SahFyhr describes herself as a Consummate Art Peong and Henna Artist. Her intricate and detailed work speaks volumes of her depth of perception and approach to life and living - all Art. We share here a peek into her world, from her perspective. Here are SahFyhr's 20 Shades.

The SahFyhr Xperience is one that is tangible

How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?

My perspective is that creativity is a Divine exchange of inspiration and execution. As a conscious artist, my creative process involves keeping myself open as a conduit to Divine inspiration without judgment or prejudice and infusing my personal style and flair into the executions of those inspirations. This exchange is the centrifugal force that drives my work so it is vital to my artistic process.

How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?

My creative abilities are definitely innate and widely diverse. Both of my parents were artsy in their own rights, and as a child, they never shielded me from the diversities of Trinidad culture, which broadened my scope into different styles of creative expression. I distinctly remember growing up with a wide eyed sense of wonderment of the world around me. There are, of course, skills I must develop when I branch into new mediums, but I am able to translate most mediums very well into my personal style of expression.

I grow more confident in who I am and my purposes for being here

When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)? 

Well, I always tell people that while I attended secondary school in Trinidad, I absolutely hated my art classes while I excelled in my Technical Drawing classes (My dad was an avid draughter). Back then, it was my full intention to become the next great architect. When I migrated to study abroad, I started detesting my architecture classes and fell heads over heals in love with the one art class I decided to try out. The switch? - I was introduced to COLOUR!!! After that, I switched my major from architecture to art and I've found the perfect marriage by combining my technical abilities with my passionate adoration of colour!

My family supported my work as an individual who had a gift of a high level of artistry, but my biggest challenges came when I decided to pursue art as a career. There are family members who have staunchly supported my artistic journey from inception, and others who I still contend with today. However, I know I have been given this gift for a reason, and as I continue to refine the vision of myself and my life's work, I know that despite the challenges, in its appointed time, all will come to fruition. As time rolls on, I grow more confident in who I am and my purposes for being here. I'm constantly working on focusing on being my own biggest fan and support system.

What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?

Because I see artistic expression as a Divine exchange, I also see other people's art as such and respect it as is. I have my own personal aesthetic so I am drawn to certain styles of work and not to others, but I make it a practice not to judge anyone's work as "good, bad or ugly". *chuckle*

Monetary compensation should be compatible with creativity in general because the process of creation defines the very nature of our existence. All creativity is vital to the progression and evolution of the human race, whether through physiology or art. For my own works, monetary compensation is important in order for the life of my work to have longevity. As much as I can create just to create, the deeper intention of my work is for it to come into the world to make people feel loved and to help them to heal. The SahFyhr Xperience is one that is tangible. People comment over and over that they can literally feel the love I put into my work, when they receive it. That is why I do what I do, but I can only share my art if I have the monetary resources to perpetuate them.

The spirit of pure creativity that resides in Trinidad defines every fibre of my artistic expression.

Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?

It shouldn't be, but sometimes it is. This is something I'm actively working on though. Etching a path as a creative entrepreneur is one full of uncertainty, risk, perseverance, trepidation, determination, fear, faith etc. In the face of such dualities, it is easy to be susceptible to the opinions and influences of people who hold less desirable views of such a path. However, therein lies the lesson we all have to encounter - letting the voice of the Divine within us become louder than that of our own or other people's doubts. It is not easy but with the gentle support of my closest loved ones, I make strides in the direction of becoming a more self-assured me.

The spirit of pure creativity that resides in Trinidad defines every fibre of my artistic expression. Expressing myself as a product of this uniquely diversified culture, from the way I dress, to the style and flair of my work, there leaves no doubt to be had that I am a consummate art peong and island girl at the very heart of my heart. As Machel sang - I was born in the perfect place! - and it is important to me to always pay homage, in my work, to this beautifully diverse and rich place that I have the honour and privilege to call my home.

What do you do when you experience a creative block?

When I experience a creative block, I give myself time and space from the project and allow inspiration to come to me in its own time. While I'm in the period of waiting I may do research on the topic, in the dictionary to give myself a wider perspective and make myself more receptive to the inspiration when it comes. My artistic process allows for great opportunities for learning new things which can ignite the dullest creative block.

How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?

I just dive right in! When I get inspired for a work, I am very excited to see that vision come to life, so jumping right in is the only way for me. Besides, practice and execution are the best teachers and tools for learning and producing work. I love building my portfolio of work, so executing and bringing my ideas to life are essential to that process.

Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?

I don't have any specific rituals, no, but I will say that as a deeply spiritual person, my mind is always connected to the Divine as my source of inspiration. Also, I stay open to all that life has to offer, without judgment or discrimination. This in and of itself has allowed me to blossom in and refine the style of artistry I am focused on right now. Working toward this goal of pioneering an Island perspective in henna arts is one that thoroughly excites me!

Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?

Stylistically, no. My work has always been driven by expression of colour and fine, meticulously executed details. My mediums of expression have changed over the years, however, and now I've found what feels 100% great to my soul. Henna body art and henna applied arts.

This expression of change came through a journey of many dark nights of the soul. After college, the start of my artistic journey began with me handcrafting meticulously cut greeting cards and foldnotes. However, as the world progressed more into the technological age, it became increasingly more difficult to realistically market these items. 

As I had dabbled in henna a few years prior, I happened to cross the works of Darcy Vasudev of HennaLounge, and I was inspired. She posted a tutorial on decorating Mehndi style cookies and I excelled at it. That project became a springboard and I came up with my own designs and themes, including my hand drawn Nelson Mandela African inspired cookies. It was from there, my focus started to take root. Translating henna (body art) in to colourful art works, piqued my interest! I started playing with acrylics on different bases and a personal style started to flourish. After my grandpa died last year, I heavily revisited henna body art as a tool for self healing and realised I thoroughly enjoyed the way I felt applying and watching a henna stain mature. I realised that other people felt that same joy and it was then that I knew.... This was the best culmination of everything I loved to do and give, so I pursued it like a hungry lion.

The notion of “security” and a clear cut life path has been my biggest sacrifice

What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?

The notion of "security" and a clear cut life path has been my biggest sacrifice, if any such thing ever really existed. I am truly living out a providential adventure and it's not something most people understand. It can be scary and overwhelming living it out in real life, but to reflect on my past and see the ways in which I have been guided, protected and provided for in my most dire moments, I can do nothing else but trust that my life is in the benevolent care of SomeOne bigger than myself. It's not always easy to believe that though, don't get me wrong! Lol. If it weren't for the love and prayers of my family and friends, I would have gone sheer mad by now!

Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?

Well last year, I did give up on art. Maybe it was a culmination of my grandpa's passing, and not being able to fulfill his one living wish - to see me do something with my life/art before he died - and also coming to terms with a "failed" artistic venture, the last piece of my artistic soul crumbled. For months, I was creatively comatose and decided I could not go on doing any more art. The only art I became willing to do was henna body art, and only as a tool for self healing.

During this time, my friend, Sudesh, started heavily encouraging my newly refreshed pursuit of henna art. He pushed me to explore my innovative ideas in the craft, especially when I felt discouraged. His encouragement started to reignite the spark that had died and it fueled a new belief system that propelled me back to art and to Trinidad. 

Also, my dear friend Sofia has always gently encouraged my pursuit of henna arts from my humble beginnings years prior. Henna was definitely a challenging form of expression for me that did not come naturally. As a result, it was easy to become discouraged, but Sofia {and Sudesh} extolled my strengths in the craft which always gave me new fire to persevere. 

Walking an unconventional path is so strife with uncertainty, risk, fear, discouragement and internal battles to overcome, as an artist, it’s hard to traverse that road without unwavering support.

But my family... Ohhh! I am so blessed with a select few family members who have staunchly supported my unconventional way of life without any iota of antagonisation. Walking an unconventional path is so strife with uncertainty, risk, fear, discouragement and internal battles to overcome, as an artist, it's hard to traverse that road without unwavering support. My sisters, brother-in-law, my mom, rasta aunt and uncle, church mom and dad, sister in law and cousins have all supported my journey unequivocally. They have been the ones who have really helped me to persevere even under the most dire situations. I have experienced sparks of support from other family members, which has always been helpful in the pursuit of my goals, but the support from the aforementioned, has made the biggest difference in my successes as an artist.

Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.

I think it is most important to cultivate a personal sense of validation and acceptance in one's own work first. It builds confidence and esteem in oneself, which can help to propel one forward, especially during times of discouragement. Art appreciation is important, and the feeling of being accepted by one's peers is uplifting in encouraging the progression of one's work, but it should not be relied upon or replace the belief one has in one's purpose and life's work as an artist.

Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.

