Ana Catherine Monfort
If I strip away all those words...then I touch things and make things beautiful for a myriad of folks, like Photographers, Creative Directors, Consumers, CEO’s, Designers, Strategists, and Humans.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I came to my career in about a hundred different directions. By accident, on purpose, directly and indirectly...it all got me here. Ha. I have a Masters in Art, I used to paint set’s in several theaters, I propped and styled department store windows, I repped some clothing lines, I handmade posters and flyers for music events, I wrote articles and crafted some of my own ‘zines in college, I illustrated a few comic strips, I painted houses and speciality finishes in interiors of fancy homes. I did collage in my own Art Studio (before Collage was a thing) and got pretty well known for it, I’m writing a couple of books, I’ve held and read at Poetry Nights, I bartended and waited tables (and was really good at it).
I grew up on an Island with no bridge to it, daughter of a Fisherman and an Artist. Granddaughter of a Fashion Model/Fabric Designer and an Engineer/FreeMason/Naturalist/Genius/Inventor. As an adult and Mother I lived in a yurt with my kids remote and off grid grew my own food, hauled propane, chopped wood, moved snow, fetched water, and dealt with all kinds of wildlife. Chased off a grizzly bear using only an old boom box and a Led Zeppelin tape, well stomping my feet helped a little too. Life got me here.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
Hmm, I’m not sure I can speak to others shortcomings. I can say I think I get booked a lot, and requested a lot for creative work because I’m fast and good at what I do. I don’t dilly-dally, you’d be hard pressed to find me standing around and “fluffing.” I like to work. I like to be productive. My production value is high. I like to get it done, and do it right. I like to make great work, and make it easy on the folks around me to shine. Also, I’m kind and genuine and open. Those traits have served me well.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Right now, I’m working on Fall 2 and Early Holiday 1 Campaigns for Gap, Levi's, Old Navy, Walmart, and Guideboat Company. I’m doing a half dozen social media campaigns as well for other clients, concepting, propping and styling. I’m doing some consulting for a west coast light fixture company thats reinvigorating itself.
Working on wardrobe for an onfig gig coming up next month. Stying cosmetics a bunch right now. Planning my next round of testing with various shooters in the Bay Area. There are amazing photographers here, I'm super lucky. Gathering nature items that I’m going to decorate cakes with for an editorial food shoot. At home, I'm Illustrating a series of drawings for the wall, writing a book, and dying some fabric just to see what it looks like and what it does with various additions to it, salt, sand, oil, wax... etc. I'm the curious sort. :)
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I like this question, one answer would be personally I have two armoires (not huge/efficient) One is full of vintage finds, the other is my studio work wardrobe. During the week, I rummage one, and on the weekend I pilfer the other. Work clothes, are Tailor Stitch, Levis, Patagonia, Carhartts, Guideboat Company, Gap, great basics that can take everything I put them through. Sorry/Not sorry wardrobe. The Vintage stuff is from just about every decade, all over the place and the most the pieces have in common, is they’re all rad fabrics. Sorry/Not sorry taste. Ha.
From a work standpoint, I feel like I work on white and light colors and bright backgrounds about 75% of the time, if not more...what this does to me personally, is make me want to work dark. For my personal work and shoots, I like black velvet, black plexi, matte black, dark denim, dark objects, lots of layers and textures and moods. Weird finds, I touch it all.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I’m content with my multi-presence right now across the board. I find since I’m in demand for photo styling, that I miss opportunities for my photo art directing a bit here and there. I am in love with the hybrid roles I have, where I photo style and art direct. I’m super into seeing a project through full fruition. Concept to launched into the visual world.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I try to avoid frustration. I think my greatest challenge currently, is that I can’t travel to work as much as I’d like to. I get a little locked into the school year. It’s getting super close to when I can take more work further away, but right now San Francisco and the left coast provide a lot of work and variety for me. It’s a magic city. Plus, Seattle, Portland, and LA are super close for back and forth gigs. I'm blessed.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
If I could hire someone for $20 bucks, I’d have them hang out with my puppy when I’m not home!
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I feel like a version of me now, talking to a version of me when I was young...would say not to worry so much, it all falls into place. Being a single Mom with the full financial responsibility of three kids, I worried a lot. I was fearless and open to all the challenges and possibilities, but I could have worried less, and said YES a little more.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Where to take my career next, what’s the next shapeshifting creative evolution...How much can I do? Where? When? What? I love to explore and learn. A lot of Industry folks say I should be Creative Directing by now...but what does that mean? Can I still get my hands dirty and make a bigger creative impression on the world at large?
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’d like more and more creative collaborations, more opportunities to Photo Art Direct too. I have a bunch of brand-crushes (Ahem, Carhartts, Patagonia, Pendleton, Burberry, JCrew, Toast, Boden, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Champion, Calvin Klein, Lacoste plus a ton of designers I'd love to meet!) I’d like to help more brands, designers, and folks with what I do, what I’m capable of...Or find one that I can give it all to eventually.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
I’m super blessed with existing Ideal clients/brands. I have a huge soft spot however for the list above, and I would enjoy collaborating with as many folks as possible. I have so many ideas and so much creative energy, I’d love to see if I can exhaust my supply. Ha.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My rates are all over the place since I wear so many hats. I’d be happy to answer individual asks via email.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Shux, give me a call or drop a line.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
I keep wondering how can I get a day that I'm not creative! Ha, it never stops!
I guess, if my batteries are low I rely on nature, my dog, friends, and my kids (even though their mostly out in the world now). Self care is a priority. I carry a basket (YA, a basket) to all my jobs, that has EVERYTHING in it I might need to support myself through out a campaign, job, brief, shoot, pre-pro, day, week, etc. I carry fresh organic foods, vitamins (Ritual & Elysium), electrolytes (nuun), healthy snacks (nut bars, dried fruit...), coffee I like, tea I like (turmeric and Ginger mostly), lotion (new tattoo and all), dental stuff, (yeah, healthy teeth!) cloth napkins, my own utensils, and a water bottle. I care for me so I can care for everybody else too. Yes, I get teased about the basket, No, I don’t care. :D
This member profile was originally published in March 2017, Updated August 2018