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Meet Sandi Piorek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandi Piorek.

Sandi, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I got started as a visual artist about ten years ago. During my MBA program, I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness in management. I previously had zero experience with mindfulness practices, and the idea of going inward was completely foreign to me. Instead of just jumping on to the next thing I found in front of me, for the first time in my life I started asking what I wanted, and listening for answers. Upon completing my MBA, I went to the Getty Center and prayed, asking for direction on my next path. The answer came swiftly, I wanted to be a fashion designer! I had worked in fashion before, but on the wholesale side, and had no training in design.

I enrolled in fashion and graphic design courses at Santa Monica College, and soon landed an internship with a sustainable fashion designer in DTLA. My internship turned into a paid position and I fell in love with creating and gained a new-found respect for sustainability. I was making textile designs, creating patterns, look-books, line-sheets, creating flyers, sketching designs, cutting fabric, quality checking garments and loving my new environment.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No! It has not been a smooth road. I suppose it rarely is though.

Not too long into this fun adventure, I became pregnant with my son. This was such an extreme life shift for me. I was so unprepared for motherhood, and my body and mind suffered tremendously. It took me several years, a great therapist, countless days of crying on the floor during restorative yoga, and the best health coach in the world to recover. I had wanted to return to what I was previously doing, but it took a while for me to realize that I couldn’t and that I really didn’t want to. Motherhood had stolen my heart, and I wasn’t willing to leave my son for anything in the world.

In the past few years, I’ve spent a lot more time going inward and attempting to navigate how to balance motherhood with my love for fashion design. It’s been a difficult journey in a lot of ways — one in which I constantly question myself, my choices, and my abilities.

It’s been an uphill battle, but I’ve been able to identify what is most important to me, and how I’d like to be in the world now. A few years ago, I started taking extension classes at Otis for photography. I realized that a big part of what I loved in fashion design was related to the images we were producing. I came to understand I am not just a fashion designer, but a visual designer and artist. When I am able to expand my definition of myself, the work I’m capable of producing isn’t as limited. Work in photography and graphic design allows me to balance motherhood with the visual arts.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a visual artist, and I make dreamy minimalist images. I have incorporated my love for mindfulness practices into my work. I want to capture moments that bring to mind peace, calm, connection, center, and balance. My journey has taken me to monastery stays, establishing a yoga practice and leading contemplative retreats. This all gets reflected in my work, as it’s such a central part of my life, and really is what informs everything I create.

Within my mindful minimalist framework, I focus on nature, flowers, architectural elements, geometric shapes, and light in my photography and illustrations.

My most recent collection is a group of photographic prints of the pacific ocean on a foggy day. I’ve captured the serene nature of the sea in a way that I aspire to live: mindful, minimal, calm, and serene, as if in a beautiful dream.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The biggest lesson I have learned is to trust myself.

If I’m not looking for outward approval, my proudest day is every day I wake up and decide to move forward in my dream — no matter how big or small the movement. Every day I validate my choice to be who I want to be in the world and stand firmly knowing who I am, what I stand for, and not letting other people or the world influence me is a huge win.

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Profile Image by Brooke Tobin

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