Photography by Trevor Smith

Alexandra Fisher & Kevin Johnson

Artists, clamdiggin

| West Hollywood

When it comes to work, there are good days and bad days, but, for us, few have been as good as the day we hung out with the husband-and-wife art duo, Alexandra Fisher and Kevin Johnson— or “clamdiggin” as their most commonly known. As we swing open the doors to their 1920s Craftsman bungalow, we find Fisher ironing in the kitchen while Johnson pours us homemade iced tea and their son, Cole, skateboard in hand, points to some of his favorite creative outlets (namely, his drum set). In fact, the whole house hums with creativity: clamdiggin originals lean on top of one another amidst a music band (amps, mic and tambourine included), a sewing machine, paint supplies and a floor-dwelling chess set; no corner is left ordinary. Of course, this synergy of work and play, magic and mundane is no coincidence; it’s the very heartbeat of who Fisher and Johnson are and what they do. Interested in art, nature, pop culture, music and fashion, the couple began working together under their pseudonym, clamdiggin, nearly 20 years ago, first painting billboards in Chicago. A brief stint in a teepee in the Arizona desert followed and since, they’ve been exhibited at MOCA, made original tees for fitness guru, Tracy Anderson, and collaborated with legendary interior designer Kelly Wearstler on décor for The Viceroy Anguilla. (Oh, and lil’ old somebodies like Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus and Nicole Richie have all commissioned them for personal projects too, but NBD…!?!) Much of their work is grounded in nature like illustrations of insects and bones or their signature hammerhead print which surfaces on everything from shoes to wall murals (important side note: Johnson is a former biologist). But, as Cole swings from the ceiling for our team on set, Fisher mentions that she’s newly pursuing singing too— she’s had the itch for years, talked herself out of it, and now has gigs lined up at West Hollywood’s storied Viper Room. “I want Cole to grow up doing things for him; if he has an internal voice telling him to do something, I want him to act on it for that reason alone… not for anyone else, but for him,” she says. And suddenly, it felt like the whole world was at our fingertips, just waiting for us to grab a brush, instrument or pen… but then, wasn’t that Fisher’s point? Here, clamdiggin sits with CITIPHILE to reveal their little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Cecconi’s (MAP ITx) because fresh pasta and pizza! The marinara pasta is simple and delicious and their wood-fired thin crust pizza has the same texture and taste as the ones Kevin made while working in Mykonos after college. He still hasn’t made me one so thank you Cecconi’s… They are also fab with families. 

COFFEE OR TEA: Both at Little Next Door (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) because you can’t beat their tarte Tropezienne or their music selection.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Do we have to choose?! It’s so hard. We love the veggie options at Gjelina (MAP ITBOOK ITx) including the grilled king oyster mushrooms and every salad. Their garden quality is out of control.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Danielle’s rose gin cocktail in the lobby of Chateau Marmont (MAP ITx). She infuses the gin in small batches herself, but it’s only available Wednesday through Saturday.

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: Chateau Marmont or upstairs at The Tasting Kitchen (MAP ITBOOK ITx).

MUSIC PICK: We kind of like everything: Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar are in heavy rotation right now. I sing and write songs; Cole is a drummer; we fill the house with lots of vinyl.  It’s super fun to go listen to music at one the H.wood groups restaurants like Delilah (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), The Nice Guy (MAP ITBOOK ITx) or The Peppermint Club (MAP IT, x). Bar Lubitsch (MAP IT, x) is also great for local talent.We love The Forum (MAP IT, x) and Troubador (MAP ITx), and I would love to play at The El Rey Theatre on Wilshire (MAP ITx) too.

BEST BRUNCH: Gjusta (MAP ITx)— it’s the best food and it’s great to grab-n-go and take on a picnic up the PCH. I like people watching there as well. Next door, they have a little shop where you can buy records and small gifts.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Beverly Hills has a great mix of local beauties and visitors (and also the best car show daily).

