In a quest to explore the relationship between nature and art and how the latter can be used as a tool for interpreting and understanding our surroundings, Zio Baritaux started Zioxla, an independent publishing agency that supports a wide range of artists. The first edition sold out in a single month, so this is one book you’ll want to get your hands on before it becomes the one that got away.
Can you describe your creative path and what brings you to where you are today?
I worked in marketing and publishing for years, but a move to France gave me the push I needed to start publishing my own work. I invested all the money I had into creating the first Strange Plants. I had nothing to fall back on — as part of my visa, I wasn’t allowed to get a job in France — so I had to make it work or go home.
The first edition sold out in less than one month, won gold prizes from the Art Directors Club of Europe and Laus Graphic Design and Visual Communications Awards, and became a part of the endowment of the Barcelona Design Museum. Why do you think it was such a hit right away?
My first instinct is to say that it was the right thing at the right time, which is the truth, in part. But that also undervalues the work I put into it, which I think is too common among women. So I’ll also say this: I took a huge risk, and worked incredibly hard to curate, edit, publish, promote and distribute it. I think taking risks and working hard are the not-so-secret secrets of success. That being said, I was completely surprised and honored by the response it received. I definitely had moments of doubt before it was released, like, “Is anyone going to buy this?”
We’re in love with the color of this volume’s cover. How did you decide on this?
I knew for a long time that if I did a third book that it would be in the greenish blue range, but it was these gorgeous visuals by photographer Camila Falquez that a really pushed me toward Pantone 304C. The color was also a great fit with the Synchrodogs photo we wanted for the cover.
How did you select the artists for Strange Plants III?
After returning to my native Southern California from Barcelona, I was looking for a new way to push my own boundaries. To do that, I included more artists than ever — there’s 50 in this book — most of whom I had not worked with previously. I chose the artists much in the same way someone selects plants for a garden — I picked the work I loved, but also focused on variety.
How do you find inspiration and organize it?
Travel is a huge inspiration for me — I love discovering new places, seeing the architecture, tasting the food… I hope to make it back to Italy and to Tokyo this year. But in the meantime, Instagram is a huge resource for me. Since they introduced the Saved Posts feature, I organize things I find inspiring into collections.
Can you tell us about a recent trip you last took that left you feeling inspired?
I just got back from a curated culinary retreat on Lummi Island, which is about two hours north of Seattle. It took place on the five-acre wooded garden of Stephanie Eburah, a food photographer and former professional cook. Each meal was cooked to perfection using fresh, local ingredients. While there, we also kayaked around the island and took a seaplane over the archipelago. It was one of the most gorgeous, serene places I’ve ever been.
What is your relationship with fashion? Do you have a daily uniform?
I do have a daily uniform: denim, and a loose-fitting top with sandals or a low heel. My favorite shoes are from About Arianne (when I lived in Barcelona, they hosted a release party for Strange Plants II at their shop). I love tops with funky prints or bright pastels (like this or this). And I always carry a colorful bag.
Five things you can't live without?
Anthuriums, the perfume Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens, Haruki Murakami books, brie cheese, and my cat.
We are giving away 5 copies of the award-winning Strange Plants III book. Here's how to enter: