In Brief: Abby St. Claire: A Windy City Native Highlights How Locally Crafted Art Offers The Best Stories
Abby St. Claire’s artistic path has curved and forked over the years as she has soaked in new ways to reach her audience. However, her adventures have one thing in common: storytelling. Throughout her burgeoning career in graphic design, content creation and floral design, the Chicago native has focused on constructing art that reveals human stories. The instinct has served her well. St. Claire has amassed more than 10,000 Instagram followers while co-founding “The City Dossier,” a St. Louis-based indie publication, and launching “One Fourth,” a wedding/lifestyle magazine for Flowers for Dreams, Chicago’s much-lauded flower shop that sells locally grown blossoms to benefit area charities. Most recently, St. Claire debuted With/Another, an online space to connect with other creative women in Chicago. “I think it is extremely important to hear the stories of others, it leads to a deeper understanding of and empathy for those around us,” St. Claire explains. “Having a level of transparency and vulnerability is vital in a creative community, and that is why outlets like ‘The City Dossier’ and With/Another are so important. People can relate to local, inspiring creatives.
The Midwest has a growing reputation for creators and innovators. What is it about this region that spurs the imagination?
I think those who have grown up in the Midwest understand the value of community, which translates well into creativity and understanding the human experience. When people think of the Midwest, they think of the stereotypical rural town. Having grown up in the Chicago area, this has never been my perspective. I have always seen it for the urban landscapes, like Chicago and St. Louis.
How do you think your aesthetic has changed over the years?
It wasn’t until I started with graphic design and publication design that I really figured out what sorts of visuals I was drawn world and other creatives. I have a vast collection of quarterlies and books that I flip through and obsess over the typography or design. Also, travel is something that has a massive impact in my life. I have a notebook full of lists of beautiful shops and restaurants in different cities that I hope to visit one day.
How is working with flowers and objects different from the creativity required for graphic design?
Something about florals enthrall me. It is incredible that so many different yet equally beautiful things can grow naturally. I’ve always considered floral design a form of artistic expression. It’s still about visuals, but it’s three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional like graphic design. Floral design is still about colors, placement and aesthetic, but on a tangible level.
When you find yourself feeling out of sorts, what do you turn to?
Ideally, I’ll spend time with a close friend or two, but a good candle and Lush face mask often do wonders. While I’m a very introverted person, I really value good friends and meaningful conversations. I think it just helps to know that I’m not alone. I also love letter writing; I find it very cathartic and a really wonderful way to connect with others. I have a few friends with whom I exchange letters, and I always look forward to receiving something from them.
What are all of your amazing steps thus far building toward?
Something that would allow me to travel to beautiful places and interact with the people there through art and design. It is inspiring to see people like Amanda Jane Jones (founding designer of “Kinfolk”) and Beth Kirby (of “Local Milk”) travel, interact with different creatives around the world and host workshops or gatherings in those places. But honestly, my ideal end goal is anything that allows me to be happy, create things I’m passionate about, travel, enjoy family and friends and live a beautiful, simple life.
Photography by Attilio D’Agostino