When you find women in a shared industry who bring you along in no other direction but elevated, you hold on to them like hell. Those relationships are precious and rare, and ones to be fostered.
We first met Athena Pelton when we collaborated on a shoot last fall, in which she so beautifully captured one of our pieces in a styled shoot in the northwoods. We instantly knew by the first email exchange that she was a true blue, and someone that we would not only be friends with, but constantly inspired by. What we didn't know was just how much, and the depth of her generosity.
Athena is what we like to call a 'Jill of all trades', really. While likely known to most as an outstanding photographer with a special eye and talent for the in between moments we crave to recall, she is also a writer, calligrapher, and all around artist, regardless of the angle you look at it from. An unprecedented voice that echoes and strikes a chord with her loyal followers and beyond, Athena has an innate ability to break down barriers and welcome vulnerability; whether it be from behind her lens, creating a print for your best friend who needs encouragement, or while offering you a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee in her home. She lends an honest and poignant view on an array of topics and pairs it beautifully with a piece of art that suits it best.
A firecracker, an innovator, a creative at her core, we bring proudly introduce to you this week's linyage lady, who makes our heart sing every other day of the week.
Q. First things first: Tell us who you are as an artist/creative, in 5 words or less.
A. Photographer. Dreamer. Writer. Motorbiker. Do-it-all-er. (That last one is one word. Promise).
Q.You're a mama who is creating new traditions for her daughter's future lineage, but of course have stories of your own. Tell us about what you hope to create for them, and perhaps any person or facet of your lineage that resonate with you most when reflecting upon it.
A. First and foremost, and more than anything, love. It's such a simple word and likely seems so trite or cliche but I want them to breathe love. I want it to seep into their marrow until it permeates their DNA. I want them to never wonder or worry or wish for love, but instead wrap themselves in the womb of it. My mother and grandmother were both so wonderful at this - at making sure that, no matter what else, I knew that I was loved beyond measure. That feeling sewed itself onto my bones and it's become the driving force behind everything I do. My grandmother taught me to sew and knit and crochet and craft with my hands. She taught me to bake and to take care of others and how to rest. My mother taught me words and music and tenacity and how to fight like hell. She taught me poetry and joy and nurtured and protected my imagination as though it were the most precious gift. It was.
I want my kids to have those same things, but I also want them to know stability and comfort. I want them to always have full bellies and be incapable of fathoming real hunger. I want them to make wishes and see them come true. I want them to learn how to work hard for things they want, and how to pay those same gifts forward. I want them to know, give, receive, and become LOVE.
Q. How have you noticed your 'linyage' influence you as an artist? Where does that show up in your work?
A. My mother is a poet. She has this beautiful romanticism in the way she writes and I used to love reading through her old music journals and poetry books when I was a kid. When I write, especially about my girls, I hear her voice in my stories.
Q. You are a lady on the go, but recently decided to set up shop in a suburb of the Twin Cities area. Tell us how your geographical location of Minneapolis (and the outskirts) influences your business and/or creative process.
A. While I absolutely love my home it can be tough to stay inspired in the suburbs. The city is so much richer, fuller, busier, louder, and has deeper veins coursing through it than any suburb can ever hope to hold. As a storyteller, it can be hard to look outside my window and see inspiration. I actually have to create it, which is challenging when I find myself in a slump. Often I venture out and get lost in the woods, or wander a new neighborhood, when I'm looking for new things to see or feel or touch.
Q. New or old, where or whom do you draw your inspiration?
A. I largely draw my inspiration from people, especially literature. I don't get a chance to read as often as I'd like, but the stories and the characters and the adventures I've digested and collected throughout my life have stayed with me. They manifest themselves into new shapes and morph together with real life into wholly different dialogues so it's there where I find the breadth of my inspiration.
Q. Favorite time of day to create?
A. I love morning. Especially in the summer months. Plus, hot coffee. Is there anything better???
Q. Best nugget of advice you've been given that stands true for you today.
A. If you work really hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen. - Conan OBrien.
Taking notes with every word you utter, Athena Pelton. Thank you!