Amelia Samari, Artist Residency
As one of the fasting growing trends among millennials, coworking spaces provide a number of attractive features that puts it miles ahead of the conventional office. Here, at BoxJelly, we are fully aware of this. We also know that there aren’t easy solutions or turn key packages to creating a cohesive community. We put a lot of time and energy into thinking about ways of engaging not only with the physical space but the social space around us. One of the main things that distinguishes BoxJelly from other coworking spaces is this commitment to cultivating a creative community. To live up to this standard, we’re unveiling a new initiative to welcome more creative individual energy. The BoxJelly/Fishcake Artist Residency is a platform for fledgling artists transitioning from art student to art professional. We provide the resources. They provide the inspiration. The six-month term residency will conclude with a solo exhibition in the BoxJelly main space. Amelia holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts (BFA) with a specialization in Fiber from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. With her passion for the arts, collaborative nature and incredible talent, Amelia has gone from student of the arts to a creative entrepreneur. Most recently taking a focus in rope vessel making. I had the opportunity to sit down with Amelia and ask her a few questions about her art and her unique specialty. Amelia shares her background with us and what brought her here.
Cody: What’s your history? Why did you choose UH Manoa? Amelia: My family moved to Micronesia when I was 5 years old, so the pacific has always been my home. I moved to Canada for boarding school and after graduating high school, I knew I wanted to be back here. I really see Hawaii as my long term home.
C: What about Fiber Arts was appealing to you? Why baskets, bowls, and bags?
A: I started school as an Early Childhood Development student. After taking a few art courses and being inspired by my professors, I decided to transfer to the Art department and really took an interest in Fiber Arts. While in school, I focused mostly on the development of technique and the process of producing conceptional art. Since graduation I’ve ventured into creating utilitarian vessels such as baskets and bags. I’ve really only been making these baskets and bags for the last 9 months.
C: What is Honolulu like for an aspiring artist? What are the biggest challenges?
A: Being an artist in Honolulu definitely has pros and cons, like any other place. I spent most of 2015 in New York City and it gave me a lot of perspective. Although the creative community is much larger in New York, there are a million other artists trying to make it as well. Here, while there may be less of a market and not as many resources, the pool of artists is smaller making collaboration and growth more accessible. In Honolulu, I feel a greater sense of community. It feels appropriate to be here.
C: What do you find to be the most useful marketing tool for your brand/product?
A: I actually don’t do much in terms of marketing! I probably could do more but I don’t know a lot about proper marketing techniques. A lot of my exposure has been through word of mouth and maintaining close relationships with professors, mentors and colleagues. If I do any sort of marketing it’s through my immediate social network or Instagram. C: What do you hope to get out of your residency here at BoxJelly?
A: As a growing artist, I have a lot of thoughts on where I want to channel my focus. Being offered a space to do this is such a great opportunity. I began working with rope about 9 months ago so I’m still in the early stages of experimentation of where I can go with this material. With my residency, I have the freedom to explore a new medium while revisiting other’s that I’ve worked on in the past, such as weaving and sewing.
C: What’s next for Amelia Samari?
A: I wish I knew! Maybe grad school? I’m really just trying to focus my energy on seeing what I can get out of the next 6 months here at The BoxJelly.
You can find her work at Mori, Echo and Atlas and most notably, Fishcake. Check her out here.