Finally, A Good Reason to Go Back to Junior High
Introducing the cool girl art community where everyone's welcome.
Junior High is a brand new, all-inclusive community space in Hollywood. Founded by artist Faye Orlove and funded on Kickstarter, Junior High aims to create a safe and artistic environment where girls, female identifying people, and other marginalized groups can pursue a creative outlet. It's comprised of a retail store that sells female-made art and merchandise, as well as an open event space in the back. There, Junior High hosts a plethora of events, from bass guitar workshops to satirical art shows about fame and celebrity culture. Here’s what Faye has to say about her rad new project (and if you're in California, check it out yourself!).
What motivated you to start Junior High?
Well, I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time—to have my own space where I get to do whatever I want, because I feel like everyone wants that. I had a pretty fortunate year last year, where I made a good chunk of money doing freelance. I got this gig with Pepsi and they gave me, like, too much money. So I had this chunk of savings and I wasn't sure if I should I travel, or give it to my mom, or donate it, or save it, or have a child. I was literally thinking, "What could I do with this money?" And I’ve always wanted to start something similar to this, so I figured maybe I should just do it.
What has been the most difficult part about Junior High?
The most difficult part has been trusting myself that I will be good at this, because I’ve never done anything like it before. Every single step is something I’ve never done before, ever, and it’s terrifying. Starting a business, signing a lease on a retail shop, becoming a nonprofit—it’s all been terrifying. I’ve tried to be transparent about that because I feel like there’s an illusion that people who do this type of stuff know what they’re doing. It’s helpful to realize that I don’t know it all now. Maybe I’m doing everything wrong, who knows.
For young girls, what do you see as the most valuable part of spaces like Junior High?
I feel like it’s important for young girls to see communities of women that support each other, and want to see each other succeed. That’s so much more special than tearing each other down. So much of growing up, especially in America, is this idea that if you’re succeeding, someone else has to fail. It’s capitalism. But I believe the only way you really can succeed is if everyone around you succeeds. That’s community. I also feel like you don’t see art as a women’s profession when you’re younger. Art class is Van Gogh, and Picasso, and Monet, and I love them, but there are many women artists! And you just grow up as a girl thinking, “I like to draw, I’m good at painting, but there aren’t female artists." I grew up believing I couldn’t be an artist, because only boys were artists. It’s important for young girls to make art and pursue making art as a career, because if you’re just seeing art by men, who’s going to relate to that?
Do you have any advice for young girls who are making art or trying to find a creative outlet?
This still gets to me a lot, but I have to remind myself of two major things. One, art doesn’t have to look a particular way. I always have to tell myself that if I make something, and it’s not like what I wanted it to look like, or what I think it should look like, that doesn’t make it wrong. And then the second thing is that you don’t need an education to make art. I never went to school for animation, and that’s what I ended up doing. I always felt really out of place, and that everyone knew more than me, and that there were secrets no one was telling me, and that I had to go back to school to be respected and get a job. Just follow your own trajectory, and don’t stop. Art is like anything else; you need to practice a lot.
By Sarah Isenberg, 17