Dayna Melton and Bethany Putnam became roommates after completing the visual arts program at Kennesaw State University. Bethany obtained a B.S. is in Art and Psychology, while Dayna studied drawing and painting, obtaining her BFA and now works at Young Blood Gallery, a hot spot for new artists and vendors in the ATL.
The ladies share a love of vintage and antiques – they are both passionate about local artists and their projects. But it wasn’t until this year that the two friends became partners-in-crime, creatively speaking.
With their snazzy little flasks – Foxboxes, they officially embarked on the Atlanta art scene in February. By taking mid-century Life magazines and atlases – nifty images are preserved and repurposed in their uniquely decorated flasks. Pictures, ads and maps are combined with creative commentary and lovingly finished in the girls’ apartment. Now you can have your vintage quirks, and drink from them too.
CommonCreativ spoke with the gals to get the scoop on their flasks and the thrill of the picture hunt and where they go for their creative fix.
CommonCreativ: Why did flasks pique your interest?
Dayna Melton: Working at Young Blood, I notice what products come and go. Flasks always are a good seller – perfect for gifts! We might expand eventually, but for now flasks are our focus.
Bethany Putnam: I love making various kinds of artwork, but here we literally bring our artwork to the lips of the masses. We get to infuse a little bit of creativity into an ordinary object and that’s pretty great.
CC: What is your favorite part of creating the flasks?
Dayna: Going through the magazines and reading the old articles. Today’s magazines and newspapers seem more censored than they were back then. There is so much history it almost pains me to cut them up. We have thought about copying the images to preserve the magazines – but clipping them out makes them special and unique.
Bethany: Making flasks is a lot like painting for me. You can stare and stare at the image you want to paint, but have no idea how you’re going to get there. Eventually – it clicks. With our flasks we have so many images and great ads we’ve found – it’s easy to get lost in it all. When we really get into the flow of things, it just comes naturally. A constant “ah ha” moment. Nothing really tops that.
Dayna: The unintentional humor in the advertisements. They are so ridiculously quirky and odd! I am a big fan of classic pin ups and we find that kind of imagery a lot.
Bethany: I really love the history of it all. Seeing how much times have changed. Especially the advertisements geared toward women – they focus on cooking, cleaning, and taking care of your appearance; I can’t help but be proud of how far we’ve come. But there is something charming about the classic style those pin-up gals embodied.
CC: What are your thoughts on the current Atlanta creative scene?
Dayna: Driven. Innovative. And supportive. The cool thing about Atlanta is it’s not really a small or a huge city; everyone has this amazing access to a giant art network. The galleries support each other and the local artists too. It’s like a huge family full of distant cousins and godparents – that actually like each other.
Bethany: Thriving – there are so many talented artists constantly producing new and innovative work. We aren’t New York or LA. We don’t automatically get the world’s attention; we have to fight for it and that keeps us passionate.
CC: Do you have any favorite local artists?
Dayna: I have a bit of an eclectic mix of favorites: Kenn Two Four, Mike Germon, Johnathan Welsh, Trek Matthews, and Ryan Flynn.
Bethany: Some of my favorites are Johnathan Welsh, Kelly McKernan, and Marcy Stars.
CC: Are there any local projects you’re keeping tabs on?
Dayna: I am really interested in Living Walls Atlanta. Their goal is to engage the public via street art. I love seeing what artists they bring in next because each one is so different. Living Walls is making the “dirty south” alive and beautiful. It’s always better to look at large scale art than a run down building wall, right?
Bethany: I am big fan of Dashboard Co-Op, a non-profit group whose mission is to inspire neighborhood development and cultural awareness. They tirelessly work to secure non-traditional spaces to make art accessible to broad audiences around the city. And the art they show is generally made by Atlanta’s emerging artists – allowing them to get exposure. This group helps the city and its artists so much. You can’t help but be inspired by them.
CC: Where do you go to see up-and-coming art in Atlanta?
Dayna: Any of the galleries on Ponce Crush are amazing: Young Blood, Beep Beep, Kibbee. Hit them all in one night and you’ll surely get your fill! Mint Gallery is another one of my favorites for local affordable artists. It can be a hard to find, tucked away in a little warehouse building, but it’s worth the search. They also do a little thing called Leap Year: a mentoring program to local artists. See what I mean about the support?
Bethany: Dashboard-curated shows, and WonderRoot. I love catching an artist early in their career and watch them grow. It’s like your own discovery, and you’re excited over every success because you supported them from the beginning. Not to mention many of our artists are so down to earth, they’d be more than happy to sit and chat with you at a show. Finding art that moves you and talking with the person that created it. It doesn’t get any better than that.