Maker Interview: Sierra

Artists come in all shapes and sizes – as does the art they create.

Meet Sierra, who builds her art from the inside out. Plushies, traditional art, digital illustration, and three dimensional models all emerge from her work space, filling out her portfolio or finding new homes via Etsy.

Sierra3What was your artistic gateway drug, and are you still hooked?

Sierra: Hm, my artist gateway drug… That’s really hard to pin point. Being the homeschooled child that I was, I had free reign over what kind of projects I would work on day-to-day, and on top of that, my mom already had a pretty big emphasis on hands-on learning. It’s funny, because my mom isn’t really the artistic type, but she would always encourage creativity, craft projects, and the like. I’ve always been super into costumes, and I think the earliest one I made was at age 5, when I wore a grey sweatsuit and put black socks over my hands and feet for hooves to become a donkey. Another time, when I think I was 7ish, I taped leaves to my arms to become a bird. My porcupine costume was my favorite, where I just put bout 300 clothes pins on some over sized clothes, haha. I’m falling down the rabbit hole of nostalgia now, sorry. So, I guess what got me hooked was the magic of art. I could make or be anything! Art is powerful! And that power was mine for the taking, muahahahhaha!

Sierra2How would you describe your art/what would you like people to know about your art/you as an artist?

Sierra: I think my art is best summarized in the way a former roommate described it: Constructional. For me, art is not so much the finished product, but the process of getting there. That is probably why I never liked art classes growing up; I didn’t like looking at something and taking it for what it was. I wanted to know WHY it was. So, like, take animal drawing, for instance. I greatly disliked the base shapes drawing method that is ever so popular because that limits you to one dimension. I prefer to learn first how the animal moves, what joints make what motions, all that. This is probably because of my huge interest in science and biology and skeletons. Whether I’m drawing, sculpting, costume making, I’m always building from the inside out. I will say that this is by no means a superior art method, because it does limit you to your own mind. I’m not very good at cartoons and stylization because of how hard I try to make my art make sense to me. And what makes sense to me might not make sense to everyone else.

Sierra5Of all the projects you’ve ever made, what was the most frustrating or surprising?

Sierra: My most frustrating projects are always sewing related, but that’s for no reason other than my distaste for sewing. I hate sewing, so much. And yet I torture myself with it so often? It’s hard to escape when costumes and stuffed animals are involved. If I have to pick one project in particular, it’s the Appa plushies I used to make. Not because they didn’t turn out right, but just because each one was about 10 hours of sewing.

What goals do you have for your art?

Sierra: I have different goals for all different mediums. For drawing, I’d really like to get a web comic going. The problem there is deciding which story to commit to. For costume-making, I’d like to put together some real cosplays and enter contests, just to see how I compare to others. The grand scheme of things there is to get involved with either a theatre or costume and props company and fabricate stuff for a living. And then for all my side projects, stuffed animals, woodworking, sculpting, etc. I’d like to get an Etsy shop going again. I had one about two years ago I was running just for the fun of it, and boy did I burn myself out. Darn those Appas. What would be super cool in that area is to build up enough of a reputation to travel with the name, get booths at conventions or ren faires. ‘Tis but a dream right now, but I have plans.

sierra1Do you have any upcoming projects?

Sierra: I do have upcoming projects! Personal, just-for-fun projects, but projects none the less. I started playing Twilight Princess for the first time last week and oh whoops I guess I’m making a Link costume. I have costumes planned for the whole year, actually, but time will tell just how many of those I get to do. And there’s the matter of the webcomic, which is still in the outlining stages but so close to having a complete story to work off.

If you had an unlimited budget with unlimited time, what would you make and/or build?

Sierra4Sierra: If I had an unlimited budget, I would build… an art studio. But, like, not just any art studio. My studio would be built in the woods, and double as a campground of sorts. So, like, all my art friends would have a place to collaborate and hang out, with space for larping breaks. It’s one of my more, eh, out-there ideas, but that’s my dream. The idea comes from my old house in NY, where I spent most of my time growing up. We had a nice bit of land, with a pond and a barn. In the loft of the barn, we set up a little theater with a bed sheet, projector, and couches. In the lower portion, we had tools for building and woodworking, and in the basement of the house I had a space set up with sewing machines and other creative tools. I didn’t have many artist friends at the time I lived there, but that set up was ideal. I’d love to re-create that someday.

All images are used with permission from the artist.

Would you like The Pandora Society to feature your art and/or story? We’d love to hear from you!

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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