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Art & Life with Julian Secomb

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julian Secomb.

Julian, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in Tucson as a pretty analytical, academic-minded kid. School was never really a passion of mine, but it came easily. It just felt like the natural progression for me was to do well academically, study business in college and then get a well-paying office job.

So that’s what I did. I graduated from the U of A in 2012 and moved to Sydney, Australia where I began working as an economic consultant. On paper it looked good, but it quickly became unsatisfying. My daylight hours were spent manipulating spreadsheets and reading hundreds of pages of regulatory documents. I felt zero emotional connection to what I was doing and as if on some gut level I was wasting away the best years of my life. Without any kind of plan, I quit my job and moved back to Tucson. (At 23, I had a possibly unrealistic faith that things would just work out somehow.)

Back in Tucson, I used the savings from my job to focus on finding something that I could feel good about spending my life doing. Like many people, I found satisfaction in working with my hands. After making a simple chair with plywood and a jigsaw, I became hooked on woodworking. I took a job at a local woodworking store making $9/hour (a quarter of my previous salary) and began learning the trade. I started taking small custom jobs and the hobby grew into a profession. After a couple of years, I began fabricating custom airplane interiors for the ultra-wealthy at Bombardier Aerospace. Using the skills I learned there, I started designing and fabricating my own furniture collections, eventually founding Turntable Furniture in 2018.

Since then it’s been pretty full on. I work harder than I had ever planned to and come home every night covered in sawdust. Sometimes my designs are five times harder to build than I had imagined and occasionally a custom project makes almost no profit. Still, there is always satisfaction in the work. It feels meaningful to bring an idea to existence in the physical world, especially when the result is a beautiful piece of furniture that a client will use every day. I plan to keep building furniture as long as I can.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I design and build furniture. I take my inspiration from everything I see: architecture, walks in the desert, the way the lines painted on the street diverge as they approach a median. The challenge is to synthesize these ideas into a design that feels cohesive and also addresses the practical needs of the client. I like to think of my furniture pieces as small buildings in a different, more beautiful world. My hope is to spark the imaginations of the people who see and use my furniture. I want them to bring that sense of imagination into the way they design their own lives.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Being an artist is tough. To succeed, you have to be your own manager, accountant, marketer and fabricator, all while maintaining your creative drive to produce new work. In the age of Amazon, people expect to be able to buy almost anything for a jaw-droppingly low price and have it shipped to them for free in two days. As a maker of physical objects, it is my job to communicate that it is worthwhile to buy something slower and more expensive that is made by a real person in your community. The quality difference and emotional return from owning something made with care is real and can be felt in a tactile way. I encourage cities to foster connections between makers and the community to help people to understand and feel that.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a showroom at the Mercado San Agustin Annex in Tucson. My current collection is available for sale at turntablefurniture.com. I also love to hear from anyone who wants to collaborate with me on a custom project. Check out my Instagram for the day to day work and fun that goes on at Turntable Furniture.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Julian Secomb

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