What 80 Artists, Musicians and Writers Are Starting Right Now

Alice McDermott, 70, writer

There are three kinds of novels I’ve never taken to heart: science fiction, murder mysteries and novels about novelists. So I’ve decided to try my hand at each. If I fail, they’re probably not books I’d want to read anyway.

Thurston Moore, 65, musician and author

I’m putting the final touches on a new album, “Flow Critical Lucidity.” But after my memoir, “Sonic Life” (2023), came out, I realized my next mission was a novella, the working title of which is “Boomerang and Parsnip.” It concerns two madly in love youths in the wilds of Lower Manhattan circa 1981, and it’s wholly irreal, bordering on fantasy.

Courtesy of Samuel Delany

Samuel R. Delany, 82, writer

I’m writing a guidebook for a set of tarot cards I designed with the artist Lissanne Lake.

Susan Cianciolo, 54, visual artist

I’m preparing a solo exhibition that will open at Bridget Donahue gallery next month, so I’m making new works and curating older ones. It’ll definitely feature a book of my watercolor tree paintings, “Tell Me When You Hear My Heart Stop.”

Jenny Offill, 55, writer

I’m planning to start a band called Spacecrone. (I’ve stolen the name from a book of Ursula K. Le Guin essays.) It’ll be all female and 55-plus. Our faces will be made up like Ziggy Stardust, but we’ll wear sensible clothes and shoes. What’s kept me from starting it is that I can’t sing or play any instruments.

Alex Eagle, 40, creative director

We’re finessing our bag collection, which we’re trying to make as luxurious, but also as practical, as possible. And I’m planning to write a cookbook with my son Jack.

Jim Bennett/Wire Image, via Getty Images

Earl Sweatshirt, 30, rapper and producer

Making more music — it’s the one thing I always find myself coming back to, though every time I do, I have to overcome intense feelings of self-doubt. I also want to try stand-up, but I’m scared because there’s no music to hide behind. I don’t want dogs-playing-poker laughs, either. You know the [paintings] of dogs playing cards? Like, “Oh, it’s a rapper doing stand-up.”

Alex Da Corte, 43, visual artist

I’ve been writing an opera for some years now based on Marisol Escobar’s [assemblage] “The Party” (1965-66). It’s set at a time when the sun only shines for one day a year, and the players at the party are all wondering how to move forward while holding on to their pasts.

Danny Kaplan, 40, designer

While clay has been my faithful medium for years, I’ve lately been fueled to broaden the scope of my craft by embracing — and learning how to push the boundaries of — new materials like wood, metal and glass.

Kengo Kuma, 69, architect

Getting out of [Tokyo]. I’m doing my best to reduce the burden on big cities — I think humankind has reached a limit when it comes to congestion — and I’ve recently opened five satellite offices in places like Hokkaido and Okinawa.

Raul Lopez, 39, fashion designer, Luar

The thing I’m always meaning to restart is my video blog “Rags to Riches: Dining With the Fabbest Bitches,” an exploration of how food, fashion, music and art all connect.

Charles Burnett, 80, filmmaker

Right now I’m involved in the development of two films. The first, “Edwin’s Wedding,” is the story of two cousins, separated by the Namibian armed struggle with South Africa, who are both planning their weddings. The second, “Dark City,” also set in Namibia, is more of an emotional roller coaster about betrayal and vengeance told in the Hitchcockian mold.

Ludovic Nkoth, 29, visual artist

I’m looking to experiment outside the confines of the canvas — sculpture and video have always been lingering in the back of my head.

Elena Velez, 29, fashion designer

I want to start a series of salons to bring together great minds across multiple disciplines, while feeding the subculture that my work draws from.

Daniel Clowes, 63, cartoonist

I’ve always had the desire to do fakes of artworks I admire — to figure out how they were done, and so I could have otherwise unaffordable artwork hanging in my living room. Painting [with oil] is as frustrating and exhilarating as I remember it being when I was in art school 43 years ago, and my paintings look alarmingly not unlike the ones I did at 19.

Piero Lissoni, 67, architect and designer

I’ve started the design for several new buildings that will become government offices in Budapest. I’d like to start designing chairs, lights, skyscrapers, spacecraft. In truth, I’d like to start doing everything again.

