Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NW/NY 2: Trace Elements

I'm starting a new series on ye olde Pacific Standard wherein I interview people who are from the Northwest and live in New York, or vice versa, or are interesting people who should be interviewed regardless of where they live, if they moved, or where they're from.

So basically it's an interview series. You might be next so get ready.

First up (well actually second, if you count my interview with Byron Kalet from the Journal of Popular Noise) is Mexico City-born, Northwest-raised Brooklyn resident and Creative Director of Trace magazine, Katie Constans.

She just launched a website to show her work, which is truly impressive.

Being a rule-breaker, Katie didn't really answer all my questions—but the good news is that she sent back a bunch of photos, and a picture is worth 100 answers, so we'll just run with that.

Tell me about your path from the great Northwest to becoming Creative Director of Trace in New York City—what's your background?
I spent a lot of time in high school with fashion magazines—this is my closet [in Edmonds, WA] pasted with magazine images of Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.

All the walls of my bedroom were always an ever-shifting magazine collage.

This is my Grandmother and me standing outside the house she was born in [in Anacortes, WA].

Right after I graduated high school in Edmonds, I won a modeling contest in Bellevue Square with TCM models, a local modeling agency. I won a trip to New York with Terri Morgan the owner. We went to all the fashion shows and my favorite part was getting Cindy Crawford’s autograph. It looks like it’s gotten a bit moldy now.

I ended up modeling for 10 years all over the world. I spent a lot of time in Europe and Asia. This cover from Seattle Bride circa 2001 was my last modeling assignment. It meant a lot to me because it was shot by my favorite photographer based in Seattle, Jim Henkens, who also shot my first test shoot ten years earlier. It felt like I had come full circle.

I studied graphic design at Cornish in Seattle and started doing assistant styling work locally for The Bon, Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom.com. I was always inspired by French fashion magazines and by American artists in the ’20s and ’30s that moved to Paris to pursue and develop their art—Man Ray, Lee Miller, Edward Steichen, and Alexander Calder. I decided to do the same—I moved to Paris to study photography at Parsons in Paris and pursue styling.

This is an example of the type of styling work I was doing there.

I was hired from Paris to come to New York to work at Trace magazine. I started working as the photo editor.

Who and what are your influences?
My biggest inspiration of course is Alexey Brodovitch. I often think about how he used to say “Éttonei Moi!” (surprise me!) when commissioning photographers. I wish I could get away with that but it’s just not the same coming from a Seattle girl without a French accent.

Last question—what are your plans this summer?
This summer I plan on doing a tour of all the beaches near NYC. Visiting my family on Whidbey Island and collecting more of those rocks with the white ring around them. I will be talking on my phone from New York to Seattle and Seattle to NY a lot. Going to as many photo openings, art galleries and museums as possible. Dreaming of images, design and cinema while on the subway. Dancing, dancing, dancing, laughing, riding my bike, going to outdoor concerts, making fun videos and staying inspired.

Check out Katie's work at katieconstans.com

1 comment:

dottie said...

what a fantastic interview - inspiring to say the least.

i'm loving this whole thing - great blog.