What Matters to Charlotte Beach

Posted inWhat Matters

Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Charlotte is a writer, antique-seeker, and tile obsessive in Los Angeles. She’s a former professional soccer player and aspiring hand letterer hellbent on keeping old-world handcraft alive both through her work at PRINT and her own personal art practice.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Waking up early on Saturday mornings to go to estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area with my older sister, Natalie, after getting coffee and pastries from one of our favorite east side coffee shops.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

Every morning when I got to pre-school, I’d make a beeline for the easels in the classroom and immediately start painting. Making art in one way or another has always been my happy place.

What is your biggest regret?

Oh man, this question goes right for the jugular! Probably something about not taking certain art classes in college that I now wish I had. There are so many design skills I want now, and I definitely didn’t take full advantage of what was available to me in school in that regard. I try not to be too hard on myself with that stuff though. I’ve grown a ton since graduating, and have figured out a lot more about myself and the person I want to be since then. Categorizing the past in regrets doesn’t really serve me.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

Listening to The Cranberries on repeat. And “These Days” by Nico.

What makes you cry?

The scene in Inside Out when Joy realizes she can’t fully protect Riley anymore. Gets me every time.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

I would say it never fully fades for me. I’ll look back on accomplishments of mine from years and years ago, and still feel proud of myself. Sometimes I’m even prouder of myself retroactively than I ever was in the moment. I’ll be like, “Hey, that thing I did? That was actually pretty damn cool!” It’s so important to give ourselves our flowers. To be our own biggest fans and believers. To really feel our own oats; “You know what? I’m fantastic.”

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I don’t personally celebrate Día de los Muertos, but I find the way death is processed through that holiday to be incredibly beautiful and cathartic. Those ideas have helped me shape my own thoughts on what an afterlife could possibly be: living on through what we leave behind, our family and friends, collective memories that get passed down generationally like heirlooms.

I look at old photos of my mom’s mom, and I see myself in her chin and cheekbones. Her maiden name, Owens, is my middle name. I have a woven tapestry of hers that she got in Oaxaca decades ago that’s now hanging on my bedroom wall. In so many ways, she is still very much alive.

What do you hate most about yourself?

I hate that I only speak one language and I don’t play an instrument. I suppose I could do something about both of those things though, couldn’t I?

What do you love most about yourself?

I’m a kick-ass gift giver. Truly nothing brings me more joy than seeing a token or little item out in my wanderings that reminds me of someone for whatever reason, and then giving it to them.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

I’m from New Haven, CT, so pizza is, of course, deeply important to me. My favorite meal would probably be a fresh Pepe’s pizza with Foxon Park birch beer on the side, eaten while sitting on a blanket down the street from the restaurant at Wooster Square when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.