Samira - Ink and Brown Paper

Welcome to the fourth installment of my latest blog series called 
Behind The Brush.

Today we've got one of the most incredible artists I know...Samira! She's the woman behind Ink and Brown Paper and is our first international guests...yippee!! Residing in the state of Nebraska, USA, Samira loves to paint gorgeous women usually surrounded my plants and has a real jungle feel to them. When I found her (yes again on Instagram), I was obsessed from the get go, with her empowering women prints and use of bright colours. Even though we're on different continents, she's been a huge support with my lil biz and when I ever get to the States again...Nebraska will be my the first stop!

Kick off ya shoes, grab a cuppa and enjoy hearing from my Caribbean buddy, Samira. 


Hey lovely, tell us a little bit about yourself! And where are you based? 

Hey there! So my name is Samira (pronounced Sah-me-ruh) and I was born in Belize. Don't worry you're not the first to not know where that is. It's a tiny English speaking nation located in Central America. Bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the South and West, and the Caribbean Sea to the East. Because of this location we are both a part of Central America and the Caribbean. Now I live with my husband (my high school boo) and our two daughters (Alyssa and Abigail) in Omaha Nebraska, USA. That's in the good old midwest. 



What do you do? When did you start and how did you come to do what you do? 

I've been a creative all my life. I've been drawing since before I could write (or at least that's what I've been told). Completely self taught but always ventured into the arts. Seriously, I wasn't the greatest student, I'd ditch my classes to go hang in the art lab. I have always loved the Arts. Stage performances, ballets, Broadway shows, stand-up comedy, perusing art galleries or little no name bookstores to watch spoken word poetry. Truly an artsy-farsty type millennial. I've experimented with many mediums but painting is by far my favorite and illustrations are my passion


Is this currently a side hustle or your full time job? And because I'm nosey, what was your previous job?

I've only ever worked as an artist. From briefly selling my art to finance my college tuition (college dropout here) and hustling on the side whilst my short lived career in early childhood education. I got married young and was always momming around the clock and since moving to America I was unable to work for years. However I've always made my way back to creating art. 


What do you primarily use for your work? Paint, digital, ink? Why is it your preferred medium?

Paint. I love all the things so I experiment a lot. I started with doing my illustrations in watercolor and ink, hence the name ink & brown paper but I've  really enjoyed gouache paints. For it's bright saturated finished that works wonderful with the colors and tropical style of my work. 


In ONLY 3 words, how would you describe your art?

It's. A. Vibe.
I paint today's modern woman doing mundane things like drinking coffee or lounging with a book. I paint a diverse array of women whilst incorporating a tropical feel with plants/animals. I love that house plants are having a moment because it's my favorite thing to paint.

When in your life did you have the "I've made it" moment. I want to hear your biggest highlight in your biz so far! 

Still waiting for this moment. Honestly, I've struggled a lot with my self confidence and it has prevented me from making strides from hobby artist to career artist. Making prints available will be my first big girl step in propelling my business and it's kinda scary.


Where do you draw inspiration from? 

I draw inspo from everywhere around me but mainly my roots, where I'm from. I'm Latin Caribbean so I love painting colorful patterns and prints, the women I paint are mixed race, the plants are the tropical climate plants from my childhood. My culture is rooted in the colors and subjects I choose to illustrate.

Alright, skies the limit...who/what is your dream brand collab? What would it be?

There is no dream collaboration, I just love working with other strong women focused brands and my dream is to see my work printed/published. A book cover, or package art with my illustrations or designs on em'. I would honestly flip to see my artwork on an item on the shelves of my grocery store or a book store. I could just imagine the excitement.



So, I'm a massive celeb lover and get star struck easily....Have you ever had your art purchased/liked or commented on by someone famous? We need names 👏🏽 and 👏🏽 details. If not, who would you love to have your art hanging in their house? 

