We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelby Drabman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelby, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Before I started this business I was constantly making work and experimenting. I could never stop thinking about materials and would experience major anxiety if I couldn’t immediately make what was in my head. I would get up early and hit the studio before and after work. I made it part of my daily routine, even if I just went to my studio to straighten up or stare at something I was in the process of finishing. I could be in the studio all day everyday and since it has become my main source of income i’ve gotten worse at taking breaks. I feel like I have so much energy in the studio that is hard to stop, but i’ve certainly had meltdowns from working too many hours or days in a row. It’s difficult to have a work life balance when you start a business during a pandemic. I think everyone impacted by Covid-19 has had trouble remembering the day of the week, the month, everything. I hope in the next few months I’ll give myself weekends or vacation time, but I truly enjoy the process of making my work and can never wait to get back in the studio.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a textile artist through and through. There have been times in my life where I have veered off the fibers track, but I always come back. I come from an exceptionally creative household, I was raised in a family of artists and teachers that always encouraged me to explore and make work.
I’ve always juggled a professional job and my art practice and I’m proud to have made the leap into working for myself full-time. After 17 jobs it was time to put my part time practice into a full time business and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The business started with lamps and now I make rugs, and it’s the best time i’ve ever had in the studio.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to LA in 2017 and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Some of my favorite places to eat and drink are:
Oriel winebar in Chinatown (beautifully designed with great snacks)
Hinano’s Dive in Venice (a dive bar on the beach that serves excellent grilled cheeses)
Bar Calo in Echo Park (Mezcal bar with great snacks and even better cocktails)
Casita Del Campo in Silverlake (great margs and an insane decor)
Konbi (Japanese breakfast sandos sent down from heaven)
Spicy BBQ (hands down the best Thai food in town and it’s BYOB)
Flaming Tacos Food Truck in Echo Park ( Al Pastor, nuff said)
Speranza (outdoor Italian spot, such a great date spot)
Found Oyster (excellent seafood, counter service)
Tsubaki (Japanese delight)
Meals by Genet (killer Ethiopian Food)
I love going to the beach as often as possible and hitting as many gallery and museum shows as I can when I’m on the West Side. The Hammer Museum, LACMA, David Kordansky Gallery, Art & Practice, The ICA, The Underground Museum, etc.
My favorite evening activity is to go dancing on Saturday Nights at The Echo in Echo Park. Every week they have an event called Funky Sole where they set up DJs inside, and live music outside. it’s the best. It’s only a few blocks from Flaming Taco for your post dance fix.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My partner Nick has been imperative to my success. We’ve collaborated on work and life for over 10 years and I couldn’t be more grateful. Nick is a writer and we discuss our work with each other constantly. We have weekly critiques where i’ll read one of his short stories and he’ll talk to me about whatever piece i’m working on. Pushing each other to go bigger and think outside the box. We’re an exceptional team and I dedicate my shoutout to him.
Leah Ring and Emma Hollan Denvir took the photo of my work with the pool image. I took all other photos