Sierra stands as a beacon of innovation and introspection in a world where the lines between the tangible and digital are becoming increasingly blurred. Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of art, from the gentle strokes of a paintbrush in her youth to the intricate algorithms of AI in her present. Sierra's creations are a mirror to her soul, reflecting her deepest values, beliefs, and experiences, drawing inspiration from the vibrant hues of nature, the rich tapestry of West African culture, and the ethereal realms of yoga and crystals.

Her love of art was not a sudden revelation, but rather a flame that had been nurtured by familial bonds and personal explorations since her childhood. Sierra's venture, Ìtàn, shines a spotlight on the underrepresented artists of West Africa, celebrating their history, culture, and undeniable influence on the global art scene, with a deep connection to her African ancestry. Meanwhile, her one-of-a-kind shop, "GOOD JUU JUU," is a harmonious blend of art, fashion, and spirituality, with crystals taking center stage, symbolizing balance, harmony, and life's radiant energy.

In this candid conversation, Sierra delves deep into her artistic evolution, the symbiotic relationship between traditional art forms and AI, and her aspirations for the future. Join us as we embark on a journey through the mind of an artist who seamlessly weaves the past, present, and future into a tapestry of creativity and inspiration.

Mismir ( M ): Most of us are born with a passion for creating. Yet, for some, this enthusiasm is only an interest until the moment when the flame is sparked, and for others, this flame has been ignited since birth. What is your case, and when did you say that you want to focus more and more on creating art?

Sierra ( S ): I've always loved painting and drawing casually as forms of creative expression, growing up I'd spend hours sketching, drawing, and coloring with my younger brother - who is actually a fantastic traditional illustrator. In 2022, I started exploring how I could use AI to generate written and visual content for my small business. This quickly evolved into using technology to imagine my wildest artistic dreams. The more I shared what I was working on with others, the more encouragement I received, and that pushed me to take it more seriously.

M: I believe every artist has a muse, which can be anything from people, places, experiences, thoughts, cultures, or even the artist himself or herself. Who or what has been your most influential muse and why?

S: My biggest muses are nature and the people I care about - my husband, dog, family, and friends. Nature gives me endless inspiration, the colors and textures of geology are endless. My loved ones endlessly inspire me with their care, love, and consideration.

M: I believe that there are many ups and downs in the voyage of an artist, as well as in the journey of life itself. What I believe is that along the way, there is a specific hardship that makes us reshape our perspective or approach to our craft. Can you share what this moment was for you and how it impacted your work?

S: Probably discovered I had PMDD in 2018, and although this predates my exploration of AI Art, it was a huge factor in my decision to pursue yoga, crystals, and all things related to natural wellness. Creating art has served as a therapeutic outlet to help manage the bouts of emotional overwhelm.

M: There's this thing I like to call "a journey of self-reflection" that I enjoy doing with any artist with whom I get the privilege to speak. Hence, I'd love it if you could join me on this voyage and go back to the first time you held a brush in your hand and began to paint “yourself” on a canvas. Now, while you reflect on your travel, I'd like you to return to the present moment. Thinking about your journey, how would you describe the evolution of your style or approach from when you first began to now?

S: A lot of the physical art during my teenage years was directly inspired anime anime-style illustrations of my favorite shows and characters. Now, using Midjourney Niji, I can imagine my own anime and manga characters and it's been incredible to see and feel things come full circle.

M: Art, for me, is a reflection of our soul; it reflects our deepest values and beliefs. How do you think "Sierra" is reflected in your artworks?

S: My artwork embodies the power of connecting with nature and connecting with each other. Some explore love, some explore contemplation, some explore heartbreak, and some explore transformation. The only thing constant in life is change, and I pride myself on being someone who can adapt and be versatile. You can observe how my artwork transforms with my life experiences and personal journey, and it will only continue to further evolve as I grow as an individual and artist.

M: I love stories, and I am even more enthralled by works of art that have a history. For this reason, I am completely enthralled by Ìtàn, the platform that pays homage to the lovely West African culture and that is dedicated to empowering African artists and their expression. I am a firm believer that, regardless of what anyone says, most of the things we cherish in today's pop culture have their origins in African culture in one way or another. What drove you to create Ìtàn, and how do you see this wonderful African culture influencing today's world?

