Syierra Shandle, 16
Why did you get into art?
It was one of those accidental things, I definitely had a thing for art. Like in elementary school I was drawing. And then in middle school, I got in that photography stage. It was the eighth grade was where I was like, yeah I’m really set on photography. But it wasn’t til ninth grade when I got accidentally placed in a film class and it was something I couldn’t switch out of, and I was like,” That’s so dumb! Why am I here?”, when I was supposed to be doing photography but ended up taking the course and I loved it! But then I saw there were more aspects of being a director, or photographer. I found this book at the back of my classroom. It was Screenplay writing for Dummies. I kind of read it, highlighted text, everything. And then I fell in love with the art of creating a movie I guess.
When would you say your creative process started?
I’ve always been a creative person. Maybe throughout my elementary years. It’s just something that I’ve been told that I was, and I liked hearing it. Definitely those early in ages.
What are your plans for your next moves?
So I’m moving to Germany in September, something I like to talk about. And I’m interested in going to their MET FILM SCHOOL out in Berlin. Hopefully, I’m able to progress my skills there but people tell me a lot that Screenplay writing specifically is just something you need to take the time to do, and you don’t need school for that. But you know.
Would you consider yourself primarily a photographer or writer?
Good question. I like being called an independent filmmaker, or a screenplay writer. It depends on who I’m talking to because I’ll just switch back between the two of them.
Do you make this work specifically for yourself, or do you want to share it with others?
A little bit of both. There’s something about that satisfaction that you get when you do something and you are proud of it. I’ve had those times just like anybody else where I’m just like unsatisfied with my work. And it’s more so for people rather than yourself, and then there are other times where I’m really proud of myself and I see future in it.
Do you feel like more teens should have the opportunity to share their artwork?
Of course. Totally. We are the next generation so when you have a bunch of people that are willing to do something artistically, why not have that? Because that’s something I don’t see a lot in the earlier generations.
How would you define art?
Art is the person that is doing it. It is a word that you can take within yourself. I’m art. We all are. It’s just a magical word.
Whats the most important thing to consider when creating something?
Definitely staying true to who you are. I’ve learned throughout my years of schooling that people are so quick to guide you in a direction that they think is perfect. But no one knows perfect but yourself. Your definition of perfect is true to you and that’s genuine and I think that’s really important when being an artist.
Walk us through the meaning of one of your favorite works.
I’ve written a film called LOVER. And it’s about someone who is taking this idea of love and discarding it because they’re impatient. And then it’s just going through all the lovely aspects of love, and just totally like. . .I don’t know its one of those things because I’m always in my feelings.
Where do you look when you feel unmotivated?
That’s the funny part when I feel unmotivated I don’t feel like I have anything that I listen to so. I don’t have a favorite director or a genre of the sort. Things that inspire me are people’s sentences and words. And I’m like hey, I can make a film out of that. Sometimes I get the title before I get the story and that’s always helpful. I don’t know it’s just something that always comes to me when I least expect it.
What most excites you about your future?
I’ll be in a totally different community and that’s always exciting. I was told that traveling is an important part of living, and I guess that part, where I get to share my work with other people from different countries, is outstanding. So yeah, I’m just excited for the future and what it has for me.
Do you feel that there needs to be a push towards programs that highlight Teens?
I think stuff like this. When its made by people our own age its comforting and inviting and it’s like hey these people are trying to help is and I think if we had more of these things. Especially if it was student ran its be more easy for people to be not so closed in or introverted when sharing their art.
Read Syierra’s work here: LOVER
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Make sure to save the date for our April art show at Tacoma Art Museum April 19th 6-8pm, submissions and more info coming soon!