Rachel & Cordell Cordaro
Art House Press, Artists Heart ROC
Interview No. 62
That’s what we have right now in Rochester: people doing what they love and coming together.
Where are you originally from?
Rachel: We’re both from Rochester. I grew up in Greece, and Cordell is a city boy.
What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?
Rachel: It’s so welcoming. You can always bounce ideas off other artists. I find myself seeing these sprinklings all the time, little things that confirm that I’m doing what I’m meant to do. Rochester is good to artists.
Cordell: Everyone is accessible here. Lately it seems there’s been an explosion of artists and young people making art in our area. It feels really authentic.
Describe your dream Rochester day.
Rachel: It’s what we do every day. We have the luxury of starting our mornings off slowly, drinking coffee, reading emails, and dabbling in our respective home studios. Then we might go for an outing—hiking, brainstorming, or attending a meeting. We feel like we’re on track if we’re putting time and effort into our dreams.
Cordell: That’s the kind of day that inspires us to go home and paint.
Do you have a favorite local nonprofit/charity you like to support?
Cordell: We’ve donated a lot of original art for auctions to support local charities. The Al Siegel Center and the Brest Cancer Coalition of Rochester are two that we support fairly often.
What is your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?
Rachel: I crochet scarves in the winter months—it’s great, because I just go on autopilot and can curl up, watch TV, and make scarves. Sometimes we also do a circuit of art shows in Florida. We’ll stay in a house on the ocean and recharge that way.
What makes Rochester unique?
Cordell: If you have an idea, based on the size of the city, it’s easier to grow the idea. The city is really affordable, so you can get a cool space, like a spot in the Hungerford. Plus, you can get in touch with lots of people here, which makes collaboration easier. It’s also close enough to Buffalo, Syracuse, and New York City, so you can expand out from here. We have good culture here in Rochester, too.
What do you think could be improved?
Cordell: There’s a lot going on with the Rochester art scene, but it’s not cohesively connected. For example, the MAG could put localized art on a pedestal. The goal of Art House Press ties into that—we want to create a hub that is wide reaching and connects the Rochester art scene, and branches out outside of it. It also comes back to the issue of how to get exposure.
The goal is to make it a hub—we want to be inclusive and showcase artists. It’s never our goal to be exclusive; we aim to promote talented artists.
What's it like being an artist in Rochester? What's the best part?
Rachel: I love being able to do what I love. There’s no stress, for me, of having to do mundane work. I know that I’m doing what I’m meant to do.
Cordell: It’s great that here in Rochester there are very supportive clients—and there’s enough to go around. It feels cool. There’s a movement here!
Rachel: It reminds me of the impressionists—they would do shows together, hang out in cafes together, and were constantly influencing each other. That’s what we have right now in Rochester: people doing what they love and coming together.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Rachel: Everyone has moments of doubt.
Cordell: You can’t dwell on it.
Rachel: But unlike having a day job, your brain never clocks out.
Cordell: Also, I really think artists need to be more entrepreneurial. There’s the whole notion of the starving artist, and of creating art as a noble cause, but that concept just needs to go away. To be a successful artist, you also need to be a bit of a salesman.
What inspires you? Who are your influences?
Cordell: Rachel—she’s so diligent and professional! If I feel like I’m slacking, she inspires me to keep working hard.
Rachel: Cordell is the one who inspired me to quit my job—he kept saying to me, “Just do it!” He’s that constant reminder for me that I can do it, that it really is possible.
There are so many others though—like Stacy K—this strong female figure who built her own business, and is now seeing the fruits of her labor. Her attention to detail reminds me that you can’t skip any steps, you’ve gotta stick to it and do it right. Hannah Betts and St. Monci also inspire us—they have a kid and are pursuing their dreams! Danielle Raymo of the Brainery and the folks over at Makers Gallery are inspirations as well.
Where are your favorite places to go to get inspired?
Rachel: There are so many beautiful parks in Rochester. We’ll visit Highland Park, the Conservatory, and Durand Eastman. I love magnolias, so seeing flowers in person always helps to spark my creativity. The Anthropologie store helps me get inspired too!
Cordell: I go play basketball. It helps me clear my head.
What made you want to start Art House Press?
Cordell: There wasn’t anything like it in Rochester! We have a plethora of artists, and I wanted to bring them together to be featured in this creative hub. It started as an online blog, then one thing led to another—things opened up, opportunities, and I found that this project was something I really loved and believed in. I wanted it to become a physical, tangible thing. You feel what you paint, and I felt this in the same way. So we published the first issue of Art House Press in 2015.
How would you describe the mission of Art House Press?
The goal is to make it a hub—we want to be inclusive and showcase artists. It’s never our goal to be exclusive; we aim to promote talented artists. We also want to connect outside of Rochester, even internationally.
What do we have to look forward to in the new issue?
It’ll be about the same length and will feature about 30 artists. There will be some poets, musicians, and dancers—so it’s all forms of art, not just painters. It will retail for $24.99, and will be available in select locations, like Barnes and Noble, Abode, the MAG, Parkleigh, and online. Design has always been really important to us, so even though there are ads, they’re timeless and fit in seamlessly. The magazine is meant to be a work of art in its own right.
Any advice for other artists/creative in the area?
Rachel: Figure out what it is you’re passionate about. What’s uniquely you? Everyone is promised something.
Cordell: Take advantage of Rochester. Connect. Grow your idea.
Rachel: And don’t be afraid to reach out. There are so many selfless people in Rochester!
Cordell: Be fearless! You’ve gotta hustle a little bit. Just jump in!