Meet Julie Pointer, a beautiful creative with background in the visual arts, with an MFA in Applied Craft & Design. She’s studied environment design, specifically investigating how the built environment (both permanent and transitory) shapes human interaction, feeling and behavior.
Julie is currently writing and producing a book on hospitality and entertaining at home, creating concepts and content for visual, editorial and experiential projects, prop and interior styling, creative writing, acting Portland ambassador for Aesop,conducting interviews for Freunde von Freunden.
Julie and I met last year through my attending Kinfolk’s dinner in Astoria, Oregon, where she hosted the evening alongside the Kinfolk team. A while after, we enjoyed dinner together and talked about food, travel, and all things creative. I felt so inspired by her passion and story and couldn’t help but interview her in the Provincial series. I hope you enjoy this insider look into Julie’s everyday and passions. The images are from an evening this summer at her beautiful apartment in Portland, where she prepared dinner for a couple of close friends.
I love helping people (or places) be the best they can be, whether that means helping a friend sort through a difficult experience, rearranging a room, or advising a client on how to tell their story most simply and meaningfully. Even though I highly value my alone time and independent adventures, I also love bringing people together in meaningful ways over food, creative projects or learning something new.
Tell us about yourself, who is Julie Pointer?
Oh my, this is the hardest question to start with! I suppose the simplest way to describe myself is to say that I’m a dreamer and a doer. I’m a California-transplant currently living in Oregon, usually missing the ocean and constantly seeking out the sun. I am an extreme introvert and a constant advocate—I love helping people (or places) be the best they can be, whether that means helping a friend sort through a difficult experience, rearranging a room, or advising a client on how to tell their story most simply and meaningfully. Even though I highly value my alone time and independent adventures, I also love bringing people together in meaningful ways over food, creative projects or learning something new.
Share with us your favorite destination thus far in past years and how/why it impacted you
This is a toss-up but I’d have to say my experiences in Scandinavia over the past few years have been the most influential. My travels through Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland have all impacted the way I think about simplicity, and what’s really necessary for “comfortable” living. I love how spare and efficient the Scandinavian sense of design is, and the constant ability to do more with less. The people I have met in those places are also some of the most warm, generous, and hospitable individuals I know, and I try to take cues from them in terms of how I entertain and take care of people in my home.
Tell us about some highlights of working with Kinfolk Magazine. What did you love most?
There were so many wonderful things that came out of my experiences there, but first and foremost I think the sense of family and community that I developed while working there is what sticks with me most. The various hats I wore and roles I fulfilled allowed me to interact and connect with such a broad swath of people, both near and far, and it was amazing to be surrounded by such a rich circle of creative, inspiring and warm-hearted people. Many of the people I met and worked with during my time working there continue to be some of my closest friends, which is invaluable to me.
Are there any risks or ventures that you’ve taken recently that will help move you forward into future dreams that you’d like to share with us?
Not long ago I decided to start working independently on a full-time basis in the hopes of pursuing some of my own plans, projects and dreams. I’m primarily working in the realm of art direction, styling, and creative consulting, but everyday looks a little bit different in terms of what I’m focusing on. It’s definitely a huge risk to take this leap and to “travel in darkness” most of the time, which is a phrase I recently read and immediately related with in regards to never quite knowing what’s next or having a clear sense of what’s ahead. However, this venture has also allowed me the freedom to take opportunities I never could have imagined, giving me space and time to explore new ways of doing things and valuing experiences even (or maybe especially!) when they’re not financially lucrative. I’ve always dreamed of having the ability to work independently, and exploring this new territory has definitely opened up my eyes to both the joys and the hardships of being able to go solo. Overall I’ve loved getting to collaborate with a fresh variety of people during this time, and to flex some creative parts of myself that hadn’t been used for a while.
Tell us about your love for gatherings with friends- what is it about gathering around a dinner table with people you love that you find fulfilling?
I’ve always been fueled by deep relationships and meaningful experiences with people, and a lot of this happens around the act of sharing food. I find that the dinner table (or picnic blanket or front porch or back patio) brings us together in ways that allow us to be ourselves and to get to know each other in contexts that matter. I love the conversations that happen with friends over food or a glass of wine—both the serious chats and the silly ones. These are the kinds of moments that are most important to me, and it seems to me like the other parts of life simply help to support and enable these shared experiences.
What does your day to day look like currently? Any moments you’d like to share with us?
As I said, every day is a bit different, but the ones I enjoy most are those in which I’m either working “in the field” on a project, or at home conceptualizing a new idea for a client. I love compiling words and imagery to put together a cohesive narrative in order to tell someone else’s story as clearly and beautifully as I can. Since I’m working from home most days, it’s also nice when the day is punctuated with a meeting or two. It’s good to have some human interaction! Lately it’s been so nice out that I’ve been working in the backyard, so I really can’t complain when I’m emailing in the sun with the neighborhood kitties keeping me company.
Where do you personally pull your creative inspiration from? Are there any people you admire because of where they’ve gone in their own creative journey?
My sources of inspiration are constantly in flux, but I am always reliably inspired in one way or another by various things I’m reading. I return again and again to Mary Oliver, Rainer Maria Rilke, Annie Dillard, Rumi, and a handful of others. I look to the internet a lot for visual ideas, but I also try to balance that out with stacks of books and magazines around my house that I am eternally flipping through. I have always been in awe of independent women that have a strong, bold aesthetic or viewpoint, and are not afraid of confidently sticking with their own creative vision. Just to name a few—Margaret Howell, Joan Didion, Ilse Crawford, Faye Toogood, Dorothea Lange, Agnes Martin, Helen Frankenthaler.
If you could go anywhere in the world and explore one creative “avenue” in that culture, where would it be and why?
One place I have been dreaming of in particular lately is Morocco. Most of my life is spent living amidst neutral colors (my clothes, my house, etc.), and there’s something romantic about the thought of so much vibrant color brought together in one place. I would love to travel through Marrakesh and to the coast of Morocco in order to experience the textiles, the pottery, and the architecture. I need a little over-saturated spice in my life now and then to keep me feeling fresh and inspired, and travel always brings my imagination to places I wouldn’t or couldn’t have expected.
What are you most excited about in this coming year? Where do you see yourself going?
So much of the upcoming year feels like a mystery to me, since the freelance life is often lived week-to-week (it certainly is for me, at the moment!). But the joy in that is just fully embracing the spontaneity and surprise that comes with every day. I think I am most excited about simply allowing myself to more fully settle into that, and to celebrate the flexibility and independence that comes with working on one’s own. I am hoping to keep developing my own collection of work and honing in on a personal aesthetic that is consistent, but also consistently original and unexpected. I can’t wait to see all the different people I will have worked with by the end of this year! I’m also looking forward to various travel that I have ahead, especially to new places. I’m going to New Orleans for the first time and I’m eager to experience the culture, the food, and the energy there with fresh eyes.
WHERE WOULD WE FIND YOU ON YOUR DAY OFF? ARE THERE ANY LOCAL SHOPS OR ATTRACTIONS YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH?
When the weather is nice, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’m spending the day on Sauvie Island. This has been my refuge since day one of living in Portland—it’s where I go for rest, play, and rejuvenation. I like to swim, read, nap, picnic, and enjoy time both with friends and alone. Having a nature escape like this is one of the most important things for keeping me grounded and out of the fray and frenzy that the creative life can become so much of the time.