Each Breather space is crafted with meticulous detail, featuring hand-picked items and artwork from artists we admire. In some our our San Francisco spaces at 2 Harrison in SoMa, you’ll see some wonderfully fun prints by Art Director and Graphic Designer, Michael Mason.
Originally from Montreal, Michael worked in San Francisco before moving to London, UK, where he's currently based. We spoke to him way back in 2015, when he was as new to San Francisco as we were.
What do you miss the most about Montreal?
One of the biggest things I’ve missed since leaving Montreal are the seasons. It really has an effect on the people of a city on so many levels — emotionally, ritually, etc. Right now, I’m just finishing up my first year in California, and I can’t help but feel as though time’s a lot more transient out here. When summer hits Montreal, you can really feel the whole city take a shift and get excited about it. Whenever fall rolled in it would feel preparatory and nostalgic. Winter’s always a long haul, but when spring comes around it makes everything feel that much more inspiring. San Francisco is pretty constant year-round; so your rituals don’t really change. Time is more what you make of it, and your personal narrative’s more defined by your own actions.
Montreal’s creative and entrepreneurial community is also something that you don't see everywhere. Clearly, San Francisco has a lot of incredible people doing world-changing things — but I think the price point that comes with living in the hustle of this city doesn’t allow for the same sort of chance-taking and experimentation that fuels culture & community back home. Living in Montreal costs next to nothing compared to other North American cities, so you have a lot more people doing a lot more out of passion rather than necessity.
What inspires you in your work in San Francisco?
I took a little hiatus from personal projects for the first 6 months of being here, but now I’ve got a few things on the go and they’re definitely affected by life in the Bay Area. The city’s brilliant, and the visual/cultural vernacular of San Francisco is drastically different from that of Montreal. Even though visual styles are becoming a lot more global, you can’t help but be affected by the visual tendencies of the community you’re in.
On a personal level, I’ve been really inspired by the accessibility of nature. I’ve been spending weekends biking through beaches and mountains north of the peninsula, and the scale of it all is overwhelmingly powerful. Also, you can’t help but romanticize waking up to the sound of the foghorns from Golden Gate Bridge on grey mornings.
What's one of the most unique things that's inspired you?
My cousin’s a pilot, and I once had the opportunity to fly with him over southern Québec on a clear night. It was beautiful, and the city lights mirrored the stars in such a curious way. The image stayed with me long enough to fold itself into a personal project about a year or so later (Places Near Home).
How would you describe your ideal workspace?
My ideal space would be simple & clutter-less, with heaps of plants and natural lighting.
In San Francisco (or Oakland? Or Palo Alto?). Check out our spaces here.