After spending a decade in New York, Mikael Kennedy and his wife Melaena feel at home here, tucked away in the quiet hills behind Los Angeles. Mikael is a photographer and more recently, turned his vintage rug obsession into a business while Melaena spends her days finishing up her album and teaching music to little ones. Mikael opens up about the ongoing process of pursuing one’s creativity and his philosophy on how “nothing is ever truly finished”.

The idea or concept of ‘Home’ has been integral to my artistic/photographic practices since before I even understood what I was doing. I feel at home here.

Mikael has unintentionally added “rug dealer” to his creative repertoire of jobs.

“Being a rug dealer was never part of the plan. I love everything about the rugs, the color and pattern, the history. The first rug I ever bought was a prayer rug from the 1890’s that had hand and knee marks where someone had used it…that concept, the intention, first placed in the weaving of the piece and then the use of the piece; the rug just hummed, you could feel the energy in it. I loved that.

My favorite part of dealing rugs? I can buy most anything I come across and figure out later if it’s for me or if it’s to sell. One of the first dealers I started collecting from laughed when I told her that. She said that’s how most dealers get started, realizing they can somehow justify their insane addiction to buying these weird objects.

The first [collaboration] one I did was with my friend, Rodrigo Nava, a sculptor living in Vermont, we had seen a few examples of similar pieces and decided we wanted to make our own version. He bent the frame and I found and installed the rug. The newest project is with Stephen Kenn out here in Los Angeles. We met when I first moved here and I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. We were able to make a chair and a matching ottoman of a beautiful old kazak rug I had laying around, that one will be available soon, every piece is a one off.”

“This entire property/home is one big sculpture. Everything is a sculpture to me, or has the potential to be treated as such; your home, your car, your clothes, etc. Our lives should be that way, as rich and as beautiful as they can be. For a lot of my time in between photo edits, I spend wandering around looking at things, moving things in the house around, or on the property. It’s an ongoing process but it’s the most beautiful space I’ve ever lived in.”

“About a year ago I was working out of a large studio I was renting in the neighborhood, one day it seemed so unnecessary to me, so much of my photography is done outdoors and in the wild, while I was sitting in this huge room most of the time just to edit photos. I also stored my ever expanding rug collection in the space…anyway once that idea entered my mind it was impossible to shake. The raw industrial space I was in started to not only feel unnecessary to me but it started to feel cold compared to where I lived, surrounded by nature, birds and plants and my family. My daughter was 2 at the time and I didn’t want to get up everyday and have to leave her as if I had a day job; that wasn’t the point of being an artist, being self-employed.”

“What I do doesn’t really feel like work to me, I think Melaena would say the same about her music. I feel extremely lucky to be able to live off of my art in one form or another. I think anyone who can do any version of that should feel extremely lucky. Melaena and I are also pretty used to living and working in small spaces together, so much of our work in the last 10 years has been created in each other’s presence that I don’t think we really try to keep them separate.

A photographer friend of mine in NYC recently wrote something about how “there is no success, there is only the work”. I actually don’t know if he wrote that or if it was from someone else but I think about it often. To me, the ultimate goal is to be able to do anything we want artistically with no restrictions. ”

Feature for In Bed with words by Serafina LoGiacco