Creative musings with with Emily Sakhila of Ink & Earth

A little about me...

My name is Emily. I was born in England and live (mostly) in Thailand. I spend most of my time between Asia and Europe. Hopefully, other places someday too… As well as moving places often, I like to also juggle a few different forms of work. Right now, it's just tattooing, illustrating, painting, and when I'm on the island volunteering in a few ways. I also worked in outdoor/ environmental education and art direction for a festival in the past. 

I don't stay still for too long and enjoy working on many projects at once. …and a little bit of chaos keeps me calm. I don't have a mortgage, car, or big financial responsibilities. I'm happy- happier- living in a small home/hut with less luxury, which means that I don't rely on a high income and can actually afford to be an artist.  Her Waves Her Stories surf inspired artist interviews

Finding inspiration around...

EverythingAll of life. The highs and the lows. The reflective time that comes from either of those states. Anxiety, Elation. Love, and the lack of! (Or the feeling of the 'lack of'…) The thoughts that come in waking or in dreams. The micro, the macro. To be honest, if you look at anything with awe, it can birth into creating something. Falling into feelings of highs and lows is a blessing for creating art. 

The best ideas often seem to come on a surfboard or motorbike. I'm not sure if it's the movement, being away from my phone, or being in a meditative activity with heightened focus. Or at 2am… 

I've always been fascinated by the relationships humans have with the earth, with each other, and with our own minds. Of how all of it weaves and connects together, how interconnected we are - and how some of us exists in all of us. 

I hope that some of what I draw can rekindle/ heighten the viewer's connection to themselves & the natural world. 

Oh, and the usual: music, movement, poetry, books, surfing, talking the sea, the big breakups/ breakdowns and break-aparts! 

Artistic flow

I've always made art/ drawn as a way to traverse whatever I am feeling - As a way to communicate with myself. Self-art therapy. Similar to how journaling is, I guess. As art has always been part of my life, I rarely get stuck or out of flow, and I feel lucky for this.

If I ever feel 'stuck,' I let myself pause and be in that 'stuck state' for as long as needed. As soon as I try and force creating something, it's not going to come. There's a resistance, or maybe a perverse stubborn side of me that refuses to be demanded to dig it out. But, as soon as I give myself permission to pause and slow down creating, it always seems to flood back in, usually in full force! It's like a giant wave that can't be held back, and I can't draw it out quickly enough. 

Pausing for a while can be so helpful.

I don't share the majority of things I draw, so that lessens the pressure of drawing for the sake of impressing or pleasing others too. It's not like I keep it all hidden away in a precious sketchbook (well, I do that as well); it's often that ill draw on scraps of paper or on anything, which will then disappear. Because the enjoyment is in the time of making it, not in the end piece.

Artist Interviews. Meet Emily Sakhila of Ink and earth

5 years ago, I wish I'd known...

That I would always be able to handle everything that would come ahead. That anxiety is a journey- that it will improve- and then dip again- but I will always make my way through it. 

That humans are great at 'making shit up.' That's all we do. But, as soon as we put enough belief and force into something, it can become real. We have so much more power to create/ make/ change than we give ourselves credit for. 

Sometimes I wish I recognized what some of my fears were back then. But, to be honest, I'm glad I didn't know any of what I do now 5 years ago, or else I wouldn't have had to make all the fuck-ups and learnings and journeys which have brought me to where I am now. I'm happy to be where I am today. 

Life, movement, and meditation...

I have no routine... I try to fit in some form of movement and meditation into each day, but I don't have a set schedule. Many years of moving and traveling killed routine. I don't feel like I need it. I thrive from change and uncertainty more than I do from a stable routine and knowing what's coming round the corner. 

When I'm living on the small island, I wake up and fall into the waves, and if it's a small day (which it usually is), I'll meditate and plan my workday sat out there. And talk to the sea. Up north (from where I'm writing this ), I try to get outside into the forest before I start work. Or at some point in the day.

