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Colby Mugrabi Finds Simplicity with a Paintbrush

Colby Mugrabi is a writer, artist, and art collector based in New York. In 2017, she founded Minnie Muse, a blog that explores the intersection of art, fashion, design, and architecture. The name was inspired by the fact that, as a young girl, Mugrabi dreamed of being John Galliano’s muse. As of summer 2020, it was where you could go to read about artist Salvador Dalí’s brief foray into swimwear, or an interview with designer Dries Van Noten’s Airedale Terrier. During the pandemic, Mugrabi decided to pause publishing. Instead, to pass the time while quarantining in her Manhattan apartment, she took up painting, and has since sold her work at the Webster, the Gagosian bookstore, and on her personal Instagram. She was also pregnant with her first child. Below, we spoke about what it means for Mugrabi to “keep it super simple.”

Colby Mugrabi's dog

What does ‘simplicity’ mean to you?

Simplicity to me means thoughtful restraint. It is important not to think of something that is simple as being plain, lazy, or boring – oftentimes the simplest things are the hardest to achieve!

What’s the simplest object in your home that you use the most?

Definitely my paintbrushes – what could be simpler than some bristles attached to a wooden handle?!

Colby Mugrabi paint brushes

Is there an aspect of your life that you’re actively trying to simplify? Why and how?

Like everyone else, I am constantly at war trying to simplify my inbox and to-do lists!

Is there a way in which you’ve been forced to simplify something in recent memory? How did that experience work out?

I don’t know who hasn’t been forced to simplify in some capacity over the past years. Whether it be through restructuring your work life and travel schedule, or adjusting to more time spent at home, I think one of the many lessons everyone has learned is how little you actually need.

What’s your go-to simple recipe?

I don’t know if this counts as a recipe, since I don’t cook it at home, but my favorite meal is Omakase sushi – a tradition hailing from the masters of simplicity: the Japanese.

Colby Mugrabi Sushi

How does simplicity fit into your wardrobe, if at all? What is/are the simplest item(s) in your closet that you wear the most? (Clothes, accessories.)

Lately, simplicity has fit into my wardrobe quite well, as I have been wearing a rotation of the same Nike sweatpants and vintage t-shirts for 10 months… I’ve felt a bit like Steve Jobs in his trademark Levis and black Issey Miyake turtleneck!

Colby Mugrabi's nike sweat pants

What does simplicity mean to you in terms of styling? How do you achieve simplicity with an outfit?

I see simplicity in styling as more of an approach to dressing rather than relating to one’s actual clothing. No matter what you put on, if you haven’t wasted time overthinking it, an outfit automatically becomes simple.

issey miyake pleated top

Which piece did you choose from the Carolina Bucci’s K.I.S.S. collection, and what do you like about it? How does it embody simplicity, in your mind? How do you plan on wearing it?

I chose the small KISS bracelet because I see it as the perfect day-to-night piece. If simplicity of style and mind means not having to overthink your outfit, then getting ready in the morning and being able to roll into the evening wearing the same jewelry is the perfect gesture to simplify your day.

Colby Mugrabi wears a small Carolina Bucci K.I.S.S. Bracelet

How does simplicity fit into your beauty routine, if at all?

Simplicity fits into my beauty routine quite well. I am not a product junkie and rarely wear makeup, so the getting ready process is typically pretty seamless.

Who is someone who you feel embodies simplicity, or ‘ effortlessness’ in an admirable way?

My forever muse, Peggy Guggenhiem.

What’s one simple thing you did today that made you feel good?

Calling a loved one. Nothing makes you feel better than talking to family.

Colby Mugrabi calls her mom