Peter Paul Rubens’s “The Massacre of the Innocents” (circa 1610), Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Robert Longo, 71, visual artist

I’ve been struggling to figure out how best to make sense of the overwhelming images in the news, so I’m turning to the past. I’m working on two monumental charcoal drawings based on paintings [about war]: Peter Paul Rubens’s “The Massacre of the Innocents” (circa 1610) and Francisco de Goya’s “The Third of May 1808” (1814).

Gabriel Hendifar, 42, designer

I’m moving into a new apartment by myself after a series of long relationships. I’m excited to challenge my own ideas about how I want to live and to see how that affects the work of my design studio [Apparatus] as we begin our next collection.

Donna Huanca, 43, visual artist

I’m working on two solo exhibitions. One will be in a late 15th-century palazzo with underground vaulted rooms in Florence, Italy; the other in a modern white cube in Riga, Latvia. For years, I’ve tailored works to the architecture of their exhibition spaces, so I’m enjoying working within this duality.

Satoshi Kuwata, 40, fashion designer, Setchu

We’re about to start offering shoes. I’ve thought of the design. Now I just have to go to the factory and see them in real life.

Aaron Aujla, 38, and Ben Bloomstein, 36, designers, Green River Project

We’re starting a new collection of furniture based on offcuts from the studio that are finished with a modified piano lacquer. Hopefully, a suite of these pieces will be ready for exhibition by fall. We also have a commission we’re excited to start — a large sculptural fireplace made from three unique logs of rare wood.

Adrianne Lenker, 32, musician, Big Thief

I want to start learning how to paint. The few times I’ve tried it, I loved it but also felt daunted by all I needed to learn. I often think of my songs in terms of paintings. My grandmother Diane Lee’s an amazing watercolorist. Recently she gave me a lesson all about gray.

Melissa Cody’s “Power Up” (2023), courtesy of the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

Melissa Cody, 41, textile artist

I’m starting to create wall tapestries that incorporate my pre-existing designs, which were handwoven on a traditional Navajo/Diné loom, but these new works are highly detailed sampler compositions made on a digital Jacquard loom.

Josh Kline, 44, multidisciplinary artist

I’m working toward shooting my first feature film — a movie, not a project for the art world.

Sally Breer, 36, interior decorator

My husband and I have started building some structures on a property we own in upstate New York — he has a construction company in Los Angeles. We’re using locally sourced wood and are 80 percent done with a studio-guesthouse, a simple 14-by-18-foot box set on foundation screws, tucked into a pine forest. This is the first time we’re really working together as a design-build team. He’s started referring to it as our “art project.”

Eddie Martinez, 47, visual artist

I’m restarting a group of large-scale paintings for an exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum [in Water Mill, N.Y.] this summer. They’re each 12 feet tall and based on a drawing of a butterfly. The series is called “Bufly” since that’s how my son, Arthur, mispronounced “butterfly” when he was younger. I’d put the paintings aside while I finished my work for the Venice Biennale. Now I’m locked in the studio, painting like a nut!

Karin Dreijer, a.k.a. Fever Ray, 49, singer-songwriter

I’ve been thinking about learning to play the drums. They’ve always felt like a bit of a mystery to me.

Eric N. Mack, 36, visual artist

I’m starting to recharge in order to begin my next body of work. I journal, read, explore the Criterion Channel and get deep-tissue massages. I keep wishing I’d organize the fabrics in my studio.

Jenni Kayne, 41, fashion designer

We’re starting the next iteration of the Jenni Kayne Ranch [the brand’s former property in Santa Ynez, Calif., where she’d invite guests for yoga, dining and spa experiences], only this time we’re heading to upstate New York. We’re calling it the Jenni Kayne Farmhouse, and it’ll include a self-care sanctuary where slow living is a genuine ritual.

Christine Sun Kim, 43, multidisciplinary artist

I have a bit of an adverse reaction to people doing American Sign Language interpretations of popular songs on social media — they’re usually based entirely on the lyrics in English, when rhyming works differently in ASL. So I’ve been wanting to make a fully native ASL “music” video. One day.

