A New Way to Wallpaper
How Tracy Hiner of Black Crow Studios is revolutionizing a centuries-old tradition.
There’s often an audible gasp when people first see Tracy Hiner’s wallpaper designs. And it’s completely understandable. From her Long Beach workshop, Black Crow Studios, she is producing some of the most extraordinary patterns and colorations. Most recently, it’s her Dystopian Opulence collection, “a futuristic take on minerals,” she explains. “As an artist, I am always influenced by what is happening in the world. This collection is a manifestation of all the despair, frustration and sadness of where the world is going, along with the beauty and majesty of the Earth and what She can create.” Tracy also recently began a partnership with furniture company A. Rudin, who is now carrying her full range of product. Read on to learn more about everything she’s doing—plus, she’s shared her thoughts on Salone del Mobile 2019. We were thrilled to have her with us, and to have Black Crow Studios as one of our trip sponsors!
SD: Congratulations on A. Rudin! How did that come about?
TH: It was Ginna Christensen of GC Collaborative that introduced me to the idea of working with them. I’ve been approached by showrooms many times over the years and it just never felt like the right time or the right fit. Ginna insisted that I meet with them. She knows me really well, so I listened. Spencer and Evan Rudin came down to my studio and we just hit it off right away. I was sold on working with them immediately. I felt like we were all on the same page, from art and music to where the industry is going. They really got what we do and appreciated the amount of detail and care we give every single project because they do the same with their products. We’ve officially launched the product in LA and Chicago. I’m excited to see this partnership grow in the coming years.
SD: What does this kind of collaboration mean for a small, creative business?
TH: It gives us more manpower and more reach. They have a team of sales people in all major markets that want to go out there and sell the product. We can only do so much from our studio, so having the sales infrastructure set up so that the sales team can get the product and run is a huge value to us. Also, working with a brand that is so well respected and successful helps people who may not be familiar with our product feel at ease.
SD: Tell us about Rebel with a Cause, the philanthropic side of Black Crow Studios.
TH: For several years now, a portion of proceeds from the Caliber has gone to charities that help end gun violence, but I launched the Rebel with a Cause initiative this spring so that every single product I sell is dedicated to a different charity: women, minorities, LGBTQ, animals, environmental, arts education, etc. I may be a small business but I want to make a big difference and honestly I hope that I can lead on this issue of giving back and maybe help push this entire industry into doing more.
SD: And how was your experience in Milan?
TH: I was blown away by the experience. It sounds like hyperbole but it was life changing. I tried to explain it to friends when I got back, but I just don’t have the words to express how profoundly impactful it was. We were experiencing design at a whole other level than what I am used to at trade shows. Every installation was an experience and left a lasting impression on me. I came back so inspired and energized. For me though, the biggest take away from the trip was being able to build real friendships—with Snyder Diamond and the designers they invited—not just business relationships.
Milan photographs courtesy of Gintare Bandinskaite