When I was a kid, I would draw room interiors of places that I imagined living in. My mom, Maryellen Picker, is an elementary art educator and certainly someone who has helped instill a strong sense of curiosity in me. Growing up, our house was always filled with art project explorations and a variety of people stopping by for conversation. As my mom was always very busy going to grad school while also teaching, this gave me a lot of space to figure things out on my own. Today, she is someone who I can always call on to help me brainstorm an idea, which I truly appreciate.
I enjoy the fast-paced nature of prop styling and set projects. Going off on a big scavenger hunt to find all of the puzzle pieces that make up a set, on a tight deadline for a project— it’s a great rush! Sometimes I find myself asking bizarre questions to find or create these objects and components. It could be an antiques dealer, prop shop worker, a prop maker, or sometimes it’s a person I introduce myself to over the phone or on the street to help me find a particular something. These are the people that help lead me to the rare or sometimes seemingly ordinary prop that can be so difficult to track down or even create in a pinch.
More so, I really appreciate meeting and getting to know all of these individuals along the way, from all walks of life and finding myself in neighborhoods that I might not ordinarily be in. Meeting people and having interesting interactions makes my job fulfilling. I believe that your work is only as good as all of the people that you build into your circle.
To that end, I’d like to share the love of some amazing people and places that help me get the job done beyond the traditional prop houses:
I show appreciation in my daily life, by taking the time to connect with people and creating little waves of movement for others in various directions. It could be just listening to someone, finding ways to help people, or letting someone know that you’re thinking of them. I’ll reach out to people over the phone, help a friend research something, or fix people up on a date— my success rate is nil on that one but it won’t stop me!
I’m certainly not a poster child of positivity all the time. I’m sane enough to be slapped down by certain realities and dark ways that exist in this world. As a human being, if I don’t allow myself to understand some of these struggling realities, I can’t learn or be conscious enough to hustle for the better. I continue to figure out ways to live simply, in hopes of gaining greater insight about how I can contribute to the broader picture.
These days, spending an exorbitant amount of time on any version of the computer is expected for conducting life in 2016. I have a labradorite stone that receives my daily appreciation by holding it in my palm. It helps ground me to something solid from the earth and taps me further into my intuition.
A place that receives my appreciation regularly is the Bethesda Terrace Arcade, under the Milton Tile ceiling. I enjoy this special spot most late at night or in rainy weather, when there aren’t many people around. The acoustics are beautiful and it’s a great indoor/outdoor space where I can feel the magic.