Interview: Full Moon & Co., Purveyors of Wonder and Balloon Art
Full Moon & Co is a celebration of the way awareness, discovery, art, and urbanism come together in synergistic parts, providing the viewer with an experience that’s entirely experiential and totally qualitative. A mix of joy & wonder is the goal and public art is the vehicle. Hayley Nickerson and Audrey Pincus are creative entrepreneurs and best friends, coming together as Full Moon & Co, a Brooklyn-based company that specializes in event design, art direction, and balloon art installations.
These projects fuse together through these women’s bond and creative spirit where you just get the feeling that anything is possible. When you meet them, you get that sense too.
That they’re driven, hungry, happy, and looking for the next chance to bring their curation, perspective, and personality to the forefront of every experience they create. That personality is one that enables the participants in their events and art projects to let go, connect, and authentically be themselves.
Full Moon & Co sells wonder. And it’s no surprise that that’s the main item on offer no matter which avenue clients pick to work with these two brilliant business women.
As they launch this aspiring company in the wake of Covid in New York City, we connect with Hayley Nickerson and Audrey Pincus to learn more about the seed the spawned the company, their upbringing and experience, and why they’re so dead set on ensuring that the world remembers that play, art, wonder, and being together are some of the greatest tools we have in building the future we want to see.
EL: It’s so great to reconnect with you both.
Hayley, we first met through IPMM Board Member Brian Flannery when we still had our gallery space a few years back, thanks for all the support throughout the years!! Then all 3 of us kicked it in NYC in 2019 and chatted recently about y’alls latest.
When we spoke a few weeks ago I made this the first point of discussion then too, but first and foremost, as New Yorkers, what’s it like there these days and how do you feel about how Covid has changed and will change NYC?
AP: New York City is an adaptable tough cookie, she’s wild and dances to her own tune but she also recognizes the power of collective action and energy. When we were asked to wear masks, shift our daily lives to knowingly save lives, we rose to the occasion.
HN: Living in New York means embracing the inconveniences to experience the privilege of living in a city so full of energy, human experience, and life! So it comes as no surprise to us that when asked to meet the challenge and do what’s necessary to slow the spread, New Yorkers were ready and willing. Right now, it feels like we are still in the thick of it, so not quite sure how New York will be on the other side. But if we continue to show up for our neighbors and our community like we have been over the past few months, New York will be just fine.
EL: Indeed. I’m stoked about the potential of your latest. How did Full Moon get started and what is it?
AP: Full Moon and Company is a creative house specializing in event design, art direction, and balloon art installations.
It all started in college, where we would host imaginative, intimate dinner parties for our friends and throw themed house parties that got rave reviews. We both share a natural ease to create and this gave us the reputation that inspired our company. We’ve maintained the love of bringing people together even after pursuing successful careers individually. But life’s timing told us that it was time for us to go all in, so we each closed chapters in our respective careers and this side hustle became a full time passion.
EL: Love it. The timing for this project and company seems both intense and perfect. How do you both feel about the role of public art and creative experiences to connect and delight?
HN: What I love about our balloon art installations and also the biggest challenge is that you go in with a plan but in the end, it always turns out slightly different. Because it’s site specific, the same is true for who experiences the balloon art and how it’s received. We just did an installation in Fort Greene Park for The People’s Post Box Initiative by A Very Good Job. Our objective was to support the initiative with additional visual stimulation that would draw people in to write letters to support the USPS. What we didn’t anticipate was how kids were attracted to it and in their delight brought over their parents. So now Mom + Dad are in front of the giant mailbox encouraged to stop and write a letter. Two very different experiences now joined together as one audience.
EL: What did that installation entail? Can you take us through how you collaborate with a client, curate, then execute?
HN: Where we always like to begin is by asking our client ‘how do you want you and your guests to feel during your event or when experiencing one of our installations?’ Starting there really helps to inform how we design and what elements to include to help elicit those feelings. We get emotionally invested in each event because we put a lot of thought and creativity into it. So we know each event’s look and feel pretty intimately, which makes execution straightforward. That said, we always like to take steps back to tune into the space and energy on event day, and mix things up if we need to.
EL: How have you each noticed public art functioning to support people in this weird time in NYC?
HN: It’s an interesting time right now because we are waking up from a world of distraction. So much about our society has become illuminated and the urgency for change is at the forefront. And so especially during this time, art has been an incredible vehicle to elevate voices. Take for example the Black Trans Lives Matter rally that took place in June at the Brooklyn Museum. The messages of the speakers and the visual impact of 15,000 people gathered together in solidarity all wearing white was profound. That was public art. That image continues to hold so much meaning.
