Artist: Ciara Sana Clark
by Brent Cole
For Ciara Sana Clark, art is a passion and a source for good in the world. Born and primarily raised in Guam before moving to the states at the age of 13, Ciara’s work features bold and beautiful colors as well as a subtle positivity that permeates throughout. Now a full-time artist, she’s taking her art and positivity to the masses, hoping to change the world for the better as she goes.
Ciara’s been drawing for as long as she can remember. “My dad said I could draw before I could write my name (my dad is also an artist so I guess it runs in the family). I just remember art always being a part of my life – I used to draw on the walls and pretend I was a teacher teaching art class, and this was before I attended school.”
During high school in Walla Walla, Ciara first experienced showing her work in public when she took a required art class as a senior. The piece ended up winning an award and being submitted in a state competition; it was also the first time Ciara used art to process emotions as she was dealing with the death of her grandfather. “I did a piece that represented the cycle of life, with a sun and a tree. I remember being scared, vulnerable, but also very proud of myself for being brave.”
It was over six years later that she first had a public showing of her work. “I remember having the same feelings, but mostly fear. I was afraid that I was a ‘fraud’ because I had no idea what I was doing. I was afraid of being self taught, like I wasn’t a ‘real artist,’ that I didn’t deserve to show my art. I’m glad I did it. My fears are liars.”
It was the desire to show her art and be part of an artistic community that brought Ciara to Bellingham. “Here I found a community that embraced me and continues to help me grow. I am so thankful for this community. I am constantly surrounded by other artists and creatives that inspire and lift up one another,” she said enthusiastically.
The two defining characteristics of Ciara’s art are her use of colors and the positivity that flows throughout her artwork. “I draw the same way I eat. There’s always a lot to digest in one sitting,” Ciara said. “I used to shy away from color in my art. I would only illustrate in black ink on white paper. Color was very sacred to me, and I didn’t want to ruin it by putting it on my art. Now, I sometimes change my color palette 3-5 times before I settle on one, and then I change it again. As a Pacific Islander, bold and bright color is just a part of our culture.”
For Ciara, her art needs to be accessible, which shapes the business side of her work. Having grown up poor in Guam, once she decided to sell art, she decided people needed to afford her art. “I wanted to represent more people of color, and I wanted to make sure that if I was representing people like me, then it better be accessible to people like me,” Ciara stated.
Recently, Ciara has taken on her artistic pursuits full-time. She is currently working markets over the holidays under the moniker Art by Ciara. Into the new year, she’ll be working on a project with her husband called ‘Starry Eyed Society.’ “It’s still in its infant stage, but will ultimately be a place where people go to be inspired and delighted,” she said. “We think a smile changes everything, so we want to create a community that cultivates that kind of goodness through art.”
No matter what the form, though, art is a powerful force for Ciara. “I think art can change the world. I think it’s a tool for good. I’ve seen people from different backgrounds, cultures, opinions and beliefs come together to admire the same piece of art. It’s a place people can come together, take a moment and say ‘wow, that’s lovely’ despite their differences. That is what art is to me, and I want to be a part of that in whatever way I can.”
For more about Art by Ciara, follow her Facebook page or see her website at www.shopartbyciara.com.