Usually, I keep the weekend and Monday for personal creative projects. Tuesday- Friday for client work and admin and all the other stuff. But this often changes. Each week is different, I don't have a regular set income or know when work is coming in, so I have to adapt accordingly. I do draw or write every day. I don't force myself to. It just happens, probably from a lifetime of habit. When I'm tattooing guest spots, that's all I'm doing that week. 

I'm fortunate to have an incredible community of humans where I live here - friends and family, so life is rarely quiet. I have some great neighbors/best friends. My door is never shut (metaphorically, but also because it doesn't actually close), and theirs is often the same. We get together to eat, dance, hike, sit around the fire, or go on adventures often. I'm so grateful for the people around me right now and to be in this part of the world.

Her Waves surf inspired art - artist interviewsA balancing act...

I usually write a 'to-do' list for the next day before I go to sleep. So my mind can fully switch off, and I'm prepared for the day when I wake up. I think most creative folks are often bubbling with ideas so much that they easily slip into moments of procrastination. Recently, I've been choosing my procrastinations/ distractions at the start of the day so I don't go off track too far. Or can at least make something from them! Often some of my favourite ideas and storylines come from these moments…

I've also learned to not be too hard on myself for not completing everything I aim for in a given time frame. For example, when I am struggling with anxiety, looking after my mind and my mental health sometimes takes over all of my time. And that's fine! It's not going to be like that forever, but it's so important to give it time. That's part of being human. 

It's essential to look after the part of me that makes any art in the first place.

Right now, with our human world a little bit more upside down than it used to be - I often find I need to take a large amount of time out of my workday for connecting with loved ones who are struggling or for looking after my own mind. But, I find my clients are often in the same situation. Everyone is much more understanding about emails and work, often being a little delayed these days. 

The admin takes much longer than I would like it to… only about 30% of my' work' is actually making art. And only about 10-20% of the art I make ever gets shown online. Then, of course, there's a whole world of emails, fixing website glitches, shipping profiles, organizing and communicating, and marketing that has to happen too. I struggle with the marketing and tech stuff and do need to ask for help with this side of things…

The value of Social Media...

As everyone says, it's a love/hate thing. I've connected with some wonderful people on Social Media and discovered great organizations, etc. But, I do sometimes struggle with how impersonal it can be. I love it when people reach out to me in private messages, emails, or even comments just to say hello and make themselves human.

On the other hand, I despise how it turns humans into numbers. Right now, the algorithms are a pain in the arse, and I don't want to give in to giving Facebook any advertising money, on principle. Generally, Social platforms have been great for me as an artist. I'm just glad I don't really feel addicted to it in any way. Screen time annoys me too much to get too sucked in!

Life struggles...

On a personal level… Too many ideas… Too little time. Not enough hours in the day to experience all I want to in life! 

And I'm not going to mention global and world problems that I struggle with being part of…. That's an entire rabbit hole…

How I'm continuing to grow as an artist....

Oh, I like this question! Looking after my mind. Paying more than my rent for therapy! Working out what my fears are and where I'm subconsciously holding myself back. Not limiting myself to past ideas and limitations. The dyslexic label always held me back/ gave me little confidence with writing narratives. But I'm trying to 're-write' this idea and write more. Usually in the form of playful poetry, which has a little more lenience for wonky grammar…

I'm -slowly- putting together a book/collection of words and illustrations based on my journey with anxiety and with the ocean - and how they relate. Working on a big project like this is new, exciting, and daunting! It might not help me financially or career-wise. Still, it's something I really care about and exactly what I want to use in the form of visual storytelling to share. Maybe it's self-indulgent; maybe others will be able to relate to it. I'm not yet sure. And I'm not sure if that counts as growing as an artist, but it keeps my love of creating very much alive.  

 

 

I’m inspired by the water, the sun, the moon, and the stars. My countless wipeouts, my dreams of noseriding, and the feeling I get when sliding across the face of a wave.

Meg Jacovino