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Meet Ayaka Sano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ayaka Sano.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I never know what to say when people ask me where I’m from. I was born in Japan, moved to Georgia when I was 8, moved to Indiana when I was 21 for grad school, and now I’ve been in Chicago for 4 years. I’m a self-taught photographer, but have 2 degrees in music! I was a classically trained violinist for 15 years. After I graduated grad school I had a few jobs but nothing made me excited about my work until I found photography.

Please tell us about your art.
I’m a photographer, and I take mostly portraits. I really love getting to know my clients, and making them feel great about themselves. Everyone is beautiful and unique, and I love how photography allows anyone to see the subject exactly how I see them. I’m very interested in interior and fashion photography though, and would love to do more of that.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
It’s funny, because when I was a violinist, I wanted everything to just be PERFECT. I was a total perfectionist and at some point, you have to realize that perfection really isn’t achievable… I think now I define my success by how happy I can make someone. It’s a great feeling to take photos of someone and they love how they look in them – it gives them confidence.

I think it’s important to have long term goals for success but just as important to put 110% into what you’re working on in the moment. Granted, you can’t please everyone, but doing your absolute best to create something beautiful usually ends in something great.

I think to succeed as an artist, it’s important to stay true to yourself – it’s easy to see something cool and try to copy it, but I don’t think I can feel fulfilled unless I create something that is uniquely mine – not to say you can’t take inspiration from other people or art, which I think is always great. I think you just have to always be reminded that you’re the only one who can be authentically you.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work can be found on my website at

Or my Instagram and support me by following!

I have only been doing photography full time for a few months, so I’m excited for what the future holds.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos were taken by me, no hair & makeup artists/stylists were involved.

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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