Connect with us

COMMUNITY

Using Your Craft to Make an Impact: Sitting Down with Artist Ciara Sana

Published

on

Fulfilling a creative dream takes passion and perseverance. We sat down with Ciara Sana, a rising Chamorro artist living in Bellingham, Wash., to talk about her journey and success so far.

The 31-year-old has been creating art her entire life but began taking it more seriously about seven years ago. She has her work in various establishments including Makers Workspace in Seattle and has been a part of numerous pop-up shows and festivals including the Allied Arts Festival in Bellingham. She wants to inspire others to follow their dreams so she shared her story with us, adversities and all.

The sun is shining through the wide windows of the Babygreens cafe where Sana and I sip on turmeric tea and coffee and talk about being a brown creative.

When did you get started with creating and selling art?

I always wanted to be an artist but my parents grew up really poor and my dad made a bunch of sacrifices to be an engineer and to support the family. He’s an amazing artist and an amazing musician and he decided to not follow his dream and to pursue a different dream and he thought that we couldn’t make the same mistakes. So we had to set aside art for down time and for hobby time.

I set up my life all throughout high school to get a degree once I went to college that would translate into whatever I felt was a compromise with being an artist. So I kind of wanted to be an architect because you kind of do art but I was more of an illustrator or a painter. So I dropped out of college and just lived in this small town where I grew up for most of my teenage years, Walla Walla, Wash. It’s so freaking small but I started doing more art when I was there. I worked a bunch just to try to make ends meet and so I kind of never really took it seriously. And then I had this really big time in my life when I was 25 and I decided that I was just going to pursue it and I was going to see what happened.

I started trying to contact people in this town [Walla Walla, Wash.] and it just wasn’t what they were looking for. So I felt really discouraged and disappointed and I felt like I was a terrible artist. And so my brother who was going to school at Western at the time was like, “Hey, you should come to Bellingham and you should put your art up out here. I bet you people would love it.” And so I decided to move to Bellingham with just a PT Cruiser full of my stuff and I was like I guess I’m doing this.

“I just told myself there’s no compromising now. Like, I did this. I have to make it work…”

So I moved up here and I lived with him and just started an Instagram page (@ArtByCiara) with my art and I just told myself there’s no compromising now. Like, I did this. I have to make it work because my parents were so opposed to it. I had been staying with them in Guam and I was suppose to get a job there but turned it down and was like, “Bye, I’m going back to Washington.” And it was really hard because I got into a huge fight with my parents because they thought I was being reckless.

I’m not going to say that it was easy because it was really difficult and I had to tell myself that I’m just going to make the connections. I was awkward and antisocial. I had to step outside of my comfort zone and talk to people and put myself out there and make myself really vulnerable which was so hard for me, especially being this new person in town. But it worked. I met really amazing people and made connections with other artists who kinda piggy backed me with pop-up shows and markets. They helped me get my first art studio at the Make.Shift Art Space and so it kind of just escalated.

What were your biggest doubts when you first started taking art seriously?

Oh my gosh how much time do you have? Am I good enough? Am I credible? Because I never went to school for art. I only took one art class and it was in high school because they said I wasn’t going to be able to graduate if I didn’t.

That was my biggest fear. Not being taken seriously because I don’t have a background in art and it’s just something I did. I didn’t want people to think like, “Oh that’s just her hobby,” because it was so personal for me.

“When I go to Guam everyone wants my art because they understand it and they get it and they’re like, ‘Oh that speaks to me.’”

Another challenge, maybe it’s just my perspective, but being a woman of color. I feel like I didn’t get as much exposure as some of the other artists that I was around. And I just felt like, is it because they can’t relate? I feel like it might have been that because when I go to Guam everyone wants my art because they understand it and they get it and they’re like, “Oh that speaks to me.” The people who do relate to it or do see themselves in my images, it means so much to me.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve dealt with so far?

I love them so much but my family. They were my biggest hurdle because a lot of my relatives on my dad’s side always told me ever since I was little, “You’re the child that everyone is going to look up to.”

“I want them to be happy and I want them to like me but I didn’t want to be apologetic about who I was. “

I was one of the oldest on my dad’s side so I had this role to kind of carve the way for all my cousins and to set an example for my siblings, especially when we moved to the states and were given more opportunities. They shined a bigger light on the fact that I needed to present myself in a certain way. So when they found out that I wanted to be an artist and then when they found out that I was into rock ‘n’ roll music they were like, “What has happened to you? Who are you?”

So they held me back a lot because they would try to do things or set up situations where I would be distracted from art. I think they kind of hoped I would get tired of it and just pursue it as a hobby as opposed to pursuing it as a career. I love to please my family. I love my family so much and I want them to be happy and I want them to like me but I didn’t want to be apologetic about who I was.

