These Beasts: Hana & Michael Ardelean

This is Hana and Michael Ardelean. They're a pretty rad couple who we asked to model our first collection. You can catch Hana in our upcoming show Totally Savage. We asked them a few questions to learn what they think about making a living as a creative person in today's world. 

Hana Ardelean

1. What do you do?

I run a photography business with my best friend Jen, called Tiger Tiger. We specialize in shooting fashion, portraits, and advertising.

2. What’s your favorite part of taking something from an idea to a finished product? Least favorite?

Probably the shoot day! So much time and work goes into creative prep and it’s fulfilling to see this story you imagined come to life. Least fav? Narrowing down selects! It's so hard to see your work objectively and not start to second guess.

3. What are you doing when you’re not working?

Working! Still trying to find a balance and learn to shut off. It’s hard to create those boundaries when you work for yourself and have a home office... but I'm getting better!

4. How do you stay inspired while avoiding replicating what inspires you?

I'm inspired by a lot of random things and it’s always changing so I think that helps keep a fresh perspective. One constant spark of inspiration is from colors, and there are millions of different color combinations so that is an endless source.

5. If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be (dead or alive)? And why?

Right now I am floored by the set designer, Suzanne Berine. She creates the most magical and original fashion sets! Look up her work for Shrimps, it’s so cool. It would be a dream to collaborate with her for a shoot.

6. What has been your favorite collaborations so far? How did it change you?

We just did a really fun fashion shoot using a pastel peach Parrot named Ice Cream. It was incredible to work with such a stunning and kind animal. I would love to collaborate with more animals!

7. How do you Stay Savage?

By forcing myself to trust my gut even if the outcome is "unconventional". It’s hard but worth it in the end!

Michael Ardelean

1. What do you do?  

I encourage businesses and individuals to have their cake and eat it too. This is surprisingly easy once you decide what kind of cake you want. It's sometimes also referred to as "minimalism".

2. What’s your favorite part of taking something from an idea to a finished product? Least favorite?

My favorite approach is to front-load all the work, so the execution is simpler. Train hard, fight easy. My least favorite is when things get bogged down by overthinking and hesitation. I think the best ideas are the ones that just dawn on you quickly and it seems so profound that you have to grab your phone and write it down.

3. What are you most proud of when it comes to your work?

The thing I'm most proud of is my people. In my most recent role, the Design/Merchandising/Creative teams were my people. Working as a consultant, the connections I introduce are my people. I aspire to be someone whose word is gold when it comes to vouching for, or recommending someone. It's hard work to build that kind of reputation. I've learned from some good people and I'm trying to get there.

4. What are you doing when you’re not working?

I try to follow my favorite quote:

"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which." - L.P. Jacks

Some of my most enjoyable "work" recently has been having coffee with people who are smarter than I am, and learning from them. I highly recommend this. So does Liza Minelli.

5. How do you stay inspired while avoiding replicating what inspires you?

Awesome question. The trick, as far as I can tell, is figuring out WHY something inspires you, and replicating the WHY, but always switching up the WHAT. My constant inspiration is my wife Hana. She knows exactly who she is, but it doesn't come out in a tidy catch phrase, it comes out in her work and in the way she carries herself. I like that.

6. If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be (dead or alive)? And why?

James Jebbia, for the learning experience. For me, the holy grail of business and brands is creating something so uncomplicated, and so strong that you couldn't stop it if you tried. A friend recently shared with me the importance of deciding whether you want to be in a supporting role, or you want to be a star. The supporting role appeals to me. The guy working quietly in the background, calling the shots and letting the stars take the credit and the burden that comes with it -- that's the ideal role. Mr. Jebbia has definitely done that.

7. What has been your favorite collaborations so far? How did it change you?

With Alternative Apparel, when we collaborated with Beams. Don't think it will see the light of day, but the process was enlightening because we got to work with, and observe, such an awesome team of people. They are obsessive about making sure every detail ties back to the concept.

8. How do you Stay Savage?

By driving old sports cars very rapidly to scenic mountainous places as often as possible!


Zach MoldofComment