Sasha: Nomadique was born as my friends and I were graduating, and realizing that we needed an outlet to keep meeting to talk about our work—holding ourselves accountable to finishing our projects, as well as making new, meaningful connections. The shape of it has changed over time but I think the general ethos has been, How do we cultivate and grow our widespread community in New York when everyone is so busy?
Mo: How have you navigated around that?
Sasha: The Artist Workshop Dinner series that we've been running for almost 7 years now has been one of the ways. Every month, It’s a scramble to figure out a date when people are available to help set up and cook and to find an artist to feature who we're all excited about. It always comes together a week in advance, sometimes less. Every time we pull it off I feel so accomplished. It's been really important to me to push for it to happen, because I realize that personally I need some kind of consistency in my life amidst the freelancer chaos, especially as it relates to my artistic community here. Knowing that I'll be in a certain place every month and that there will be a new person whose work we can all be inspired by is so special to me. I love having new people to feed, too. [both laughing]
Mo: I mean, what else brings people together so organically other than food and drinks?
Sasha: We got deeply lucky about two years ago when we met Justin Wee, who's a great photographer and also happens to be an incredible chef. He was excited about this community and started heading up the cooking, and that’s really become his baby. That really elevated the experience; he's so intentional about it and the food is so damn good.
Sasha: He’s someone I’m so grateful for [because] we can offer people experience that is not only really intentional from an artistic standpoint but also from a culinary standpoint. That doesn’t answer your question at all actually but food, to me, is just the best way to connect people. The rest is about people being there to truly listen to each other. I think the context of people being connected to the arts creates a level of comfort too.
Mo: What has surprised you the most from doing this?
Sasha: My excitement really renewed last fall. We shifted focus from Works in Progress showings to Artist Talks, and the new structure led to a more concentrated effort of bringing in new presenters—researching more, scouting shows to find people. I think, similarly to you when you said earlier how you’re surprised when people agree to do the interviews, I get so invigorated when new artists whose work I have recently come across will come to dinner or agree to give a presentation. It means so much that people are willing to be generous, to watch people get to know each other in that way.
Sasha: At this stage, the main way I’ve been able to learn new skills is by throwing myself into something and doing it. The space of the dinners has taught me a bit of a curatorial practice which gave me confidence to reach out to people whose work I love; this helped me grow as a person in general—it also spiraled outward to themed exhibitions that we put on as a group. There was so much born there. And I think that’s been the case for other people involved, too. There have been collaborations and even new relationships born at our table.