Ellia Park, 40, restaurateur

I’ve started collaborating with the in-house designer at Atomix, one of the restaurants I run with my husband, Junghyun Park, on custom welcome cards for the guests that feature bespoke artwork.

Awol Erizku, 35, visual artist

Awol Erizku’s “Pharrell, SSENSE” (2021), from “Awol Erizku: Mystic Parallax” (Aperture, 2023), courtesy of the artist

I’m focused on my exhibition “Mystic Parallax,” opening in May in Bentonville, Ark. [which will include concerts and portraits of such people as Solange and Pharrell Williams]. What I never seem to get around to is archiving all of my negatives in the studio.

Jeremiah Brent, 39, interior designer

As I navigate the [effect of the] ever-so-saturated interior design algorithm, I’m challenging our team to expand the language we speak, diversifying design references by looking to the unexpected: playwrights, films, historians and science.

Vincent Van Duysen, 61, architect

I’m focusing on the 90th anniversary of [the Italian furniture company] Molteni & C. I’m also excited about our recent addition to the family — a black-and-tan dachshund called Vesta after the virgin goddess of the hearth and home.

Kwame Onwuachi, 34, chef

I’m working on launching a sparkling-water line — the proceeds of which will help bring clean water wells to African countries — and starting to write my third cookbook. I start everything I think of.

Larissa FastHorse, 52, playwright and choreographer

I’m adapting a beloved American musical — I can’t say which — into a TV series. Which is scary because, even though I just adapted “Peter Pan” for the stage, the TV process is the opposite: Instead of cutting down a three-hour musical, I have to add hours and hours of content. So it feels like beginning over and over again.

Peter Halley, 70, visual artist

I’ve started to paint watercolors. Now that I’ve reached 70, I thought it was about time. The images are arranged in a grid like on a comic book page, but the narrative’s asynchronous. They’re based on images of one of my cells exploding, an obsession I’ve had going all the way back to the ’80s.

Darren Bader, 46, conceptual artist

I want to start an art gallery called Post-Artist that regularly shows art but refuses to name who made it. No social media presence. I also want to do what Harmony Korine is doing, except with none of that content.

Jeff Tweedy, 56, musician, Wilco

I’m about to record an album of new music with my solo band, which isn’t really solo at all. I’m bringing my sons and the close friends and quasi family who’ve been playing with me live for the past 10 years or so into the studio. I’ve written songs that feel like they can be a vessel for all of our voices together: a miniature choir. There’s really no experience that compares to singing with other people. I think it tells us something about how to be in the world.

Charles Yu, 48, writer

I’m about to start promoting the “Interior Chinatown” series [based on Yu’s 2020 novel]. I’d like to get into music and service. My son’s a drummer, and he’s awakened some latent impulse in me. And my daughter and wife have been volunteering. I’m not exactly sure what’s been keeping me from either. I could say work, but I suspect the actual answer is nothing.

Elyanna, 22, singer-songwriter

I’d love to improve my Spanish. I visit my family in Chile at least once a year and, every time I fly back to L.A., I realize that I need to keep practicing.

Boots Riley, 53, filmmaker and musician

I’m getting ready to start filming a feature I wrote about a group of professional female shoplifters who find a device called a situational accelerator that heightens the conflict of anything they shoot it at. I also have a sci-fi adventure: a janky, lo-fi epic space funk opera. My dream is to use the same crew and shoot the two movies back to back in Oakland, Calif. [where I live]. That’s one thing about being 53 — I want to be able to spend more time with my kids.

Damien Maloney/The New York Times

Sable Elyse Smith, 37, visual artist

I’ve recently embarked on an operatic project. Yikes! MoMA invited me to make a sound piece that’ll open in July, and it’ll be a kind of prelude to a larger version. It’s titled “If You Unfolded Us.” It’s a queer love story and a coming-of-age story about two Black women.

Satoshi Kondo, 39, fashion designer, Issey Miyake

My latest experiment with washi, or traditional Japanese paper, is blending fibers extracted from the remaining fabrics of past clothing collections with the pulp mixture from which washi is made. It’s a way of playing with color and texture.

