From my essay published in The Manifold for their issue on creative pursuit!
How did I find my passions? I’m not sure. I believe that they found me, and I’ve grown into them. Theres the time when you are enamored with an art, or action and as a beginner you’re god awful at it. You take photos and end up loading the film wrong the first three times (and then you change cameras and everything is better, this you learn, is taking the time to find your instruments.) You have vivid images in your head, clear as reality, you put pen to paper and the sloppy lines and smudges of colors don’t look anything like your vision (5 years old, spending a week trying to draw a St. Bernard that was so clear in my mind, it might as well have been in front of me). When you start understanding that letters make words and when you write letters, you forget how many lines to put in the E’s and which way a S goes (“Like a snake, running away from the letters before it”)
“What are you going to do when you grow up?”
As a little girl, I noticed this was adult’s favorite questions. Their eyes seems to become two times bigger and all their facial expressions seem contorted and then you had to think hard because the question seemed so final, so testing. Who knows? I’m four years old and today, I kind of want to be Michael Jackson’s backup dancer on MTV, or in the circus.
My mother always told me I would paint. I would be an artist but most of all, I would paint. At the time, I liked drawing, and it was something I did for hours, every day, but I didn’t want that to be it. Even before I knew what stress was, it terrified me to be stuck doing one single thing, and it seemed like this was life; pick one thing and stick to it.
When I was younger, I lived in a beautiful valley in northern california, we moved there after leaving Cannes because my father wasn’t well and he and my mother wanted to enjoy the rest of their life together in a place that seemed like heaven. At home, records were always playing; Marley, The Stooges, The Rolling Stones.. There were always men with boots and slicked back hair playing guitar and their wild haired girlfriends running around the hilltop cottage smoking weed and making sure my parents were okay. I learned to ride my bike with the older boys that rode their bikes with surfboards under their arms and I built tree-forts and bopped around my best friend’s room to TLC and Kim Wilde, made comic books and my own doll houses while my mother held my dad’s hand in his last days on this earth. Early on I felt pain and saw that sometimes life isn’t fair, but was always taught to embrace it and keep on doing the things that life worth singing about. I lost my father to AIDS at eight years old and although his death always felt (and sometimes still does) feel like someone left a window open during a storm, my mother chose to surround me in beauty and wilderness and let me learn that the world is scary and sad and magical and giving at the same time.
Fast forward a handful of years later and I was in highschool, when I could bother showing up. I was seventeen years old and had decided that I still didn’t know what I want to do with my life. I got good grades but I couldn’t seem to do assignments the way my teachers asked me. I spent my time skipping classes and going to art shows, burlesque shows, going to classic movies at the Castro theatre in San Francisco and drinking green tea eyeing a thin mysterious boy with giant eyes. I wanted to be an artist, but was not inspired. Nothing truly spoke to me and demanded interpretation. I could draw and paint but they translated empty thoughts. I was painting the boredom of teenage suburbia, and there isn’t much to say about that.
I left. To leave my friends, my home, the hills that surround the little town with the road that goes straight into a magical fog city. To leave the glittering men and leather clad women and doe eyed girls in short dresses and the city where everything is cool. I moved back to the south of france which is sunny and like private school compared to California. I decided not to go to college just yet, I spent a year by myself, going from social butterfly to observing outsider… and I learned. Learned how to handle when people berate you on the street, how to walk with your head up when you feel lonely, learned how to drink wine, learned how to be alone, learned to miss your real home and fall in love with a new one. Learned to feel pain again, learned to accept criticism, and essentially, grew up.
I learned that I will never be one thing, it’s absolutely against my gemini nature, but I have learned to be faithful to my ventures, to devote everything I have to ending the things I have started. After years of floating from city to city, of being weightless, I realize that its important to me to create, to be self sufficient. I find myself to be inspired by all sorts of things, by words on a page, by the sway of a man’s coat when he walks slowly, I’m fascinated by the bounce of bodacious girls when they strut down the street, flowers capture me, statues confound me, the ocean mystifies me, neon lights, graffiti and palm trees make me feel at home.
My husband and I are kind of cut from the same cloth, we had known each other for a long time but never quite allowed ourselves the opportunity to spend time together. When it was finally the right time we realized we finally were two, seeking to live a life together, created by our own circumstances. Not content to sit at home and wait for great things.
I think if there is one rule for success, it is first, to determine what your definition of success is. My definition might be a bit unconventional, but it fits the vision of what I’d like to eventually achieve. I believe the right way to succeed in a creative venture, is to trust your instinct. The true creative pursuit IS to be unbreakably* true to your true instinct. I’ve never really done things in a conventional way because if it doesn’t come naturally to me, I’m apt to sit on it for too long and doubt myself into oblivion.
When I find myself staying still in one place for long, I want to drink in what the world has to offer, but often I find myself comparing what other people are doing it and how and whether or not I’m doing “it” right. I sometimes hold myself back or just sit on my hands and wait for the “right” moment and waste the hours away biting my knuckle in anxiety and watching the same films on net-flix while scribbling really over-zealous to do lists on post-its. Doubt is natural, self examination is a gift, but you do have to be careful of being too eager to kick yourself while you’re down.
I find I do best when I’m in my own world, working alongside Brandon on our respective works, when we travel and I spend time creating, photographing, reading and kissing, instead of being concerned with how someone else made what they did.
Today we’re setting the stage for the life we want. I sing in our band, The Saint James Society ( teepee records). We’re releasing our first full length LP in a few days, and getting ready to tour the states and Europe. On tour we explore the cities and towns, get to meet absolutely beautiful people and it gives me a chance to find treasures for my vintage collection. When we’re home I do freelance styling for musicians and artists, and work on my online boutique Fauve&Hunter (which takes up 200% of my time) where I get to create a sort virtual emporium for people that feel a similar philosophy on life: That it’s a beautiful thing, that its terrifying and full of wonder and we might as well decorate it and ourselves, and always be the belle of our own ball, whether it be a dark red lit bar, a country road truck stop where the car breaks down, or a park in the middle of a city where you’re having a cigarette watching people walk by…