Studio Visit: Victoria Mesenbrink + Ben Willett

Victoria Mesenbrink and Ben Willett had us over to their shared studio space that had just gone through a makeover. Ben worked his magic on the space and made it more functional for the both as well as gave it a major spruce. Victoria has been one of Portland’s go-to stylists and is also a talented photo and art director. Ben’s art direction focuses on design, curation and environment. The dynamic duo are separately and together some of Portland’s most brilliant creative (and funniest) minds. Enjoy the slideshow below of their studio!

1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

V: I came to Portland in 2008 to open a clothing boutique and expand my styling clients. I have stayed in Portland since getting married and having a son. I don't know money?

B: I grew up on the east coast and Portland is pretty much the opposite of anything over there. Physically, emotionally, sexually. I’m glad I don’t have to wear Nantucket red to fit in. I also had a free place to stay, which made the move pretty easy.

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

V: Sassy's

B: I know it sounds cheesy, but the people and the constant push to collaborate and create. Portland is the perfect size (for now) for collaboration and working with amazing people. The potential to make something truly impactful is never far away.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle?

V: myself

B: Not getting pigeon holed, but also creating an identity. I don’t think many people know what I do on a day to day basis. 

4. What or who inspires your design?

V: the homeless people in Santa Monica, no I am being serious.

B: My grandfather. The hippest cat I ever knew. He always had the freshest kicks.

5.What are your favorite things about Portland?

V: the food, summer, drinking on matt's porch

B: Food. People. Rain. Strippies. People make really good jokes here.

6. What is your favorite part of your studio?

V: the natural light

B: That I am able to curate it to my liking. I am a spacial thinker and designer so it’s amazing to have somewhere to express that. Sometimes Victoria will yell at me for buying something, but then when it arrives she normally gives me a hug with joy.

7. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

V: Benny Ben BEN

B: The light. The location. The homeless people that pee on the windows. 

8. 5 things you can’t live without.

V: Taco Bell, wine, Enzo, mac highlighter pen, interenet

B: Shoes. Rice cakes. Humor. Travel. I can only think of four. Well I guess my mom, she’s the most amazing.