In this week's Artist Spotlight, we talked to Madeline Sensibile, a curator behind the Instagram @hashtag_saved, a constantly updating moodboard of artistic references and color schemes. To accompany this piece, Madeline has created a Fur moodboard, complete with Debbie Harry, Gucci, and of course, our signature #furchartreuse.
Tell us about yourself!
Hey! My name is Maddie Sensibile. I am a content manager at an events marketing company in LA. I oversee all of our content strategy, which includes email marketing, social, and site content. I write our emails, and pretty much get to share the most exciting things going on in my city at any given time. We work with a lot of concert promoters, small event collections, etc to share what they're doing, too.
How did you get started curating images?
Honestly, I think I probably started doing this "seriously" when I started buying lots of magazines in middle school and high school. I remember buying my first copy of Vogue at Target. It was the Aug 2007 issue with Winona Ryder on it. Wearing Marc Jacobs, I believe. Then, I bought the September issue of that year, and it's been an image frenzy for me ever since. It started as wall collages in my bedroom and printing pictures of my favorite runway shows.
I decided to start cataloging it all digitally when I founded my fashion blog, Obsessee, in December 2008. Starting a blog is what really made me realize how much I love images. It was never a personal style blog, it was a repository of images for me from ages 15 until about 22. I'd share old editorials, I had particular obsession anything Juergen Teller shot or Venetia Scott's editorials, and shared stories from early issues of The Face. I never really wrote much text, it was always the images talking. I made a tandem Tumblr account for Obsessee, and found that Tumblr really was the best way to discover images and put them in a place where they all make sense together. After I sold my blog to Clique Brands (owners of Who What Wear, Versed) in 2016, I no longer really had an outlet for curating. So, naturally, I started sharing "inspo" images, basically a digital moodboard, on my own Instagram that I had made after the transition from Obsessee being me to a brand now.
It's been a few years since that all happened, and I realized I still needed an outlet. At this point, say, early summer 2018, I realized how many of us were using the Saved feature on Instagram as the new form of say a Tumblr or Pinterest. It is truly the perfect place to collect and remind ourselves of things we want to return to. So last summer, I started my little project called @hashtag_saved. At first it was just a place to share what I was saving from my own boards, I did a few "color studies" with Pantone colors, and now, it's a mix between a moodboard, image sharing space, and a newsletter that features other creatives and how they use this feature on Instagram in their lives.
Essentially, the account is meant to show different perspectives on a tool we all have access to, how we use it, and how we use it to incubate ideas to share with the world, or just keep to ourselves. Instagram has inadvertently created this incredible space that has made me reflect on how we are constantly sharing images, but what are the ones we want to remember? For me, that is the ethos I want @hashtag_saved to follow. We should have a space to talk about images we want to save forever, images, artworks, film stills, etc that influence our style, our work, our daily lives. It's part of our nature to compile, collect, curate, so this project is my perspective on it.
What types of images are you drawn to?
This is a tough one! I am all over the place right now. It ranges from paintings to films at the moment.
As of late, I've been specifically drawn to film stills from films by French director Eric Rohmer in the 70s and 80s due to their very simple, actual lifelike aesthetic. None of his films ever feel forced. I feel like I'm watching people I might know.
In general, I've always been drawn to film stills. I think it's because someone I've always been fascinated by is Cindy Sherman, whose original Untitled Film Stills I started to learn about as a photojournalism major in my 35mm classes. I've always dreamed of being a cinematographer, which is why I admire Sherman's work so much, and am constantly following film still accounts on Instagram and pinning to my "FILM" board on Pinterest. For me, film stills evoke what a photograph might, but there's something more. They feel lived in, and that is special to me.
As you've grown up, have the images you're drawn to changed in subject matter or aesthetic?
Yes, definitely. When I first started tearing pages out of magazines, it was always that classic Vogue shoot with Coco Rocha or Raquel Zimmerman from mid 2000s. Now, I am drawn to much softer, less typical "fashion photography" if you will. The images I look for are not perfect, there's always something a little off about them, whether noticeable or not. You could say I moved on from glossy Vogue pages to the pages of Lula, i-D or Dazed later in high school, and that's pretty much the ethos and aesthetic I've stayed with through the years. The sort of British "indie" mags have always done it right, they evoke beauty but they know how to do it with an edge. Like, the recent cover shoot Chloe Sevigny did with Dazed--it is everything I want to see, without me having to explain it.
I've definitely been in a creative rut lately, and what I'll do is either pop by the magazine stand and see what they have, or just go down a Pinterest or Tumblr hole. Pinterest honestly is a great resource for finding images you might not have seen before--for example, I discovered an entire 90s Chanel campaign I hadn't seen previously by just going through endless suggested pins. It's not all just recipes and how to redecorate your room, but that's cool too--ha. I also like to listen to historical podcasts, watch documentaries on those topics, or just read up on them. It helps me find one thing to kind of go out and research. I also have a subscription to Criterion Channel, and when I'm feeling particularly uninspired, I'll put something on that I feel I can potentially find something out of whether its just a thought or a direction I want to go in when creating new image collections for myself.
Would you consider image curation a form of self-care?
Yes, I definitely do. The endless image spirals you can go down are very much self care for me. After I spend a night on the computer saving and logging things I think might have a direction for something thematic I'm working on for hashtag_saved or just for my own self to have, I often feel much better, more excited, more inspired.
With @hashtag_saved, I've never wanted it to feel like work. I've wanted it to just be something I want to do, because I love images and I want to spend all day looking at images. It's a fine line between seeing an outlet as work or a project i must fulfill, but right now I'm trying to approach with mindfulness and really put the right vision I want out there to the world, even if its just for my friends, or a very small audience. At the end of the day, I can't take what I do too seriously, I started this project to share images that make me feel something, and I never want it to feel too heady to anyone.