Sunday, January 22, 2012

Folktales in the Snow: Stacey Rozich.

I first met local illustrator Stacey Rozich three years ago when she shared a tiny, cramped studio space in Pioneer Square’s 619 Western Ave building. Although she was only 21 at the time, her talent and motivation were clear, even to an onlooker like me. Since then, Stacey has been kicking ass: working for herself, showing numerous solo exhibits around the city, and even making her 3D debut in a Fleet Foxes music video.

Stacey has been a member of the Cairo family for a long time now: she designed a shirt pattern for Cairo moons and moons ago. [“Its very gratifying seeing someone wearing your work, as opposed seeing them put it in their bathroom.”]

Stacey and I spent one snowy afternoon drinking tea and talking about successful women we would trade lives with for a week (she picked Tina Fey), the best solo wintertime meal (“papardelle pasta with marinara sauce from scratch”), and our biggest splurges (“Shoes! I. Love. Shoes.”). 

Stacey's current inspiration: Doughnuts. 

With so much already under her belt, it’s hard to imagine what’s next for this unstoppable woman. Read our interview to find out her plans! (Hint: Something involving teatowels…)

Some photos from our shoot: 
(All vintage and jewelry sold AT CAIRO!)

Want more photos of Stacey? Click here!

Our interview: 

What is your approach to what you wear every day?
            My approach is to never be too comfortable. I don’t have a rain jacket or hiking boots or anything like that. I like to keep an element of professionalism when I dress. Seattle is obsessively casual, but I’m not like that, really. Sometimes I just want to wear a jean jacket and an old t-shirt, but I like to always keep it classy.

Do you have any favorite current style trends?
            I’m a big fan of classic cuts but with a twist—like neon with camel or something. I like to dress in things that are somewhat classic, so that I don’t look back in a few years and think, “what the hell was I thinking??” I try not to dip into too many trends. I guess that’s kind of safe, but I still like to play with cool things.

What was your worst job?
            Oh man. I worked at a pasta bar at Pike Place, and the boss was a total asshole. It really helped me learn how to deal with assholes, haha. Working with such an extremely masculine personality really helped me grow a thicker skin, learn how to throw someone else’s bullshit back at them. I also learned how to talk to anyone—a grandma, or a homeless person, or a bunch of college students.

What artists are inspiring you right now?
            I get a lot of my inspiration from past art styles. I check out BibliOdyssey a lot—it’s this giant digital image collection of artwork—everything form Japanese woodblock prints to Greek Orthodox iconography. Also artists like Marcel Dzama, Mark Warren-Jaques, and my friend Matthew Craven in New York. He’s always so innovative that he really drives me to keep my work fresh.

It looks like traditional art has really inspired your work.
            Yeah, I got started with Yugoslav folklore. The Federation of Yugoslavia has so many different cultures and different folklore, which is what really got me started. Then I started researching Russian and Bulgarian folklore, which spread to Scandanavian, and then all over the globe. I got into West African stories, then Native American cultures.  My art is sort of a hodgepodge of traditional folklore, but through my own lense, creating my own narrative.

When did you first get into illustration? When and where did it start? 
            I’ve been drawing forever. It’s such a cliché but its just one of those things. When you’re a kid you draw all the time, and dad recognized something more than a childhood pastime. He always told me to draw every day, and I did until high school. In high school I was a theater nerd, and did all the posters for plays, so I learned to create an image through communication. Also, I’ve wanted to be an animator my whole life. I loved cartoons my whole life. It was in high school that I decided I wanted something a little more streamlined, so I went into illustration.

How does your current environment inspire your work?
            I have such a strong support system, being from Seattle, that it’s easy to work and feel like I have a good support net behind me. I’m such a collector of things like masks and reference books, so I have a good collection of imagery to look into, which is a good cushion. That support can be nebulous at times, but very freeing.
What puts you in the zone to create?  What does that zone look like?
            Doughnuts! Haha, only joking. The time when all my pistons are firing is when I’m prepping for a show and I have a deadline looming. The first piece of the collection and the last piece are very different. My work has such minute detail, and in the first few pieces, I can see that my lines aren’t as straight, or the detailing isn’t as precise. The more I work on a collection, the more I can see in my art that I really get back into the swing of things. I get this amazing high—I know it sounds like an after-school special—but it’s this pride and satisfaction in my work, and having that moment where you know that you’re on the right track. That’s when I feel the most productive, and the most happy.
 What are you the most proud of?
           I am really proud of having as many shows under my belt as I do. Especially looking at where I was four years ago—a 20 year old art school drop out living in my parents basement—to working for myself and progressively doing bigger shows each year. Ultimately I know I’m doing the right thing and that I’m really lucky in opportunities that I’m getting. Oh, and doing the Fleet Foxes video was pretty cool, too.

What is next? Any other mediums you want to explore?
            Yes! Very much so. I have a good foundation in 2D world, and now I want to get more into the 3D. Seeing my work in Fleet Foxes video was so gratifying. I abandoned dreams of being an animator long ago, but it was so exciting to see my art come to life that I really think I would like to get more into video. The gals at Free Time Industries and I have a couple things that are in the pressure cooker, so I’m really excited to see how my work will translate into different mediums. Ultimately I would like to work with textiles for home, porcelain collections, and weaving would be really exciting.

What do you ultimately hope to achieve with your art?
           I would like to create a pretty cohesive brand with my work. To publish books is definitely a goal. I love to do gallery showings, so doing that would be cool, backed up with a more robust brand.

Is there someone or some company that you would want to work with?
          I would love to collaborate with a fashion brand. For starters, doing a capsule collection of clothes or a small house ware line. I think someone like Anthropologie would be pretty cool to work with. They know their audience really well and know what sells, and I think I could bring something to the table. I know my audience. I’m constantly receiving emails requesting things like bathing suits and tea towels.

What are some of your favorite trends in the art scene in Seattle right now?
         Being more of a part of the design community, I think I’m always excited to see what’s going on with Free Time Industries, The Adventure School, and Iacoli and McAllister. I like self-propelled small businesses. I feel more excited about that kind of thing, since I’m trying to create my own brand.

What is it like to be a woman artist?
          I really like it, actually. It’s interesting, I’ve been told that people can’t determine my gender from my work, which is a compliment to me. When they do find out I’m a young woman, sometimes it’s a shock at first, but I take it as kudos to me. I know there are a lot of women artists out there, but unfortunately it’s usually the men that get recognized.
I like getting to know a lot more women artists in the city—it lets us create a community—not that we have to be bound by our gender, but I think it unites us in a way. I know that I do anticipate discrimination in the future. I have shown at a few galleries in which I am the first ever woman to do a solo show. That is cool for me, but it definitely speaks to what can happen in the future.

Most exciting place work has let you travel to?
            I haven’t been able to travel that much yet. I’ve only gone to Portland for the Fleet Foxes video. Hopefully this year I will be showing in Chicago and New York. I have an insatiable need to travel right now. I’ve been telling galleries that I want to do an instillation—which is like catnip for curators—and that I will fly out for the show. It’s a way for me to travel and see the rest of the country… but soon it will be THE WORLD. Ha!

Can't wait to see what's next. Thanks Stacey!

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Love her work! Great read..thanks!