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Two-person team made up of truly creative craftsmen, Fresh.Dust LA is the flyest design-build shop out there. Marcus Bailey and Kerry Bailey are cousins from a family of builders and quickly learned how to work with their hands growing up. Kerry’s formal background is in Studio Arts and Graphic Design, and Marcus has his degree in Business. They’ve had some time to learn what they’re good at and what they enjoy, and now they’re able to come together to build everything from So Fresh + So Clean coffee tables to Rustic Modern benches.
“We’re a couple of lucky guys who figured out what we really love to do – to get to work with our minds and hands every day and to be able to flow back and forth between them,” said Marcus, a DJ-turned-designer who keeps his workshop as fresh as his music and furniture. In fact, there’s always something playing in the background at Fresh.Dust. From hip hop and indie to jazz and house, the music depends on what Marcus and Kerry are working on and the vibe of the day. If not music, you’ll hear Ted Talks in the background, motivational clips from YouTube, a friendly debate between the friends discussing a current event, or just general “chop bustin,'” as they call it.
Krrb was lucky enough to catch up with Marcus between political debates and the busting of Kerry’s chops to discover a little bit about the LA neighborhood that feeds their energy, the shop that they call home these days and the passion and history they’re made of. We call the interview food, shelter and water, and they, as per usual, call it a good time – with swagger.
Their Creative Food – Venice, California
“We are so lucky to be in a place as creative and free spirited as Venice. It’s changing, and there are all sorts of opinions about that, but there’s an undeniably present, creative energy all around.”
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Venice?
We both grew up here in LA. I moved to Philadelphia with a company I was working for back in ’08, returning to LA in 2014. When I moved back here, one of the primary reasons was for us to link up to do what we love. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to carry this out, but I went to a birthday dinner here in Venice on Abbot Kinney one night. I walked up and down a couple of blocks, looking into the restaurants and stores. What I’d been feeling – the look and feel that’s now the heartbeat of Fresh.Dust – had manifested everywhere. One walk, and I knew it was the place I needed to be. The rest was just making it happen.
What is the most awesome thing in or about the neighborhood of Venice?
Wow, where do we start? We are so lucky to be in a place as creative and free spirited as Venice. It’s changing, and there are all sorts of opinions about that, which actually make for interesting conversations and history lessons, but there’s an undeniably present, creative energy all around.
The murals! The murals out here are so dope, and they can pop up or change so quickly. This has to be some of the best street art in the world right here. And people seem so open to work with, learn from, or help each other do their thing, whatever that may be. You can take a random walk down almost any street, and if your eyes are open, chances are you’ll find inspiration before you’ve circled back. Oh yeah…let’s not forget there’s the beach!
What is your favorite place to discover local treasures in Venice?
I just popped into the recently opened Vintage Link for the first time the other day, and they had some great stuff at what I thought were really reasonable prices. They’re connected to Venice Vintage Paradise, another great spot. Merchant Modern isn’t too far north in Santa Monica and has some really talented makers and artists featured there. Their store nails a Mid-Century x Boho Chic vibe like few others (disclosure – we have artwork there and have done a couple of small installations). The Mart Collective is a huge space that is broken down into a bunch of smaller “shops” staged by different sellers. There’s some really good stuff in there, too.
Their Creative Shelter – Fresh.Dust LA
“[Kerry’s] grandmother still reminds us of how we saw-dusted the hell out of her garage back in the day! We are grateful to have this space to create, and we are making the most of it.”
How do you define ‘home?’
These days, the Fresh.Dust shop is home. There is so much that we want to get to, so many things that we want to make. We both have a lot of energy for this. We didn’t always have a shop. In fact, we’ve done some crazy projects wherever we could find the space to set the saws up. His grandmother still reminds us of how we saw-dusted the hell out of her garage back in the day! We are grateful to have the space to create, and we are making the most of it.
You share this shop with your cousin, Kerry. In this way that Fresh.Dust is home, you guys are roommates. Tell me a bit about him.
Kerry has always been creative – it took me a bit longer to tap into that. He’s been my number one influence in that regard. He was also the guy who “dressed weird” before it was cool to dress weird. He took some heat when we were kids for being into things that weren’t popular amongst his peers. But he never let that stop him, and it shows how he carries himself and the things that come from his mind. He just sees things differently than most and has that flavor. I really admire the man, and I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s also very active with the Boy Scouts, volunteering his time there weekly, and isn’t too bad on a Mountain Bike, either.
Their Creative Water – Passion
“We see the world through a similar lens – everyone has something inside them that they are meant to hone and sharpen. The hard part is staying true and listening to what that is and then chasing the rabbit, so to speak. Both of us have an ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’ attitude, and we push each other mentally, physically, creatively.”
Where do you go within yourself when it’s time to create?
We look for the beauty in simple things. You can make something beautiful from very humble material if you look beyond utility, a rough outer layer and allow yourself to be creative. When you train your eye to see things that way, life can feel so enriched. This idea has a lot to do with how we design and build. We take old, reclaimed material and try to make something new and fresh with it. That’s Fresh.Dust.
Time for a session of Q&A. As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs?
MB: I was the oldest in my family, so I don’t remember a whole lot of hand me down stuff…definitely more fresh, less dust. I was a fortunate little guy.
KB: Clothes and toys not so much, but my dad would never let us purchase things unless they were either on sale or very cheap. He really emphasized on being resourceful and making things that are overlooked cool. Our bikes were never bought but individually put together from parts he would get cheaply and then turn them into the coolest bike ever! One year he made me and my sister bikes for Christmas gifts. Needless to say they were so cool both were stolen within a month! This really played a big part in me being able to take something that can be overlooked and make it into a piece of art.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street/dumpster?
MB: Heck yeah, my eagle eye is always on point! I’ll just pick a favorite for this one. Riding down a small road outside Philly, I spotted a full set of Hans Wegner dining chairs lined up along the curb. I made a quick, semi-legal u-turn and knocked on the door to ask about them. I was told they were old, out of style and that nobody wanted stuff like that. “Take ‘em. Please.” They were in near mint condition. When you get a gift, smile and say thank you.
KB: Yes!!! Sometimes people give or get rid of things that are trash in some eyes and treasures in others. I recently wanted to go and buy two canvases to paint for the weekend and was driving on my block when I saw two framed paintings. The frames were oak and in excellent condition. While the paintings were horrible, I just covered it with a fresh coat and created two new masterpieces. Talk about luck of the draw!
Most cherished object you possess?
MB: Definitely Dad’s tools, I use something he used to build with almost every day.
KB: This would have to be a very old school liquor bottle I inherited from our grandfather after he passed away. This bottle is very weird in nature but extremely funny when you take a look at it. It’s a black-looking pirate bottle with a white skull, and a cork for a top. And it reads, “Death to those who touch the old man’s stash.” I have it displayed, and my wife hates it!
Thanks, Marcus and Kerry! Keep it fresh xx