lore works at the intersection of anthropology, art and business to produce contemporary ethnographies for commercial and cultural institutions.
Makalé Faber Cullen / Founder & Creative Director
I hate writing bios. I love living.
Bref…I founded lore/The Wilderness of Wish in 2010 to excite an interest in the artful presentation of contemporary ethnography and material culture. With carefully chosen client-partners I’ve aimed to showcase the people, places and goods that give our lives meaning and our communities value. I'm particularly interested in occupational culture and the role of materials and objects in our relationships (hence my company's strong early connection to global manufacturers and retailers). I try to rotate featured projects, so check in every so often or dive deeply down the blog, Stray Birds.
Prior to hanging my shingle, I spent many years documenting and presenting contemporary culture. I've worked with mannequin builders, squid packers, cranberry bog harvesters, neon sign makers, tanners, seed savers, and bra fitters among dozens of others—a pursuit ignited by my formative experiences as a researcher and presenter for the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Following graduate school I became a staff anthropologist at City Lore where I collaboratively designed and produced school and community arts residencies that partnered performing and visual artists with tradition bearers to teach experientially across the curriculum (think a Mohawk high-steel worker + a Desi Jersey City Tanjore painter co-teaching a class on icons and immigration = community-as-classroom and triptychs of contemporary neighborhoods in classic Tanjore style of paste and gold leaf).
In 2005, as the first U.S. Director of Programs for Slow Food, I travelled North America documenting and developing local and regional markets for high-quality, endangered fruits, vegetables and heritage livestock breeds. I co-launched and co-directed Renewing America's Food Traditions, a collaborative national venture of seven U.S. companies to document and promote agricultural biodiversity. I’ve also done strategy and curriculum design for CUNY’s Center for Economic and Workforce Development and taught in the Tourism and Hospitality department of CUNY's Kingsborough Community College.
I have degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia, where I was a Commonwealth Fellow for Doctoral Studies and George Mason University, where I was part of New Century College (before it was the new century). I've received art training and soul-rounding from RISD, Parsons and The Art Students League. From 2009-2012 I served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Alliance during which time the the organization produced The Global South and The Cultivated South symposia. I also regularly serve as a juror to the National Endowment of the Arts (Folk & Traditional Arts) and have served in the same capacity for several U.S. State Arts Councils.
To realize the ambitions of specific projects, I work with a talented, rocksteady roster of agile and experienced "loristas" > graphic designers, field + desk researchers, copywriters, renderers and film makers:
ANDREW BEAHRS / fieldwork, research, writing / is the author of "Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens," and the paired historical novels "Strange Saint" and the "The Sin Eaters." He has written about food and history for Smithsonian, the Atlantic, The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Alligator Juniper, and many others. Born and raised in Connecticut, he earned his BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, his MA in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Virginia, and his MFA in Fiction from Louisville's Spalding University.
RICO CULLEN / cinematography, film direction + editing / Enrico Rossini Cullen is a film director, producer and writer. He runs Related Parts, LLC, a boutique media production company specializing in art-driven verité and narrative films, mission-driven campaigns, creative content and research. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Chicago (the Committee on the History of Culture) and a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin.
SHINJI HORIMURA / artist, fabricator, stylist, designer / studied anthropology as an undergraduate in Osaka before moving to America to pursue product design and merchandising at FIT. During his almost decade in New York City, Shinji worked as a store designer for IKEA, studio artist and furniture maker. Shinji helped to launch the retail arm, designing and producing signage, fixtures and more. He currently lives and works in his hometown of Osaka, exhibiting his artwork internationally.
KEVIN JÉAN / design engineer / received his BFA in Product Design from Parsons School of Design. He has gone on to become an adjunct professor at Parson's and a head designer at three firms, all while maintaining a robust freelance practice. Kevin's specialities are industrial painting, Auto CAD, Solidworks, 3-D prototyping and rendering.
CYNTHIA MERHEJ / graphic design / explores the fine line between the real and the imaginary. Working across different disciplines and mediums, she draws from diverse historical and cultural influences to create humorous and surreal narratives. Having grown up in Beirut, Cynthia is a graduate of Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. She is equal parts artist, bard, visual anthropologist comedian and storyteller.
SCOTT SHEPARD / architectural and exhibit renderings / is a painter, illustrator and printmaker by training. A long-standing member of Ralph Appelbaum Associates' award-winning exhibit design firm, Scott's robust portfolio includes the Clinton Presidential Library, Singapore National Visitor's Center and the Corning Glass Museum. He received his BFA from Hampshire College and his MFA from American University.
CAITLIN VAN DUSEN / editing, copywriting / is an editor and writer with training in long-form documentary journalism from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and a BA in English from Swarthmore College. She has been a purveyor of pirate supplies for 826 Valencia, in San Francisco; a student of anthroposophy; and the senior editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. She is currently the copy editor for the Believer, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and McSweeney’s Books.