The result of my seemingly "failed" exhibit after my grandfather's passing, crushed me so deeply, it was the only time my artistic career was in jeopardy of dying its own death. It was the one rejection that broke me. Any other time I had experienced a lack of interest in my work, however, I was not deeply affected by those rejections because I understood the nature of my artistic process. My inspiration comes from a higher source and because of that fact, it has validity, whether or not people accepted the work. I may have experienced disappointment, but it always sent me back to the drawing board to mull out new ideas and concepts.

Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?

There is nothing that I have created in the past that I would change, because each thing has built upon itself to mould me into the artist that I am today.

Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?

I've never once doubted my talent. My doubts and fears revolved more so around my abilities to bring my dream of being a self-sufficient artist to fruition. The process of working through one's doubts is a continuous journey, but as I get older, my faith continues to grow deeper in God's providence and presence in my life and my doubts are dispelled in degrees.

What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?

There are two pieces of artwork that I am most proud of; my Nelson Mandela inspired cookies, which were inspired at the time of his passing and my Yerette hummingbird painting series which I believe came through the spirit of my granddad to inspire me. The fact that both of these inspirations came to me through the Universal Spirit of two men who I held in the highest regard, made these works ones that I treasured most deeply.

Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?

I would like to work with underprivileged children and young girls of Trinidad to teach them art expression using henna. My grandpa was adopted and if it weren't for this, I wouldn't be who I am today. Investing in the lives of children who may share the same life experience as he once did, could tip the balance in the course of their lives and I would like to be a part of that.

To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?

I am a late bloomer. Not by choice, but that was the design for my life long before I was born. There is nothing wrong with that, but according to society's standards, there is everything wrong with that. As a result, I've lived many years under the pressure of judgments, admonition and condemnation for my life's path. I am here to tell the young ones - don't believe the hype! Believe in PROVIDENCE! Believe in YOUR DREAMS! Find support - LOVING SUPPORT - where you have A SOFT PLACE TO FALL. In this age of reality tv and competition, people are being trained to believe that cutthroat and harsh mentorship is the only way to grow. IT IS NOT. I have been scolded and berated for what other people deem as stagnancy. My life was always and IS IN GOD's HANDS and you MUST believe the same for yourself. Find people who will ENCOURAGE you GENTLY, SUPPORT you without making you feel worse about yourself and where you are, and people who will push you to persevere in ways that make you FLOURISH and not wilt. LOVE is a great force and when you experience it, you know it! Walk away from anything AND anyONE that does not bring out your highest you. Do not question your INTUITION. Learn to TRUST YOURSELF even if the insights are painful. Stay OPEN to everything life has to offer, and God will lead you on a journey of SELF-DISCOVERY and adventure, and to people and things that will assure you of every good thing He had planned for your life, long before you were born. 

Read the stories of Humans of NY/TNT! It cultivates a spirit of compassion for our fellow man and humanises strangers so that we in turn don't fall into the trap of treating others the way we've been treated. Read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A novel, yes, but a book rich with concepts of faith, perseverance, patience and sheer will and determination of the pursuit of one's dreams. Become an ALCHEMIST of your own life! Dare - REALLY DARE to be different, but always RESPECT others! Know that you have your place in this world but it does not diminish the place of another! Be bold and CONFIDENT in who you ARE! You are here for a reason! Let an OPEN LIFE reveal it to you and when you put your finger on it, you will BE FREE! 

And lastly, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt - It is NOT the critic who counts, be it the external or our personal internal critic. DARE GREATLY because the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena STRIVING VALIANTLY, marred by dust and failure, but spending himself for a WORTHY CAUSE!

What would you most like to be remembered for? 

Let me be remembered for the way I love, and the love people feel when they receive my art. When people see an explosion of colour and culture, I hope I run across their minds. I want to be remembered for, and dare I say, even emulated, in the open way I embrace the world and my charitable nature. I do not place segregations upon myself based on race, creed, colour or religion. In cultivating this attitude in my life as a whole, it has made me a more versatile artist and compassionate person to the world I encounter. What could be a greater legacy than that to leave?

If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour? Quite the Enigma, Sunshine Yellow!!!

You can find SahFyhr online through her website, follow her on Facebook, converse with her on Twitter and keep up with her Henna work, edible Treats, artwork and even Yoga.

Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter and keep up to date with what's happening in the BigBox of Crayons. Join in the conversation with us and others on your favourite social media networks: FacebookTwitterInstagramVimeo.

Until next time - Stay colourful.