Wall Art with Scandinavian Design
Curators

Tonhya Kae

Brooklyn Based Photographer
Posted on 24/05/2018

Tonhya Kae made the move from Seattle to New York, and has hustled ever since.

The Top Knot, her travel and lifestyle blog, is where she shares her passions or whatever catches her eye. This has established her position as a trend leader with forward-leaning taste.

At the same time, she's a boudoir and wedding photographer. La Femme Forte, her boudoir brand, helps empower and encourage women to love themselves inside and out.

When we started the idea of a curators, we chose to always bring individuals on board who motivate positivity. People who are a blend of being artistically interesting and instinctively talented, wrapped in a sense of taste and lifestyle that would inspire.

Enter the second curator, Tonhya Kae.

Tonhya is...

I'm an artist, dreamer, traveler, lover of food, and fascinated by humans.

Your name is beautiful and unique - for all of us who are pronouncing it wrong, what's the correct way?

My mother just had to get creative with this one, but it’s pronounced [tawn-yah]. The “h” is pretty much silent.

How does your day typically unfold?

My mornings are usually pretty slow as I’m not naturally a “morning person”. I’ve been trying to start my days by not looking at my phone for the first 30-60 minutes of my morning. Instead I usually make some tea, do my daily facial skin care routine (very therapeutic for me), and either meditate/read or make out my to-do list for the day.

What is your living space like?

I just moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend and it’s been such an amazing change in my life. Just having a new space, fresh energy, and a blank slate to make our own has been really great for my mental health. I’ve tried to do some serious organizing and purging - trying to keep things as minimal as possible. The space is also filled with lots of plants, calming aromas, and a cute little deck in the back which in New York is a major luxury! We lucked out.

Are your interior design preferences different in your work space?

The office is still a work in progress at this point. I’m hoping to fill the space with inspiring pieces of art that I’ve purchased around the world. With busy season being right around the corner, my biggest goal is have a really organized and peaceful work space. I spend hours in front of the computer so I try to make it as comfortable as possible.

So what do you do when a camera isn't in your hand?

When the camera isn’t in my hand I’ve got lots of things I love to do. I live in one of the most amazing cities in the world so any chance I get I’m out exploring new neighbourhoods, shops, and restaurants. I love the outdoors so much -- you’ll usually find me having a picnic in a park if the weather is nice. I also try to travel back to the West Coast as much as I can to spend time with my amazing family.

The top priorities in life are my family, my friends, traveling, and eating -- that will probably never change no matter where photography takes me.

Talk to us about La Femme Forte Project? What is it, who is it for, why do you do it?

La Femme Forte is a boudoir project I started about 4 years ago. It started as just a fun little outlet to do something outside of shooting weddings, but now it has evolved into so much more than I could have ever imagined. La Femme Forte means “The Strong Woman” and it is a project to help empower and encourage women to love their bodies, inside and out.

I’ve spent a good part of my life not fully loving myself wholly and have also had women in my life who have struggled with the same issues -- I wanted to create a space where women could feel safe, vulnerable, and able to express themselves in a way that felt powerful to themselves. We’ve done over 8 events in major cities around the country such as, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York -- we’re at 50+ women and counting who have joined the movement. I continue to do this project because these women teach me so much about the world and about myself. They are brave, real, and just overall badasses -- they inspire me to keep the project going.

It looks to us like you're juggling three brands - how do they compliment one another, and how do you splice up your time between them?

It is quite a handful if I’m being honest! At the beginning of this year I made the decision to combine certain things, pull away from other things, and really try to put my focus on the things that bring me the most joy -- which is La Femme Forte and working on my mental health/overall happiness. The goal is implement “Tonhya” into all of my brands so they feel cohesive and flow nicely. It’s always a work in progress to figure it all out.

The top priorities in life are my family, my friends, traveling, and eating -- that will probably never change no matter where photography takes me. 

Talk to us about the last photo you printed (yours or someone else’s).

The last photos I got printed were from my travels through Southeast Asia. Two of my good friends wanted to decorate their new baby nursery with my photos to hopefully inspire their new little baby to travel the world with wonder someday. It was so special to me that they wanted my work hanging in their home -- I’m hoping to continue selling prints to fill other people's homes.

Tell us about the collection you selected for Kolla.

It was really tough trying to narrow down which prints I wanted from Kolla, there were so many great ones. I chose a floral print, a beautiful plant print, and an amazing travel/landscape photo. I wasn’t sure how they would all look together, but I’m really in love with how they feel in my space. I’ve been obsessed with florals/plants my entire life (I’m even working on a pretty big floral tattoo at the moment!) so they immediately caught my eye. The other print with a man jumping into the water just has so much life and energy to it -- it feels like adventure and I love it.

The photos in your home that you took of the prints. Share with us the first step to incorporating them into your home.

Just recently moving into a new space made it pretty easy to incorporate the prints into my home. Our walls are still pretty naked so these three prints have really helped bring the place together. I love the tones and movement they bring to the living room and kitchen area. I’m really happy with how they look in our apartment.

If you're thinking of pairings with photos, what does your gut tell you as the first thing to think about?

I always think about how tones will work together. I tried to choose photos that won’t clash -- they are all pretty natural and go along with our clean white walls perfectly. My apartment is filled with green lush plants so choosing a floral and plant print only felt right for the space.

What made you select these specific prints to add into your living space?

I tried not to think too hard about which prints to choose -- I really went with my gut and chose photos that *felt* good to look at. As I mentioned, I’ve always been obsessed with florals, plants, and travel -- these three prints fit perfectly into all the things I love.

Finally, tell us one thing you're obsessed with these days (big or small, frivolous or serious - anything that comes to mind.

I’m always finding new obsessions and constantly have my head in the clouds, it’s the pisces in me. Right now I’m obsessing over taking care of my skin. I’m constantly trying out new facial care products and I make it part of my routine in the mornings and before I go to bed -- it really helps me start and end the day in a calm/peaceful way. I’m also completely obsessed with French Bulldogs right now. I’m hoping to get a puppy later this year which has led me to follow about 40 new Frenchie Instagram accounts. :)


Additional Reading

Every other month we introduce a new curator with his or her own Kolla collection.  Read our conversation with the first Kolla curator, Therese Winberg.

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