Nowadays, it’s very rare to find an artist who has a style of their own, especially with the ever growing influence of social media. It comes as a breath of fresh air when one is able to discover raw and undeniable talent such as Atlanta based artist Sammi E. In this interview we were able to catch up with her and talk about the role of artists in society, surpassing creative blocks, collaborating with artists and where she finds inspiration.

Read below for full interview:

Q: For the readers who may not have heard of you, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: I’m Sammi E. Also known as Crysalis a born artist from Atlanta who loves pastel colors, space, and the human form. Also Anime. Lots of Anime.

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to make a career being an artist?
A: I knew very young that I wanted to be an artist. I remember. I was in Pre-K, doing drawings of my family with actual proportion. It was the only thing I wanted to do! By the age of 7, I made a picture of myself and my future Asian boyfriend, told people I would make manga, and from then it was a serious vision.

Q: Was there ever a time where you questioned if you could be successful in the art world?
A: Every week if not every five minutes. *laugh* ITS A CONSTANT THOUGHT. The thing is though, I use it to propel me forward and make sure that I AM successful. No matter what there will always be a doubt. The thing is you have to use that doubt, and turn it into a strength. Use the doubt like a dumbbell to exercise your brain. Get fit with the doubt. You are worth the recognition.

Q: Do you think it’s harder to be taken seriously as a female artist opposed to your male counterparts?
A: Honestly? No. What helps you to be taken seriously is Consistency. When you consistently do artwork for yourself, you find a style. the more you do, the more you grow and consistency will give you your identifying mark! honestly that’s something I need to work on myself! What gender you are, doesn’t matter. There are males that make amazing art, females.. any gender. Gender might give a certain perspective, but it definitely doesn’t make it harder for people to take you seriously.

Q: What role do you think artists play in society?
A: Artists are the base of society period. You want an Ad for your product? Do you have a product? do you want your job in a building? certain lights in that building? All of those things stemmed from an artist. the Ad, The product, the building, the lights, all of those were made by an artist. A graphic designer, a product designer, an architect, an electric fixture company or artist. Without art, this world would never exist. The world we live in would not be here period.

Q: Do you prefer collaborating on a project or working by yourself? Why?
A: Collaborating always gives me a breath of fresh air! When I do my own art, I’m diving in my own sea. Collaborating is like coming up for air. However, I do love working on things myself. Its a hard thing to chose between. I would have to say I love collaborating more though.

Q: Is there anyone you have not collaborated with that you want to in the future?
A: I have always wanted to collaborate with Kelsey J Beckett, or Miss Kika. I love Kelsey’s way of bringing calming imagery together with flora and vivid colors. Miss Kika speaks to the little girl inside me with her artwork! Bright pastel colors and a lot of sparkly clutter! Another artist I’d love to collab with, Bara-Chan. Her work is incredible. Crystalline shading. I still make it my life goal to learn how she colors like that!

Describe the process of working on a project.
A lot of my work will start with an idea I woke up to. Sometimes I get struck with inspiration from someone I see or know. If I woke up with it, It tends to marinate a few days before I make it come into fruition through either digital or traditional art. Traditional is faster. Digital can take either one sleepless night to get done. or as long as a month.
If I get inspired from someone I know, its usually traditional, and that can take from 30 minutes, to a week. But a lot of my original pieces take longer because of how organic they are. They mature inside me first before I give birth to them. *laughs* My Babies.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: My Inspiration is VERY random. But I do draw a lot of inspiration from the artists I look up to, and I also -hate if this sounds conceited- draw a lot of inspiration from my old artwork. They (my old art) can be very dynamic. I also am heavily influenced by music, so I take a lot of interest in lyrics. Artists like Daughter, Florence + The Machine, or Purity Ring are heavy influences to my art.

Q: Do you have a favorite project thus far?
iyaniA: Currently my favorite piece I have made was my most emotional piece Smother. Digitally currently it is my favorite. It’s one of my older ones but it’s my very favorite. Traditionally? My piece for my OC (original character) Iyani, and her flowers (pictured on left).

