Basak Miller of Par Amour Designs
Originally from Istanbul, Basak came from a family of lawyers and an incredibly demanding school system. Not belonging to either worlds, she created her own with art, movies and writing. Basak wrote a handful of screenplays but later realized that what she really wanted to do is combine her passion for film and graphic design, which is how the concept of Par Amour Designs was created. The idea came to her while jogging by the Promenade at Brooklyn Heights. She imagines the sender and the recipient of the card like two characters communicating in a film. The card, a still frame from a movie, a dialogue, telling a story. The philosophy behind her company is that good communication is key to any relationship. Par Amour Designs provides this communication service, and can help you express yourself for any important occasion with style.Par Amour began just with e-cards, but has now developed into a new line of printed cards (letterpress and offset), line of Tshirts and totes. Check out the site after May 18th for details.
How did you start Par Amour Designs? I think creating a line of greeting cards was a different way of expressing myself. It wasn’t just a greeting card for me. It was a story between the card giver and the receiver (that’s where my leftover screenwriting pops up). So I created Par Amour (via love) with an admiration for the simple romanticism of paper, a growing interest in the vibrant history and delicacy of typography and an undying addiction to visual arts (no to rehab on that one).
The biggest challenge was to fine-tune my style. When I first started, I was so excited and I had so many influences that I tried too many different things. People like consistency within variety and it took me a while to achieve that fine line.
Favorite websites? Asmallworld.net has been great for networking, parties and for getting travel advice. I love Domino Magazine’s website www.dominomag.com for style resources. The Pandora Radio www.pandora.com has been my reliable music companion. And recently discovered www.ninunina.com to be a fresh and dynamic source into New York.
How has New York influenced your creativity?
New York has been both a friend and a foe. As a friend, it motivated me with its energy, versatility and infinite resources. As a foe, its competitive nature and brutality at times pushed me to be brave and step out of my boundaries.
How do you differentiate yourself with the competition?
I avoid generic sentimentalism in favor of using my own emotions as the foundation of my designs. I believe they capture a certain elegance with a sense of humor.
Other hobbies? Films, writing, playing the piano, cooking, throwing parties.
Favorite neighborhoods in NY? My favorite neighborhoods change with my mood. When I’m feeling gloomy, I hit Soho. When I want to dance my butt off meatpacking, when I feel domestic, Upper West, when in need of inspiration Chelsea. But where I feel at home is the Village. I adore its brownstones, can’t do without its cafes, tree-lined streets with little boutiques and specialty stores.
Favorite stores? The bookstore, Three Lives Company. Dean & DeLuca in Soho and Williams-Sonoma (the one at Time Warner). Anthropologie. For interior design, I’d say White on White on upper east, Cite in Soho. For fashion I have to say Dear Fieldbinder and Alice D in my old hood Cobble Hill.
Favorite artists? In art, I love George Seurat,Max Ernst, Picasso (especially his early drawings and pottery), Henri De Toulou Lautrec, Rafal Olbinski. In graphic design, Paul Rand, Matthew Brannon and Jason Munn. In photography, Jeanloup Sieff and Henri Cartier Bresson. In music, the list would be obnoxiously long, but just as an appetizer, I’d say Nina Simone, Brad Mehldau, Bebel Gilberto, Nouvelle Vague.
Quote that you love that represents you?
“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm,” by Emerson. With enthusiasm comes passion. With passion comes care and with care comes love. And with love comes greatness.