Hello friends! I have an interview and book review to share quickly if you have a moment… I’d like for you to meet German stylist, photographer and debut author, Peter Fehrentz. I wrote about him last year but with the launch of his gorgeous book, Made By Yourself, I had to see if he would be free for a chat and he was! Peter is very talented and is a real inspiration to me so I am honored to feature him today. The projects in his new book are so innovative and fresh, I can’t wait to show you a few of them!
His publisher, DVA, gave me some images from the book to share with you so I’ve included them in this post along with some snaps that I took of my own copy of Made By Yourself. Won’t you join us for our little chat? Good! Meet Peter Fehrentz, everyone!
First of all, where do you live and what do you do for a living?
PF: I live in both Hamburg and Berlin and I am an Interior Stylist, Set & Product Designer and Photographer.
How did you get into this profession?
PF: I studied product design and after getting my degree, I did an internship as an editorial stylist at Schöner Wohnen magazine in Germany.
Do you find Germany in general supportive of those in creative fields?
PF: Currently it is changing a lot because there are many design schools that are very supportive and there are many fairs for young designers to show their work and to get in touch with industry professionals and potential clients. So, yes there is support here!
What do you appreciate most about German life and culture?
PF: Germans are very open and curious about other cultures – it influences our daily life wherever you go. Germany is a great place for doing straight forward business, especially in the northern part of the country.
Where do you go for inspiration in Hamburg and Berlin, where you split your time?
PF: I always go where there is art – galleries, museums, cinemas and theaters. Also simply nature.
Where do you look for inspiration online?
PF: There are some blogs (like decor8) that I visit frequently but also art and style websites that are sometimes good for creative input depending on what subject I am working on.
Where has your work been featured?
PF: There are many magazines and companies that I’ve worked with here throughout the years, for instance Living at Home, Brigitte, Schöner Wohnen and also foreign press such as Elle Decoration, Inside Out, etc. I work with companies too, for instance Parador, Alape, Dornbracht, Duravit, Hansgrohe, JAB Anstoetz, etc.
Where did you get the idea to write, style and photograph your own book?
PF: I’ve always produced DIY stories for magazines anyway, but it was when I started to photograph my own ideas in 2009 that I started to feel ready for more – for a book project.
What was the process like for you to do a book – how did you get a book deal, how long did it take to do the book, etc.?
PF: First, I approached my favorite publisher, DVA, about the idea in general and they were very interested and open to it. After negotiating the contract I had about 1,5 years time to produce the book. I didn’t work on it the entire time though because I had a lot of “daily business” and other jobs to do that were separate from the book. I’d estimate that the core amount of time it took me to do the book was about 6 months.
If someone living in Germany wants to get into interior styling, what would they need to do to be taken seriously and break into the profession?
PF: The best thing is to assist a stylist who is very talented and very busy in the industry for a long period of time (years not months). There is so much to learn and explore and this will not happen overnight. It takes patience. After assisting for awhile, and once one feels secure and ready, you have to find magazines, photographers, clients and agencies that fit your style and – very important – like you personally. Then you proceed from there to pitch some of your ideas and see what happens!
What do you think makes a stylist “good”?
PF: When styling is not only decoration but also has a certain twist. I like work that tells a story in a subtle way and it’s even better when this is done with a little irony. Not only one the surface but something deeper with many layers.
In Germany, there aren’t many gurus in design like we have in America, there are not a lot of well known names like Jonathan Adler or Kelly Wearstler. Why do you think this is the case?
PF: Germany doesn’t have a strong decorating tradition like some other countries. Sometimes I think one reason could be due to World War II. Right before the war, we had the Bauhaus which is still very popular and adored all over the world. After the war everything was about rebuilding and escaping the trauma for a long time and it is still not very popular to hire an interior designer here. I am not sure though if that really can be a reason, it makes sense to me, but perhaps it’s just in the German nature.
Would you like to be better “known” in Germany – famous for style and design for instance?
PF: I just like doing what I do and I am not really keen on being famous. I like the idea of reaching a large number of people and sharing my passion for what I’ve explored and what I believe in though. It’s always great getting response on your work.
Tell us about your book! What do you love about it?
PF: From the beginning, I always wanted the book to be about inspiration so people who love books can feel joy by looking at the photos but it should also work for those who love to build and handcraft things. When I peruse the pages of my book, I still like to look at all the pictures, the layout and design, and the colors. I hope that those who bought the book have the same feelings, too!
What is your favorite project in the book?
PF: There is not one in particular but two of my many favorites are the concrete lamp base (p.101) and the drop shaped mirrors (p.16).
What is a really big dream of yours?
PF: This book! I had wanted to do a book for a long time and I am really grateful that I found a publisher who gave me the freedom to make it a very personal piece – a true reflection of my taste and style.
If you’d like to see a video interview with Peter (in German) or watch him make a project for the book, you can click here for two videos on his site. To buy a copy of his book, please visit Amazon or his publisher, DVA (Random House).
Thank you Peter for the interview – so nice to get to know you better! If anyone has questions for Peter, please ask him in the comments section. Thank you!
(images: peter fehrentz (styled shots), book photos: holly becker for decor8)