Sasha Firpo is an artist that delves into the well of her experiences in order to explore, process, and heal. Working digitally she incorporates intuitive color, mark making, and texture. Firpo creates narrative imagery that connects with her audience on a visceral level.
What or who inspires you?
Sasha: In a separate browser window, I keep tabs open for artists I am constantly looking at—and these artists are working in the field, constantly updating their websites with more work. I love to see artists from all over the world create dynamic, full-to-bursting scenes and images that feel personal and fantastical. I cannot make without music, and I cannot make without the support of my fellow classmates, friends, and family. I am inspired through many things.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you started school, that you know now?
Sasha: I was pulled aside by a professor who told me “showing up is the most important thing you can do, because if you show up, I can help you.” It was a huge shift for me; often, when I would get stuck, when I couldn’t complete something to my own high standard, I would have rather been absent than show up and face the shame of showing something incomplete. But when I showed up and owned up to my mistakes and my struggles, I realized that everyone I showed up with was willing to help and work through it with me, and the things I could create with that help were much better than what I tried to make on my own. It helped me be more transparent about my process, and learn not to hold myself to an unrealistic standard of perfection. Process through collaboration has always elevated my pieces.
I create because it creates a calm in me nothing else does … like a dream I’m bringing to life; something vivid in my head I’m trying to recreate.”
How does design/illustration relate to other creative work that you do?
Sasha: As I create narrative work, be it scenes or comics, it coexists alongside my writing—which I have been cultivating as a skill for just as long. As my writing is character- and dialogue-driven, my illustrative work often reflects character and dialogue as well. My goal is to combine my writing and my art in order to create more personalized stories.
Why do you do what you do?
Sasha: I create because it creates a calm in me nothing else does. It’s not as much passion as it is a focus, the world melting away to be nothing but an image or a word, a scene or an environment. It gets really quiet and it’s just me and the thing I’m creating, like a dream I’m bringing to life; something vivid in my head I’m trying to recreate.
What do you collect?
Sasha: I collect a few things. I don’t buy video games digitally—I still have the compulsion to buy them physically, and keep all the cases—and I collect heart-shaped rocks. Most notably, though, I collect every letter written to me. On my desk, I have my mom’s birthday cards to me from the past five years. Even if the letter doesn’t have a lot to say, or it’s basically the same as the one from last year, I like collecting personalized messages to me. I like physical sentiments.