Elise Peterson

Rachel Schwartzmann
Elise Peterson

The holiday season in New York is truly unmatched. The pace slows down, but the inspiration and admiration for loved ones heightens — especially while gathering around the table to honor the end of another year. This idea especially proved to be true in our recent sit down with Elise R. Peterson for breakfast at Maison-May in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The multidisciplinary artist's work runs the gamut from writing to visual arts, but exploring a more profound, socially-conscious narrative is the constant that remains throughout Elise's many creative endeavors. As we sipped on hot coffee — and as Elise joyfully sketched — we spoke with her about New York winters, resolutions, and what she's reflecting on in her work this holiday season.

Elise Peterson, a visual artist, writer, children’s book illustrator, and on-camera host leaning on a table.

Meet Elise

Heyyyy! I’m a visual artist, writer, children’s book illustrator, and on-camera host. The common thread in all of my work is storytelling. Aside from that, I’m Elise or Mama depending on who’s asking.

Close up of Elise Peterson drawing with her art materials scattered across the wooden table.

Artistic Reflection

My art initially began about me as my boredom/curiosity was needing a place to live. It’s now expanded as a platform to elevate the stories of my community. I’ve been surprised by the mediums I’ve been able to explore in storytelling. I work across mediums from children’s books to video collage projections and beyond.

Back shot of Elise Peterson reaching for a piece of artwork.

Slow Art and Style

I definitely want my style to be a reflection of self, but after having a baby, it’s taken less of a prominent role in my life. Because I have made a shift in the clothes that I invest in, considering how they impact the world, and how I want to look stepping into the woman I always wanted to be, I’m taking my time to purchase pieces. Most of the clothes I want are not affordable for me at this point. In the interim, I source vintage clothes as a way to achieve a look.

Close up image of artwork hanging on a wooden pole.

Thoughts on the Holidays

Although I'm not really that interested in "the holidays," I think it’s nice that people become more community-focused. I also love the idea of gathering together, sharing a meal, and sharing stories. Those moments are special. My goal is always to leave New York during the winter months, and to go somewhere with sunshine and a nice breeze.

Waist-down shot of Elise Peterson in a blue coat sporting the Coclico Narwhal Heel in Viola suede.

Elise's Edit

Elise's advice for gift-giving this holiday season - Don’t buy anything. Make everything.

How Elise will be wearing our Narwhal this holiday season - I’ll probably keep it simple and stick to my uniform; a white tee and my favorite Levi's. I’ll add a little glitter to my eyelid to keep it cute and festive.

Elise's 2019 mantra - No resolutions, however, one of my mantras is to be like the water. Fluid enough to move with the tides, but strong enough to weather even the strongest rocks.

Waist-down image of Elise Peterson in a leather skirt wearing Coclico heels.

Forever Items

When I was traveling in Sweden, I came across a hand-painted barbershop sign originally from Burkina Faso. I purchased it with my son in mind. It's extra special because his dad is also a barber. I felt like it embodied both of his parents in one piece.

Elise Peterson smiling in the streets of nyc wearing the Narwhal Heel.

Elise wears our Narwhal Heel

Photos by Sara Kerens for Coclico