Meet the lovely Tiana Petrullo. As an art director, photographer, and creative based in Los Angeles, Tiana’s aesthetic and ethos resonates deeply with ours. Her feminine and authentic approach to all her works — from photography to her digital journal, Forme & Sens — is a breath of fresh air amid all the noise. Here, Tiana shares everything from her creative approach to where you can find her on a quiet Saturday morning.
As a photographer, art director, and creative person, where do you seek inspiration from?
I find inspiration in natural materials and ancient things – sculptures and structures that were made with honest hands before trends were as widespread as they can be now.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classically minimal with the exception of a few sculptural pieces.
We love how you wear the Cies top — it’s so effortless, soft, and feminine. Walk us through how you styled yourself in this piece.
It's such a beautiful and timeless piece. I paired it with an equally classic vintage linen skirt and added an element of romance with hair pulled back and quartz and glass jewelry.
At Norte, we strive to convey the importance of buying durable clothes—timeless, uncomplicated pieces in your closet that you will reach for again and again. We do this in a conscious and concerted effort to reduce overall consumption, while giving you pieces to cherish and wear many times over. Can you tell us about some pieces of clothing you have that have served you faithfully for many years?
All classic vintage pieces – button down shirts, high rise trousers, cashmere knits, things that I can reach for year after year.
How long have you had these pieces and what significance does these articles of clothing have for you?
Vintage pieces always have such a beautiful story behind them. If they've served me for a certain amount of years I can only imagine the love and life that they carry from their time before.
What does sustainability mean to you when it comes to dressing yourself?
It's important to me to remain conscious as a consumer that what I am buying is not only created with an objectively minimal footprint, but also timeless, and something that I will continue to wear for years and years to come. The benefits of purchasing sustainably made garments can be easily negated if they are not given a long life.
Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer? What brought you into this world?
Creating imagery has been a passion since I was young, but there was never support for me to focus on it. I ended up studying graphic design and advertising because I was told that it would bring more success. But through that detour I never stopped photographing, and am grateful that I was able to naturally foster relationships with amazing people who continue to support my work.
You describe yourself on your website as ”telling the unpolished truth through a soft lens.” What does truth mean to you in terms of how you approach photography and art direction?
My work is natural, raw and real and I am happiest when unprompted. It is empowering to capture the beauty in a pure moment that is not synthetically enhanced.
Your art is undeniably beautiful and feminine—how have you refined this aesthetic over your career? What do you think it connotes to your audience?
I want viewers to feel the softness and natural beauty that I do. The relationships that I form with subjects grow in a gentle and honest way and that has always been reflective of my evolving personality and personal aesthetic.
In addition to photography and art direction, you have also created, Forme & Sens, a digital journal publishing works on mental health. What does this project mean to you and how have you built this community?
The project is so connected to me and stems from my own experience with depression. Growing awareness around mental health was a turning point for me in understanding and acceptance, and it became important to me to offer a space for others to garner experiences that may be reflective of their own. I try to give as much of myself to the community as feels natural and have put things out in the open that most would keep in. You can ask me anything. I've shared my story and so many incredible and brave people have shared theirs in return.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love that I’ve found a way to do a little bit of everything that is important to me and that I enjoy doing. I love sharing my initiatives and connecting with like-minded people.
Favorite way to unwind after a long day?
Reading a book before bed.
Where did you grow up and how did you find yourself in LA?
I grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles and eagerly moved into the city when I was eighteen.
Do you feel like where you grew up shaped your aesthetic sensibilities and personal beliefs?
I am a triple aquarius and very fundamentally anti. My natural tendencies paired with my upbringing left me in my own world most of the time. I've always been close to what's in my mind, followed my instincts, and if anything, purposefully went against the grain of my surroundings.
Can you share a happy memory from your childhood with us?
I’ve been an equestrian since I was six years old. My happiest memories are in the hours that I spent with the horses. It was the best escape for me.
Who did you admire most as a child?
My riding trainer had a monumental influence on me. She taught me how to be strong and hold my ground, both physically and mentally.
Favorite 5 things to do in LA:
Ocean swims, outdoor dinners, visiting the Getty Villa, hiking and Sunday farmer's markets.
Your interior aesthetic seems to be minimal, sculptural, and sleek. What are some of your favorite pieces in your home and where did you collect them from?
We (my partner and I, a dog and two cats) live in a historical preservation zone in LA and I am always inspired by the original 1920's architecture. Last year I fell in love with a vintage work table with rounded edges that reflect Art Deco details in our ceiling. And my absolute favorite piece, which is still a work in progress, is a couch that my partner and I built this year.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Currently listening to:
Too many news podcasts.
Have you traveled anywhere amazing recently?
Tiburon, California – a quiet town by the water, just north of San Francisco. And wine country in Oregon. Both are so beautiful and relaxing. I'm heading to the Oaxacan coast soon and I already know that it will top the list of recent trips.
Go-to holiday destination:
On a Saturday morning, where would we find you?
Walking to get coffee/tea with my partner and dog.