Laila Gohar, 35, chef and artist

Almost all of my work has used food as a medium and has therefore been ephemeral. Making work that isn’t — namely, sculptures — is an idea I’ve been toying with for a while, but I haven’t been able to jump into it yet. I once read something an artist said about how she thought male artists are more concerned with legacy than female artists, and that female artists are more comfortable creating ephemeral work. This rang true for me, but now I feel slightly more confident about making things that might outlive me.

Patricia Urquiola, 62, architect and designer

I was nominated [last year] as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, so now I’m writing the acceptance thesis, or discurso de ingreso. It’s an occasion to reflect on ideas — for example, I reread the philosopher Bruno Latour, who argues that design “is never a process that begins from scratch: To design is always to redesign.”

Luke Meier, 48, and Lucie Meier, 42, fashion designers, Jil Sander

We’ve started making some objects — glass and ceramics. We aren’t at all experienced in these fields, so it’s invigorating to play again.

Kevin Baker/Courtesy of Number 9 Films.

Marianne Elliott, 57, director

I’ve always wanted to do a film, but it requires so much time and theater is a hungry beast, so it’s eluded me until now: “The Salt Path,” starring Gillian Anderson, is based on a true story about a remarkable English couple [who embark on a 630-mile hike].

Samuel D. Hunter, 42, playwright

Last year, I was approached by Joe Mantello and Laurie Metcalf, who wanted someone to write a play for Joe to direct and Laurie to star in. I’d never met either of them but, if I had to pick one actor on earth to write a role for, it would be Laurie. “Little Bear Ridge Road,” a dark comedy about an estranged aunt and nephew who are forcibly reunited after the passing of a troubled family member, will go into rehearsals in May.

Thebe Magugu, 30, fashion designer

When I was 16, I began writing a novel, taking place between the small South African towns of Kimberley and Kuruman, that I’ve contributed to every year since. It currently sits as a huge slab of a book — around 80,000 words — and I’ve been meaning to rewrite and polish the earlier chapters. I’ve given myself the next 10 years [to finish the project]. It’ll be a gift I give to myself when I turn 40.

Misha Kahn, 34, designer and sculptor

I have an idea for this toothpaste project called Zaaams that’s expanded, of its own volition, into an entire cinematic universe. Sometimes an idea can grow so big that it’s unmanageable and nearly unstartable. Sometimes I’ll really start working on it, but I get overwhelmed by the seismic rift in society it would cause and feel dizzy. Crest, if you’re reading this, call me.

Nell Irvin Painter, 81, visual artist and writer

I’m way too old to be a beginner. I’m 81 and have already written and published a million (OK, 10) books. But a very different kind of project’s been tugging at me: something like an autobiographical Photoshop document with layers from different phases of my life in the 1960s and ’70s — spent in France, Ghana, the American South. I’d have to be myself at different ages.

Courtesy of Nell Irvin Painter

Sharon Van Etten, 43, singer-songwriter

In 2020, I became familiar with the work of Susan Burton, the founder of A New Way of Life, which provides formerly incarcerated women with the care and community they need to get their lives back on track, and was so moved by her story I asked my record label if it was OK to use money from my music video budget to produce a minidocumentary on the organization, “Home to Me.” I still have a lot to learn about filmmaking, but I think it’s the beginning of something beautiful.

Piet Oudolf, 79, garden designer

I’m starting the planting design for Calder Gardens, a new center dedicated to the work of the artist Alexander Calder in Philadelphia. I’m working on it with Herzog & de Meuron architects, and it’ll include a four-season garden that will evolve with the months. Early in the year, it’s about ephemerals (bulbs). Spring is when woodland flowers are important. Summer will be the high point of the prairie-inspired areas, and in fall and winter there’ll be seed heads and skeletons. I think a good, harmonious garden is like a piece of living art.

Rafael de Cárdenas, 49, designer

As a consummate shopper, I’ve always thought the best way to bring my interests together would be with a store — a lab for testing things out and creating a connoisseurship in the process. I’m thinking Over Our Heads (the second iteration of Edna’s Edibles in [the 1979-88 sitcom] “The Facts of Life”) meets Think Big! (a now-closed shop in SoHo) meets [the London gallery] Anthony d’Offay meets [the defunct clothing store] Charivari meets [the old nightclub] Palladium.

