revisiting interviews i did while planning the first synonym journal in 2011:
q: can you offer a short list of things that influence you daily? please be as specific as possible.
a: Ayurveda, the wilderness, tomboy style, people on the street, Ikebana, Japanese aesthetic, spatial arrangement, French cinema.
Renee Friedrich lives in San Jose, California. She owns the web shop Anaïse.
Q: What or who influences you?
A: What informs my work most is minutiae. The overlooked, the everyday. The mundane. Ordinary people and the intricate specifics of our environmental and social constructs. The mores and mannerisms of name-tagged, niche-association convention-goers flocked in a mid-size city hotel conference room. Bars inside shopping malls. Patterns in airport carpeting. The beauty of empty car parks. Catalogs for chef-wear. Elevated highways frozen at mid-construction. A majestic, shirtless fat kid poised astride a bike on the crest of a breathtaking slope of country road. That same orange street lamp glow wherever you go. Miniature moments. Details, basically. People and environments are endlessly fascinating and utterly astounding; I live for the stories, experiences, and directions that form our muddled compounds, our connections and disconnects. I’m drawn to the human vulnerabilities that we don’t always talk about too. Like lumping that embarrassing shopping cart item with some casual unnecessaries, a packet of crisps, a trial-size lotion. Or like being a child in a crowded, silent lift, so uncomfortable with the tension of this unnatural moment—vacant stares, forced intimacy with foreign sleeves, the staggered rhythms of audible breath—that you sputter and burst as you fight back an uncontrolled laughter, your own nervous reaction, a bizarre humor that you don’t yet understand. So I’m most comfortable as observer. An alien. I’ve spent most of my life moving, adapting in some ways, maladapting in others. I’m my most comfortable in motion, out in the world walking, or head pressed to public transportation window in transit. Unfettered, untethered, amidst a wealth of characters and settings and scenes unfurling; it’s then that I feel my most alive.
Synonym issue one contributor Magali Pijpers is a writer, graphic designer, and mixed-media artist living in Austin, TX. She misses Hong Kong.