Our Lives in Frame

A photographer and furniture maker finds love and success through her craft

Andrew Lee and Ryan Newman

Partners in business and life alike, Ivy Siosi and Audim Culver (M.F.A. ’12, Photography) are the co-owners of Siosi Design, a boutique furniture company based in Indiana. Their designs are elegant. Clean, clear lines. Their work blends minimalism with an undisguised grace, and their marketing — by way of Audim’s photography — reflects this aesthetic.

“Audi’s photography is the face of our business,” Ivy says. “It’s what gets us more business. It’s what keeps us afloat. Without her pictures of our work, it’s all a wash.”

But those pictures mean so much more than that. They’re a record of risk-taking. A megapixel narrative of perseverance. Viewed as a whole, Audim’s photographs are the story of two entrepreneurs who dared to step outside the straight-and-easy. They're a chronicle of success.

And they're a chronicle of two people building a life together. However rare, love and work and leisure can all coalesce, and when they do, the pictures we take can help us know ourselves a little better. They pause this fleeting life, and help us see.

Show transcript
00:04 --> 00:07 [Ambient music begins playing.]

00:12 --> 00:14 [The garage door clatters up.]

00:20 --> 00:22 [A piano melody joins the music.]

00:23 --> 00:26 [The gas range begins ticking.]

00:28 --> 00:32 Audim: When I finished grad school, I didn’t necessarily want to be a teacher,

00:33 --> 00:37 and I didn’t necessarily want to move to New York.

00:39 --> 00:42 Audim: You need to figure out what you really want to do and, you know,

00:42 --> 00:47 what’s going to make you happy and the kind of art you want to make.

00:47 --> 00:53 Audim: My work has always been very personal, and so transitioning and starting our own business

00:53 --> 00:58 and photographing us doing the things that we do daily is so natural to me.

00:59 --> 01:01 It does not feel like work.

01:01 --> 01:03 [The van’s doors loudly shut.]

01:04 --> 01:09 Audim: I was raised in a family where we were told that we could be whoever we wanted to be.

01:12 --> 01:16 Ivy: As an artist, there’s not always going to be a job for you,

01:16 --> 01:19 so sometimes you need to make your own job.

01:20 --> 01:23 Audim: With both of our backgrounds in art combined,

01:23 --> 01:28 it was just sort of like, let’s start a furniture business and see if we can make it work.

01:30 --> 01:34 [The music fades away, giving way to the sound of a saw cutting wood.]

01:35 --> 01:37 [Ambient music rises.]

01:43 --> 01:46 [A meditative piano melody begins playing.]

01:52 --> 01:55 Audim: I feel really connected to what I do on a daily basis.

01:55 --> 01:57 I don’t rush through anything.

01:57 --> 01:59 I’m not a fast worker.

01:59 --> 02:00 I’m a thorough worker.

02:00 --> 02:02 I’m a hard worker.

02:02 --> 02:06 And I can’t imagine working for someone else at this point.

02:06 --> 02:07 [The sound of sawing.]

02:07 --> 02:09 Ivy: I’d say that we’re both learners.

02:10 --> 02:12 We’re both enthusiastic learners,

02:12 --> 02:15 and that’s what we enjoy the most.

02:16 --> 02:18 [The sound of polishing.]

02:20 --> 02:23 [The ambient music slows.]

02:26 --> 02:30 Audim: Ivy and I first started collaborating on my thesis show.

02:30 --> 02:34 We had really just met, and I started photographing her.

02:34 --> 02:35 [The music rises again.]

02:36 --> 02:40 It was pretty much me documenting us falling in love.

02:40 --> 02:47 We made the frames for every piece together, so not only was the piece me photographing

02:47 --> 02:54 Ivy and her responding that relationship, but it was also … the final presentation

02:54 --> 02:56 was both of us.

02:57 --> 02:58 Ivy: I still love them.

02:59 --> 02:59 I love those.

03:00 --> 03:03 I wish you were still doing that same show every day.

03:04 --> 03:05 Audim: Oh, that’s sweet.

03:07 --> 03:10 Audim: We really prioritize photography.

03:10 --> 03:16 Gaining the skills that I did as an MFA has really benefited our business extremely directly.

03:18 --> 03:24 Audim: There are so many talented woodworkers out there, making incredible work every day.

03:24 --> 03:27 But not all of them have photography skills.

03:27 --> 03:32 Ivy: In the realm of today’s marketing and social media,

03:33 --> 03:37 what we put out there — which is Audi’s photography — is the face of our business.

03:38 --> 03:39 It’s what gets us more business.

03:39 --> 03:41 It’s what keeps us afloat.

03:41 --> 03:45 Without her pictures of our work, it’s all a wash.

03:45 --> 03:49 [The music changes to a slow, bittersweet piano melody.]

03:56 --> 03:58 Audim: Yeah, bring your feet up.

03:58 --> 03:59 I like that.

04:00 --> 04:05 Audim: Photographing us doing the things that we do daily is so natural to me.

04:05 --> 04:06 It does not feel like work.

04:06 --> 04:10 It’s my favorite part of this job, really,

04:10 --> 04:16 pulling Ivy aside at the end of the day and asking her to,

04:17 --> 04:20 I don’t know, do something funny with the piece we just finished.

04:21 --> 04:24 Audim: It’s all very playful for us.

04:24 --> 04:30 And that’s the kind of art I made, and then that’s how I also contribute towards the

04:30 --> 04:31 marketing of our business.

04:33 --> 04:38 Audim: All right, I’m going to set the self-timer, and I’m going to come in there with you.

04:40 --> 04:42 [A cymbal splashes, and the music rises again.]

04:42 --> 04:46 Audim: We still like each other, after five and a half years of being in business together,

04:46 --> 04:49 and almost eight years of being partners.

04:49 --> 04:52 Ivy: Most people say, “Oh my god.

04:52 --> 04:53 "How do you do it?"

04:53 --> 04:55 "How do you work with your partner?”

04:55 --> 04:58 How do people not work with their partners?

04:58 --> 05:00 This is my favorite person in the whole world.

05:01 --> 05:02 Why would I not involve her?

05:03 --> 05:05 Audim: I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

05:05 --> 05:09 [The music slows, and begins to fade away.]

Venture Production Group

This film was produced by Venture Production Group. Andrew Lee (B.A. ’06, Telecommunications) serves as executive producer for the company, and Ryan Newman  (B.A. ’07, Telecommunications) serves as creative director.