Gaetano Pesce, 84, architect and designer

I’m working on a possible collaboration with a jewelry company from Italy. I can’t say the name yet, but the pieces stand to be very innovative. Also, another collaboration with the perfume company Amouage inspired by time I spent in Oman’s Wadi Dawkah and the beautiful frankincense trees there.

John Cale, 82, musician and composer

Ever since I played viola in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, I’ve been hypnotized by the thought of the discipline needed to conduct. My attention soon wandered — from John Cage to rock music. Now, 60 years on, it’s finally time.

Nona Hendryx, 79, interdisciplinary artist and musician

I’m working on the Dream Machine Experience, a magical 3-D environment that’ll be filled with music, sound, images and gamelike features. It’ll premiere at Lincoln Center this June. [My idea was] to create an imaginative world inspired by Afro-Futurism that encourages a wide, multigenerational audience to share.

Faye Toogood, 47, designer and visual artist

I’d like to develop a jewelry collection, but I haven’t. Is it because no one’s asked — no phone call from Tiffany! — or because I’m struggling to understand how adornment fits into our current world?

Freddie Ross Jr., a.k.a. Big Freedia, 46, musician

I’m recording a kids’ album and publishing a picture book for early readers. Much of my art is about language and the unique colloquialisms that we have in bounce culture. Children respond to its snappy rhymes and phrases.

Danzy Senna, 53, writer

Every time I write a novel, I think, “This is the most masochistic experience I’ve ever had — I’m going to quit this racket.” But I feel incomplete without this depressive object to feel beholden to. I just finished editing one book [“Colored Television”] and have the sinking feeling I’m about to start another.

Jackie Sibblies Drury, 42, playwright

I’m starting, hopefully in earnest, to write a play in collaboration with the director Sarah Benson inspired by action movies. We were intrigued by the problem of trying to put chase scenes or action sequences onstage, where it’s difficult to build momentum or suspense because in theater we have less control over the viewer’s eye, among other things. But hopefully the play will be about what it means to see ourselves in these macho cis men who often get hurt pretending to almost die for our entertainment — or something like that?

Lindsey Adelman, 55, designer

I’m putting together a digital archive of my work and ephemera — about 30 years’ worth — revisiting everything from the sculpture I made as a student at RISD to the paper lights David Weeks and I sold for $25 to datebooks where I scribbled notes about things I wished would come true and then did. I hope it’ll encourage others to start something. I want them to understand, “Oh, this was the first step … this beautiful, finished thing was inspired by a piece of garbage dangling from a streetlamp.”

Elizabeth Diller, 69, architect, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Since 2012, when my studio was doing research for a contemporary staging of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw,” I’ve been meaning to start a book about ghosts. While ghosts are a well-trod literary device, their visual representation on stage and screen also has a rich history that can be told through the lens of an architect. Despite the fact that ghosts transcend the laws of physics, they’re stubbornly site-specific — they live in walls, closets, attics and other marginal domestic settings, and they rarely stray from home.

David Oyelowo, 48, actor

Something that three friends and I are in the process of building and developing is a streaming platform that we launched last year called Mansa. The idea — born out of growing frustration with making things that I love and then having to use some kind of distribution mechanism where the decision makers are almost always people who don’t share my demographic — is Black culture for a global audience. Essentially, we started a tech company that intersects with our love of story and our need to create [pipelines] for people of color and beyond to be seen.

Franklin Sirmans, 55, museum director, Pérez Art Museum Miami

There’s a recurring exhibition that I’ve worked on with [the curator] Trevor Schoonmaker since 2006 called “The Beautiful Game” that consists of art about soccer. We do it every four years because of the World Cup, and I’m starting to get into the 2026 iteration. I’ve also been trying to finish a book of poems since I graduated college more than 30 years ago. But it’s happening. It’s not like you don’t write a good sentence every now and then.

