We first met Killscrow, (husband/wife team Darrick & Lana Rasmussen), a few years back when they were living & working on the same property as our friend Neil Harrison of Stormy Monday. We had the opportunity to see some of Darrick’s furniture and Lana’s art at that time. Over the past couple years we’ve continued to follow Killscrow and recently discovered their move to Ojai, one of our favorite California small towns. Besides the move, in just the last year they participated in Deck the Halls, Shelter Social Club‘s handmade market, created a box for Patagonia’s DamNation project, were featured in Japan’s Surf Style magazine Blue, Lana was commissioned to paint a mural for the newly opened Dudley Market in Venice, CA and Darrick was asked to be a part of California Handmade: State of the Arts at Sam Maloof’s historical craftsman home in Alta Loma, CA (currently on view through January 2, 2016) which features the works of over 80 artists in furniture, sculpture, textiles, jewelry and more. (Darrick’s credenza is the first thing you see when the gallery doors open). To say they’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement! We were thrilled that we could finally connect with them both on our latest stop over in Ojai and talk about Killscrow, their collective art, craftsmanship and the overriding authenticity of the work they continue to create together.
Where did you meet initially?
Lana: I was living in NY and about to go to New Mexico on a 3-month internship with an artist. In between I had gone to Los Angeles to visit family and during that time was invited to a friend’s party. I had seen Darrick at the party and throughout the night we kept finding each other. After that for the next two weeks we spent every day together until I left for New Mexico. We were kind of off to the races. While in New Mexico I had found out that my apartment in New York wasn’t a legal situation and my roommate and I were evicted. I didn’t really have a place to go back to after New Mexico so decided to return to Los Angeles, staying with my parents, until we could see where this was taking us. That was about 7 years ago.
When did you decide to establish Killscrow?
Lana: At first, Darrick wasn’t doing woodworking, not until around 2 years after we met.
Darrick: Actually I had a recording studio for a while, but after doing that for a bit, I realized I just wasn’t right for the lifestyle. I’m not a night person, more a morning person. Then I worked with my Dad for a while in Orange County, but Lana and i decided we didn’t want to live down there. Since I wasn’t really tied to anything in particular, I started taking woodworking classes at community college before applying to the College of the Redwoods up north.
Lana: During the time Darrick was in school, I was breaking back into creating portfolio pieces for myself. We basically did this creative journey for 2 years and then it started evolving into ‘we should work together.’
Darrick: It pretty much started there. It was a slow process – we were always talking about our separate work apart from each other but as time went on it kind of made sense to do it under one name.
Darrick, you seem like such a natural at Woodworking, was it something that came easy to you?
Well, I really have the school to thank for that, as it was 2 years of 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. It was intensive. I was able to just focus and learn the highest level of woodworking. It was a very accelerated program and an awesome experience.
As a brand that focuses on different mediums, what keeps the two connected?
Lana: It has always been about our craft, the tactile quality of making something ourselves but what we do is so different. We felt compelled to package it together as it felt so organic. There are always the questions: Does this make sense? Are we marketing this right? But at a certain point you just have to say ‘whatever’. If people want it, they’ll want it regardless.
Darrick: We talk about that all the time. With Killscrow we are aiming have it more product driven, that’s the goal.
Lana: When we talk about the way we want to work, it’s the same, slow process: quality driven & has to have that tactile quality. I could never paint on canvas because it doesn’t feel the way I want it to feel and Darrick is very particular about the wood. When we talk about where it’s going to go and how we are going to develop this we definitely think in other media; like it would be nice to do some textiles in conjunction with a sofa that Darrick builds. We already have the foundation that our approach to craft is very similar. It feels very fundamentally aligned.
Lana, it feels with your art that your heritage helps influence your work? Is that important to you?
It is…I’ve always had so many questions about my heritage. When I started taking major art classes in my late teens, I just started doing it. It’s always been there. I always got so much attention and commentary about being Native American. But there has always been this element of shame with my family. It’s a dark zone, it’s not about being so prideful or connected, it was always a little weird to me. Society always said to me: you should be proud and I agreed, but I didn’t know anything about my heritage…we didn’t grow up talking about it. It was a bit of an identity thing as well – a weird disconnect. With the art, it started incorporating itself naturally and I like that it’s coming from a place of questioning. It’s all kind of funny and a little dark.
Darrick, the design and detail of your pieces are definitely unique. Do you have anything that influences your work?
I don’t feel as if I overthink things too much. I have a rough idea what I set out to do but I just kind of let the wood speak to me and influence how it turns out, based on the grain or the way that it works. Some woods are so hard and a pain in the butt and some woods are like butter to work with and that helps dictate the design choices.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Darrick: I think mostly we’d like to have more collaborative projects, like the sofa/textile idea. Get our workshop situated. Collaborations with other people as well.
Lana: You don’t always have a chance to stop and make sure the brand is going in exactly the direction you want it to go and we all know we should be doing that but we just have to work. It’s easy to think this has moved so slowly but it’s not really. It’s easy to get impatient with your own life. What’s been helpful is participating in more events. That’s a good opportunity to make sure all your ducks are in a row. It’s nice getting direct feedback from people and expanding our network. Keep challenging the ideas and being stimulated as far as content…and maybe a child.
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Photos by: Devin Sarno (*except furniture photos, courtesy of Killscrow.)