A few weeks back, I was invited to a make-shift gallery event in Bed-Stuy for an up and coming artist collective called NO MAYO. They embrace the famous rule of Malcolm Gladwell wholeheartedly that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at your craft. But before you start doing the math in your head to figure out how long that would take, allow me to explain. Gladwell is simply saying that you should know your worth as an artist. People see your end product but they have no idea how many hours of sleep you lost, how many events you had to miss, and that you maybe used your last dollars on supplies to create that piece and went hungry that night. The struggle is indeed real!
The art was incredible. One of the artists, Zahyr, does these intricate geometric paper designs that were used all along the hallway as wallpaper in “The Cocoon”. It was so detailed and well-executed that you would never know that it was hand-drawn.
I also had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down with the creative director of NO MAYO, Kiesh, to get to know the woman behind the brand. Here’s some excerpts from our conversation:
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself – the woman behind the brand
Kiesh: I’m quite simple, to be honest. I’m a consistent person that loves to make art. Give me a pen and some idle time and you’ll find me drawing. I’ve been blessed with an amazing circle of friends that push and support me. I’m a creative director at HEADS Music by day, which is my dream job. I live life lightly and feel everything completely. I’m a happy spirit and I think that welcomes inspiration to be fluid. God, this feels like a dating site bio now, haha.
Me: What made you decide to start NO MAYO?
Kiesh: NO MAYO was the product of my quarter life crisis. I realized I was a cog in corporate america and needed an outlet. NO MAYO became the most beautiful outlet.
Me: How did you come up with the name? It’s so interesting!
Kiesh: Thank you. The name came after the brand was established. I knew the mission, but the name was the hardest part. I went to get a bodega sandwich one day during this process and the guy automatically put mayo on it, without me asking. It suddenly hit me that if you want things done the way you want them done, say NO MAYO. I ran with it from there.
Me: What’s your inspiration?
Kiesh: My inspiration is life, especially in it’s rawest forms. The little idiosyncrasies of everyday people that I peep. The relentless and endless shapes of nature. Conversations with friends about ideas. And showers. Showers inspire me so much. When I’m in a creative bind, I’ll take a shower with the intent to brainstorm and typically come out with an idea to run with.
Me: If you had to describe NO MAYO using one word, what would it be?
Me: At the make-shift gallery event, your family was there (your mom is so sweet by the way). How important was/is it to you to have their support?
Kiesh: (thank you!! x) Having my family at the Make-Shift Gallery was very important. We immigrated to this country from England and struggled to make a life in Florida. My parent’s work ethic was instilled in me, and I became the first person in my family to graduate from college. Allowing them to see the life I have built for myself in Brooklyn and the business I’m growing myself validated my parent’s decision, to some degree, to move to this country. That’s a good feeling.
Pictured: Kiesh’s brother and sister-in-law rocking some of the NO MAYO apparel at the event. Family is everything!
Me: Which do you like doing more for No Mayo, the art or the clothing design? Why?
Kiesh: I love art. I’ve always done it even when I didn’t know what to call it. The clothes come from the art, but the art is always first. It’s freedom without solid criticism. The clothes allow more biases, but I love the gear I’ve given to the world.
Me: Where do you see No Mayo going in the future? Where do you see yourself going in the future?
Kiesh: I see NO MAYO becoming a community of creatives and a resource for that community. Clothing is a part of NO MAYO but not completely us. We want to be a force within the creative industry that people rely on for experiential events, dope projects, and amazing clothing.
Make sure to check out NO MAYO on the interwebs and on social media. They are definitely artists to watch!
And I’m obsessed with my “Classic” hat. People have been asking me where I got it when I’m out and about in the city. Can you make it in black too, Kiesh??