Caleb Hahne Quintana Can’t Live Without Country Music, Cowboy Boots and His Mechanical Pencil

Caleb’s favorite pieces of clothing, his Ariat cowboy boots and Carson Wach raw denim jeans. Courtesy the artist.

How an artist lives and the things that appear in their  everyday lives will likely give you a more in-depth look into their practice than a press release ever could. In her new column, Artists Choice, contributor Maria Vogel asks artists for their recommendations across an array of categories, from the coffee they start their day with to the item they can’t live without in the studio.

Fresh off a six-week break from the studio that artists will know as essential for the post-exhibition comedown, Caleb Hahne Quintana is getting back to his daily routine. The Brooklyn-based artist opened his largest exhibition in Europe to date, A Salt of Two Seas, at Newchild Gallery in March. In the days and weeks since, Hahne Quintana has filled his cup consuming books, taking in exhibitions across New York, and finding renewed joy in cooking. Here, Caleb Hahne Quintana takes us through his recommendations during a day in the life.

What is your go-to spot for coffee?

If there was a Paloma by my studio I’d go there everyday but I almost always end up at Saraghina since it’s right next to my apartment.

A gouache study. Courtesy the artist.

What is a piece of content (a publication, podcast, specific writer or author, etc.) that you consume regularly?

It really depends! Lately I’ve been revisiting a lot of Rebecca Solnit books as I prepare for a big project I’ve been planning for a few years. She writes a lot about the west, which is where I’m from, and has helped me reexamine my relationship to its rich geological and political history. My friend Kristin also recently put me onto The New Yorker Fiction podcast, where authors read and analyse their favorite short stories. 

How do you commute to the studio?

Almost always by my bike, an electric blue Surly. Rain, Sun or Snow.

Where is your favorite lunch?

Boring answer but I love Teriyaki chicken over rice from Glaze. But I just moved studios and lately I’ve been getting tamales from this little Mexican spot called Panadería Los 3 Reyes. Tastes just like home.

The mechanical pencil that has been with Caleb for 10 years. Courtesy the artist.

What do you listen to while in the studio?

I listen to a lot. Music, audiobooks, podcasts. It really depends on my mood. I love country music so I’ve been listening to a lot of Tyler Childers lately. I also recently listened to the audiobook Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne – it’s an intense deep dive on the Comanche Tribe. Podcasts, I’ll listen to pretty much anything; comedy, educational, investigative. 

What is one item in the studio that is integral to your practice?

My mechanical pencil. I’ve had the same one since freshman year of college (2014) and everything starts there. From my gouache and pastel works on paper, putting down a line drawing for a painting, to jotting notes down for my to-do list, I’ve always used one pencil.

What’s a favorite piece of clothing you often wear?

Tough question! I’m gonna go with two things that I’ve worn almost daily for many years. My bench made Ariat cowboy boots and my Carson Wach raw denim jeans. Both durable, comfortable and always look good together.

Where is a place you go to unwind?

My home. I have everything I need there to ease my mind. I can either lay in the backyard with my cat or lay on my couch and watch tv. I watched The Taste of Things the other night, which was the perfect kind of movie to help unwind. 

What is a favorite shop (can be any kind, clothing, convenient, bookstore, etc.), you frequent?

I really love Mast Books in the East Village. I’m happy I only make it over there occasionally because I always leave with more new books than I actually need. 

Written by Maria Vogel