Pass the Plate Around

Words by Deidre Dyer | 12.22.20

It all started with a FaceTime call during the height of quarantine lockdown. Friends and collaborators Maya Barrera and Brianna Cappozi, who work in fine art and photography, were separately working on ceramic projects when they started bouncing ideas off of each other virtually. “That’s the thing about ceramics and clay, it’s so inclusive, unlike other mediums, says Maya. “There is more openness and dialogue.” They quickly found that the communal nature of their ceramics allowed them to push past their typical creative comfort zones and tap into a freeness of form. Brianna and Maya continued to explore their collaborative ceramic practice and ultimately created what they’ve called “plaintings”, a series of painted plates. “The plates were an amazing thing for me to be able to paint in a more illustrative way,” says Brianna. “They’ve allowed me to lean into this skill set that I always had that I hadn’t used for a long time.”


An On The Nose Plainting, available exclusively at TRR.


This collaborative vibe quickly spread beyond the duo as other friends and artists began contributing to their “plaintings’’.  “It’s almost like an exquisite corpse, says Maya. “If I’m hitting a wall, someone else will say ‘leave it for a little while.’ Then someone comes in that has totally never seen the plate before and they’re like, ‘I kind of want to add this thing.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, do it.’ There’s this lack of ownership over the whole thing, which is thrilling.”


With designs that spoke to the Black Lives Matter movement and presidential election, the plates proved to be the perfect marriage of social commentary and everyday functionality. The duo adopted the moniker On The Nose and sold their plaintings at the Greenpoint Sidewalk Sale alongside the skaters, stylists and cool kids who raised funds each weekend for mutual aid, nonprofits and bail fund organizations. “We set up this booth and we’re like, why not also include other individuals?” Brianna and Maya tapped into their network of creatives and stocked their booth with donated artwork. “It was just so amazing how generous all these artists were,” says Maya. “We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and a lot of people are struggling to sell their work. But everyone wanted to contribute something.”


This holiday season, Maya and Brianna have brought the One The Nose sidewalk booth to life virtually in partnership with Curated by The RealReal, They’ve gathered a cross section of artists and artisans, featuring candle holders from Mai Warshafsky, napkin rings from designer Gala Colivet Dennison and glass vessels made by Asp and Hand, for an edit of one-of-a-kind gifts that speak to the same energy of communal table setting as their plaintings. “It’s this weird intersection of fine art and functional objects,” says Maya. This balance for art and function served as the throughline for their curation. “Each person’s work is so strong and so very different from their mediums to their stories, but it all sits really well together,” says Brianna. In keeping with the spirit of mutual aid that initially propelled the project, a portion of proceeds from the On The Nose edit will be donated to the NAACP.

Shop the full edit and to learn more, follow @OnThe.Nose.

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