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The Artist Behind okei

The Artist Behind okei

Hello! This is my first blog post which I’m pretty excited about! I wanted to start a blog as a way for my supporters to know me better as an artist as well as a person. I also wanted to use this as a way to post my thoughts on artistic things, my journey, advice, and other things in more detail than what I can on Instagram or Twitter!
Well to start off, my name is Eve. I normally go by my artist name Sapphire but either name is fine! I'm currently 21 years old, based in Arizona and have been making art my whole life.
I have been drawing most of my life and always had an appreciation for art. Since I was little I knew I wanted to have some type of art career, well more specifically my dream was to be a full time painter, and as I grew my dream continued to change but it was always something artistic (besides that one time I wanted to be a dentist because my mom told me they made a lot of money lol).
I took performing arts all 3 years of Middle School and wanted to have a career in singing and acting as I am completely in love with theater especially musicals. But it never seemed like a realistic career and being a painter was also starting to look impractical especially because I still never had the guts to paint yet, just casual drawings every now and then along with notebook doodles. It seemed like everyone else had real goals and I was stuck in a fantasy which I had to get out of so I could focus on something real to study in high school.
I found a passion for baking, specifically decorating pastries. I thought I had found something that seemed achievable yet still artistic, my new goal was to own my own bakery with desserts too cute to eat. I was still continuing my drawing hobby as I can never give up traditional art.
Soon enough High School came and I had still signed up to be part of theater class, unfortunately I didn't get into that class but I did get a choir class, at least it was some type of performing art class. Then my 2nd semester of my freshman year I was moved into a graphic design class that I really loved. Of course I wasn't any good as I only ever drew on paper but I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer. I wasn't able to get another graphic design class after that as I had moved to a much smaller school.
This new school had less than 100 kids enrolled. The school didn't have any electives whatsoever, well that's the price I had to pay for having bad grades but it gave me the time to experiment with my art style. Even with my failing grades from Freshman year I was still able to graduate a semester early to my surprise. I was suppose to start college soon after but decided to take the semester off and start in the fall as I had originally planned to. During that time I started to take my art more seriously and found one of my own art styles that is really special to me. I still am not sure what to call it exactly but it is a type of mandala looking art. I wouldn't sketch anything before hand and only use ink, I basically drew what I felt. It was also a way to test my creativity and my patience since if I made a mistake I couldn't erase it and had to incorporate it into the artwork somehow.

College starts and I don't take any art classes until my 2nd semester which was my favorite class I have ever took in my whole life. I had never took a proper traditional art class before then. It was also the place I first painted, the art medium I was scared to try for so long. It was such a magical experience and I found my painting style in that class which is impressionism. During the end of the semester I decided to try another art medium during this time as well, decoden and resin.
I had gotten my first decoden phone case when I was about 15-16 years old from a decoden shop named DreamyCraftShop (@dreamycraftshop on Instagram) and I really loved the cute fluffy type cases they made and around the time I had started college I found more decoden shops. I always wanted to try making a decoden case but I knew it was an expensive hobby to get into. And then I stumbled upon a decoden shop named Bird and Bear Decoden (@birdandbear.deco on Instagram) and they came out with the cutest boba inspired phone cases and that just inspired me so much that I just had to try it out!
I did a lot of research before hand and my first phone case...was terrible lol. I had gotten the wrong silicone, I didn't use a strong enough glue for the rhinestones, it looked very ugly. BUT I was still very proud of myself because I finally did it! And after that I made a few more for myself and then for my sister and I improved each time I made a new case. Of course it was expensive to keep making all these cases so as a way to fund my new hobby I opened up my customs and started an Instagram account (@official_okei) dedicated to my decoden art in May of 2018.
I did a lot of experimenting with decoden. I had such a bad relationship with resin at the time, I had started with a fast curing 10 minute resin, it was terrible. I switched to a regular 24 hour resin after a few tries with the first resin. But I hated how long it took to make pieces with regular resin and I would always make such a huge mess, I would dread to work with resin, whipping the cases was the fun part for me.
Eventually I learned to be patient when it came to resin as I started to get better with it and started making pieces I was very proud of. After awhile my Instagram started gaining attraction and growing and people were actually ordering custom cases from me, people I didn't know in real life, I was so shocked. They really liked the art I was making? I couldn't believe it. Decoden and resin started becoming an everyday thing for me and I eventually opened up a website for my decoden art and started making more than just phone cases. I was making mirrors, phone grips, charms, I was having so much fun.
My second year of college wasn't as great as my first, it was completely tiring. I started to really hate my classes. Everyday I would wake up, go to school, go to work as soon as I got out, then right after I got out of work I'd go home and work on my decoden art. I thought about what I wanted to do again, did I really want to be a graphic designer? I was having so much fun with decoden I couldn't think about the goal I had for myself. But I was selling my artwork, the dream I had since I was little, although it wasn't paintings it was still my artwork.
I had made the decision to drop out of collage so I can focus on growing my art shop, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and it was to just make art and make other people happy with my art. The community I found and grew into had so many amazing people doing the same things so why couldn't I? It seemed like a realistic dream again. I didn't just want to make my shop focus on decoden phone cases anymore, I knew I wanted it to be known as an art shop not a deco shop, I wanted more of my art in it, I wanted to design things and expand it to much more than what it was. I designed a makeup bag, a mirror which I am the most proud of and an enamel pin which I had always dreamed of doing. I started showing other art mediums and not just decoden like my digital artwork and some traditional artworks as well. I am still working on expanding and growing my little art shop slowly but surely, and I hope you all can see it grow along with me.

Thank you for reading my first blog posts, I hope to come back with another post soon!

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