Meet Constance, a film director and artist who claims she has the best job in the world. To her, being an artist is a form of expression that allows her to be herself. Through her experience as a young girl with a paintbrush, following in her father’s footsteps, to undergoing in-depth research and studies at Columbia University, Constance is well on her way to transforming the world of art. She is driven by the idea that art can change the world (all with a little help from a cup of tea!)
We had the opportunity to talk to Constance about her experience in filmmaking and art. Read this exclusive Q&A interview to learn more about her work, her passions and her love for artistic expression.
Harney: Tell us a little about you. How did you get your start in film directing? Tell us about the path that brought you to where you are today.
Constance: I started painting at a young age because my dad is a painter. I kept making work, whether it was acrylics on canvas, film or a sculpture and studied art at Columbia University. I started exhibiting my art and films when I was in high school, but began sharing my work on Instagram three years ago as a way to share the "behind the scenes"!
Harney: Where did you find your passion for art and film?
Constance: I think that it comes from my interactions with people. I love hearing someone respond to a painting of mine or being on set with a group of great people making a film. I really enjoy seeing what I imagine come to life and being able to share that with others.
Harney: Of your own work, what are some of your favorite pieces and why?
Constance: I really like my abstract work, particularly pieces with lots of colors that I’ve made with palette knives. My process is to start with a foundation color and then to paint with abstract gestures on top of that. It’s a very peaceful and calming practice for me. It is really about color and texture.
Harney: Of others work, what are some of your favorite pieces and why?
Constance: One of my favorite films is L'Avventura by Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, which I saw at the New York MoMA. It is a film about love. The composition of actors in each scene really tells a lot of the story. I remember seeing it and realizing how visual filmmaking can be.
Harney: What are some of your greatest accomplishments? Tell us about something you’re most proud of.
Constance: Earlier this year I had a solo exhibition at Google Headquarters in Mountain View. I had completed nine paintings, all of which have amalgamations of vibrant colors. I was inspired by auto-racing and the color of cars whizzing by.
Harney: As an artist, who do you look up to? Do you have a role model or an artist that you aspired to be when you were younger? Today, is there someone you consider as this person?
Constance: I really love Sofia Coppola and Damien Chazelle. They both approach filmmaking with aesthetics as a priority and I love their use of music. When I was younger, I really looked up to painters, but I’ve never wanted to be anyone else. I think that being an artist is the coolest job in the world because you can be yourself.
Harney: What exactly inspires you? Where do you look for your artistic and creative ideas?
Constance: I’m driven by the idea that art can change the world, even if it’s just by making someone who I’ve never met feel less alone. As an artist on Instagram, I’m really lucky because I can connect with people every day about art.
Harney: In what environment do you work best? What is your ideal location for “being in the zone” with your work?
Constance: I like to be in a quiet environment for painting, where I can be focused without interruption for a period of time. Of course, with filmmaking when I’m on set with a bunch of people that is the best. That is probably my favorite place on earth – on set!
Harney: What is your favorite type of artistic expression? What is your favorite way to show off your creativity?
Constance: My mission with my work is creating images of peace, so with writing scripts, I’m always inspired by positivity. I like to write stories for a high school audience and love the genre of romantic comedy. With art, I’m currently very into auto-racing, making work with colors reminiscent of car metals and palette knives to emulate the whir of movement.
Harney: What are some of your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating art or films?
Constance: Being out in nature is something I love, whether I’m taking a walk in a meadow or doing an outdoor fitness class.
Can you list a few pieces of advice for any aspiring artists or filmmakers out there?
Constance: Make work! I would also suggest that every artist and filmmaker utilize social media. I think that the role of a ‘creator’ in society is shifting with so much opportunity being created, especially for diverse voices.
Harney: Are you a tea lover and is tea a part of your everyday routine? If so, what does tea do for you?
Constance: In my daily routine, tea is everything to me. It helps me relax and be grateful for everything I have. It brings me into the present moment.
Harney: How does tea influence your work? What do you love most about tea?
Constance: I really love writing with a cup of tea. I find it brings back memories and helps me focus. Marcel Proust’s book In Search of Lost Time has the classic passage about a madeleine cookie bringing up involuntary memory — tea does that for me.
Harney: Do you have any favorite flavors/types of Harney & Sons tea?
Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us! Want to see some of Constance’s work? Visit her Vimeo page to see her in action. All photography has been provided by Constance.