Oh my goodness, I don't know what I'd do to have my art hanging somewhere in a celebs home or space. Do reality stars count? A master chef contestant follows me and shared my work 😄.

When you’re not doing your art, what would we find you doing?

I'm a mama so it's better to ask what am I not doing 😩. Making dinner, running errands, being my kids chauffeur, my husband's secretary, making appointments, canceling appointments, helping with homework (😳flashbacks to homeschooling for the first time earlier during the pandemic) and always, I mean always, tackling our laundry mountain. The list is truly never ending 😩


Who in the creative world do you look up to? Drop their IG handles so we can stalk them:

Love Brunna Mancuso @brunnamancuso
Her style is truly unique and intriguing I can watch her paint in watercolor all day.

Maggie Cole @maggiecoledraws
Love her corky style plus she's totally my friend (in my head)

Willian Santiago @willian_santiago
Colour, colour, colour. Love his beautiful art. Such bold, colorful pieces. I love it, definitely my vibe.

Maggie Stephenson @_maggiestephenson_ 
She inspires me to try my hand at line drawing. Her work is so dreamy. I think everyone should have Maggie's art hanging in their home. Seriously!

Candace Westby @candace.wesbyart
She's a friend of mind IRL and to watch her journey and growth as an artist is commendable and truly inspiring. Her sheer determination and passion for art, her hobby, (sis is a lawyer) has led her to venture into growing a brand and a name for herself as an artist. I'm amazed by her work and she inspires me to push myself.

Sis I could go on and on. Honesty the talent on this platform is unmatched.


What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

I'm right there with ya. I've had my art account for a long time ( 😬 2016). I started posting my art because I had just had my second child and it's been a while since I've done art. I was reminded of how much I loved painting but mom life really took over for years. When I started my account I was busy trying to figure out my style and being inconsistent and frankly comparing myself and feeling like a failure. I wasn't confident enough to make prints.

I came up with every excuse in the book to not make my business legitimate. I'd just do a couple commissions here and there. I convinced myself that I'd be overwhelmed, what if my art doesn't sell what if I can't afford inventory. Excuses,excuses and more excuses. My tip would be don't chase trends, be original sis, create what you love and hone your skills. Stay in your lane there's enough space for all of us and don't allow fear to consume you and hold you hostage from chasing your dreams.

You don't have to make leaps and bounds even if it's just baby steps forward as long as you're making moves. This is literally me just giving myself my own advice. I'm my own motivation 😅



ALRIGHTY now for some Quick Fire questions 

Hot drink order: I'm a basic bitch I like Chai tea.
All time fav movie: Big movie lover here so it's so hard to choose but I'd say Coming to America (that's a black household staple), Grease (remember artsy-farsty, I love a good musical) and Titanic because which pre-bubescent girl in the 90's didn't love Leo.
Go to ice-cream flavour: Omg pistachio gelato is bomb, banana ice cream with coconut flakes, a good quality chocolate ice-cream with brownie pieces, I'm a fatty this is too hard.
1 song you could listen to over and over again: Africa Toto, I'm the harmonizing queen
Go to alcoholic drink: Moscow Mule
Favourite conspiracy theory: IDK about this one, I'm a chick that believes in facts but Jeffery Epstein did not kill himself 💅🏽 and no one can convince me he did!
Name a quirk/something weird that you do that makes you, you - (you don't have to explain...just let it out): I have at all times about 200 movie/show/song quotes or references in my back pocket given the situation. It's a great ice breaker when my kids are trying to give me the silent treatment.
If you could have a dinner party with 3 famous people, dead or alive, who would they be?: I'll just cheat and say the 7 band members of BTS. I'm a huge fan but I also feel like I know them personally because I've been following their career forever and now they're super famous and I feel like a proud big sister! 



Thanks sooooo much Samira for taking the time out to answer these questions for me. It's been awesome learning more about you!

Want to see more of Samira's work? Check her out below:

Instagram: @inkandbrownpaper

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