{Exclusive Interview} The MCB Shop’s Founder Shares her Thoughts on Everything from Lady Gaga to True Love

The MCB Shop

I’ve got a problem and it’s one that you and I may share. I am not the home decorator extraordinaire I once thought myself to be. Somewhere between a college dorm and a married person’s decidedly adult residence, I’ve lost my way.  Gone are the days when a throw pillow that complimented my curtains impressed my friends and peers. Folks I know shop at Restoration Hardware and Horchow, now. They buy things that look old and damaged on purpose – because it breaths character? Everyone’s having their couch shipped in from somewhere and their kitchen table handmade by a guy they know.

Oh, and everyone’s suddenly an art expert. If I had known Art History 101 was a prerequisite to entering your late 20s I would’ve come better prepared. Instead, I’m left fumbling through canvases for the perfect piece to match my kitchen table, which I purchased from Ikea. Because I still shop at Ikea.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an art expert by our side who could turn our homes into live-in Pinterest boards with just the wiggle of her nose?

Enter the expert; Maya-Camille Broussard is a professional art consultant, designer, and curator. She has experience operating her own art gallery in Chicago and currently writes for Today’s Chicago Woman and Afrobella.com. Her website, www.TheMCBProject.com, helps readers create living spaces inspired by great works of art. Maya’s a lifesaver for anyone looking to upgrade the aesthetic scheme of their home – and who isn’t looking to do just that?

From Headboards to Headdress

An artistic Proteus, Maya is extending her creativity into the world of fashion. Her collection, The MCB Shop, is comprised of tops and headwear inspired by art and history. “Koons is Taken” reads one tee from her assortment. She explains this as a call for fellow artists to rise above simply imitating the work of another and, instead, start creating art that’s uniquely their own.

The MCB Shop

I’ve had a huge crush on her line of headwear since The MCB Shop’s trunk show at Sir & Madame, one of my favorite indie boutiques, last year.

I was finally able to coerce the artist into sitting still for a heart-to-heart. Here Maya Camille-Broussard patiently answers my questions ranging from her past to her current stance on the existence of true love.

You were born in Chicago but received your undergrad in Washington D.C. What drew you back to the windy city? I was accepted into the theater program at Northwestern University where I ended up earning my M.A. in theater. I stayed in Chicago [to be with my family].

What inspired you to pursue a career in art curating? I’ve always been involved in the arts; I studied art history in high school and served as a member of the National Art Honor Society. I taught art (along with theater and dance) as part of educational and outreach programs and I was an art teacher at a local charter school. As a manager of an art-based program at a boutique marketing firm, I often had to curate various “experiences” employing the work of visual and performing artists.

When I opened my gallery in 2009, I used my past experiences to curate the gallery shows, to work with artists on marketing the exhibitions, and explore other opportunities to expose the artists and their work.

Your guiltiest pleasure? I love red wine, quiet Saturday mornings, and flea market shopping- of these pleasurable things, I feel guilty about none of them.

Favorite restaurant? I absolutely love Purple Pig in Chicago. Amazing food, crafted cocktails, and an intimate layout that somehow remains festive and engaging.

A book that has haunted you since the day you finished it? Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison stayed with me for a while. I read it as a teenager and I remember wondering how long it would take before someone would make it into a movie. I’m surprised no one has made that movie yet!  I’d love to see a visual interpretation by [director] Ava DuVernay or maybe even Steve McQueen. (Editor’s note: I agree 100% with this and it applies, frankly, to any book by Morrison.)

The MCB Shop
The Naomi Turban

Is there a celebrity (living or dead) whose style you admire? In looking at the vintage photos of Diana Ross, her style is everything I need and more. If I were a clairvoyant, I’d say that Sasha Obama is going to be a style game-changer. If she, at her young age, is causing certain unicorn sweaters to sell out now then she will wreak fashion-havoc in the years to come.

Do you believe in true love? But, of course.

What are your thoughts on Lady Gaga? Lady Gaga has created a strong brand for herself and she is extremely clear about who her audience is.

Favorite local artist? That is such a mean question! I love so many artists in Chicago and to pick one is torture! But there is one artist whose work I would hoard if I had the square footage: Amanda Williams. Another artist I look forward to seeing more from is Don’t Fret.

Aside from your online shop, where can we find The MCB Shop? Currently, The MCB Shop lives completely online at www.theMCBshop.com. However, continuously be on the lookout for trunk shows and pop-up shops similar to The MCB Shop’s most recent successful trunk show at Sir & Madame in Hyde Park.

View Maya’s entire collection at www.theMCBShop.com today!

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