Sunday, April 29, 2012

Katrina Tekavec: Food Stylist

1. Were your original intentions to become a photographer? Was it a food photographer?
I was a photographer for a few years while also assisting a food stylist friend.   Not food, I was a music and fashion photographer.  I started doing prop styling and food styling became a natural progression.  When I started getting more styling work than shooting work, I simply followed the path that seemed more inviting (and lucrative). 

2. Is cooking something your family did or you just fell into cooking and styling food on your own?
My parents weren't terribly interested in food for the sake of food, it was always more about putting edible nourishment on the table and reconnecting at the end of the day.  I wasn't raised in an adventurous home with regard to food.  I forged my own way with food and became a self-taught pastry chef along the way, and I have done that professionally as well. I would say that styling drove my interest in food, and photography is what started it all.  My photographic sensibilities have been invaluable to me as a stylist and also as I'm moving into art direction.  

3. In your bio you explain how you almost double as a art director and a stylists. Do you think that makes you more valuable and gives you more opportunities to be hired for shoots? 
I think that it makes me more valuable on the set because I can take the reigns.  Often I am not even working with an art director, there is a client (or marketing director) and a photographer and together we figure it out.  I have a few new clients that want me to handle the project from conception through execution, including the art direction and the styling and I'm happy to oblige.  Ultimately I would prefer to art direct and hire other stylists.    

4. Is a lot of your work now through word of mouth or do you do a lot of marketing?
My website and word of mouth are the only way clients find me, I haven't ever spent much time in marketing or cold calling.  Referrals are especially nice because I know I've done a good job if someone is passing along my name. 

5. Where do you get your inspirations for styling shoots?
I find inspiration everywhere, even though that sounds like a cheap answer.  I have always liked Donna Hay's style, it is effortless and generally employs the use of a limited palette which is something that I've always done, from the beginning of my career, whenever possible. However I also really like some drama and more intricate lighting, if it's done well.  The open, natural, flat lighting for food photography is nearing its expiration date in my opinion.  It will always have its place but I hope the trend moves toward more variety of styles.  As I move more into art direction I will seek out photographers who's work isn't only about that Real Simple aesthetic.  I also see a lot of really bad, under-styled food photography out there, it makes me cringe.  Rachel Ray's magazine is the number one example, food photography should not look like a guy with a camera stumbled upon someone's kitchen at dinner time.  In my opinion we exist to elevate the whole idea of food and dining and entertaining, we should create aspirational images.  I don't want to see baked-on crud and un-ironed linens.    

6. Is the majority of your work for magazines or more commercial?
I don't do any magazine work.  I do a fair amount of cookbook work, but the bulk of my work consists of packaging and advertising, some video, some film.

7. Do you still teach food styling classes? Do you have prospective food stylists contact you for help?
I no longer teach, but I do hear from people who want to get into the business regularly.  I help out with advice if I have the time, if they aren't reaching out to me during my crazy-busy periods.  If I'm too in the weeds I refer them to another stylist.   

8. Where do you primarily work?
There is no real predictability, sometimes I'm busier in Philadelphia, sometimes New Jersey, it depends on who's got more marketing money to spend :-) 
9. Your recent work shows a variety of cupcakes. Which was your favorite to make?
I liked the Rum & Coke cupcakes because it is a meringue icing which is always a lot of fun to play with.  On that shoot I worked with a graphic designer who was very hands-off with the food and allowed me almost total creative freedom.  That's an ideal situation.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Slim Kicker!

There's this new app I was approached by (Christine Chu) called SlimKicker that's usable on your Iphone.

It's nice because the user interface is easy to follow and is broken down well. The challenges section is the most interesting because you push your will power. I'm always about working hard and not letting myself down so this was a personal favorite. Also if you succeed you can earn points!

This is also nice because even though this is your personal app analyzing what you eat your still working with others. There are groups and forums where you can talk with other people about their progress or general health questions.

