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Check out Sara Faraj’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Faraj.

Sara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.

I suppose it really didn’t hit me until after high school that the Arts were for me, kind of crazy. I think part of the reason for that was from the upbringing I had; the roots I grew from.

I was born in Detroit, MI, and am a part of the first generation on American soil from two very cultural families that traveled from Lebanon and Poland. Both families came from little to no formal education and solely worked hard to get places. I think for them (and many), “Arts and Culture” is viewed as a luxury or a hobby, not a career path or something you should spend your time pursuing.

Hardly believing in myself and my vision, I found myself in the big city of Chicago at the ripe age of 20. I was fortunate to know and learn from two talented artists that showed me the ropes, gave me a platform, and believed in my capabilities – Joe Tighe, owner of Couple of Dudes Wedding Photography, and cinematographer buddy, Sebastian Lama. I carried on working in various service jobs that made me unhappy and stagnant in creative ways with a “hunger” for more. After enough “you have an eye” comments from folks and feeling inspired by the cityscape, I bought my first DSLR camera. Until then, I didn’t really know what “having an eye” meant- I mean, I’ve had eyes my whole life… Shortly after the digital camera purchase, I came across a dusty old Canon Pellix QL 35mm film camera in the basement of Vintage Underground- and the rest is history.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?

I think of myself as a maker of tangible memories and feelings. When I’m not photographing, I am scanning my film archive for other mediums and brewing photo story ideas on my nature walks. All of my work is inspired by the natural world, and with what I capture I hope to inspire others to love and want to protect this planet too. I love documenting anything organic: trees, water, human relationships, emotions – you name it. I believe that it is all connected, and I do my best to incorporate that idea in all that I do and make in life. I work under the name StillPine that encompasses that idea as well, and will hopefully inspire others to “slow down and smell the pines.”

Lately, I have been exploring and loving wood transfer prints. I am currently working on a Red Cedar wood series featuring film stills from travels and Midwest film walks. I hope to have 25 pieces completed for display by Spring ’19. I feel I have finally found a way to “marry” my love for nature and film into one, and the possibilities are endless. I also really love how hands-on the process is.

I am also working on assembling the pieces to my own optical darkroom. Making optical prints is the closest thing to making the magic that I have seen and felt, and it’s something I hope to do for the rest of my life. The old-school process’ that paved the way to digital photography today are what keep my artistic fire burning, although I do a lot of work with my digital cameras too. Lifestyle, photojournalism, and wedding photography are just a few of the genres I work in digitally, (but I’m working towards being a 100% film-based photographer in the near future).

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I feel that success is full self-love and confidence in your work and yourself. Success is also individual to each person – my goals may be different than your goals, and my ideal timeline for it may be different too. I do also know it’s important to be patient and kind with yourself along the way. To understand and know that we are all different and grow during different times, and that’s okay.

I think the key to being a successful artist is believing in yourself truly. How can anyone believe in you and your work if you don’t believe in it and yourself? It can be really challenging sometimes, but my advice to others feeling those pains too: don’t stop making- whatever it is.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can view my work at stillpinephoto.com for now.

I am working on mobilizing the wood-transfer prints I am working on to an actual viewing space, but don’t see that happening until 2019.

There are prints for sale at stillpinephoto.com/fineartprints. You will see in each description that part of the proceeds will benefit a specific cause I stand behind. The wood-transfer prints will follow that model as well, focusing on the reforestation and protection of land.

Aside from that – hire me! I make still + motion pictures of many kinds, and communicate ideas and feelings in an organic and relatable way —> stillpinephoto.com/sayhello/

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Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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