“I want to connect those dots for makers and consumers alike by creating a space where people can easily find goods from artists in their area and participate in workshops…”
Name: Saramia Arenas
Occupation: Artist and Entrepreneur
Creative Industry: Visual Arts & Crafts
1. You’re a visual artist pursuing a dual major and simultaneously working on a business concept. First, can you tell us what sent you down what seems like a very thoughtful path?
You are correct in calling it a thoughtful path and that’s because I have indeed been thinking about it for a very long time. In my journey to forge a career involving my passions, I started at many different points. Went to a school for photography, changed majors, took a break from school, and worked part time jobs for 4 years. During this time I had a lot of trial and error that helped me hone in on my strengths. This also helped me separate things I like from things I love. Once I knew my strengths and true passions, the vision became clear and I found that it was something that had been right in front of my nose the entire time, there was just a lot of clutter covering it up.
2. Ideally, how would you like to see the various sets of knowledge and expertise you’re pursuing fit together?
I’ve never separated business from creativity; I think they go hand in hand. My parents are also entrepreneurs. Watching them I can see how in order to succeed you have to think outside of the box, just like when I’m creating something. I know, though, that many artists have focused all their efforts into creating and are left finding it difficult to seek out their audience. I would like to help these artists operate as a business by providing a platform that connects them to their customers. When I started as an artist the hardest part was feeling disconnected not only from a customer base (because there weren’t many platforms to connect with local customers) but also from a community of like-minded creatives. I want to connect those dots for makers and consumers alike by creating a space where people can easily find goods from artists in their area and participate in workshops and where artists can have studio space alongside other artists. This creates an environment that fosters creativity and strengthens the sense of community between artists/makers and those seeking to support them.
3. You’ve given a good deal of thought to nurturing the needs of artists. In terms of workspace, what are some elements you feel are important to inspire creativity and productivity?
The best word I can think of to describe the ideal workspace is transparency. Customers should be able to see into the artist’s studio space and be able to trust the integrity of the product because they can see the process from beginning to end. I also feel I learn so much from my fellow artists so I would want the studio space to be open and allow artists to visit with each other, learn from each other, help each other. Overall the space should be open with lots of windows, welcoming people to come in and discover what’s coming out of their own community. Having lots of natural light is a big plus, too.
4. You’ve just participated in your first CO.STARTERS session. What were your impressions? What stands out?
Wow! Not only with the instructors so nice and helpful, but my group was amazing! It’s incredible to me that with such a diversity of businesses represented we are all still able to contribute to each other’s specific needs. As a business student, I had been receiving a lot of general information about starting a business. I can tell that with CO. STARTERS I’ll learn how to actually apply this knowledge to my business specifically through practical steps.
5. It would be remiss of us to not ask what you’re currently working on artistically, although it’s hard to imagine you have a lot of time to create.
With a full course load and a job, it is hard for me to find time to work on personal stuff. However, slowly but surely I’m working on a collage series about racial equality. Even with a lot on my plate, its always so rewarding to spend time on something that means so much to me. Hopefully it will be done in the next month or so.