Monthly Muse Interview- Toree Arntz of F A U X T A L E

Photos by Scarlet Mann

When I met Toree, many years ago, I was immediately enamored by her sense of style & confidence.  She was not a conformist as a lot of cute girls are.  She held her own space in time and existence which is a rare trait these days.  A couple of years later, I saw her insanely amazing collection for her launch of Fauxtale.  I was even more blown away.  Toree has seemed so mysterious to me in that she is so young, yet so professional and in touch with something that is out of this material world.  She has always been one of my favorite muses since I first saw her.  I asked her if we could do an interview and shoot around her house on the mountain with her raccoons and other animals.  It was a day in heaven and away from the city.  

1) Your work is so beyond intricate, unique & amazing; yet surprisingly very wearable.  What would you say is your most influential muse, or where do you draw your inspirations from for these heavenly designs?

I am very much inspired by the natural beauty of our world and by our animals.  Nature has an amazing way with combinations of color and function and form.  Science has used nature and animals to inspire our technology for years, and I use it for form and beauty.  Nature is the true artist that has billions of years of practice, and I draw a lot from it.  I am also lucky enough to work with a sanctuary, called the Wildlife Way-station, where I get to work very closely with animals and collect naturally shed or molted materials from them.  Often times, my work is evolved out of the materials themselves.  Using materials from my animals gives my work a personal story, and makes each piece very special to me.

2) I love your connection with nature and animals.  What would you say turned you on to this part of life?  And has it been something that you were always drawn to?

I have always been drawn to animals and nature.  As a child, I was constantly bringing baby animals home, whether they needed rescuing or not.  My mother was constantly tasked with trying to re-locate birds nests or otherwise to replace babies that I had picked up along the way. As a kid, I was always making sculptures out of found materials and I had this odd habit of carving little animals out of baby carrots.

3) You have a partner in Fauxtale, Kate.  How did this partnership come about?  How do you plan to continue to the future of Fauxtale?

Fauxtale was founded by myself and Kate Thompson. Before the inception of Fauxtale, we were both doing similar things separately, making art out of nature. When we met (in 2010) it was a creative match made in heaven.  We decided to combine our visions and move forward together.  Kate had a strong role in the aesthetic development, design and production of Fauxtale for the first two years.  Kate left Fauxtale 2 years ago to venture into developing her own collection, Fauxtale's sister company, Amaroq.  We still work on collaborative projects from time to time.

4) How is a normal day at the office of Fauxtale?

There is no such thing as a normal day at the Fauxtale office. It is usually some combination of hiking to look for new materials, creating new wearable collections of clothing and jewelry, designing costume pieces for one of our performers, doing photo-shoots, and doing interviews with beautiful people like Scarlet Mann ;)

5) What would be your biggest dream for the future come true?

My dream has always been to be able to live my life exactly how I want every single day.  I get to hang out with animals almost every single day and make a living from creating and doing what I love, so in that respect my dreams have come true.  I think the dream of any creative is to have the freedom and the means to create whatever you want on any scale. So my dreams for the future are to continue creating, and eventually to have to means to do it in a much bigger way.
Toree Arntz




Monthly Muse Interview: Bella Shulman

I believe Bella was around 5 years old when I met her.  She is now almost 18.  I can't believe how fast time flies.  I was always enamored by her beauty.  Her and her sister (whom is extremely beautiful as well) posed for me time and time again in their youth for many artistic creations with film.  I remember the first shoot I did of Bella, I forced her to squeeze into I think a doll dress, or maybe it was just too small, but I loved the idea of making little girls look doll-like in photographs.

*Lily and Bella Shulman circa 2001 on film by Kristy Mann

Over the years, I've watched Bella grow up, become more sophisticated, and really just inspire me especially when it comes to her style and personality.  I hope you'll enjoy the images we snapped a couple of weeks ago in her dad's apartment.

1) I notice you seem to have it more "together" so to speak than most girls your age.  What would you say motivates or inspires you?  What gives you that drive to accomplish your dreams, which, btw, are what?

