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Eat Work Art SPOTLIGHT: Max Keys

Eat Work Art has caught up with one of Netil House's newest residents, Max Keys, to give you a peek behind the studio doors and get to know of one of the many incredible talents within the community.

Max Keys specialise in Antiques, Art and Furniture. They source unique objects, specialising in form, function and design.

Max Keys

"I have been buying and selling antiques for almost a decade. Starting with local markets near my hometown and following a string of short-lived jobs, I slowly made the transition to working for myself.

Pre-lockdown the business looked very different, there was such a physical element with all the different markets and fairs. The first few weeks of lockdown were tough, they hit really hard and I had to completely rethink my way of working. It took a bit of creative thinking to restructure in a way that fitted the new world. That’s when I started posting new stock every day at 6pm on Instagram. Almost a year on, I still post every day at 6pm!

I love the whole process: from sourcing, to restoring, photographing and selling. I work at a fast pace and I love the quick turnaround. Seeing furniture in situ is always rewarding."

Max Keys

How do you source the pieces?

Markets, fairs and continental buying trips played a huge part in my business. It was, and still is, the most exciting way to buy. Recently I’ve tapped into my little black book - classified intel I can’t share!

I am not driven by specific periods of design, I look for anything from form, function, surface, style... The excitement of finding something I’ve never seen before makes me need to buy it immediately. You could say it is like a compulsive shopping habit - open to discussion!

Any challenges?

There are always challenges along the road. Mistakes are expensive, if something isn’t right you have to move on quickly. I try to stay as flexible as possible, not taking things too seriously and keep an open mind.

Max Keys

How are you finding life at Eat Work Art?

Running a business online is entirely visually driven, having a studio space with incredible natural light to photograph has been a complete game changer. It’s such a pleasure having people curiously stop by the studio.

Do you have any tips on those looking to invest in furniture?

Bypass trends - they always fluctuate. Regardless of the price, look for something you love. You will know it when you see it.

Max Keys

What does the future hold for Max Keys?

Interest in home furniture, art and objects peaked during lockdown, the past year has been really good to me and I am incredibly fortunate. I hope to be able to open the studio for appointments very soon, it’ll be amazing to get people through the door to see things IRL.

It’s hard to predict what the next few months will look like. The past year has made me think on my feet, I’m always looking for new ideas and new ways of doing things. Some work, others don’t. We’ve all had to adapt super quickly to stay in the game, I don’t think it’s over just yet.

Max Keys

Follow Max Keys for their daily 6pm drop: @max_keys

Follow Hackney Downs Studios for more resident insight: @hackneydownsstudios

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