In our editorial series, Studio Visits, LCD explores varying creative processes by connecting with artists of all types. Since its founding, LCD’s intention has been to support and nurture contemporary arts and independent creators with unique points of view. This series focuses on the personality behind these individually developed processes, by examining the people and passions behind the work.
Here we talk to Jennifer Pauline, Los Angeles-based founder of With Creators. After spending a decade in the fashion and entertainment industries, Jennifer launched With Creators with a single intention, to powerfully serve. With Creators is a Black and Brown centered community and storytelling agency with a mission to help amplify marginalized stories through various mediums. Get to know more about Jennifer’s creative process, inspirations, and more.
Photographed by Tiana Marie Combes
LCD: Tell us what you do!
Jennifer Pauline: I’m a curator and doer of many things, a master multi-hyphenate if you will. I founded my agency With Creators on the principle of service through community building and storytelling across mediums. One day we might be planning a retreat, the next day we’re building out a communications plan and on a really good day I’ll be interviewing creators that are shifting the creative landscape.
Tell us about a place you have lived that has impacted your work. How have you found that the culture of this place has infiltrated its way into your creative processes and outlook?
I’ve had the privilege of working in many places that have shaped my work today. But, the most impactful place was Hong Kong. I visited once and by my second visit I was moving there to help open Soho House Hong Kong. It was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been because I was placed in a space where I had to lead a team for the first time, think more deeply about cultural nuances and connect with a culture that was completely different from mine. But, the sense of community that I experienced there really allowed me to lean into parts of me that were under-developed. I had such a huge support system around me. When you’re a creator, it’s so important to have that foundation because it helps quiet the noise that distracts you from doing your best work. Also, it diversified my creative process and implores me to think more globally. To this day I always think about how my ideas would resonate with my framily (friends and family) back there.
How do you exercise your creativity within your daily routine?
The most exercised creative muscle in my body is creative problem solving, something that I’m always pushing my team to exercise as well. Thinking outside of the box, exploring new ways to present ideas, new ways to visually communicate etc. Also, for me it’s really important to stay connected to what other creatives are doing (without falling into unhealthy comparisons) and exploring the future of creativity. Paying close attention to where this space is growing.
Not one day is the same, but developing programming and experiential ideas for clients is a weekly activity, so I find myself deep diving across various verticals. My partner and I have grown our micro-library (as I like to call it) at home, so I will use old magazines and books as reference points, listen to podcasts, tune into my team Slack channel #whatstheread and honestly go into deep holes on the internet. Exploring trends, color stories, cultural moments and more to keep myself inspired.
Name a few things that inspire your creative decisions.
Multi-sensory touchpoints, resonance, intention and education are a few of my key decision-making factors. I always ask myself questions throughout my creative process like ‘what story are you telling?’, ‘how does this connect with the community you’re creating for?” and ‘what will guests leave with?.’
Also, a quote that I live and create by is from Diana Vreeland: ‘sometimes you have to give people what they don’t know they want, yet.’
As a creator, how do you keep an equilibrium between bringing your own unfiltered creativity through vs tailoring your choices towards a specific project?
I find the corners where my creative vision can shine and connect it with the overall mission of the project. I never start a project without understanding the mission behind what we’re doing, otherwise there is no north star and people can feel that. Most times it tends to be a bit broad and our job is to refine. And within that process, I bring in myself and my team's perspective to help bring it to life.
Do you have any other outlets for creativity that you seek?
I curate my life, the way I curate for my clients. So, I’ll plan out a Joy Date (s/o to The Artist’s Way) and connect with my city in new and different ways.. I’ll go to art galleries, book stores, new neighborhoods, restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, spend time in nature etc. It’s all quite restorative and regenerating. Travel is also huge for me. I was travelling weekly before the pandemic hit and obviously things have slowed down. But, when things started opening up a bit I did a few road trips and popped into New York and Hawaii. And you better believe I thoughtfully planned those trips as well.
Where do you feel most productive?
In beautiful spaces, flooded with natural light. I recently locked myself in The Proper Hotel to finish a few projects and I powered through with such ease.
Wow, hard to choose one. I have so many creative friends who are putting out incredible bodies of work. I’m going to share my top three and hope you don’t cut any!
Darian Harvin, reporter and founder of Studio Symone, she is a brilliant mind that curates and communicates news in a way that I’ve never seen before. Her Beauty IRL newsletter is top tier and I encourage everyone to sign up.
Recho Omondi, designer and host of The Cutting Room Floor podcast. Her interviews are *chefs kiss. They’re raw, playful, funny, captivating and sincere. It truly is ‘Fashion’s Only Fashion Show.’
Curtis Taylor, film director and multi-hyphenate, I don’t have any other words except the man is a genius. Everything he touches turns to gold, watch his space.
My agency is my dream project. I’m a little Black girl who was born in Oakland, raised in the midwest and was a C student at best. I was working my dream job when the seed of this dream was planted and in the middle of a pandemic I took a leap of faith. So when I survey my life, I shouldn’t be here but I am. Every day I make it a point to powerfully serve and lead a life that reminds others that they can do the same. And in doing so, allow more dreams to unfold...
Favorite place in the world?
An outfit that you would be happy to have on repeat?
Melody Ehsani sweats, a leather blazer, sneakers and a Martine Rose tee.
LCD stands for Lust, Covet, Desire… what are you currently LCD’ing?
Every color of SVNR’s slip dresses, a custom couch by Dynasty Upholstery, vintage Céline