Anna: Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your faith in this project and to be the first person that I have the privilege to interview. First I would like to ask you to tell a little your about your background, where do you come from and where are you now?
Rachel: Thank you for having me be a part of this project. I am of Polish descent, and I was born in Minnesota. A few months after I was born, my family moved to Beijing, which is where I was raised and consider my home. I am currently living in Brooklyn, New York.
A: You are a Model, Painter and Designer. Can you explain what each different title means to you and how do you combine these tasks in your every-day life?
R: Modeling is something that I fell into. I feel grateful for the opportunities that it has afforded me. Painting and design are two things that I studied at University. Painting is a source of therapy for me, and I use it as a form of creative expression. Design feels like my first love. Being a designer brings a unique perspective to my work as a model. As a painter there are elements that help me visualize creative concepts for designing. The three often lead to some kind of cross-over or collaboration.
A: How would you describe your work?
R: Most of my work deals with femininity, alienation, abstraction and absurdity.
A: Can you maybe share why you are creating your work. What drives you to create your pieces and where can we find your pieces?
R: I started experimenting with design and painting from an early age while growing up abroad. Both of these outlets are tools for self-expression. Creating my work usually is a reaction to the culture I live in, or an expression of an idea I have been pondering. It’s a way that I navigate life and my emotions.
A: Do you have a preference, what field of work do you prefer and why?
R: They all go hand in hand, but I truly love design the most. For me it is something transformative and performative. There are no boundaries. I can channel all my outlets into design.
A: What are your influences in design?
R: I am influenced by so many things. Art, cinema, travel, nature, photography and music to name a few. I try to take from my environment wherever I am, and find inspiration to pull from.
A: In terms of creating a painting or a design. How do you start? Is there a mood board?
R: It starts with an initial vision. I then sketch the idea in my notebook. Once I feel satisfied with what I have envisioned, I proceed to creating the concept in full form down to every detail. I don't usually use a mood board.
A: Which resources do you favor when completing projects?
R: I look to books, films and often go to museums to spark ideas. Storylines, color play, compositions in artwork are all things that can inspire my projects.
A: I’m curious if there are other contemporary artists who breathe new life into your discoveries and your creations?
R: I went to the Kusama exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens, which was very inspiring. Janet Echelman is another artist who I’ve been fascinated by lately. I had the opportunity to visit her installation at Helsinki’s Senate Square last summer. There was a sound component which gave it a spatial and immersive quality. It was a full sensory experience that I still think about often.
A: Do you have any rituals work-wise?
R: I meditate first thing when I wake up in the morning. I get a coffee as I walk my dog to the studio. Once I'm there, I put some music on that fits my mood or the mood that I want to be in that day, and then I begin creating.
A: Now something that most people don’t talk about, but I think it is important to share. Because we all make mistakes, How did you learn from your mistakes and can you give an example?
R: As an artist, it can be a challenge when you make a mistake. I try not to be so hard on myself and make sure to take breaks from a project that I’m stuck on. Stepping away for a moment resets me, and then I come back to it when I have a fresh mind. This takes patience and perseverance, but it is truly worth it.
A: Are there any books that inspires you? Or are there online resources that you follow?
R: Ninth Street Women, Donald Judd Writings, Cy Twombly: Making the Past Present, Ren Hang, How the West Was Worn and Agnes Martin: Painting, Writings, Remembrances
A: How do you feel at this moment?
R: I feel worried for the current state of the world.
A: What do you crave in life?:
R: Connections with positive, creative and uplifting individuals who inspire me.
A: What makes you the happiest?
R: I would say when I am outside in nature (even the park near my apartment), creating things, and also spending time with my partner and dog.
A: What do you do to stay positive?
R: As I mentioned before, I walk to the park with my dog every day, and I try not to rush through this time even when it's cold out. It’s a reminder to not rush through the day and just soak up being outside in nature. It really does affect my mood and I find myself being far more optimistic throughout the day.
A: What are you most thankful for?
R: My family and friends who have believed in me , encouraged me and supported me to get to where I am today.
A: What is your mantra?
R: Live in the present. I also love this quote by Arthur Ashe: “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
A: Do you have enough quiet time? And do you need that?
R: Yes, I need that time for myself to meditate and recharge my mind. Now that I work for myself I finally have more quiet time.
A: What does your inner critic tells you and how do you move past this?
R: I am definitely my own worst critic and it’s challenging not to let this hold me back. I try to surround myself with people who motivate and encourage me to move past any self doubt.
A: What makes you feel motivated, inspired and excited?
R: Traveling to a place and staying long enough to really connect with the culture. I go to art museums as often as I can. I feel very lucky to live in a city that has some great ones.
A: What holds you back from being more authentic?
R: I try to be as authentic as possible. We live in a time where social media puts pressure on ourselves to create a certain image that we present to the world. As a way to stay grounded, I take breaks from social media and use that time to self reflect or focus on my art.
A: What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?
R: Running, yoga, dancing and meditation.
A: What are your career goals? What steps do you plan on taking to pursue them?
R: For design I want to create something more sustainable that will last long. For painting, I would love to eventually create enough pieces to show in a gallery. I still have so much to learn and more research to do before I can fully pursue them.
A: How do you prioritize your work?
R: Every day is different in regards to what I am working on. I try to prioritize my work based on upcoming deadlines. If there are no immediate deadlines, I generally work on the projects I am most excited about.
A: What are your core beliefs when it comes to being a designer/ painter?
R: To be genuine and stay true to myself.
A: Where can we find you online? And do you have a last message that you want to share with us?
R: You can find me on instagram @pychinzska but I don’t post as often as I should. My friends keep encouraging me to share more of my work on there; not just modeling but my designs and paintings too. That’s next on my list :)
Thank you so much ♥ ♥
A: Thank you too and thank you for your beautiful imagery that you have created for this story. You are a true visionaire. Keep on dreaming big, I wish you all the L O V E ♥
*Rachel wears all jewelry by NALIN studios