Meet Sarah Samira, the “Creative Ninja” who left her job to pursue artistry full-time
By Jamil Hudson
Published: September 3, 2020
Who is Sarah Samira for those that don’t know you?
I’m a visual artist based in Los Angeles, California. I’m born and raised in Germany and I’ve been living in LA since 2014. I have a graphic design background, worked as a Creative Director and am now a full time artist. I create art pieces using different mediums like Oil & Acrylic paint on canvas, watercolor on paper and digital art (procreate).
What is something that people seem to misunderstand about you?
I’m not sure, honestly.
What has kept you sane during this pandemic?
Art, music and my family has definitely kept me sane during this time. I always try to find something positive in every situation so when I was forced to work from home I finally had the time to reconnect with myself. I didn’t have to produce and direct any photo/video shoots so I used the time to re-evaluate my profession as a Creative Director. It obviously depends on who you work for and the field you're in but I was constantly overworked and felt unfulfilled in my job. I always had the urge to follow my passion which is visual arts. I came to the realization that life is too short to work into someone else’s pockets so I quit my job in May to work as an artist full time. The freedom to create on my terms is truly liberating and I’m beyond happy I made that move.
What led you to digital design?
I started doing graphic design because it felt like the easiest way to nurture your creative side but also being able to make a living. From there everything just developed. I've actually just recently started drawing digitally. I love it because I can do it from anywhere.
What does the title creative director mean to you?
You know, I kinda stopped taking titles seriously. Speaking for myself a title doesn't really mean anything to me. Think about how many people call themselves "Creative Director" and they don't actually do shit, haha. At the end of the day your work speaks for itself, not your title.
What is the hardest part about your profession?
At this moment I guess the hardest part is getting recognition for my art. Even though I have consistent sales and commissions it’s still hard to stand out in this very oversaturated market. A lot of artists have their signature style but trying to apply that for myself has always limited my creative flow in a way. I love to use all kinds of different mediums and portray different styles. Some days I feel like creating an abstract piece on canvas or a watercolor drawing and other days I’m sketching a portrait on my iPad while watching a movie. I also love street photography and collages so I just try to create whenever something sparks my inspiration. Rather than being really good at one thing my goal is to master everything I want to be able to do - like the ultimate creative ninja.
What is the easiest and/or most fun part about your profession?
The most fun and easiest part is like I mentioned earlier just going with the flow. By not creating too many restrictions I can create anything at any time. It definitely helps a lot to have all the resources and skills to do so and my experience from all my other jobs definitely comes in handy.
What would you tell your younger self before entering this field?
I would probably tell my younger self to worry less about what society thinks you “should” be doing. At the end of the day whatever it is you choose to do, it’s all about how it makes YOU feel. I kinda realized that early on when I dropped out of college because I felt like I was wasting my time. There are obviously jobs you need to go to college for but in my case it was unnecessary. Realizing that you have an artistic gift is half the battle. I’ve always been creating art but I wish I had fully dedicated myself to my craft sooner. BUT, it’s never too late and I’m glad I’m doing it now.
Tell me about your role in your collaboration with MADE Music and Instyler.
When I first moved to LA I had the pleasure of working with the Emmy-nominated Creative Director Howard Nourmand at Grand Jeté. He gave me the opportunity to work on a lot of cool projects including the MADE Music launch video. I was working as an editor, storyboard artist and I created most of the collages in the spot. This project is to date one of the most fun ones I’ve worked on because I was able to incorporate my artsy side. I really enjoyed the process because I was able to use some of my photography for the collages and also add some sharks (I love sharks lol). Instyler was completely different. I worked there as a Creative Director. Instyler is an innovative hair tool company that creates very unique hair tools. So the focus was all on hair and educating the customer on how to use the tools. I mostly enjoyed directing video and photo shoots and designing the look of the hair tools. My last project I worked on for them was designing a hair tool line for a famous actress that I can’t reveal yet because it hasn’t launched yet.
Tell me about some of your favorite collaborations thus far.
One of my favorite projects I’ve worked on is the HBO documentary “It’s Me Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise” starring Lena Dunham. It’s a portrait of Hilary Knight, the artist behind the iconic Eloise books. It shows him reflecting on his life as an illustrator and his relationship to his most successful work. I worked on this project as an animator at Grand Jeté. It was very interesting and sometimes challenging animating Hilary’s illustrations by keeping the true essence of his drawings without making them look like a cartoon. I learned so much working on this project especially from the lead animator Ian Roy who is incredibly talented.
If I could remove all barriers and constraints, what project would you work on and who would you want to be featured on this project, if anyone?
I’m a huge movie fan and beautiful cinematography and great acting just gives me the chills. I love directing so if all barriers were removed I’d loooove to direct a movie with some of my favorite actors like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Samuel L Jackson, Delroy Lindo, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis,… the list would be long. But yeah, that’s just dreaming. A more realistic project would be painting a big mural. I unfortunately haven't had the chance to do that yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
What makes you feel inspired or like your best self?
Wow, so many things inspire me. I love great cinematography so watching a good movie is inspiring. Taking pictures and listening to music always sparks something. And seeing friends and family that are artists and musicians succeeding in their field and doing their thing is super motivating.
Can you tell us about any projects that you’re currently working on for the near future and are excited about?
Yes, I’m currently working on a series of abstract paintings, creating new art prints and I’m also designing apparel. It’s kinda cool thinking about someone literally wearing my art on the street.
How can we stay connected with you as you continue on your journey?
I post most of my art on my Instagram @sarahsamira. You can also check out my website www.sarahsamira.com which I'm always updating with new art for purchase as well.