Beat from the street (January 19, 2016)

Many stories lurk throughout Asheville, whether they are behind the Vaudevillian jazz-folk played by buskers around Pritchard Park, the colorful businesses decorated with funky, hand-made crafts or the laughter echoing from a patio as locals and tourists alike enjoy delicious beer. 

Karly Hartzman, undeclared freshman student from Greensboro, NC
How would you describe your style? 
“Affordable in a positive way? I dunno, Goodwill. Let’s see, comfort first, definitely, and baby buns.”

Baby buns, yeah. It’s a very 90’s aesthetic.
“Oh yeah, 90’s for sure. I just watched this documentary on Riot Grrrl culture and I’m like trying to incorporate them in every aspect of my life, including style.”

Nice. Who’s your favorite Riot Grrrl or Riot Grrrl band?
“Well, Kathleen Hanna was who the documentary was about, but I just got into, oh, what was it called? I can’t remember the name of the band, but I’ve read the Sleater-Kinney memoir…‘Be Yr Mama’ by them is so, mmmm, that’s my song.”

It’s very emotional and energy-charged. 
“Mmm-hmmm. For sure.”

If you were to describe what inspires you artistically, including Riot Grrrl, what else would you say?
“I mean, hmmm, definitely just girl power in general. When I draw, I’m always drawing usually the feminine body and feminine, girly shit, possible tattoos, stuff that will help girls be empowered and create themselves, enhance themselves, in creative, spiritual, whatever ways they can. Especially as a girl in college, just, like every time I make something, I’m just doing it for the ladies.”

Hell yeah. That’s so important because it feels women are still undermined in all aspects of our society and not taken seriously.
“What’s really scaring me is the whole, ‘you have to be crazy to be a successful artist, psychologically,’ and it’s really scaring me because I don’t want to be, like, I mean, you look at Basquiat, Warhol, and they’re all just like, uh, what’s the word—?”

“Yeah, and I guess I’ve either got to step my personality game up or I’ve just got to make awesome art and be true to whatever and I think I’ve got to just get really good at what I’m doing and I’ll kill it, instead of having to make up some persona.”

Just go with who you are and that’ll communicate itself through your art. It’ll make it more genuine.
“Yeah, it’s rough out there, and it’s also hard as an art student in college, like, comparing yourself, as it is in any academic setting. They’re there for what you’re there for. You’re not in a high school art class or whatever. It’s not just for an easy grade. This is what people want to do with their lives and you’re so easily comparing yourself with other people.”

Yeah, it’s, ugh.
“Oh my god, yeah, it’s the same with music snobs, like I’m really proud of the music I listen to, but when people give people shit about listening to what they love…”

“Like if they’re jamming to it, let them listen to it. People judge so easily on that, especially like the music students I’ve encountered honestly, that are like ‘Ah, have you listened to this new jazz album?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s great,’ and someone else is like ‘Yeah, I’m listening to this,’ and then they’re like, ‘That sucks.’ Like this one kid was talking about John Mayer, and this other kid was like, ‘Not to stop you in the middle of your liking John Mayer, but John Mayer really fucking sucks.’ He was just like, ‘It’s what I like!’ I personally don’t like him either’re not going to say that to someone and make them hurt."

“Yeah. I’m just encountering so much difficulty with that kind of snobbery and this university setting.”

If you were to have a personal motto that you live by day-to-day, just like a couple sentences or a sentence, what would you say it would be?
“Um, so there’s this anime called ‘Cowboy Bebop.’ It’s definitely like a Hallmark saying, but for some reason in there, in the show, it has a lot of meaning to me and I just see religion and my interactions with people in this way. His whole philosophy is just like, ‘whatever happens, happens,’ so that’s kind of my view with life and the afterlife and god and art and just everything.”

That’s awesome. It’s very ‘c’est la vie.’

What would you say you like about Asheville so far and what do you dislike?
“Dislike is definitely the snobbery. Like is people-watching, like interacting with people on a daily basis is always more interesting than in Greensboro, because not everyone’s like a copy of a copy of a copy. People come here because they are doing what they want and they feel more comfortable with that way here.”

Yeah, you meet some strange people…
Kristen Winstead, graphic designer, originally from Massachusetts

“I just moved here.”

Oh wow. What brought you here?
“I just felt drawn to it.”

That’s awesome. Was it because you had visited here before and liked the vibe?
“Yeah, well, I had a friend who moved here, which put it on the map for me, and then, I don’t know. I just kept thinking about it, and then I visited in June, and then with my husband and we really loved it, so then we sold our house and we moved here.”

Wow. That’s crazy.
“Six months later…”

That’s the way to do it, though, just make the plunge.

Where do you work?
“I work for myself at a design firm.”

So you’re independent.
“Yeah. Sund Studio is the name.”

How would you describe your style?
“Hmmmm. How would you describe my style?”

Very comfy but also urban in a way.
“Yeah. I don’t know how I’d describe it. I tend to like solid colors, simple jewelry. I usually tend to wear lots of dark blacks, browns, burgundies, blues.”

Yeah, so you would lean toward more of the darker side of the palate, not like neons or pastels.
“Right, exactly.”

So if you were to cite any creative influences, especially ones that inspire your work, who would you say, or movements or whatever?
“Probably more modern.”

Okay, like modern art?
“Modern design, modern fashion, modern home decorating.”

Okay, something clean?

That makes sense. If you were to cite a motto, a daily motto for your life, when you wake up in the morning, a philosophy that you hold, what would you say it would be?
“Life is always working out for me.”

That’s good. It’s positive.
“You gotta repeat that. When you’re having a bad day, and you’re like, ‘why is this happening?’ It’s like looking at the bright side. Everything’s gonna work out for the best.”

“That’s what I do.”
This column was originally published in The Blue Banner