Well I think people my age (including me) are figuring it out as we go. I've always been a really curious person and am always asking people about their experiences, accomplishments, and lives in general. I would say throughout my life I've learned the most from people I'm surrounded by and found my motivation and inspiration from them. I've also found a great amount of it through traveling and of course other artists. My overall dream is to contribute positive change and curiosity to the world through my art while pointing out the beauty endlessly surrounding us. 

2) Where do you derive your taste?  Runways?  Someone you know?  Just curious because I'm obsessed with what you wear:)

My taste definitely derives from my dad. I also love Japanese men's style such as Yamamoto and men's style in general. I love mixing patterns and anything that for the most part goes against what is considered cute/attractive on girls. So lots of baggy clothing, boots, overalls, etc. As long as I have a good pair of socks and shoes, I'm happy. 

3) Where and what do you visualize for yourself in five years?  What career, city, etc.?

In five years I will have just graduated from Parsons with a BA in Fine Arts. I visualize myself being a known fine art/street photographer and possibly a ceramicist as well. I hope to be continuing my world traveling, exposing and evolving my art along the way.  

4) How do you deal with insecurities if any?  How do you draw the fine line between taking a healthy risk &  just getting it soooo wrong.  I'm only asking because you seem so confident as well as a non-conformist.  Many girls your age just try and keep with the popular style, are afraid to go out on a limb, and never really establish their own voice with fashion.

I deal with insecurities having to do with my looks and style by constantly looking at the style and looks of other cultures and countries to remind myself that there is much more than what is considered "acceptable" in Hollywood/America. I also think that being original is better than popular style and if you think like that you are forced to find your personal style. 

Photography: Kristy Mann
Makeup Artist: Heather Cvar www.heathercvar.com
Styling: Bella Shulman



Monthly Muse Interview- Collin Levin

Photos by Kristy Mann

When I first met Collin, the thing I was inspired by the most was that he seemed to have such a great sense of style and was comfortable and confident in his own skin.  He has such a great look & inspired me from a photographer's viewpoint as well.  Then, to top it all of, I found out that he was only 19, super successful already ( in the sense that he knew he wanted to be a director & photographer & he had already so many amazing photos already under his belt )

The trait I like to take from him is that he seems to have no stops.  He's not worried about competition.  He is just doing his thing & with professional standards at that.  He has already done magazine editorials, directed and produced short films, produced two art shows, and is on his way. 

TMM (The Model Muse):  I’m super inspired by your ability to have such a great aesthetic at such a young age.  How do you see it?  Have you always considered yourself to have a keen eye?

CL (Collin Levin):  I am really drawn to light and shadows, colors and shapes, things that react in an interesting way with their environment. When I look for things to shoot or even now as I just go through life I try and look at things the way I would see them through the view-finder of my camera. Because of that, it gives everything around me some value. Things no longer look mundane, everything has some purpose; or if it doesn’t I think, “okay, how can I make that look beautiful”. 

TMM:  How long have you been in the fashion industry?

CL:  Probably three months now. I’m new to the fashion industry but I really enjoy it so far.

TMM:  Where do you go to school?

CL:  I go to Pasadena Art Center College of Design for writing and directing. (Nothing to do with the fashion industry haha)

TMM:  I feel like taste can't be taught.  Well, over time, I guess it sort of evolves.  What do you plan to do with your schooling?

CL:  I mean to me its been a way to challenge myself and push myself to keep getting better. Its also been a great way for me to meet and make friends with people who look at things differently from me. I love getting other peoples perspectives on art because it makes me then think differently about what I’m seeing or creating. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about being in school, specifically Art Center, is the fact that I'm surrounded by a myriad of talented individuals who continue to think in different and interesting ways. 

TMM:  Your photographs are beautiful, what inspires you the most?

CL:  Thank you! Photography-wise I really love William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Richard Avedon, Martin Parr, Vivian Maier to name a few. I’m not only inspired by photographers though. Being a Writer and Director as well, movies really inspire me. I really love the idea of capturing lots of emotion whether it be subtly or in your face and films to me carry so much of that. To name a few specifically, The Graduate, A Woman is A Woman, Manhattan, Taxi Driver and Waking Life. 

*See more of Collin's work here:  www.collinlevin.com