Today we’d like to introduce you to Sapphire Sandalo.
Sapphire, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve always known that I wanted to tell stories for a living. I wasn’t always entirely sure how I’d be telling those stories – did I want to be a singer/songwriter? A dancer? A filmmaker? And because of that I sort of switched my focus a lot over the years, but storytelling was always the most important thing.
Despite there being so many artistically gifted people in my family, no one had successfully pursued a creative field as a career, so my parents didn’t have a reference for what being a successful artist meant. When I was younger, I’d compete in art contests or perform in shows, and while my family was always supportive, they never let me forget that these were just hobbies. “You’re soo good at math, you should be an engineer,” is a phrase I heard a lot. But… I was better at art. So why couldn’t I be an artist?
It’s been nine years since I’ve graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Animation from Loyola Marymount University. Since then, I’ve animated and designed for network TV shows, commercials, and music videos. And now, I make a living creating my own content – telling ghost stories through animation. It’s a dream situation that I literally never thought would be possible for me, so I can’t blame my parents for not being able to imagine it for me either. And as corny as it sounds, I want to be proof for other little Filipino kids, that your hobbies don’t have to stay hobbies – you really can make a living doing what you love!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I dabble in a lot of stuff (as many artists do), but my main thing right now is my web series called “Something Scary,” where I tell ghost stories, urban legends, and folklore and add a bit of animation to them. My Filipino family is very superstitious and religious, and I grew up listening to the craziest stories from my relatives, all of whom have experienced paranormal activity. And I think that, whether you believe in ghosts or not, every family has at least one unexplainable story that gets passed down. And that’s sort of what the heart of “Something Scary” is: ghost stories are universal.
After I started the show, I began getting messages from viewers all over the world with their own family stories, and now it’s grown into this adorable paranormal community.
Right now there is a sort of “Asian-American-Representation-wave” happening, which I am so thrilled about, but that wasn’t the case when I was younger. I was hyper-aware of how rare it was to see an Asian – let alone a Filipino – on screen. And because of that, it has always been a goal of mine to fill that void, to flood entertainment with faces people aren’t used to seeing. Which is why a lot of the characters in my show are people of color. And you really don’t see that many women or people of color in horror or paranormal communities, so I’m proud to represent both. Diversity in media is very important to me, in fact, I teach a college class about it!
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
For every great thing that’s happened to artists today, there’s a not so great thing. Social media gives us a free platform to share our work with a larger audience, but that also means you’re competing for people’s attention. People may equate having a large following with doing quality work when that’s not always the case.
Social media also makes it easier to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. I believe that having a solid “creative support group” is super important: friends whose opinions you trust and make you a better artist. My friend and I actually host an event called Crafty Hour where we invite all our creative friends to share their passion projects with each other while snacking on cheese and wine. We started it when we were both in a very low place in our careers, and I know this sounds dramatic but it really turned our lives around! Every Crafty Hour has been so inspiring for us, and I highly encourage everyone else to start their own with their friends!
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
New episodes of the “Something Scary” web series and podcast come out every Tuesday on YouTube.com/Snarled, and wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also check out my website www.sapphiresandalo.com for any upcoming cons and events I might be at!
- Website: www.sapphiresandalo.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/awkwardsapphire
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/sapphiresandalo.official
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/awkwardsapphire
- Other: www.youtube.com/snarled
(c) Andrew Kemmis