Jamie Nares, 70, multidisciplinary artist

I’ve always loved this line of poetry [from the Irish poet John Anster’s loose translation of Goethe’s “Faust”] that goes, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” One thing I’ve begun recently is a revisiting of my 1977 performance “Desirium Probe,” for which I hooked myself up to a TV that the audience couldn’t see, and relayed what was happening onscreen through re-enactment. Now I’m going to do it with YouTube videos chosen at random from the wealth of rubbish and interesting stuff on there. And as a video, because I’m not as agile as I once was.

Joseph Dirand, 50, architect and designer

Courtesy of Joseph Dirand Architecture

My firm has just started developing, with a French company called Zephalto, a prototype of the interiors for a hot-air balloon that will take travelers to the stratosphere, and the carbon footprint of the journey will be equivalent to that of the production of a pair of blue jeans. The balloon is transparent, so it’ll be almost as if you’re going up in a bubble of air — riders will see the curve of the earth. We’re designing three private cabins: sexy, organic cocoons that reference the ’60s and the dream of space, but are otherwise pretty minimal. The landscape is the star of the show.

Amaarae, 29, singer-songwriter

I’m working on the deluxe version of my 2023 album, “Fountain Baby.” The approach for the original album was very maximalist — I organized these camps all over the world and had a bunch of people come through to work on the music. Afterward, I felt underwhelmed — not by the project but by how I felt at the end of it all. [So] I stripped back everything so it’s just me and my home setup, trying ideas. Before, I was really lofty, but now my feet are touching grass a little bit.

Jennifer Egan, 61, writer

I’m starting a novel set in late 19th-century New York City. As always with my fiction, I have little idea of what will happen, which lends an element of peril to every project! Time and place are my portal into story, and I’m interested in a time when urban America was crowded and full of buildings we occupy today, yet the landscape beyond seemed almost infinite.

Carla Sozzani, 76, gallerist and retailer

Just as my partner, Kris Ruhs, and I revamped the then-unknown Corso Como area of Milan, we’re now putting our energy into the construction of a new studio for him, as well as the expansion of the Fondazione Sozzani [cultural center], both of which are in Bovisa, another old industrial neighborhood. I wanted to be an architect when I was young, but my father said, “No!”

Stephanie Goto, 47, architect

If my clients allow me to peel one eye away from their commissions, I’d like to dive deeper into the renovation of my own property in Connecticut, which includes the circa 1770 former home of Marilyn Monroe and a tobacco-and-milk barn that will house my studio.

Amalia Ulman, 35, visual artist and filmmaker

I’m beginning to write the script for my third feature film — probably my favorite part of the process, when I just need to close my eyes and see the film in my head. It’s the closest to a holiday because it feels like daydreaming.

Wim Wenders, 78, filmmaker

Several years ago, I started a project about the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, who, along with others, designed the new Los Angeles County Museum of Art that’s being built now. The working title of the film is “The Secret of Places,” and it’s done in 3-D. My dream is to make a comedy one day. [Laughs.] Seriously. [Laughs again.] I’m working on it.

Wendy Red Star’s “Beaver That Stretches” (2023), © Wendy Red Star, courtesy of the artist and Sargents Daughters

Wendy Red Star, 43, visual artist

I’ve started highlighting Crow and Plateau women’s art history by making painted studies of parfleches, these 19th-century rawhide suitcases embellished with geometric designs. I’m learning so much about these women just by their mark making, but have only come across a few that have the name of the person who made it, so I’m titling my works by pulling women’s and girls’ names from the census records for the Crow tribe between 1885 and 1940.

Nick Ozemba, 32, and Felicia Hung, 33, designers, In Common With

Next month, we’re opening Quarters, a concept store and gathering space in TriBeCa that will feature our first furniture collection.

Bobbi Jene Smith, 40, dancer, choreographer and actress

My husband, Or Schraiber, and I are creating a work composed of solos for each dancer of L.A. Dance Project, where we’ve been residents for the past year and a half. We’ve had the unique opportunity to connect deeply with some of the dancers, and this — a gratitude poem for each of them — will be our culminating project. They’ll each be a few minutes long and characterized by physicality set against silence.

Editor’s note: The architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, whose comments are included in this piece, died on April 4 at age 84.

These interviews have been edited and condensed.

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