HEALTHY STAPLE: A studio lunch which would not be possible with out the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s Market (MAP ITx). Go super early, have a couple oysters, shop and then get the best pad Thai and coconut cakes (ever) to go and head home…

GUILTY PLEASURE: La Conversation (MAP IT, x) for some tiny French pastries. They have these macadamia hearts half-dipped in chocolate; a box of those are a fab thank you present.

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Pacific Ocean— anyone who lives here seems to forget about it.

FIRST THING WE MISS WHEN WE’RE AWAY: The produce and seeing the mountains fall in to the sea.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Pace (MAP ITx) and Jar (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— both have great lighting and yummy food.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Gagosian (MAP IT, x) openings; Sunset Tower (MAP ITx); Chateau Marmont

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Malibu, always and forever. We’re big fans of One Gun Ranch (MAP IT, x).

TO GET INSPIRED: Driving into any of the canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains to catch a sun-soaked, straw-colored chaparral biome kissing a blue sky. Be careful though: rattlesnakes.

BEST ART STOP: Dick BLICK (MAP IT, x).

TO US, ART IS:  Awesome, necessary and like church.

FAVORITE GALLERY: GagosianRegen Projects (MAP ITx), LACMA (MAP ITx) and Venus over Manhattan (MAP IT, x).

GO-TO GETAWAY: Palm Springs. Stay at The Sparrow’s Lodge (MAP ITBOOK ITx); eat at Mr. Lyon’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). Also, Solage in Napa Valley (MAP IT, x) is great; just live in the warm spa pool with some rosé champagne, then go visit Scribe Winery (MAP IT, x) and ship gifts to friends, and have dinner at French Laundry (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

CLOSET CHECK: I had to ask my brother, Fisher, to answer this one: “Santa Fe meets Amalfi coast and Kevin is all-American artist.” We like shopping at The Rose Bowl Flea Market (MAP ITx), as well as Desert Vintage (MAP IT, x) and How Sweet it Was (MAP IT, x) in Tucson. Tailor-made dresses are the best though; I’m looking for someone to make my dresses. Hidden Treasures in Topanga Canyon (MAP IT, x), Just One Eye (MAP ITx) and Filth Mart (MAP ITx) are great shops too.

QUOTIDIAN KEEPER: Raya Spa (MAP IT, x) and interior designer Roxy Sowlaty (x).

BEST HOME DÉCOR: Our interior style is very much dictated by our art and current projects. The house is set up to make music, art and some home cooking, and we have a big couch for movie watching. Kevin’s hidden talent is taking old, abandoned wood from alleys and making things like easels, side tables, mandalas, benches and desks out of it. LA, shout out to your alleys. He’s all over them.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: RTH on La Cienega (MAP IT, x).

BEAUTY/GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Thanks to Scott Cunha, I see Calista Sanderson (x) for cuts and George Papanikolas (x) for color at the Andy LeCompte salon (MAP ITx). Kevin sees Chris Aquila (x) at Like A Gentleman Barbershop (MAP IT, x) for a classic shave, fade or cut.

FIT PICK: We’re water babies—we swim laps in the summer and boogie board. We also love doing YogaGlo (x) online at home and taking class at Hot Pilates (MAP IT, x).

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: Kevin has a ton [of stories] from Chateau Marmont, but he’s not allowed to tell you… Witnessing my brother-in-law (Lee Daniels) get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was pretty “LA” and so major. Going to the Dodgers game to watch the Cubs play… Watching the kite surfers in Malibu… Selling tees and art out of our VW bus at midnight on Abbot Kinney… Taking our Christmas tree and a few from the neighbors up to Malibu Creek State Park and having a huge bonfire at New Years… Patti Smith and Kim Gordon, street side. CP

Alexandra & Kevin’s LA

From L to R: First Row: Alpaca at One Gun Ranch; Vintage finds from Desert Vintage; Outside Little  Next Door; Bialy at Gjusta. Second Row: Inside Gjelina; Pizza from Cecconi’s; One-of-a-kind wares from RTH; Inside Gagosian Gallery.

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