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Interview: tattoo artist and illustrator Sasa Elebea on how to open yourself

Successful tattoo artist and illustrator Sasa Elebea promotes a modern and feministic sense of self-love with her illustrations. On her Instagram page she provides “daily illustrated advice” which goes from “I would rather lose the deal than lose me” to “Turn being grateful into a morning habit”. We talked to this inspiring lady about her work, background and the best advice she would give others.

To start: can you tell a bit about yourself? How did you become an illustrator and a tattoo artist?
“Yes of course. I’m Sabrina, but everybody calls me Sasa. I’m an Argentinean illustrator and tattoo artist – living in Tel Aviv. I started drawing when I was a kid, I always liked to express myself on paper with illustrations. When I was 10, I was drawing all the time. During that time, I also started to study art and I kept doing so ever since.”
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Illustrator Sasa Elebea
Illustrator Sasa Elebea

So, were you also drawing at school? How did your teachers respond to that?
“Well, actually not that cool. Back then, I was always making teachers upset because I was drawing during class in high school. So after I graduated I decided to start doing something related to fulfill that need.
At an age of 18 I started my degree on industrial design at university. During my studies I met a lot of people from different creative fields. That was when I started to go to design conferences, paint the streets and make ‘character illustrations’.”

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Illustrator Sasa Elebea
Illustrator Sasa Elebea

That’s cool! How did your clientele develop back then?
“Before I graduated, I started teaching and working with different clients. This has been going on for more than 10 years. After finishing university I decided to move to another country to explore a different culture and environment. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, because after moving you’re able to discover parts of yourself that you didn’t know before. You can start being a new you, which is always fun and exciting.”

Have you gone back to Argentina ever since?
“Yes, I did! Last year I went to visit my family in Argentina and I decided to learn how to make hand poked tattoos. This craft gave me a lot of confidence, together with a new perspective on how to communicate my ideas in a stronger way, leading to develop a new but similar style: the one I’m currently working with.”

Your illustrations and tattoos are very feminine and they depict daily struggles with a sense of humor and sarcasm. How do you come up with these subjects and where do you get your inspiration from?
“In the beginning I started with quotes that I found on Instagram. Currently I write mostly things I’m going through, which makes it very authentic. It comes right from the heart.”

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Illustrator Sasa Elebea
Illustrator Sasa Elebea

Isn’t it difficult to be that open, regarding the harsh comments people drop on Instagram?
“Well, I decided to open myself in words to help other people to see the world through my point of view, which sometimes is positive, sometimes a bit sarcastic and always feminine – because is part of who I am.
All my words comes from a situation that happened to me that day. I also read a lot, and sometimes I take notes of the ideas after processing some chapter of a specific book. Usually the comments are very positive, actually.”

That’s great. The words you share are often some kind of advice. What message do you want to spend with your ‘advices’?
“I like to share my opinions, I think a lot of people are going through similar situations together. We’re like a collective mind nowadays. I see it in daily life with friends and people I know. However, I got surprised to see that it happens online as well. I think is very positive to have a platform to express myself and help other people with my message. It’s like big group therapy.”

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Illustrator Sasa Elebea
Illustrator Sasa Elebea

Well concerning helping others: what’s the best advice you would give to others?
“For me the goal of life is to explore who you are and become that person you feel comfortable being, even if other people don’t approve, even if they are your family. We’re here in this life to be ourselves, to be different, because diversity makes the experience rich, so never apologize for being yourself.”

What’s the best advice you’ve had yourself?
“The same one! self love first always.”

How do you see yourself in 5 years?
“Being happy and amazing.”

Great answer. And concerning work: is there a brand of a person you would like to work with in the future?
“I would like to work with people who have the same values as me, who understand what I’m trying to do and who want that for their brands. So I’m always open to meet new people and work with new clients.”

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Illustrator Sasa Elebea
Illustrator Sasa Elebea

Check out the daily advice of tattoo artist and illustrator Sasa Elebea on:
@sasa_elebea
www.elebea.com

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