eBay Seller: Sisters of the Black Moon & Their Psychedelic World
By Sade Lythcott
I first fell in love with Alexanda Valenti’s photography through one of my favorite vintage eBay stores, Sister’s of the Black Moon. The sisters have an incredibly curated aesthetic that makes you want to bid on everything. What pulled me in first and foremost was their images, created by Alexanda. More than a photographer, she’s an artist with an original voice and a unique approach to her craft. With each of her projects, the spectrum of moods and atmospheres grows deeper. Her painted portals are vibrant with psychedelic energy. Here’s a snippet of a conversation the young photographer had with Hook and Line Magazine.
H&L: Where were you born and where are you currently living?
Alexandra Valenti: I was born in Washington DC and I live in Austin, Texas.
Q: How are each of these places different from each other?
A: Oh Lord, they couldn’t be more different. DC feels very conservative and mainstream. Austin feels like a place where people can come to create who they are, be who they are and not be judged by it one bit. It’s becoming so built up though, that lately, in the past 4 or 5 years, Austin feels like it’s losing its eclectic edge. It’s become so popular or trendy to move here and I don’t think the city can accommodate the influx. The traffic is getting horrible. And it no longer feels like the small town like it did when I first moved here. I’ll probably move to a smaller place sooner than later. Or at least a place that has more nature. More lush. I feel like I came into my own in this town. .. finally…. I’ve lived in many different cities, Berkeley, NYC, Los Angeles, Melbourne Australia
Q: Who are the Sisters of the Black Moon? They’re fascinating.
A: The sisters of the Black Moon are fascinating! They are also very dear friends of mine. We were friends before they started SOTBM. When they were beginning that company, they talked to me a lot about what they wanted their photos to look like. The first one was in a studio. I don’t think we’ve done a studio shoot since. Those shoots are so fun because we all just allow each other to do what we do and no one questions the creative decisions… we do talk about what the shoots will look like but we really don’t go too in depth other than have reference material. We agree on a setting and then we just show up and hope it works. They trust me and I trust them implicitly. I get a lot of emails about those shoots, but really it’s such a collaborative process, lots of spice in the delicious soup that we can then share with lots of people. I really grew so much in the past year creatively doing those shoots…
Q: In my own career, I remember that one assignment that made me think, “Wow! I’m a real writer!” Did you have a moment like that with photography? What was the shoot like?
A: Yeah, it happened a month ago! When I shot the Free People catalogue. Mainly because it was the biggest commercial job I’ve done to date. Doub Hanshaw, the creative director, is ray of sunshine. So kind and generous and she took a chance on me. I really hope it does well, not just for me but for Doub. Because I would hate to let her down for taking a risk on me.
Q: What do you enjoy in your spare time?
A: I make a lot of art. I paint. I draw. I’m working on a series of 25 paintings on wood blocks made out of maple… and I go swimming in Barton Springs almost twice a day (it’s the spring fed pool in town that’s freezing cold)… it’s kind of a necessity since it’s so stinkin’ hot here…
Q: What attracted you to the camera, and how old were you?
A: The first time I realized photography was cool was when I saw a book by Henri Cartier Bresson. That blew my mind. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old? Can’t remember.
Q: What’s inside your camera bag?
A: A Leica, a Nikon, a point and shoot… lots of batteries, a bumble Bar, a lighter. You know, the usual.
Q: Are you a reader? Have any books or poems influenced your art?
A: Yeah, I’m a big reader. The books I’ve read that have influenced my art aren’t art books, or books about art, or artists; they are mostly books about Tibetan Buddism or Taoism. The one I’m reading now is called Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. It’s a pretty famous book and it’s been one that I’ve been meaning to read for a while…I like being reminded (and I need to be constantly) that what we create comes from our higher selves. When we are present and creating from a purely motivated place…when you create not for the result, but for the sake of it: for the pure enjoyment of it. And if something does come from it, if a result happens that is desirable, then that’s just the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake.
Read the rest of the conversation between writer Jocelyn M and Alexandra Valenti on Hook & Line Magazine
. Take a look at the brilliant inventory of mystical, tribal, and native American influenced pieces at the SistersoftheMoon/eBay