The Barista Trying to Start an Artist Community

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“In the last year and a half, I’ve lived in Montana, Portland, and New Mexico, where I was a ranch hand.” Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Nicolas Griscom, Barista

What are you up to today?
I’m visiting from Chicago. I’m here to see my brother, who lives in Crown Heights. Last night we went to Chinatown to eat at one of those places with all the ducks hanging in the window. Today we went thrifting at Tokio 7.

Are you a big thrifter?
We didn’t have much money growing up, so all my clothes were thrifted. I was so afraid kids would find out I wore secondhand clothes, but then in high school there was this grunge revival, and suddenly everyone wanted to go to Goodwill. I was like: Well, okay — I already do that all the time. My mom made and vegetable-dyed a lot of her own clothes; she’s a real hippie. We lived in South Carolina in the Bible Belt, so we were pretty out of place. Now I wear her clothes, though they’re tight on me. So far, my 20s have been a lot like hers. I’ve imitated her youth.

How so?
She moved all around the world: the South of France, South Africa before apartheid ended, Berlin when the wall came down. In the last year and a half, I’ve lived in Montana, Portland, and New Mexico, where I was a ranch hand. Now I’m trying to start an artist community on this 17-acre ranch in the Hill Country of Texas. But she partied with Ringo Starr, which I obviously haven’t done.

Lightning Round

Age: 20.
Favorite article of clothing: “These ’70s Lacoste tennis shorts I’m wearing. I got them in San Francisco for $5.”
Reading: Play It As It Lays, by Joan Didion.
Watching: Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine.

*This article appears in the May 28, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Barista Trying to Start an Artist Community