We had the good fortune of connecting with Neghar Fonooni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Neghar, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve been a single mom for 13 years and that was really the driving force behind choosing to work for myself. I knew I wanted to be able to make my own schedule so that I could spend time with my son and be flexible with my work hours. When he was little, I’d often find myself writing late at night after putting him to bed. These days he’s more and more curious about my work, and I find joy in being able to role model a different path for him than what the over culture has taught. There was always a desire to create and to do so with ease and without urgency. Being able to work from home these past 8 years has been absolutely nourishing for us as a small family, and crucial for me as an independent artist. The landscape of my business as well as my offerings has changed drastically in these 8 years, which has been a reflection of my own growth and evolution. That in and of itself is part of why I was called to run my own business: so that I could shift and pivot the business as I too shifted and grew. I love being my own boss. I love having total creative control. I love thinking, “wouldn’t it be cool if I…” and then I just do it. It’s so liberating.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always knew I wanted to write—or rather, writing has always been a part of me. Since I was a kid I knew it was going to be my “job,” I just didn’t know how it would manifest and in what capacity. I went to college for a bit but wasn’t sure if I should study jpurnalism or english or creative writing or or or…and then 9/11 happened and I felt called to serve. After 4 years in the Air Force, I gave birth to my son. In the first several years of single parenting, I worked as a personal trainer while blogging on the side, just for fun. None of it was easy and it certainly wasn’t linear, but it taught me that I could change my story whenever I wanted to—that I could create whatever I wanted without asking permission. Today, I am blessed to say that I write and illustrate for a living. I’ve self published two books and I run an online shop called Salt + Sorcery, a purveyor of wearable designs and other goods. I’ve illustrated two oracle decks that are awaiting production and I also read tarot for clients. I am completely self taught and I think there is a rawness to that kind of artistry that people resonate with. My intention is to help others see a piece of themselves reflected in what I create—to channel messages from the universe into ink and paper and fabric and paint. I truly believe that all art is channeled from the cosmos, and that we are tasked with conveying those messages to the collective. My work is sometimes salty, sometimes hopeful, and always vulnerable. I am my brand and my brand is me. There is a palpable magic to that sort of authenticity that I think we all crave, despite the constant social pull towards perfection. I aim to live and create from that space.
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 really and truly love my home. It’s a sanctuary for me, and I’ve decorated it in a way that makes me always happy to be here. If a friend was visiting, we’d likely spend a great deal of time here, cooking, drinking whiskey, smoking weed, and laughing by the fire. Drives up the coast with the top down on my jeep would be essential. Sunsets at the beach and sunrises at the tops of so many of our gorgeous mountain trails would be on the list, too. My favorite places are the restaurants and shops where people know my name. Good People Coffee in West LA, Clutch Roadhouse in Venice, Dama in the fashion district. And of course, we’d probably go get tattoos at Uh Huh Honey because what’s a vacation without a tattoo as a souvenir? Most of all, I want people to see Los Angeles the way I do—not the traffic and the tourist traps, but the small, family run businesses. The communities built immigrants and the coffee shops and restaurants that feel like home. I was born at the Kaiser Permanente on Rosecrans in Bellflower, to immigrant parents with hopes and dreams. And while I’ve lived all over the country in my 38 years, LA will always have my heart, I truly believe you can only hate this city if you love it, too. I want people who visit to see what I see. There is so much possibility in this city when you narrow your focus towards art, nature, and culture—when you strip it down to its bones.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Bakara Wintner (@bakaraw) Chrissy King (@iamchrissyking)
Main photo: Homer Parkes