We’re looking forward to a fabulous fall working with the equally fabulous duo behind the magic that is Madcap Cottage – Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke! Keep an eye out for some exciting happenings between steve mckenzie’s and Madcap Cottage, taking place soon. In the meantime, enjoy getting to know one of the madcaps, Jason Oliver Nixon in our latest “Who you NEED to Meet” installment…
John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon are the dynamic duo behind North Carolina- and New York-based interior design firm, Madcap Cottage. Known for their whimsical use of color and pattern, the Madcap gents—along with their pound-rescue posse, Jasper, Weenie, and Amy Petunia—scour the world for eclectic finds that capture their unique and gimlet-eyed viewpoint. Imagine a British country house that pairs Granny’s antiques and a spirited dash of Chinoiserie chic with a dash of Morocco-meets-India élan. Shake, stir, then pour.
steve mckenzie’s: Will you please share a bit about your background/how you and John started Madcap Cottage and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?
Jason Nixon: John and I both come from backgrounds as magazine editors and television producers, we really see ourselves as storytellers. In our previous lives, we produced, styled, and wrote stories, and at a certain point we asked, Why are we writing about everyone else? We started the design business and the first project we crafted was snapped up by a magazine, and the phone started ringing and we were off and running. We kept the day job as long as we could, and then took the plunge. We are thrilled to have 4-5 interior design projects each year and to have moved into the realm of product development–from fabric and bedding to window treatments, wallpaper, and wall art.
sm’s: What inspires you and John/your work?
JN: Travel is a huge part of our world, and we carry sketch books and diaries when we travel and document our adventures. We find inspiration everywhere we go–from Iowa to India. We also lap up great homes and gardens as well as vintage movies and design books. The legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland once said, “The eye has to travel,” and we couldn’t agree more.
sm’s: What is your vision, not only for the Madcap Cottage brand, but also the individual designs/products you create??
JN: We want to create designs that make you dream–but that are also attainable and affordable. We believe that good design should be available to all. Everything that we do is hand touched, sketched, and painted, whether that is a 40,000-square-foot home or a bedding collection for Home Shopping Network. Our goal is to be a lifestyle destination such as Laura Ashley back in the day.
sm’s: Do you have any “mainstays” in your work – is there something you’re always drawn to?
JN: Of course, we are smitten with prints and patterns and offer opportunities for consumers to bring florals, graphics, stripes, and more into their lives–from baby steps to all-in. Think a classic, relaxed American sensibility paired with an English vibe, and that’s our vibe. Timeless. Sophisticated. And fun. We always have vintage and antique pieces in our design projects and offer surprise-and-delight details such as contrast welting and buttons, unexpected matting and frame treatments, and more.
sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique pieces that remain a part of the Madcap Cottage family?
JN: John and I craft colors and patterns that run between our various fabric collections to give tools that allow designers and consumers to connect the dots easily. We layer-in new colors in each collection that adds a further storyline and moves the adventure forward. Each collection takes you on a new journey: We think of each collection as a chapter in a book that moves the story along.
sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase a Madcap Cottage design?
JN: Nothing! Dive in. We give you the tools to bring the adventure home.
sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you and John/Madcap Cottage?
JN: Lighting! Rugs! Fashion accessories! Paper products! And maybe a TV presence. And we would love to start another book project.
sm’s: As artists/business people how do you recharge?
JN: We love hanging out with our three pound-rescue pups and lounge about with them and read books on the weekend. We also love having friends over for long, boozy dinner parties. And gardening is our favorite hobby
sm’s: Anything else you can think our readers would enjoy learning about you and John/your business/designs?
JN: We believe that design should be fun and put a smile upon your face.
Smiles and fun are absolutely what design should be about. Cheers to the men of Madcap and all the fun and smiles we have planned in the upcoming months! And a big thank you to Jason Oliver Nixon for participating in our “Who you NEED to meet” feature!
Next week, Steve and Jill will be hosting an extremely talented group of design industry insiders at the West Coast Art & Frame expo in Las Vegas!
This “bloggers tour” is comprised of four design tastemakers who all understand the importance of art in a home, and who are looking to learn more about what’s new in the world of art and framing, as well as share a bit about their unique perspectives on art and framing…
We are absolutely thrilled about this lineup and encourage you to follow everyone here on social media, so you may be a part of this event, and take advantage of all we see and learn along the way!
In addition to hosting this fabulous crew of bloggers, Steve will also be an educator at the expo. As a longtime member of the art and framing industry – his former gig was serving as Chief Designer for Larson-Juhl for the last 20 years, and as CEO for the past decade – he’s looking forward to sharing his thoughts on small business success and his favorite, mid-century modern design during two sessions at the expo.
If you’ll be at the WCAF expo, consider attending one of Steve’s classes. And if not, please keep an eye out for a recap of this exciting trip! Viva Last Vegas!!
About Nick Cave:
Nick Cave is an African-American artist and dancer, famous for his embellished costumes, called Soundsuits, which he often stages in public spectacle. Though influenced by a vibrant palette of African art, armor, found objects, fashion and textile design, the Soundsuits are rooted in social critique. Cave first created a suit in the aftermath of the Rodney King beatings in 1991, envisioning an emotional shield that protects one’s race or gender while still expressing individuality.
And we’re so lucky to have the opportunity to experience the art of Nick Cave in Atlanta! Our friend and talented designer, Kristen V. Cahill, met Nick Cave at Art Basel Miami in 2012 and has been working ever since to bring his work to our city, through Flux Projects.
Kristen is a member of the board for Flux Projects, and works with other members to bring new art and cultural experiences for us to enjoy right here in our city!
Here’s some info on Nick’s upcoming performances:
Up Right: Atlanta is a “call to arms, head and heart” for Cave initiates—the lead characters of this work. Through the performance, they are prepared mind, body and spirit to face the forces that stand in the way of self-hood, to enter a world over which they have complete control. Initiates become warriors of their own destiny. Cave is working with T. Lang, assistant professor of dance at Spelman College and artistic director of T. Lang Dance.
And if the ticket reservations and images associated with this performance’s promotion are any indication, it is not to be missed! The performances, starting today and over the next two days at Ponce City Market, are actually already sold out, but, as with many free performances, spaces may become available as reservation holders don’t show up, so consider coming out! In addition, Nick is preparing for future performances at his alma mater, the Cranbrook Academy for Art in Detroit.
If you’ll be missing out on this performance, Flux Projects is always working to bring innovative and captivating art-centered events to Atlanta, so be sure to subscribe to their mailing list. And mark your calendars for the next Flux Night, a night of art and experimentation, taking place October 5, 2015.
Here’s Flux Project’s mission:
Flux Projects produces exceptional and surprising temporary public art to galvanize Atlanta’s cultural curiosity.
We aspire to produce the most innovative art experiences in the world. We provide contemporary artists with financial, production, and marketing support to create aesthetically and conceptually rich work. These projects engage people in their daily lives, outside of traditional arts venues, and instill a sense of wonder. Our projects last from a few hours to a few months and demand the scale, duration, and visibility required to have a meaningful impact on a broad audience.
We seed Atlanta with creativity to foster cultural curiosity and a spirit of experimentation. We shift perceptions of people inside and outside the city to see the creative energy that is already here and imagine a future where that creativity is central to Atlanta’s official identity. We seek an ecosystem of risk-taking artists and an engaged audience that desires and supports innovative works of public art.
We’re all about that – a BIG thank you to Flux Projects for introducing us to the work of Nick Cave and for all you do for Atlanta!