Designer Eny Lee Parker usually focuses her work on ceramics, lighting, and furniture. However, for Miami Art Week, Eny went a bit outside of her comfort zone to create an art piece inspired by an iconic toy.
Eny, who has a background in interior design and furniture, is collaborating with American Express Platinum in partnership with PlayLab, Inc and Mattel Creations, as they host an interactive gallery combining art and nostalgia, along with fellow artists Surin Kim, Serban Ionescu, and Kumkum Fernando.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Eny revealed the inspiration behind her piece, shared some home remodeling advice, and what she has planned for 2024.
Eny Lee Parker mixed art and nostalgia with her handcrafted plush toy.
For her contribution to the gallery, Eny designed "Benny," a one-of-a-kind classic bunny-shaped plush toy handcrafted from a mix of high-end leftover upholstery fabrics.
"The more I observe how fast technology and consumption are moving today, the more I reflect on my childhood," she said when asked about the role nostalgia plays in her creative process. "I’m not against technology; I love and use it. However, there is a slowness in my practice, the handmade element, the appreciation of time that I like to maintain. I think that is the part of nostalgia I’d like to preserve."
Along with being unique and collective, Eny also created a piece of work that is also environmentally responsible.
"My creative process often begins with conversations with friends about our current projects and idea-sharing. Other times, I inject my own perspective into the design brief by considering materiality and production aspects," Eny explained. "For PLAY by Platinum, my inspiration came from my passion as a child, working with different materials, which has carried over into my career today."
Eny has also been keeping busy renovating a 1870's house.
When she's not working in her studio in Brooklyn, or designing furniture, Eny can be found in Connecticut in a home from the 1870s she is currently remodeling with her friend and fellow designer Soren Ferguson.
And she has some advice for anyone who may be interested in renovating a house.
"I’m usually good at planning ahead, but we've been trying things out and making decisions as we go. It’s probably not the most ideal, but when you have to run a business and don’t live full time at the house, you do what you can, and slowly," she shared. "My advice is to allocate a monthly budget that goes towards the house, and when you don’t spend it all, save it for emergencies."
As for her 2024 plans, Eny hopes to build a studio on the property and partner with a fashion house for a collection of objects and furniture.
"Working with a big brand like American Express has been so exciting," she added. "I’m crossing this off my bucket list!”
Select toys will be available to American Express Platinum card members to purchase online here for a limited time starting December 10, while supplies last.