Kara La is a Vietnamese-American artist from California, working under the alias “Tura Sanze.” She indulges in fantasy and elegance, the seemingly mundane details and subtle intensity of emotions drives her interest in world building and storytelling. Her roots in--and love of--fashion design, music performance, Eastern media, and role-playing games influence her work. Kara is driven to craft and convey the wonders she wishes were real, through concept work and illustration. She has an obsessive adoration for ratty-looking chihuahuas.
What do you geek out about?
Kara: Oh gosh, I’ll have to narrow it down to skincare, Final Fantasy XIV, and glaciers. Quite the range, I think! The amount of skincare products that I have and want to use; the emotional investment and game research I have put into FFXIV; and glaciers – I just think they’re neat, to the point that I researched them in middle school for Science Olympiad excessively so that I actually placed 5th at state without a partner. OK, maybe I’m bragging a little there and haven’t really ever let it go, but who would’ve thought giant chunks of ice would be interesting?! I will visit Mt. Hood’s glaciers at some point and when I do, I will immediately find my way to face-plant into it. Conflicting note: I don’t like the cold.
What would your alter ego do, if not design/illustration?
Kara: I would probably be a composer, or a fashion designer, Though if I had to stray entirely from the general idea of creative stuff, I think I’d be doing something like glaciology or biochem or some sort of applied physics. Really, I’d want to learn and do a bit of everything if I could.
I just like to enjoy things for what they are, and if I’m able to make what I believe is success with what I do, that’s what matters in the end.”
What do you collect?
Kara: I like collecting various boxes, jars, and storage containers that come my way; I have a lot of boxes inside other various boxes just for the sake of having those boxes. If it’s an interesting or pretty container and I can keep it clean, I will keep it.
How does design/illustration relate to other creative work that you do?
Kara: It just happens to be the main method that I have chosen to create and express with, as I’m very much into music, fashion, storytelling, the visuals of dance (as I don’t think I’d ever be quite as agile as the dancers that I admire are), am willing to pick up into coding/programming/do the technical aspect of such creative things and larger projects, so on and so forth. Alas, I only have so much time! Perhaps as time passes I can learn these things and solo some projects at a snail’s pace, but otherwise I would love a collaborative environment to incorporate it all together at a comparatively faster rate, which is where my interest in entertainment media comes from.
Why do you do what you do?
Kara: That’s a question people ask about me in general for a variety of reasons! The answer always comes around to “because it’s fun and I’m not hurting anyone with it, so why not.” I have this weird dichotomy in how I present myself. I’m told often I look so put together and serious, to the point that people say their initial impression of me is intimidating, very administrative-like...so they assume everything I do is very calculated with some massive philosophy behind it. Sure I can answer these types of questions but also my personality is very much fun and chill. I’m not a scary person! I just like to enjoy things for what they are, and if I’m able to make what I believe is success with what I do, that’s what matters in the end.