NARA Collective
We are creators who protect creators. We amplify your message through a cohesive visual experience. We recognize art as a catalyst for change. And understand that our power is in the collective.
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NARATIVE

interviews to discover and connect with multidisciplinary artists

Sheena Liam = Embroidery + Female Form

What are three words that describe you?
I don't know (there's three words).

What's your first artistic memory?
My dad always painted when I was a child and it was very inspiring to watch him.  He had a distinctive style, almost mosaic-like. He rarely paints anymore but sometimes I can still get him to hang out with me and paint at night.

When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
I am not sure if I ever really set out to be one in the first place.

What was your biggest artistic influence growing up?
When I was young growing up in Malaysia in preschool, you'd get these dollar shop coloring books of anime style girls. I also played with a lot of paper dolls, my mother made doll houses from pictures of magazines. She taught me how to make the paper dolls clothes with tabs to keep the clothes on. 

Are you working with any other mediums besides embroidery?
I've worked with all sorts of mediums. I love charcoal, watercolors, oil paints. But of course for now it is embroidery that seems to be gaining the most traction. 

How did you learn to embroider?
My mom used to do it when I was younger, flowers and butterflies and all the boring things - I never finished anything. I took it up again two years ago just because I had the specific idea of braids coming out of the frame. Then everyone had such a strong reaction to the work that I thought it'd be fun to explore it further. 

Hair seems to be a primary theme in your work. Tell us more.
I learned about hair from watching hair stylists at work. The hair was just an idea I had for the braids to hang out of the frame. Once I tried it, people really responded to it and the hair took the whole focus. For me the work isn't about hair but the full image I'm trying to create: the body, the movement, the hair and the way it whips. All of it creates a soul.

What's the first step in your creative process?
I start by photographing myself, posing seeing how it works as an image before the primary sketch. When it's done, the sketch is digitized then transferred onto the canvas before stitching begins. Between step one and step one hundred a million things go wrong.

Do you listen to music when you create? If so, what?
I listen mainly to podcasts. I have a hard time finding music I like, but when I do it's on repeat.

What would you be if you weren't an artist?
I would probably be writing... I always thought I would be a writer. I used to write a lot of horror fiction and really wanted to pursue that, but I guess going out in the world and meeting amazing writers just intimidated me. It's not over of course, so who knows.

What is success for you?
It may sound cliché, but happiness.

What causes are you passionate about?
I feel strongly about animal rights and the environment. At the moment I'm not sure how my work could transfer into activism, but would love to do something eventually.

What's your favorite piece you've made?
It's hard. I like them all but for now maybe the self portrait. In a way they are all self portraits but rarely are they intentionally so.

Your fantasized collaboration (anyone dead or alive)?
Something couture, I work in fashion (as a model) so I do love the fantasy aspect of it all. I've gotten a couple of clothing collaboration proposals but I feel like if I do work on a wearable piece I want it to be well thought out.

What would you imagine your last words to be?
Goodbye, farewell.

This artist is currently based in Los Angeles (although regularly on the move).
For more info: instagram.com/times.new.romance

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Ashley Edes