Crystal Pieper is a model, painter, and photographer. This interview and pictorial was featured in issue #10 of Sinical Magazine. Print copies can be purchased here.
Photography by Danny Stygion. Location: Casulo Hotel - Austin, Texas.
Sinical Magazine: When were you born and where?
Crystal Pieper: I was born June 23, 1989 in Houston, TX, but I lived a majority of my life in San Angelo, TX. It is a much, much smaller town. They don’t ride tractors to school, but it’s still pretty small.
Sinical Magazine: How did you first get started into modeling?
Crystal Pieper: I would “model” for fellow students for photography projects in school and had a few run ins with a photographer here and there, but nothing major. I enjoyed being behind the camera, rather than being in front of it for the longest time. I didn’t really get interested until I saw Marcy Horror’s and Suzi Rubbish’s photos from Obscuri. I had always shied away from modeling because as an artist and someone who dabbles in photography, it’s hard to settle for poor quality. As a model I want to produce a sort of art not just “hot” images. I guess you could say Derek recharged my faith in photography as an art and straight in I dove.
Sinical Magazine: What was the first magazine you came across that made you want to start modeling?
Crystal Pieper: Honestly, Vogue. My mother kept them around the house and I liked to look at them for pictures to draw. I discovered a photo of a girl with freckles who was taller than the rest of the girls in the photo. When you’re a ginger kid and taller than almost everyone in your class you think, “Hey! There’s a place for us!” High fashion models are not stereotypically pretty, it made me feel more comfortable for being a bit different.
Sinical Magazine: What do you think makes a model stand out?
Crystal Pieper: The ones that own and know themselves. They’re not trying to fit into someone else’s mold or fill someone else’s shoes. There are a ton of girls who want to be like Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page, but the ones that want to be themselves and kill it. Those are the ones who jump off the page. Every model I look up to does their own thing and embraces what they have.
Sinical Magazine: Clothing wise, what kind of fetishes do you have?
Crystal Pieper: Anything legwear mostly. I have drawers dedicated to socks of all heights, tights, legwarmers, and stockings. I have more pairs of tights than I have clothing to go with them. I’m extremely tactile so I love anything silky or soft. From what I’ve been told this little obsession of mine has been going on since I was old enough to grab things on my own.
Sinical Magazine: From a model’s perspective, what do you think is the most important aspect of a photo?
Crystal Pieper: Composition. If the composition of the photo is off the entire thing is ruined. It won’t matter how expensive the camera, how experienced the model, or how brilliant the concept. If it is not properly executed in regards to composition nothing else matters. The photo will get an “I like what you were trying to do there,” sort of response.
Sinical Magazine: What type of music do you listen to?
Crystal Pieper: The list of what I don’t listen to is much shorter. There is such a thing as too much Bill Monroe for me. Bluegrass can make me a little nuts. To be perfectly blunt I like anything that makes me want to dance, break something, or have sex. This is a fetish type magazine, I can say that. Rockabilly, western swing, industrial rock, electronic/dance, you name it I probably have it in my collection. My current playlist in my car consists of Cave In, Johnny Burnette Trio, Motorhead, Nine Inch Nails, Florence + the Machine, Delta Spirit, Depeche Mode, and I topped it off with a little Lady Gaga, AC/DC, and some Usher. I’m all over the place with music. I was in choir for a long time and my dad played classical music from time to time. I enjoy painting while listening to classical music, as cookie cutter as that sounds.
Crystal Pieper: Besides modeling, you also do photography and paint. Can you talk about these hobbies?
Sinical Magazine: I’m an artist before everything else. I’ve been exploring art my entire life. Every member of my family has been harassed into having me draw them at some point in my life. I earned a BFA in Studio Art, which was quite an experience in itself. I was the soul artist in my bubble so to be exposed to so many growing artists was an incredible experience. Painting on canvas is my media of choice and I tend to flip flop between oil and acrylic paint. My subject matter focuses mainly on women’s faces. I think it’s always been that way.
As for photography my parents always had cameras. They were always taking photos. My father also collects 35mm cameras, so I was introduced to film early on. I took photography in high school as well as college. There is just something magical about working in a dark room. My focus lies predominantly in black and white portraits. I’ve had to opportunity to photograph some great musicians in the short time I’ve lived in Austin. Photos are so special. They can take you anywhere you want to go and let you be with anyone you want to be with.
Sinical Magazine: What’s up next for you?
Crystal Pieper: Well first of all I’m going to make a grilled cheese sandwich, and then after that I’m going to take over the world! But between the sandwich and world domination I plan on starting and finishing a few of my own projects this year.
Let us know what you think of this interview in the comments!