Meet The Maker : Sofie Seyah
Meet the effervescent artist, mumma of two, marine environmental scientist and Summer x Salt veteran Sofie Seyah of Sofie Seyah Illustrations. Operating out of her home-studio Sofie create’s stunning ink and watercolour illustrations of marine life and the wonders found in the world’s oceans. Read on to find out a little more about this special maker…
1. How was the idea for Sofie Seyah Illustrations born?
My professional background in marine environmental science gave me a great appreciation for the wonder of the world’s oceans and has formed the basis of my creative expression. I’ve always been creative and was filling sketchbooks with illustrations of the ocean’s creatures in my spare time while working as a marine environmental scientist. It wasn’t until I had my son in 2015, that I was unemployed, overwhelmed, fumbling through my journey of parenthood and desperate for a creative outlet. After substantial encouragement, a printing budget and a market gazebo birthday present from my husband, Sofie Seyah Illustration was born in late 2015. My artistic skills were initially pretty rusty but knowing that creating was destined to be part of my future, continual practice and experimentation was essential for me to create the artwork you see here today.
2. What inspires you the most when illustrating?
The story. It’s really important for me to have a backstory to each and every illustration, each one being unique as the subject itself. Something that I connect with and provides an urge or strong motivation to put the story from inside my head onto paper. Taking inspiration from the ocean and nature, and making it personal is my way of sharing the intrigue and fascination of these incredible creatures with you.
Also, the magic of illustrating itself. Happy, experimental accidents with watercolour, immersing yourself in a watery medium and delighting in the surprise of colour and texture as it dries. It’s a form of mediation for me.
Taking inspiration from the ocean and nature, and making it personal is my way of sharing the intrigue and fascination of these incredible creatures with you.
3. How does your art help support your passion for coastal conservation?
When you buy a piece of my art and hang it in your home, I want it to inspire a love and fondness within you for the species adorning your walls. I want to ignite a fierce protectiveness, so when there is a call to action for us to step up and act on their behalf, you feel compelled to contribute to their conservation, so that future generations can experience the majesty of these animals as well.
I donate a portion of profits from my print sales, I’m a Pearl Business Supporter of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, who are dedicated to protecting ocean wildlife and their homes. So each and every sale contributes to supporting ocean conservation in Australia.
4. How did you get involved with SummerXSalt community?
Right from the start! My very first ever market was the very first SummerxSalt market, back in February 2016. The SummerxSalt markets feel like home to me. I’ve never missed a season. Through morning sickness… heavily pregnant… with a baby and toddler in tow… my kids have grown up in the SummerxSalt community. I’ve lived in Trigg/Scarborough my whole life, so it really feels like home to have the markets so close by and attended by my local community.
5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a small business producing art from your own home studio?
Balancing all the facets with creating artwork and running a small business from home with two small children is really challenging, particularly with my husband working away much of the time. The kids come first and it’s important for me to be present with them – do the fun stuff, hit the beach, go for bike rides, get lost on bush walks. The business often takes a back seat, which means my productivity isn’t what I’d ideally like it to be. To make up for it, I tend to work at night, with less daytime distractions but juggling kids by day and working by night can be exhausting. For now, the juggle is real. I’d love to spend all day, every day, painting and creating, but the reality is that much of my time is spent managing a crazily messy but happy home.
6. What are your future goals for Sofie Seyah Illustration and how can we keep in touch with you?
I’m taking each day as it comes. I’d love to be more productive and dedicate more time to creating. I’m planning a sequel to my anchor and ships wheel illustrations, as well as an exciting upcoming collaboration with another Western Australian maker. Meanwhile, you can find me scribbling away on Instagram (@sofie_seyah) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/sofieseyah), with prints and cards available through my website (www.sofieseyah.com).
7. What is your favourite piece in your current collection?
Ohhh c’mon… I can’t just choose one! There’s Señor Octopus… not only mine, but a favourite of many. Mother Love humpback whales will always have a very special piece of my heart, as I painted it for my son on his first birthday. Then there’s my anchor and ships wheel inky illustrations, each taking hundreds of hours to complete and not unlike a research project, where each object and species is thoughtfully included.
We can’t wait to see what Sofie has in store for us this Salty Season. Markets coming to Trigg in November 2020!