EL: 100%. What a cool sight to see. How have your other projects and roles informed how you think about Full Moon?
AP: We both are very realistic and recognize that we have different strengths and weaknesses and we bring our strengths to the table. Full Moon was created for both of us to express ourselves, so we allow room for experimentation and growth. We embrace trying new things and give each other the space and support to try those ideas.
HN: We also share the same desire to imagine without boundaries and limits. We almost named our company ‘Yes and Company’ because great ideas are born when the mind has the ability to stretch and reach.
AP: Which sometimes gets us into trouble because we like to do a lot!
EL: You’re both creative professionals but you’re also best friends. What is it about each of you that is looking to express or even have dialogue around how we come together creatively?
AP: Angst and looking for a collective experience that grounds us. It’s the need to put out intentional good energy in a world where there is so much hate that exists. It’s our desire to counter that with positive experiences that are shared. I’m an Aquarius, which is an empath sign. So is Libra, Hayley’s sign. We party in the same way. We have a good time if everyone is having a good time. We are tuned into the emotional states of others. And it brings us joy when people are happy and feeling safe to be themselves. We create spaces that allow people to be authentically themselves.
EL: What is the main thing you want people to feel or take-away as a result of one of your balloon art installations or events?
AP: It’s a two part process; joy and reflection. We want people to feel wonder and joy while experiencing our balloon art installations or events. And then we want them to reflect and tune into themselves. We live in New York City, you can have an equal amount of shitty things that happen to you in a day and an equal amount of good things happen. We want our balloon art to be one of the good things. It’s like those moments you have with strangers on the subway. When you catch their eye, you have that collective moment of humanity. We want that same feeling to happen when you attend an event by Full Moon.
EL: The three of us discussed the notion of ‘happening upon’ public art of all mediums, and what that process of discovery and joy does for interrupting our mundane patterns and springing us to life. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since our first discussion recently, anything else come up for either of you as far as what is at play when someone ‘finds art in the wild’?
HN: We need to look up. Whether it’s public art, architecture, nature, another human being, there is always an opportunity to take something in and experience something. Anything! We have become so bogged down in our phones and this endless void that we forget to experience the world around us. Our goal with Full Moon is to remind people to embrace the joy and experience of living. And that’s what happens when you find art in the wild.
EL: If Full Moon is successful, what will it have done for its clients or participants, and what will it have done for each of you?
AP: What we hope we do for our clients is bring their vision to fruition and give them an opportunity to create alongside us. That allows us to support ourselves doing something that we love and also allows us to fund passion projects that bring awareness to issues that are important to us, like our Rise to the Occasion film.
HN: Full Moon gives us the opportunity to celebrate big moments in people’s lives. I get a lot of joy out of creating atmosphere and backdrops for connection and fun. So it’s really just a lot of good vibes!
EL: Mediums aside, you’re both creative and are clearly comfortable living that way. What about each of your upbringings facilitated or promoted that in you?
AP: My mom and dad love design, have always taken pride in the home they built together, and gave space and support for my artistic expressions, whether that was dancing, acting, singing, or art direction. Frequent trips to the theatre, museums, live concerts, and an incredible high school performing arts education, was a vibrant, robust and fertile combination.
HN: Quite honestly, it’s taken a lot of unlearning from my upbringing to become an entrepreneur and creative. I felt like I was encouraged to take safer paths, job titles and 401K were important. So leaving a corporate lifestyle felt like a huge risk for both my identity and bank account. But so often stability comes at a cost and I felt like it was a bigger risk to not express myself creatively and share my contribution with the world. I’m settling into this mind shift and lean on the support and encouragement of my partner, friends, and family to keep going.
EL: If there was one location you could build a balloon art installation for, what would it be and why?
HN: Right now we are working on two ballon art projects that both incorporate nature. We are drawn to juxtaposition and are playing with the concept of reflection and looking inward.
EL: Any advice to the creative entrepreneurs out there?
HN or AP: Trust the process. The path will never be straight. Have confidence in your voice. Be a good listener. Take risks and keep going. Surround yourself with people you trust and admire. And when you want to cry…laugh! It will get you through everything.
If you enjoyed this interview, take a look at the dozens of other amazing artist interview we have on our blog. If you are an artist who would like to have their work featured at IPaintMyMind, and to be interviewed on our blog, submit your work here.
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