The mother of six told Vogue that she considers a venture of this magnitude to be a family project. During the renovation stage, original art by Pax, Jolie’s 19-year-old son and eldest child, could be seen on-site: a canvas draped over the entryway had been spray-painted with the Atelier Jolie logo. “That was my son practicing,” Jolie told Vogue of Pax’s handiwork. With Basquiat’s graffiti still intact in the studio (the tag SAMO, a phrase Basquiat coined with friend and fellow artist Al Diaz, remains scrawled across the concrete floor), it’s no wonder the space encourages creative expression.
Jolie signed an eight-year lease on the 60,000-square-foot space and plans to keep the exterior of the building as is to honor Basquiat. The interiors will be customized for artisans to work and showcase their designs. The light-filled loft, with its high ceilings and exposed rafters, has been outfitted with benches made of reclaimed wood for the incoming tailors.
The property’s unique history goes beyond its connection to the famed American artists. Before Warhol purchased it, the gangster Paul Kelly (born Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli) owned the building, where he opened the Brighton Athletic Club in 1904. Most recently, the building housed Bohemian, an exclusive Japanese restaurant. Warhol also previously owned the building next door, 342 Bowery.