There are a million different things we could say about this week's linyage lady, and yet it feels as though no words would quite suffice. Truthfully, Michelle is a woman that actually needs no introduction. But alas, you know us. We bask and wade in any moment that rises up for us to gush about those we admire, and Michelle Hoffner of Paper Antler is at the very tip top of that list and has been for quite some time. The funny part? We only just met her in person last week.
We're sure you've seen the work of the dynamic duo, Paper Antler, grace your instagram or pinterest feeds. The team is made up of Michelle and her husband, Jonny, and their work is unrivaled in a deep, vast sea of photographers. Whats more, we instantly fell in love with Michelle by way of her soul and grounded spirit that jumps right out of her work and tugs your heart strings like a ventriloquist for days to come.
We had the fortunate opportunity to be graced by her presence last weekend for the whole day, as she and Jonny photographed our creative director Sarah's wedding. Everything we had already conjured up in our minds about her was not only confirmed, but the laundry list of positive attributes we had written to describe her simply grew. She is an outstanding example of someone to look to who is both a creative AND a mother, but does not necessarily let one or the other define her wholly and completely. Rooted strongly in faith and belief in herself, she lends an unapologetic tone for going after what you believe to be right and true, and how to brush off the dust when those said goals inevitably knock you straight on your bum the first time around.
Now, for the freshest breath of air you'll likely take all week, our Q&A with this week's lovely linyage lady.
Q. First things first: Tell us who you are as an artist/creative, in 5 words or less.
A. I try to see beauty in all things...and I take pictures.
Q. You recently welcomed a beautiful girl into the world, Dottie Fern, whom we have adored watching grow up via social media. Tell us a bit about you as a mother, and perhaps any person or facet of your lineage that resonate with you most when reflecting upon it.
A. Watching Dottie grow and change before my eyes all the while having an affection and love for her that literally aches my soul has been the most amazing experience. I didn't grow up with that "all i want more than anything is to be a mom" feeling, in fact I felt terrified to become one because I didn't know too many who I truly wanted to emulate; however, now I wouldn't want anything else in the world. I feel like now that I am a mother I hold juxtaposing traits of being stronger yet softer, more aware yet less able to concentrate, whole yet fractured...and forever changed.
When I am holding Dottie or feeding her or feeling that soul altering pang of love for her I tend to reflect on how my mom must have felt about me as a baby, and though she and I are so different, I know deep down she would have done anything for me. I hope Dottie feels that from me now and forever...that I would go to the ends of the earth for her.
Q. How have you noticed your 'linyage' influence you as an artist? Where does that show up in your work?
A. My parents (for some reason) have always believed wholeheartedly that I can do anything in this world. Although they are clearly a little confused on the matter, they have instilled in me a confidence to try anything; and if I fail the first time, try it again, and again, and again. I have always felt so supported and believed in, and that has given me the ability to dream big and be creative.
Q. You recently bought a home and chose reside in Wisconsin, though you are traveling nearly every week. Tell us how your geographical location influences your business and/or creative process.
A. Choosing the midwest as our home was an intentional decision that has allowed us to be close to family, surrounded by nature, and experience a calm and peaceful lifestyle. We can be on a beautiful lake, in rolling hills, or downtown at a cafe in a matter of minutes. This combo allows us to truly live when we are at home and appreciate time together and with good friends. I think it also refreshes us for all the busy travel we do on the weekends so that we can encounter every new place with fresh eyes.
Q. New or old, where or whom do you draw your inspiration?
A. I try to draw inspiration from a multitude of things, people, places, etc. Lyrics from musicians like Sufjan Stevens; quotes from authors like David Foster Wallace; movies about life, death, beauty, and sorrow; the way light looks in different places, cities, countries; family that I trust and look up to; friends and acquaintances that I cross paths with; my husband and business partner who challenges me to grow and learn and see the world from a different perspective.
Q. Favorite time of day to create?
A. IF I was a morning person, I would say the morning when the sun is just starting to stretch her arms out and touch the earth with her soft glow, but typically I am still in bed when this is happening, so realistically, in the evening during that hour when the sun is just low enough to cover everything in a golden blanket and give little sunbursts in our camera lenses.
Q. Best nugget of advice you've been given that stands true for you today.
A. We are all frail; consider none more frail than yourself. This is a hard mantra to live by, but it is a constant reminder to refrain from pride, judgement and anger, and to live in a state of grace and humility, that is others oriented.
You've blazed the trail, Michelle, and we proudly walk along it! Thank you for the beautiful reminders, in both creativity and in life.