Lauren Stelling is "Island Grown" as she puts it. Originally from Whidbey Island, Washington, Lauren now lives in Seattle, though her work still reflects the wild that informed so much of her youth
In her forthcoming show with Velouria, Lauren is showing a series of wilderness photographs. Beautiful ladies in sparse desert landscapes, a sense of adventure, longing, and reflection permeate these environments. Through these images Lauren cultivates an ethos that is reflected in her vintage clothing & home goods pop-up, Archetype. Natural fibers and simple silhouettes dominate the collection, like her images the vintage pieces are quiet and minimal.
Hannah, who helps coordinate Velouria's events, recently had the opportunity to ask Lauren a few questions about her process and inspiration, their correspondence is below:
Velouria: What is your current medium & how did you come to find it?
LaurenStelling: My current medium is photography and my first experience with it was when I was 11-years-old. My dad gave me his old 35mm Nikon FE2 for a six-week summer photography class, which focused on basic photography skills and darkroom process. I learned how to develop my own film and print images in the darkroom.
V: Who are some people who inspire you (artists, designers, writers)?
LS: I follow a lot of photographers' work and am constantly inspired by friends. The people I follow the most closely are Isaac Martin, Chloe Gilstrap, Leela Cyd, Aran Goyoaga, Chris Schoonover, Christina Marie Hicks, and Carmen Daneshmandi.
V: How do you work?
LS: I think I work best when I have a million projects going at once. I'd like to think of myself as having a pretty good grasp on multi-tasking, so I like to test that whenever I can.
V: What is your favorite part of the process?
LS: I'm an over-planner, almost to a fault, but I think the initial stage of brainstorming is my favorite. I like working through ideas and testing out different concepts. Working with other people on this step is also fun and I love collaborating with others and feeding off ideas.
V: Awesome! You recently started a vintage pop-up brand, how did that come about?
LS: I've always loved thrifting and discovering new, unique finds. I'd love to say Archetype came from my love of this, but it was kind of a two-part thing.
I was at a point with photography where I was getting bored of the subjects I was shooting and wanted to try my hand out in more fashion-inspired photography. I'm no stylist, but the idea of using thrifted items in modern photo shoots sounded like a fun challenge. I also wanted to work on a project that would push me to do more graphic design and branding on my own terms. I decided to start the shop as a vessel for trying something completely out of my comfort zone that would also be fun.
V: So, why "Archetype"?
LS: By definition an "archetype" is an original that has been imitated. I felt this was a fitting name for a vintage shop because in fashion almost everything is a copy of something else. I'm trying to focus on finding and selling good quality, modern clothes that happen to be second hand. I primarily only buy cotton, linen, wool, and silk. I try to avoid synthetic fabrics, although if something is really cool I'll let it sneak in.
Another big part of Archetype is not overcharging the customer. It can be so disheartening, as a mid-twenty-year-old freelancer, when I go into beautiful boutiques but can't afford any of the clothes. I always leave with the phrase "some day" lingering in my mind. I instead use these shops as inspiration. My goal is to provide people with an option to buy beautiful, unique clothes at a super affordable price. I like to think this is my contribution to slow fashion for people of my generation and tax bracket.
V: What do you hope to be doing in 5 years? And how does what you're doing now (photography/Archetype) fit into that?
LS: In five years I hope to be working in some creative field, whether that be photography/videography, art direction, or even project management. Ideally I'd love to own my own small media company and provide creative services to local businesses. I think photography and Archetype are giving me a lot of tools to start my own business and learn about what it means to self-manage and motivate. I think at this point I'm simply trying to fill my toolbox with all of my favorite tools and hope it leads to a dream job.
V: Alright, last question: what is your favorite summer spot?
LS: Off Whidbey Island at 4:30am on a fishing boat with my dad.
Thank you so much Lauren!
We can't wait for this show & pop-up! Join Velouria & Lauren Thursday, June 2nd from 6 - 9pm for the opening reception.