Wildly Functional & Handcrafted

Over the last couple of years, I’ve derived a lot of inspiration from the work of Casey Neistat. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock or trapped underneath a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Siera since the Dubya administration, Casey Neistat is a YouTuber of serious renown who lives in New York City. He has a serious gift for storytelling, a unique style, and a serious “don’t give an eff” attitude that has served him well.

As much as I’ve been inspired and influenced by his videos, it’s been his studio that has given me a serious case of envy since day one. It’s handmade, funky, and as described in the video below, “wildly functional”.

This video is just over five years old, so there’s been some serious changes made in that time – however, the overall aesthetic remains the same. As soon as I saw where this guy worked, it made me start thinking about my living and workspace. Neistat personalizes almost everything he has: engraving his name on devices, customizing his sunglasses with spray paint, etc. But he also builds most of the parts of his studio himself, including his camera bench and rig, work stations, boxing speed bag, and his camera storage room (not in this video).

I used to watch all the Jesse James chopper specials and Monster Garage shows that I could. There was something about watching someone make individual frames and tanks from scratch rather than grab parts off a shelf, weld some stuff onto it, and call it custom. Having never been terribly good with things like carpentry or metalworking, it’s something that I’m intensely curious about. Watching Neistat’s vlogs appealed to that part of me.

Which all leads into how I’ve been working to make my work space a little more customized. Back when I set up my standing desk, I wanted a paper lantern on either side of my desk for overhead lights, grabbing that shamelessly from Casey Neistat’s camera bench. The one thing that I didn’t like was that each lantern had its own on/off switch – I wanted one switch in a convenient place to turn on both lights. One catch… I also wanted it to be a hidden switch.

The switch itself was easy – I found a large button switch that’s intended for Christmas tree lights that sits on the floor and turns the lights on and off by stepping on the switch. Perfect. I plugged both lights into it and we’re in business… except I didn’t like it sitting on the desk. Two years later, and I was still looking at that ugly thing on my desk this morning when I got fed up enough to do something about it. A little glue, some cable hooks, and there we go… a hidden light switch under my desk.

Next up…?

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