For this month's installment of Denver Made we are excited to welcome back local furniture design duo Fin Art. Fin Art is Rob McGowan and Ben Olson, two friends who grew up in Vail, CO. They started Fin Art about two years ago with the intent of creating a unique style of furniture that combines modern with repurposed materials. With limited formal training in industrial design, they found their own way of building through unconventional methods, which let them work outside of traditional techniques. Their last Denver Made event showcasing their handmade furniture was in October of 2009 and we are excited to see how their work has progressed since then. Recently Rob and Ben took the time to answer a few questions for us in preparation for their Denver Made event Friday April 1st.
(Fin Art, works in progress)
FT: How did you come up with the name Fin Art?
FA: We’re both inspired by coastal lifestyle. We don’t just make furniture; we make unique pieces of functional art, thus the ‘Art’ in Fin Art.
FT: How did you get your start?
FA: After graduating the University of Colorado in Boulder, we moved to Denver to try out ‘city living’. Within the post college lifestyle, we were unable of afford new furniture so we began building our own. The first few pieces we made were built in the back yard of our apartment building. I remember when the weather rolled in we had to move our handsaws and basic tools into a storage shed until the rain passed.
FT: Where do you find the best inspiration for your work?
FA: Much of the inspiration we find is through visiting salvage yards and scrap yards. We look for pieces with an interesting past, usually those with no future at all, and find ways to give them a new life and purpose.
FT: What music do you listen to when you work on your pieces?
FA: Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of Cotton Jones, Real Estate, Theophilius London, Mos Def, and The Cold War Kids. There really isn’t a time when we’re not listening to music.
FT: What would you like people to know about your work/process that isn’t evident when looking at it?
FA: People generally don’t understand the amount of work we put into our pieces. Things take more time than planned, and with using salvaged pieces we find ourselves reworking many of the plans to accommodate the unusual materials we work with.