Meet the Maker Month: Sonny of Soft Trash Studio

I am an artist and designer trying my best to make my art as ethically, locally, and sustainably as possible. The name SOFT TRASH comes from the idea that everything gets thrown away eventually, so why not make the impact of our trash as soft as possible?

What inspired you to start your own business? Honestly, the pandemic. I had always been apprehensive to start my own business, but with how messed up everything is because of the pandemic I wasn't as afraid anymore. Wish I was a bit more excited about this new chapter of my life, but I am slowly appreciating how fortunate I am to be able to work as an artist full time while I am in school.

What about being a maker is most important to you? I have always been an artist, but primarily a portrait artist and illustrator. Being able to make more affordable products with my designs was never something I thought I could do (mainly because I never knew much about the process), but being a maker it is important to me that my art be accessible. Accessible not just with how my art is received and understood, but also how affordable my art is. I even do my best to include image descriptions with all my posts and will eventually be updating my Etsy shop to include image descriptions of all my products.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions with your business? I am planning to work on and hopefully finish my graphic novel. It's been a story I have been working on for years, and have finally gained some momentum on it in the last few months. Not quite sure what the final style will be yet, so I am mostly in the planning phase right now with concept art and figuring out plot points.

What does being a Maker mean to you? Being a maker means making things. They don't always have to be great, but to me, they have to be honest. Some days I can only work so much on a project, but it's still my best and I know someone else will also appreciate the time and care I put into it. Other days I spend WAY too much time on a project and feel a little burnt out after, so most importantly I think being a maker is finding a balance between doing what I plan to do and doing what I can do... and making the most of whatever comes of that.

What motivates you to create? I was a successful artist at a very young age, and so I spent most of the last ten years avoiding art because creating art didn't feel right to me anymore... it didn't feel good. Now I have gotten to a place where I enjoy creating and have inspiration again, but having the proper tools, technology, and support to do so is a huge factor as well.

How have you developed your skills? I have been doing art since I was a few years old. I just wanted to be good at it, then when I was I struggled to figure out what I actually wanted to do with my art. I've always been a big fan of magical elements, animals, and tattoos, so my style developed mostly around those things as I got older.

Where are you from and how does that influence your work? I am originally from a village in the 1000 Islands, Ontario. A lot of nature and not much else. It gave me a lot of time to focus on art and be inspired by the beauty of the world around me. Being passionate from a young garnered a lot of support from the community, which helped me develop my technical skills.

How have your life experiences shaped your art? I never really wanted to draw for approval, and so my art was always driven by my desire to create and what I wanted my skills to be. I sometimes feel the pressure to conform my art to more conventional standards, but experiencing moderate success from a young age made seeking approval for my art less appealing to me.

How has the pandemic impacted your creativity? It forced me to reflect more on what I wanted to do and also what I had the capacity to do. I struggled a lot at the beginning, but after taking an art program at a local college to get back into the rhythm of creating again and I was able to start my own art business.

How do you apply your creativity to other aspects of your life? With the pandemic most of my life is staying home and doing art. lol

What themes do you pursue in your work? I like my art to be visually accessible, bright, and clear. Lately, I have been more focused on making my style look painterly but clean, yet I still try to keep a lot of simple magical elements in my work.

What is your favorite thing you've created and why? My favorite thing I've created was my very tiny recycled acrylic charms. They are .5" x .5", and the photos do not do them justice for how detailed and tiny they are. They just make me happy, and it was an accomplishment to design something so small that was still legible.

What is your dream project? My dream project is to design art that is used to raise money for local causes and help people who don't have access to the same resources and support to create their own designs as well as projects.

Do you accept commissions? I do! Pet portraits usually but also people. I can also design any custom product.

What type of art do you like to consume? I absolutely love music. Not only does it inspire me to keep focused on my art but it helps me feel more passionately about what I am doing with my art and what direction I might want to take it.

Describe your creative process I think, I sketch, I draw, I polish, and I manufacture.

How do your interests shift from one project to the next? I just finish a project and start on another one.

Describe your latest project My latest project was a series of sun catchers, full colour, with some gloss finishes and transparencies through the colours.

How do you know when you've finished a project? When it feels done or I am too tired to do anymore.

What steps are you taking to ensure your growth as a maker? Just keep creating and not pushing myself to do more than I feel like I can.

What inspires you? Making the world a little more enjoyable while we're here.

What initially drew you to your craft? Not wanting to work in the service industry anymore. lol

What three adjectives would you use to describe your work? Magical, clean, and colorful.

What story do you want to tell with your work? I want people to get more of a feeling from my art. If they like it and it makes them happy, great, but I know my art isn't for everyone. Hopefully, the people who are drawn to my art and inspired by it can find it.

Why are humans creative? To be human is to create. We make music, art, dance, tell stories... that's just a part of being human, of living.





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