Around Town with Sebastopol Prop Stylist Alysia Andriola

Would you like to shop secondhand like a pro? Follow prop stylist Alysia Andriola to her favorite local spots.

Sebastopol prop stylist Alysia Andriola has an enviable job, telling stories with objects and working alongside photographers to create eye-catching displays for products from peanut butter to protein bars.

Andriola found her path years ago, while visiting her brother, also a stylist, in New York City. She found herself assisting on a photo shoot and jumped in to choose a platter and linens for a setup with a Thanksgiving turkey.

The client? Gourmet magazine. Andriola’s work was chosen for the cover of their Thanksgiving issue — the prop stylist equivalent of stumbling onto the field during the Super Bowl to score a winning touchdown.

Andriola describes her signature style as fluid, intuitive — and sometimes a little messy. “I’m drawn to textures and shapes. I like to evoke the unseen, too,” she says. She’s quick to point out that behind every aspirational image is a team of artists and hours of preparation. “In my work you carve out this little beautiful moment and it’s really not that big — everywhere else, it’s chaos and confusion. It’s lights and stands, boxes and bins and trash — and our coffees,” she says, laughing.

The Sebastopol home she shares with her teenage son mirrors this contrast. It’s filled with the ceramics she collects, along with her son’s music equipment and boxes of finds in various stages of packing and unpacking for shoots.

Juxtaposition is her muse: witness an oil-stained drip pan, found on the side of the road and now a go-to backdrop for product shoots. Or a scratched sheet of scrap metal with a reflective quality that she explains will photograph beautifully. Creating beautiful moments in an imperfect world — that’s definitely worth aspiring to.