Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.
Claire Typaldos is an LA-based designer, with a focus in branding, packaging design, film title design, and most recently, interior design. She is currently working as Creative Director and Interior Designer for a 13-room hotel in Malibu where Bob Dylan wrote Blood on the Tracks! She also writes a monthly TV/film newsletter called Highdownlow, just for fun and the love of the big and small screens.
Where are you currently sheltering in place?
I am holding down the fort in Los Angeles, with my dude and new puppy, Rocky!
What does your face mask look like?
It’s deep green with white stretchy cords — simple and classic, if a mask can be those things. My friend’s mom made it for me and shipped it from Massachusetts and sent a really sweet card along with it.
Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment?
We got a puppy week two of quarantine, so we are on a pretty strict routine, which keeps me sane. Wake up time is 7:30am, take Rocky out and then give her breakfast while I do 30 minutes of yoga. Then we take an hour-long walk through my favorite neighborhood filled with Victorian houses. I’ve weirdly made a lot of new friends during the quarantine because of the dog, so we usually have a playdate or just impromptu dog play session on the street with whoever we encounter. I get an iced tea from my local coffee shop every day because I miss human connection. It’s nice because they have it ready for me as they see me approach. I’m what you would call a “regular” now!
Rest of the day is spent working while Rocky naps, obsessively training her while she’s awake, and taking her to Elysian Park every evening to play fetch. Basically, everything revolves around the dog’s schedule and I can’t believe who I’ve become. :/
What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?
Last Tango in Halifax (a British show about two old people who reconnect after 60 years and their family dramas that ensue) has gotten me through this time. It could not be more different than the world we all are living in right now and the British accents make me happy. I watched it over the course of a few months, 10 minutes before bed every night as a lullaby. I also found unexpected comfort in Lenox Hill, a docuseries on Netflix about doctors at that hospital in New York. I cried pretty much every episode and it made me miss New York a lot.
When I particularly crave an escape, I watch The Bold Type, about three girlfriends navigating their lives and careers while working at a women’s magazine. Also The Last Dance, a 10-episode docuseries about Michael Jordan and the reigning years of the Bulls, was incredible and is a must-watch.
As for reading, I am having trouble focusing right now but I really enjoyed was Writers and Lovers by Lily King. I am currently reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which is fascinating and challenging. I have been enjoying music more than podcasts because my brain is mush right now. I listen to Mac Miller’s Circles on repeat, Amen Dunes’ Freedom, and keep adding songs to my ongoing playlist called LIKE.
Are you working on anything during this time? And if you’re having trouble “creating” things at the moment, how are you getting around it?
For the first few months, I was working very slowly and in spurts. I got totally consumed by the new overwhelming responsibility of having a tiny puppy, so I had no idea how to do anything for myself for at least two months. My therapist insisted I shower once a day for “me time,” which I’ve never done before but now I do (I am usually more of a shower as a luxury kind of woman)!
Slowly, I’ve gotten into a routine and started carving out more time for my own work. Now work is ramping up and I have to drive to Malibu twice a week for design meetings. The car ride goes through the mountains and feels liberating. I am also working on some other smaller projects, like film titles for an upcoming thriller, and helping chef Daniel Patterson reconceptualize the future of his restaurants Alta and Adams Coffee Shop. I also helped him with branding for a new organization called High Roads Kitchen which provides sliding-scale meals to low-income workers and first responders.
It’s been bizarre to get back into things and difficult to muster up creativity especially when the world is in such flux and unrest. I feel really grateful to have work right now but as a freelancer, I am pretty used to major ebbs and flows, so quarantine hasn’t felt too different from my everyday work life.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
Walking far distances and dog training.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far during quar? What’s the worst?
Best meal: Dry aged steak, smashed parmesan potatoes, and rhubarb crumble that our new friends made for us last night! One of them is a chef at my favorite pizza spot Hail Mary. We met them on the street because we were both carrying our new black puppies in a bag — we thought they were sisters! We go over about once a week and have socially distanced wine and food while the dogs wrestle. It’s been kind of a lifesaver. Also I made this easy tahini cookie recipe which is delicious. Worst meal: a sad salad I made from random stuff in my fridge.
What’s your current iPhone wallpaper and what’s the story behind it?
It’s a close-up one of Vija Celmins’ graphite drawings from the 1930s. I saw her show at the Met Breuer, one of my favorite museums. I was in New York over Christmas visiting family and friends. One of my routine New York things to do is go to the Met Breuer by myself, walk west through Central Park afterwards, and then slowly make my way downtown, all while feeling very nostalgic and wondering if I should move back.
What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far?
This Patagonia fanny pack that I can put Rocky’s dog treats in as well as my hand sanitizer. Send help.
Who are the writers, storytellers, or makers who are bringing you great joy right now?
Fiona Apple putting out a new album during quarantine was what I didn’t know I needed. I am so into Michaela Coel’s new show I May Destroy You. She is brilliant. Pamela Adlon inspires me to try to be more laid back. This article by Nikole Hannah-Jones on how this country owes Black Americans reparations, many years too late.These anonymous stories of what it was like for Black students in predominantly white private schools, including the school I went to.
Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?
It has been really inspiring and intense to go to protests in LA with so many different kinds of people of all ages gathering to stand with Black people who have been systemically fucked over and deeply hurt for generations. I think this moment of civil unrest paired with COVID is unlike anything we’ve seen before or probably will experience again. It will change people’s lives forever and hopefully for the better.
On a smaller, more personal scale, taking slow, meandering walks every day, sometimes up to five miles a day, through Los Angeles has been calming. The streets are not as filled with cars and everyone seems more open to talk (masks on) because we are all in this together.
Follow Claire on Instagram at @clairetypaldos.