Other than working together this app is great because it's like a game. Making working out enjoyable really changes your attitude for it :)

Check it out, they are online

Thursday, April 12, 2012

City Eats Food Network | Philadelphia

The Philadelphia restaurant site is up! This is giving Open tTable a run for their money. The Food Network I feel sets the bar for the rest of the food community. For me it was an honor to shoot restaurants for their new site.

Working with the creatives I could tell they were really passionate about the food and very selective about their restaurants they featured. The quality of work and writing stands out from the rest of the crowd.

Here is a link to the site so book your table now! You can see my food work throughout the site.

Eat Well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hawk Krall | what your eating he probably drew

1.) What is your education background?
Graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in Illustration / Communication Design. Also my parents (and grandparents) were artists and illustrators so the education started early.

2.) What came first the cooking for drawing?
Both really. I worked crappy food jobs and worked on freelance jobs at night, then somehow found myself working in a French kitchen, then combined the two things and it worked. The discipline and ethos of working in a real kitchen definitely influenced my artwork, and vice versa.

3.) What medium do you usually work in when creating your pieces?
I do loose sketches with soft wood less pencils and then tighten them up with colored pencils before doing a tighter version on tracing paper. The final pieces are gouache and ink on printmaking paper. For illustration jobs that need to be done faster I do ink (brush not pens) on bristol board and color it in Photoshop.

4.) How long does a typical image take to complete?
The full color food paintings take a few days from sketches to finished painting, although I can do them in a day if I have to - although they aren't as tight as I'd like them to be, or I have to keep it really simple. Although I often have to do small illo jobs in a few hours, and 2 days is the most I usually get for an alt weekly cover.

5.) Who have you worked with? Who would you like to work with?
Tons of Alt-Weeklies, especially back when I was doing mostly editorial illustration: Philadelphia Weekly, Baltimore Citypaper, Las Vegas Weekly, Village Voice. Cincinnati Magazine has given me some good work. On the food side of things, there's the menu at Hot Diggity in Philly, I also recently did a series of paintings for The Burger Map, a really cool burger joint in Brazil. I'm currently working on a menu for a Tex-Mex burger and taco food court stall in Malaysia (if you're wondering how these people find me, it's all from Serious Eats) and a giant mural for Pizza Brain, a pizzeria slash pizza museum opening in Fishtown this summer.

I'd love to paint a food truck top to bottom, I've been close to doing it a few times but it hasn't happened yet. I'd also love to do more projects that combine writing and art, like the hot dog article I worked on with Serious Eats for Rachael Ray magazine and also illustrated. Like if Sauveur or Vice sent me to document hot dogs in Uzbekistan or seafood restaurants with live music by bad cover bands in Pensacola, yeah I'd be into it.

Then there's my pipe dream of doing television. I used to do a lot more narrative comics about working in a kitchen, and always thought that a serious TV show about line cooks would be amazing, not a cute foodie show but more along the lines of the Wire. The crazy characters and dedication people have to that life is insane. Bourdain & co definitely got it with Treme and those scenes are probably my favorite in the show.

6.) Is your work in other cities than Philadelphia?
Yeah I've done illustration for publications all over (see last question) and I have my hot dog prints on display / for sale in a handful of restaurants and shops across the country.

7.) Have you collaborated with other illustrators?
Before I was writing for Serious Eats there was Drawing For Food, a food blog Kris Chau (also an amazing illustrator) and I started a few years back - we did a bunch of illustrated posts and even worked on some collaborative illustrations. These days we're both too busy for it which is sort of a bummer. I also recently worked with Thom Lessner on this crazy backdrop for a Comcast kids' show about magic tricks. I love working with Thom and think our styles look great together, maybe somebody will hire us to paint that food truck i was talking about earlier.

8.) What should we look for when your website is fully up and running?
Ha! Yeah I need to get that together. I'd like to sift through the last 10 years of work I've done and really edit it down to the best stuff, and get a bunch of my older editorial older work up there so people realize I draw something other than hot dogs.

I've also got a few shows coming up this year, Space 1026 in July, which will probably be all non-hot dog related, and a bigger show at Hot Diggity the same month (July being National Hot Dog Month) as well as a possibility of something at American Sardine Bar maybe in the fall.