Does your family have a different attitude towards your art now that you’ve gained some success?

Oh yeah. It’s so sweet. It kind of makes me cry when I talk about it. I guess the turning point was when I got a commission for something super big. It was going to be my biggest project and I called my dad to tell him about it and he said, “I always knew you could do it. “

So it was really awesome to hear that. Then we went to Guam for my brother’s wedding and we went to this place where there were a bunch of older natives doing artwork and my dad was like, “My kids are artists.” I wasn’t there at the time when they were talking but my mom takes pictures on her phone of our art all the time so she shows the guy our art and he was like, because we’re Chamorro, he’s like, “That’s not Chamorro art.” And my dad was like, “You don’t understand what she’s trying to represent.” He told him the story and he was really defensive of me and my art and I thought that was super sweet. So they’re so supportive of me now and it’s super cute.

And it’s been really cool too because I was there a couple years ago and my mom was having a conversation with me about how my aunts and uncles need to let their kids do what they love. It was really cool to hear her kind of take back the things she had said to me and have this new vision and this new outlook on people pursuing what they’re passionate about.

Do you have any big projects coming up?

I’m super excited actually about this! I recently posted something about this on my art Instagram. I’m taking a pause on taking any more commissions, projects or producing new work for Art by Ciara and I’m working on creating a brand. It’s going to be focused on spreading positivity and encouraging people to continue daydreaming and continue being curious and optimistic. It’s going to be wearable art and wearable reminders about doing good and being positive.

“There are so many talented Pacific Islander artists and they’re not getting the recognition or the exposure…”

The brand is also going to be more focused on representing my culture and other cultures that don’t get the recognition and representation that they deserve. I was a part of this Pacific Island arts festival and that kind of just got me. I was like, there are so many talented Pacific Islander artists and they’re not getting the recognition or the exposure. I want to be able to help other people in the ways that I was helped.

Do you have any advice for up and coming artists or people of color who are artists?

I know it’s so cliche but don’t give up. When I first started I had a vision and I had ideas of what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look. It wasn’t matching up and I was so frustrated. When people didn’t like my art or when people turned away or were like, “Okay, whatever, I don’t want your free art,” I kinda took it personally and I told myself that no one likes my art. But I just decided to keep pushing through and just keep putting it out there. Eventually I found that there are people searching for what you’re putting out. I feel like that’s what I owe to the world; to put my message out there and to put these ideas out there. I think that will ultimately lead to success if you continue to just do what you love.

Sana’s online store will be closing soon so she can focus on her brand. Be sure to check out her website before the hiatus!

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. pg 1

    March 21, 2019 at 6:06 am

    I wish to show my affection for your kind-heartedness supporting folks who should have guidance on that study. Your personal dedication to passing the message throughout was remarkably interesting and has in most cases made associates just like me to attain their aims. The valuable information can mean this much to me and even more to my mates. Many thanks; from each one of us.

  2. off white clothing

    March 19, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    I simply wanted to type a quick word so as to appreciate you for all the great steps you are showing on this website. My rather long internet lookup has at the end been recognized with reputable facts and techniques to write about with my friends and family. I ‘d claim that many of us website visitors actually are rather lucky to exist in a good site with many outstanding individuals with great points. I feel very grateful to have used your weblog and look forward to so many more awesome times reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  3. mcent browser points hack script

    March 19, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    I’ll immediately grasp your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  4. wewgaming com Mac

    March 19, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Normally I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice post.

  5. yeezy boost 350

    March 18, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    A lot of thanks for every one of your effort on this web site. My mum takes pleasure in participating in internet research and it’s easy to see why. All of us hear all concerning the dynamic mode you produce vital solutions on your web blog and as well cause participation from other individuals about this concern so our favorite princess is without question studying a great deal. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You have been conducting a stunning job.

  6. krunker io hack

    March 18, 2019 at 4:44 am

    of course like your web site but you have to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality then again I will definitely come again again.

  7. vmware workstation 15 serial key

    March 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    I have been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s lovely price enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the web will probably be a lot more useful than ever before.

  8. moncler

    March 17, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I am also writing to let you understand what a amazing encounter our girl had browsing your webblog. She figured out a good number of issues, not to mention what it is like to have a marvelous coaching mindset to let folks quite simply master specified advanced topics. You truly exceeded her expected results. Many thanks for churning out such important, trusted, revealing and as well as fun tips about your topic to Mary.

