We had the good fortune of connecting with Bailey Soudelier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bailey, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Pursuing a career in the arts, regardless of what it may be, is a notoriously scary decision for a lot of artists. With it comes stigmas about the idea of the “starving artist”, and especially in LA it’s easy to feel imposter syndrome when it seems like every artist around you is one step ahead. That being said, I think pursuing artistic endeavors is also wildly fulfilling and challenging in a way that maybe other career paths aren’t. I knew from a young age I wanted to be in the arts, in whatever sense I could be. When I discovered fashion and theatre I thought to myself, hey, why don’t I just combine these two passions into costume design? – then it just kind of took off from there. Studying in a theatre program for undergrad taught me about art and design, but also about freedom of self expression and what a powerful thing that can be. I learned about other people’s passions and how we could combine our love for design or acting or makeup and create something really big and wonderful. In a nutshell that’s what I want to continue doing. There is nothing more amazing than meeting other passionate people and being able to create something new you’d never have been able to on your own. The outlets and opportunity for collaboration are largely a part of why I love the arts so much. While there are some extremely stressful days, at the end when you see your work on a big screen or a billboard it always feels worth it. The other lucky thing about working in a creative field is that my days are almost never the same, Monday might be a music video in the desert, wednesday I’m on a rooftop in LA, and saturday I’m scouring a flea market for the perfect 1970’s wranglers. It’s a whirlwind but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a costume designer first, but Ive also found a love for production design that I didn’t expect – and a love for the way that costume and production design can work so beautifully hand in hand to tell a story. I also love styling and have been lucky to do some recent editorial styling work for a handful of musicians I admire. I’d say that I specialize in period pieces, mostly 1950’s-1970’s, but I’ll always have a special love for Imperial Russian fashion, and the Regency Period (which is what I studied for my thesis in college). I think what sets me apart honestly is that I’m not afraid to take risks and make maybe some questionable design decisions in my work. Something I admire in other artists I look up to is that even when an idea doesn’t quite work, you can see the intention and thought process. David Lynch is one of my greatest inspirations and heroes, and I have immense respect for the way he just commits to any idea. If someone on set has a suggestion he’s interested in, he commits to it fully and makes it work regardless. He said in an interview once “just slow things down and it becomes more beautiful” – and I think that’s what it’s really all about in this big world of artistic collaboration. We all have big dreams and big ideas that sometimes can simply not be accomplished on our own and cannot be accomplished in a hurry – which is where one of the struggles of becoming an artist comes in. Collaboration, while essential, is not always easy especially in the arts. The most rewarding thing is when you find those fellow artists who understand your dreams and ideas and can help you make them happen. I’ve been lucky in that way to work with some of my closest friends and make some pretty amazing work. As far as lessons, the biggest and perhaps most important thing I’ve learned is you simply must be a kind person. There are times when you have to be headstrong and stubborn, but I think the absolute key to working in film is to just be a nice person who makes good art and that people want to be around. It’s much less about your bravado and credits and more about how you treat the artists around you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have a special place in my heart for the ace hotel in downtown LA – I’ve met so many artists I admire and spent some of the happiest times with my friends and fellow collaborators there. So we’re definitely getting drinks at the Ace Rooftop. My other favorite thing is the abundance of flea markets on the weekends, so silverlake flea is also on the itinerary, along with whatever other little pop ups are happening. We’ll wander around highland park and find a bookstore, find some shade at Griffith park and read for a bit. I’m big into skateboarding and there’s a great spot we call “the drain” at Griffith that we’ll surely go to. Sunsets are also essential to me, and the perfect sunset spot even more so. There’s a lookout in Malibu canyon where you can see the ocean on one side and the whole of the valley and downtown on the other, and the sun sets right in the middle. I can’t share the location though as it’s top secret, sorry! Can’t forget about the best little spot for late night Jazz, Sam First. Surely we’ll take a day trip to Santa Barbara or out to Joshua Tree for some exploring. My philosophy to LA or any city really is that if you just wander with an open mind, you’ll stumble upon some amazing things and meet some amazing people.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents! I will always shoutout my mom and dad because I truly owe everything to them. Thanks for letting me move across the country to find my passion, and thanks for always supporting my art.
Andrea Riba, Carissa Mosley