Q: Have you ever had a creative block? If so, how did you surpass it?
A: Recently I had serious art block and I took advice from a random tumblr artist who posted: “If your having art block, grab something and let your mind just throw up on the page or screen, draw the first thing that comes to mind. And if it switches, you switch too. So if you’re in the middle of drawing a purple worm with an arm and then wanna draw an elephant on a unicycle with butterfly wings destroying a town of marshmallows, DO IT”
It sounds crazy but I did. I started drawing. anything. I drew banners, girls in ruffly shirts, fake constellations, the page got so full i had to scribble on the back too. Then, I wrote down words for things I wanted to put in my art. Crystals, Planets, WoC, PoC, Space Warrior Women (not the sexy kind) Rainbows, Pastel colors. I wrote all that down. And when I told you it made me feel better. It really did.

Q: Does it annoy you when people things like “Art isn’t a real job” ?
A: It boils my blood to the core. But you know the real answer to that question? Create revenue. My family used to tell me to get interested in another field of work. Telling me to get into business management because I have the entrepreneur’s spirit. Go into Cooking, go into Makeup. UNTIL. I started selling commissions. Making real money. With the thing I loved to do. Then? They stopped.
A woman I know very well asked me how I was doing, what I was doing, if I was in school you know the usual. I said I wasn’t currently in school but I was selling my art. She patted me on the back and said “Lets get you into a real job” I replied “A thousand a month sounds like a real job to me.” and she was shocked. I’m a young adult currently still living with parents. I’ll keep it real. I don’t need a million bucks to live fine, but art is a real job. You can make even more than a thousand a month making art. Hundreds of Thousands to be real.
Q: What inspiration would you give an inspiring artist who may not have the support of their family, friends, piers, etc.?
A: If you cannot go a week without drawing. Do not stop. Find a way to make a path for yourself. You might have to work a part time and support your art until you have enough coming in to break away from working for someone else, but find a way. Never ever give up. It might take tears, you might lose important relationships, but don’t give up.

Don’t sabotage people or be selfish. Collaboration with other artists can propel you forward! So how you treat people in industry is very important! But also sell yourself very well with your self confidence. You aren’t the best artist out there, you never will be, but you are worth the recognition!
If you want to go to school for your art, Do a lot of research first!! I definitely support places like SCAD or OCAD or Fullsail and etc. Those places are amazing and trust when I get enough money I will go there myself too! *laughs* But really! If you are blessed to go to anyone of these art schools on our planet please do!

Sometimes the closest people to you will try to block your way, deter you, make you do what they did, or make your life incredibly difficult because of what you want to do. but like I said before, do NOT give up.

Q: Finish this sentence: “In five years, I would like to accomplish ___”
A: In five years, I would like to accomplish being a published artist with at least three different comic series, have my own clothing BRAND, and be an artist who has murals up around atlanta and other places around the world like somewhere along Shinjuku in Japan, or in France. I want to travel to art panels at Anime Expo and Comic Con. One of my friends is going to both of these events and she is a filmmaker for so I would love to learn more about this side of the anime industry. The more adult side of the anime world is fascinating to me. After all, it is no secret that websites such as are becoming increasingly popular. Who knows what the future holds for the anime community. If I’m 25 and haven’t accomplished at least those things, I wouldn’t wait any longer.
Q: Any other comments you wanna leave your supporters with?
A: Remember, there are very few artists who love everything they’ve done. And many artists that you look up to? That favorite piece of yours by them? The artist probably would say they could have done better. So if you don’t like what you made, don’t be discouraged, and never say it’s crap. Because every time you make something, it inspires someone else.
Believe it or not, Practice does make perfect.

To see some of Sammi E’s artwork check below:

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To see more work from her follow her on Instagram

About The Author

Sasha "Andro" Bannister is a 19 y/o songwriter and photographer from The Bronx, NY. She's been writing music for over 7 years and practicing photography for a little over 5. Coming from a musically inclined family, it's no wonder she's been attracted since a young age. Having the ability to play several instruments, she hopes to make an impact in the music world. She is currently a member our music team but from time to time comments on Fashion, Photography, and Modeling. To catch up on her daily follow her on Instagram @fye.andro

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