  9. yeezy boost 350

    March 17, 2019 at 3:08 am

    I am glad for commenting to make you be aware of what a fabulous discovery my cousin’s princess experienced viewing your blog. She noticed a good number of details, including what it is like to have a great coaching heart to make many people clearly know precisely a number of very confusing topics. You truly did more than readers’ desires. Thanks for distributing those great, trustworthy, explanatory and as well as unique thoughts on that topic to Ethel.

  10. sibelius 8.6 download

    March 16, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  11. michael kors

    March 16, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Thanks so much for providing individuals with remarkably spectacular possiblity to read from this website. It is usually very lovely plus jam-packed with amusement for me and my office friends to search your blog not less than 3 times in one week to read through the new things you have got. And lastly, I’m also at all times fulfilled concerning the unbelievable principles you serve. Certain 1 points on this page are really the very best I’ve ever had.

  12. hermes belts

    March 15, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extraordinarily superb possiblity to read critical reviews from this website. It is often so kind and also packed with fun for me personally and my office friends to search your web site minimum 3 times a week to read the new tips you have got. And lastly, we’re usually impressed with the powerful opinions you give. Selected 2 areas in this post are unquestionably the most efficient we have ever had.

  13. yeezy boost 350 v2

    March 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    I am just commenting to make you be aware of of the perfect discovery our princess encountered using your web site. She came to understand such a lot of details, including what it is like to possess an ideal coaching mindset to let other people without problems know just exactly a variety of extremely tough topics. You truly did more than people’s expected results. I appreciate you for showing those practical, trusted, edifying and cool guidance on this topic to Jane.

  14. Ndola Jobs

    March 6, 2019 at 12:44 am

    I genuinely enjoy looking through on this site, it has excellent content . “It is easy to be nice, even to an enemy – from lack of character.” by Dag Hammarskjld.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

COMMUNITY

HerStory: Ambitious & Fierce Celebrates Women of Color Dominating in Their Fields

Published

on

We teamed up with powerful women behind AB Media Group, WeWork, Bumble Bizz, & Forbes the Culture to bring together some of Philly’s fiercest powerhouses. The event kicked off with a panel consisting of Krystle Rich (NBC Sports), Heather Qadar (La Colombe), Holta Tegu (People for People) & Yashira Rivera (WURD Radio) moderated by Ayana Iman (Authentic Convos) who spoke about breaking barriers in the workspace while being your authentic self.

Photo by @dvvinci


Gems were dropped and our attendees were given the confidence they needed to dominate every single room they walk into. After the panel discussion was done, it was time to let the hair down and mingle with one another during our happy hour social sponsored by @hennessyus. This social was specifically created to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our fellow powerhouses during this Women’s History Month.

Check out our event recap video here:

Continue Reading

COMMUNITY

Many Unite for R&B Holiday Benefit Concert To Raise Funds for Philadelphia’s Ronald McDonald House

Published

on

On Thursday, December 20th, several local R&B artists joined forces for the inaugural R&B Holiday Benefit Concert. This year’s showcase, held at Philadelphia’s historic Trocadero Theatre, benefited families being supported by Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.

This Holiday Benefit Concert was a labor of brotherly love, with every single event organizer and performing artist involved having direct Philly ties. Attendees were serenaded with hits from each emerging artist as well as several of their favorite holiday classics such as “Joy to the World,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night” and more. This year’s concert lineup included:

  •  Julian King – contemporary R&B artist fresh off a concert tour in China
  • Star Castillo – Trenton native with the ability to fuse R&B, Pop and Soul into her renditions
  • Judaea – previous America’s Got Talent contestant and rising R&B star
  • Good Girl – R&B quartet from Philly striving to revive and lead the next girl group era
  • Audrey Jackson – internet darling, R&B songstress and head of It’s All Music, The Movement LLC
  • M!SHEL – Armenian and Jewish singer / songwriter powerhouse heralding from the suburbs of Philadelphia

“We could not be more excited to be able to come up with such a fun and engaging way to give back to our community,” says event organizer and host Delilah Dee of Delilah & Co. “Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important during the holiday season so I’m grateful that I, alongside Revli Management, AB Media Group and Kelsi with an Eye, were able to rally together to organize this showcase benefitting the families of Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.

All those involved decided a month before show date they wanted to team up to give back to a local organization while also providing a platform for local talent. In less than a month, a venue was secured, non-profit organization was selected, artist line up and vendors were finalized for the concert. Not sure how the turn out would be since the team only had a short amount of time to put together this event, it is safe to say all involved felt a deep sense of gratitude to see that the community supported the initiative – the concert ended up being a sold out event.

What a great way to close out 2018.

Continue Reading

COMMUNITY

#delilahcotv x Shaquille Tyrell Presents Black & Latinx Mixer

Published

on

Continue Reading

Like Us on Facebook!

Most Popular

You don't have permission to register