Janna Phillip met Eric Doolan as a friend of a friend at his house warming party at his Brentwood home in May 2007. But the two recognized each other as kindred and complimentary spirits and are now not only life partners, but business partners, as well, having recently opened their second gallery, The Fractal Gallery, in Westwood.
"She introduced me to two things, furniture and sushi," Doolin said.
Doolin, an artist whose most recent paintings are huge close ups of flowers and plants in arresting colors, grew up in Dallas. He said that he became interested in furniture while studying at the University of Southern California.
"When I was about to graduate from USC, my plan was to start a furniture company," the 35-year-old Doolin said.
"I've always been in furniture," she said.
So it seemed fated that the two should connect, especially since Doolin had just earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis School of Design.
The Fractal Gallery is their second business. They opened a previous gallery in Maui in February 2011, but that gallery features mostly local artisans.
"Here, this is 95 percent ours," Phillips said.
That includes Doolin's nature-based paintings, her modular hemp and foam furniture and his tables made from hemp-board. All of the work is inspired by nature and the emphasis is on eco-friendly products. The furniture that Phillips and Doolin have designed are all tree-free, relying on hemp and other earth-friendly products.
"It's an extraordinary challenge," Phillips said about running two businesses, one here and the other in Hawaii.
Doolin and Phillips said that, unlike many couples where one focuses on the art and the other the business, they seem to be equally adept at and interested in the business and that artistic sides of their endeavor.
"We work together," Phillips said. "We kind of do everything together."
The Fractal Gallery is located at 1884 Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025, 888-315-6153