever, and will stumble upon a great street fair. I always like to try new things, so I don’t have one particular place. I did find the Dekalb Market to be interesting with how they transformed large plastic crates into pop up shops. I thought that was very clever. There are quite a few nicely curated antique shops that I love to check out on the weekends. Anything with a sense of worn quality to it, that has a history, and was once someone else’s treasure, always fascinates me. I love the aesthetic of it.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
While I was in art school at RISD I would find things on the ground and incorporate them into my collage paintings. I would take used ordinary objects, or things with mystery, and tell a story with the them in my paintings. I didn’t have much money in college, so one year I decided to make paintings on cardboard instead of canvas. They actually turned out quite beautiful. Cardboard is a very flexible material and you can do a lot with it for texture and layering colors of paint.
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
I would say I am somewhere in between. I like to have enough furniture and decoration that gives my space a sense of warmth and comfort. I can’t tolerate clutter, I like to keep things simple.
What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
My most treasured item is a small painting of about 2 x 2 inches, given to me by my mother. She bought this painting while she was living in Germany many years ago. In the painting there is a woman taking a nap under a tree in a field with flowers. The painting is naive and charming. I think a lot of it has to do with the size. This painting is what inspired me to create my starboxes at a small scale. I want you to be able to hold the universe in the palm of your hand.
Do you create/make things? What are you working on these days?
I continue to work on new star boxes, and am also coming out with a line of space jewelry. There will be a range of starbox necklaces, to space charms for both men and women. Stay tuned!
By the way, what’s your day job?
During the day I work at a design company called Beardwood & Co. We are a small company that focus on design and strategy for packaging and branding. I love the people I work with, and I think everyone is unique and extremely talented. We all have a variety of hobbies and interests, and are very supportive of each other. Our interests reflect our “dreamjob” and mine is pretty obvious, an Astronaut.
Thanks Alexandra! Happy star-gazing!
The Short List
Dekalb Market, 138 Willoughby St. (at Flatbush Ave), Brooklyn, NY