How does a high school junior find time to act, sing, create art, start a business, and still get great grades? Sara Shiff says that she’s still working on time management, but it’s clear that she isn’t daunted by a heavy workload. We talk to the Armstrong High School student about where she got her start, selling her beautiful artwork in an unsuspecting medium, and getting ready for Rimon’s annual P’Chotchka event, on this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast.
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How did you first get connected with Rimon and get asked to present at P’Chotchka?
I took part in a Yachad art program on Wednesdays where the Jewish teens across Minneapolis would come to the JCC for their pre-confirmation or even confirmation classes. There was an art class where we drew with charcoal and there were some guests who were supposed to draw pictures of and (Rimon Executive Director) David Harris happened to be sitting in front of me so I drew a picture of him and then he ended up thinking it was rather good. Later that week he emailed me saying that there was this program called the Rimon Artist Mentorship Program where he is set up three Minneapolis teens with artists across Minneapolis. I was set up with Lynda Monick-Isenberg, and with her, I learned a lot of different techniques about painting and drawing which culminated in my participation in the Uptown Art Fair. Then David asked me to participate in P’Chotcka because of my experience in the Rimon Artist Mentorship Program.
P’Chotchka features eight artists who will each show 18 images on the screen and have 18 seconds each to talk about it. How ready are you?
I’m pretty ready I’d say 75 percent there. My outline was made a few weeks ago and I put all of the images I wanted. Now I’m just incorporating a few videos; if you’re a multimedia artist such as myself who doesn’t just have paintings drawings and but also singing and performing, you can incorporate video.
Is there a particular style of singing that you prefer or what do you tend to practice?
I’m training classically and I aspire to be an opera singer which is on a super cool thing. I went to the Classical Singer Convention last weekend for young artists. I’ve actually been participating in quite a few competitions to get that resume boosted for auditions which will be happening this fall for different university vocal programs and conservatories. That’s a really big part of my life so a few videos that I will be incorporating are from just different performances that I’ve had.
Where did the love of graphic art that David first noticed you for come from?
I’ve always loved to draw, and my family’s pretty artistic; my grandma’s sister actually is an artist and her son as well, in St. Louis. I’ve grown up around art my whole life. I always loved art classes, and when I saw that Yachad class to learn how to draw with charcoal I was just immediately drawn/
On the Instagram page for your art, you sell stickers and tattoos that you make from hand and sell globally. How did that start?
It was actually from Lynda. When we were preparing for the art fair I didn’t want to just sell prints and original art because I thought that so many other people would be doing that I want to be more original so she at first suggested converting art to like pillowcases and sheets cases and I was like that’s super cool. But those are kind of expensive. I’ve always actually drawn on myself with Sharpies which isn’t that good for you so my mom told me not to do that. Temporary Tattoos are not bad for you, In middle school, I’d draw Henna on my hand all the time and on my friends; it was my little side hobby when my teachers were lecturing. It’s OK, I still got A’s. I bought temporary tattoo paper last summer and I printed out a hummingbird on a flower and put it on my friend’s back. I posted it to my Snapchat and Instagram story and the response was just incredible I did not really expect it. It was like dozens and dozens of people saying “Oh my God these are so cool I want this can you make more. Then I realized that that was a new thing that I could do so that became the new focus for the art fair, which then became a focus for a little business that I run instead of having a job basically I had a job last summer. it wasn’t my favorite so then I decided to quit that to sell my artwork.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!