S: I am half-African American and have always been curious about learning more about my ancestors from Africa. After discovering they came from West Africa specifically (Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Cameroon), I became even more fascinated with the history, culture, music, and fashion. My crystal and art store, Good Juu Juu, pays homage to the culture but Itan allows me to put the spotlight on underrepresented West African artists specifically. Yoruba culture is known for its vibrant and expressive arts, including sculpture, textiles, music, dance, and storytelling. Yoruba art has a strong emphasis on symbolism and spirituality and has influenced the broader art world in endless ways.

M: Yoga is an art form in and of itself for me. I never practiced it, but I've always been fascinated by the poses it calls for and the parts of our inner selves it manages to reach. If we peel back the layers of yoga and art, we may discover that they are more akin than we realize. How do you think yoga influences your art, and what is the relationship you sense between them if you were to look beyond the obvious?

S: Yoga is a huge part of my life. It's the only form of exercise/movement I've been able to commit to regularly, it's also a big factor in maintaining my mental health and peace of mind. There is a sense of clarity and peace you can find within yourself during a yoga practice, and I try to embody that energy in various ways through my artwork - sometimes it's by including ethereal elements like crystals and meditative sound frequencies.

M: As someone who used to do mainly drawing and painting as forms of creative expression, how did you find the shift to expressing yourself purely through a digital medium, particularly AI? If you consider drawing, painting, and the AI art you make today, how do you think the first two are reflected in the latter? Do you see any connection between them?

S: Painting and drawing are styles of artwork. AI isn't a style of artwork, it's a tool that can be used to recreate any style of artwork. I think it's incredible that artists who are gifted in one specific medium can now use AI to branch out and explore other mediums.

M: "GOOD JUU JUU" is a one-of-a-kind store. It is a blend of crystals, art, fashion, and African culture, yet crystals are the most prominent and appealing to me. What do crystals mean to you, and what do you want them to represent to others? Also, if I'm not mistaken, the first piece you minted on-chain was "Clarity," which also embodies a crystal. What did that moment mean to you?

S: I believe crystals can help people connect with their inner light and live a more balanced and harmonious life. I love capturing the beauty and energy of crystals in stunning detail using AI - the vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and realistic textures. There are a few people making NFT art focused on crystals and I'm incredibly honored to be one of them, sometimes I like to joke around and say Mother Nature is the original artist and I'm just making derivatives. I hope that in the future when people look back on NFT art history and geology's influence on modern art, my artwork will be a defining aspect.

M: When it comes to their artistic journey, I believe each artist has a purpose and an aspiration. What is the main purpose of your art, and what is your dream project, or simply a dream that you want to see become a reality?

S: The purpose of my art is to express my human experience. The best feeling is when others resonate with it or 'feel seen'. I dream of bringing my art to the masses via a mainstream fashion or music collaboration.

M: If you were an animal, which one do you think you’d be?

S: Definitely a bird, probably a hawk. They are very perceptive, I always remind myself to take 'a bird’s eye view' when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day stresses of life.

As we close the book on our insightful conversation with Sierra, we're reminded of the limitless potential of art and the stories it can tell. Sierra's journey, from sketching anime characters to her current mastery of AI art, exemplifies the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Her works, which are deeply rooted in her experiences and heritage, entice us to look beyond the canvas and into the artist's heart.

Follow Sierra on social media ( Twitter - Farcaster - Instagram ) and visit her website to explore more of her captivating works and stay up to date on her latest projects.

The tapestry of art is vast and varied, with each artist contributing their own distinct style to the grand design. Sierra's thread is vibrant and distinct in this Loom of Voices, echoing her profound truths and visions for the future. Artists like her are tomorrow's visionaries, weaving stories that speak to our shared human experience.

As we say goodbye to Sierra, we invite you to return to Storied Strokes next week. Another artist is waiting to share their story and inspire us all. Keep an eye out on our social media channels ( Twitter - Lens - Instagram ) for hints about our upcoming feature. The clues may just reveal who's next on our list to those with a keen eye.

Our journey through the many voices of art is just getting started. The stories are endless, as are the discoveries. Stay with us, and let's continue to unravel and celebrate these stories of creativity and passion together.

Back to blog