ESSEN (2002 - )

Essen was started in 2002 in Berkeley, California by Nathaniel Russell and Simone Rubi.
A bond was formed when the two found that their backgrounds in opposing yet complimentary craft
could be merged in order to create a new style of design and lend itself to a more focused way of life.
Essen wants to bring back the element of the human hand in an age of mechanized printing and
mass-marketed consumer culture while utilizing the tools and methods offered by contemporary technologies.
This involves Rubi (who had a background in art direction, music packaging, graphic design with an emphasis in fashion,
web design, gardening, and a love of furniture and twin ESP) and Russell (who had a background in fine art and
printmaking with an emphasis on letterpress and silkscreen) learning from each other's methods and personal
aesthetics while blending the "digital eye with the clumsy hand, embracing the happy accidents and good mistakes."

Since the beginning, their focus has been on limited edition posters, one-of-a-kind handmade art and installation,
murals, wood cut-outs of animals and people, unique graphic and web design, performance haircuts, and song
(both Rubi and Russell write, record, and perform music under the name "Rubies," "Call and Response,"
and "Birds of America" respectively).

Essen is influenced by everything you are: music, design, art, pop culture, and nature.
Essen is trying to explore the meaning and context of craft in today's
artistic and cultural climate.

Essen is an all-encompassing project blurring art, life, and design.
Essen would like to come to your town to sing you songs, make you a poster, and cook you breakfast.

Together and as individuals they have exhibited and performed in museums, galleries, airports, and
nightclubs across the world, with upcoming appearances in Sweden, Norway, Berlin, London, and Paris.



H.D.T.S., 2004
Curated by Andrea Zittel
Joshua Tree, Ca.
on-site installation

Liminal Gallery, 2004
print exhibition

Buffalo Gallery, 2005
Ventura, Ca.
print exhibition, music performance

Junior Gallery, 2006
Cincinnati, Oh.
print exhibition, installation, music performance

Maude Carrin Gallery, 2006
Los Angeles, Ca.
print exhibition, installation, music performance

Sweatshop Inc. Gallery, 2006
Seattle, Wa.
print exhibition, installation, music performance


William Sonoma
Guitar Center
Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, TX
Fernwood Resort, Big Sur, Ca.
Ballroom Gallery, Marfa, TX
Mollusk Surf Shop/Gallery, S.F., Ca.
Center for Resource Solutions
Sal Owen Photography
Modern Twist Inc.
Dwell Magazine
Arthur Magazine
Stop Smiling Magazine
Nylon Magazine
Mademoiselle Magazine
Santa Barbara Promotions
Emperor Norton Records
Ryko Disc
Breathless Records


Kings Of Convenience
Devendra Banhart
Grizzly Bear
Animal Collective
Jose Gonzales
Trans Am
Sea and Cake
Bonnie Prince Billy
Little Wings
Call and Response
Badman Recording Co.
Polydor Records
Universal Music Inc.
Water Records
Secretly Canadian Records
Birdman Records