"I can’t really put my finger on when writing became the center of my everyday living, but I really matured about a year ago. In most situations it was difficult for me to express myself through my actions so I sort of began to write in ways people could be like 'wow. I understand you.'"
Sarah Ceraphina Tekele is an artist – I'd call her a writer, first and foremost, but her words come closely intertwined with her visuals. Whether accompanying self-portraits or scanned in on sticky notes for her Tumblr; illustrated by an array of Pantone squares + film stills on her Instagram, her train of thought, free-form poetry + paragraphs are honest and open; feminine and confessional and questioning. I was so glad to be able to meet with her a few weekends ago at my studio in Brookland to shoot portraits, drink tea, and get to know each other; I found her to be one of those rare people who take a little of the light in the room with them when they leave. Young – 20 – and radiating positivity, excitement, and vision, she's someone whose work I'll be keeping an eye on for a long time to come.
"[My goals are] to continue creating from my heart and branch out globally. I want galleries with my portraits of people and words plastered all over the walls."
How do you describe your work?
Nostalgic // Sentimental // Universal. I say all three things because in most of my pieces I try to evoke a familiar feeling to my audience. For instance, that unspoken feeling you get when you recall a childhood friend and can't understand why things aren't the way they once were, but the simple truth was because time had taken course. It's those emotions they can't form on paper and in hopes when reading my words they can recall / feel / reminisce / or even trigger memories from long ago or last week.
And how interconnected are your imagery and words?
IMAGERY is so important to me, they are so very much intertwined with one another. Words alone are powerful but when you are able to visualize those emotions on sticky notes // ripped painted pages // and even photo sets, it allows that narrative to transform into an entirely new masterpiece and in some cases [makes it] tangible.
"I was born in Arlington, Virginia but I spent a small but memorable portion of my childhood in a small town in Broken Arrow, Tulsa (Oklahoma)...My memories lie within that state."
I really, really dig your Tumblr. There's such response to your work, and you regularly engage with your audience. I love that.
You know, at first it was like “Sarah, stop writing so much,” and as quickly as that thought came another would suppress it and respond with “who cares, I’m doing this for me.” I think one of the greatest things about writing is being able to connect with people. That feeling of mutual understanding is that same feeling you get when you’re at your favorite concert and the band members stop singing to let the audience join in and for that split second it's just the voices of everyone. No instruments. Just humanity enjoying something together. That’s how it feels.
Social networks are amazing if used wisely; luckily I've had the opportunity to create memories and meet so many amazing people.
"I'm really bad with favoriting things. I have a terrible habit of calling whatever makes me feel great at that moment my favorite thing. But...[my favorite song] would have to be the entire soundtrack of Her and Kingdom Hearts - Dearly Beloved."
Transportation features prominently in your online imagery - buses, airports, the metro - especially on Instagram. Can you talk about that?
Ever since I was younger I had this huge fascination towards traveling. I always had to be somewhere that wasn't home. It's this overwhelming wanderlust that pushes me to explore DC. I can't fully describe how public transportation makes me feel, but it's this small sense of excitement I get when knowing I'm going somewhere other than home. It's as if these locations represent a mere glance of my pursuit to see the world one day.
What projects are you working on?
I'm currently working on my website for MEYOUUS, which focuses more on my creative writing and personal photography, and also Daughter, which tells stories about the girls who roam our earth.
What's YOUR creative DC?</b><br />
My creative DC would be the act of living freely, the freedom to roam wherever one wishes to go.