SS: It is always a difficult question to answer as I feel my interests tend to be across different mediums, but I am influenced by simplicity and everyday life as these topics seem to be where my spirit feels most at home.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
SS: My inspiration comes from anything that surrounds me whether it is a vision that I see during my morning meditation, a conversation that I share with a friend, an intriguing piece of work seen in a magazine or while smelling the different aromas in the kitchen. Inspiration comes from everywhere as long as I keep my heart open.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
SS: It usually starts with an idea, thought or philosophy that simmers and stirs until one day it becomes a strong energetic force that I can no longer ignore. The hardest part is deciding which project to go with, as many times I find myself having 2 or 3 strong ideas that are feeling the need to be executed.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
SS: Since the beginning, my hope has always been to bring happiness into the lives of others through the work that I do, in whatever shape or form that may take. To connect through our hearts and spirits.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
SS: I am thankful that my studio is located in our home. I tend to work better alone and in a quiet environment as it allows for me to get into my flow without interruption. My day usually begins at around 7am and from there for about an hour and a half, I meditate, read, write and exercise. Then after a light breakfast, I work for 3 hours straight on whatever creative project needs the most energy as it is when my productivity is at its highest point. No emails, no calls, no distractions — just pure concentration and work. Then lunch, some emails, possible blogging and internet-ing, all relating to work. By about 3pm, I call it a day. I used to flow through the day, just doing whatever whenever the inspiration came, but I’ve found that my productivity and inspiration has soared since being on a schedule as it frees up my mind from worrying if I’m getting things done. I feel very unsettled at night and can’t go to sleep if I don’t get to do all the things that I want to do.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
SS: I’m actually a bit of both when it comes to this. For myself, I just listen to my intuition to guide the way and make sure that I feel 100% good about what it is that I’m doing. Otherwise, I pass.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
SS: That we are all individuals and that we can listen to all the advice from people we want, but at the end of the day, you have to find your way. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to the advice others give, but to put the advice you like into practice to really see if it is something that truly works for you, not trying to just imitate what someone else does. Also, success is subjective; make sure to define what that means for yourself.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
SS: I’m not sure if I regard it as the highest importance, but I do continue to hone into my own aesthetic nature. Although there are fads, in order to be timeless, I believe that one has to have a vision of who they are aesthetically, especially if they are a visual creator, and to allow that to be the connecting source of the work that one does.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
SS: The hardest thing? Being authentic no matter what. There is always a balance between needing to make a living and creating from the heart. Especially in the beginning, it’s very hard to turn down work that isn’t in line with your philosophies as money can be tight and you might have to take on work that you don’t like, but make sure to continue creating work that nourishes you and to share it as much as you can. Do not ever let this go as it is what will help create the world that you envision for yourself as an artist. We are all responsible for the direction of our careers as artists; it is not the fault of anyone else’s if our careers do not turn out the way we had hoped for. Stay focused and clear as to what you want to share with the world and keep coming back to it.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
SS: I love being able to express myself in a way that comes most naturally to me. To be able to communicate with others, beyond language, culture barriers, societal differences and go straight to the heart as these things do not matter when it comes to art. Anyone can view it, feel it, communicate with it, be at one with it. Although I may not be able to meet all the people who come into contact with the work that I do, it makes me feel like I am able to talk authentically with others through this medium.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
SS: There isn’t one artist that I can think of as I find inspiration even from inanimate objects, but I have always loved Ryuichi Sakamoto and Rei Kawakubo’s philosophies towards their work. Lately, Yayoi Kusama has been coming into my consciousness since seeing one of her interviews.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
SS: I believe that technology has opened up so many opportunities, especially social media, for collaborations and work. I feel very fortunate to be a professional artist right now as I am able to connect with people from all over the world while being in my studio in Los Angeles. One thing though that I have had to be mindful of is to make sure that it is not the focus, but that it supports what I do as an artist. With all the talk about the importance of social media, sometimes I think people forget that it is not the end all deal, but another outlet for others to connect with what you do.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
SS: I do think it allows me to view things differently, but I feel everyone sees things differently. My husband does not work in the creative field, but nonetheless views the world in an interesting way. I love tapping into the minds of others, to peer into the world from another viewpoint and finding new ways of discovering the world.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
SS: I do enjoy traveling, except I have horrible jet lag! I don’t have one favorite city, but do feel a deep connection to Big Island, Hawai’i and Kyoto, Japan. Australia is wonderful too.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
SS: No favorite author or book, but I do love to read everyday. I just don’t feel right when I don’t.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
SS: Right now I am working on a magazine that is scheduled to be released in late April / early May. Other than that, I’ve fallen in love with watercolors and spend most of my creative time exploring the beautiful nuances that it shares. I am hoping to have some prints available in the coming months and would love to show some work in a gallery or museum someday.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
SS: To be myself.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
SS: It is a continual exploration of the self, connection to others and the world.
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