Somsara Rielly is a Los Angeles Artist & Designer. Her name means “the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth” in Sanskrit – a pretty heavy name to be born with for someone who just wants to make the world a more beautiful place. Always driven by conceptual thinking, Somsara’s blend of classical and modern styles results in a timeless and unique aesthetic. Her collage and mixed-media work weaves in layers of interpretation and explores the boundaries between art and design. A lifelong love affair with paper, typography, and printing techniques continue to inspire new methods and connections resulting in a unique style and voice. Be it design, illustration or fine art, there’s always a dash of wit and a wink. Somsara worked with Scout Books to create her beautiful notebooks for collecting all your goals for the new year and was kind enough to answer a few questions about the project.
What inspired you to create the GOAL GETTER notebooks?
It was such a combination of things! I’ve been making a concerted effort to blend my collage work and design work, and had been wanting to create something as a self-promotion piece and holiday gift. It’s important to me to make thoughtful things with a purpose – something that is actually useful and maybe even dares to be inspirational.
I am also SUCH a new year’s “clean slate” kind of gal – I love the new year rituals. I enjoy the process of reflection, and setting new goals and intentions every year. This year in particular was so difficult on so many levels, and many people understandably seemed to be feeling “Ugh let this year be over already!” That made me kind of sad because I also saw so many great things happen this year – so I wanted to do something to focus on the positive and try and change some of that narrative. It takes real effort to keep the good things we accomplish front and center in our lives and not focus on the bad, and I personally have to remember and record that I actually DID make progress this year. Writing things down really helps you see that you are taking positive steps big and small to make your life – and hopefully the world – a better and more beautiful place.
When I read that statistic about how writing down goals makes them 42% more likely to happen, I just thought “well that’s some concrete evidence to back up a process I already believe in!” So, creating a cool, inspiring, easy-to-reach place to record your goals and any other ideas or thoughts for the new year (or any time of year really) seemed to hit a lot of sweet spots for me.
We’d love to learn more about your collage process. Do you work with a blade and paper, digitally, or between mediums? Where do you find your favorite source material?
I create everything by hand, nothing digitally. I make a point to stay away from my computer and just commune with all the random stuff I collect and see what happens. It’s become such a window into where my head is at, and sometimes it still surprises me (which is what I love about it!). I frequent flea markets, thrift stores, Goodwill, people’s garages (legally of course) and have been at this for so long now that people gift me plenty of paper treasures. I love the hunt! I’ve also been known to pick up “trash” off the street that looks interesting. I try not to plan too much ahead of time, I start sifting through all my images and suddenly an idea comes. Or I’ll read a phrase in a 1940s Woman’s Day magazine that sparks something, and then I start cutting, layering, painting – it just goes from there. I do also have a more formal process for a larger new project I’m working on that involves a series of smaller collaged cards I’ve made that informs larger pieces, but that project is still taking shape.
What appealed to you about designing in the Scout Books format?
I always carry a small notebook with me, so first and foremost it’s a useful and practical object! What I loved about Scout were all the design details and page options – that you could have all that with such a small print run, which is always the trick when you want to produce something great on a small budget. I was also interested in the challenge of producing a one-color photographic image on your cover stock to see if I could get it to a place where I was really happy with the production of it. The Scout design team was so great in helping me achieve that and answered so many (many!) questions – the entire process was really easy and pleasurable.
Can you tell us a bit more about the beautiful foiled belly bands? They’re amazing!
Thanks! My good friends at Paperleaf Press in Downtown Los Angeles did that for me. I wanted to include some messaging with the notebook to make clear its purpose and intent, but I didn’t want to junk up the illustration with a lot of text, so it seemed like a good packaging solution. It’s one-color silver foil on a red cover stock, and I hand-applied the crystal myself.
What are your goals for 2018? Any projects on the horizon that you can share?
Sure! I have set both goals and intentions for myself in 2018. This year in particular, my intentions are important because they are really influencing and motivating my goals. There is one particular big project goal (that I can’t talk about just yet but I’m SUPER excited about!) and it’s taking a lot of bravery on my part to move forward with it. So I am really focusing my intention on being bold in my decision-making and remembering to dream BIG, which has been a challenge for me in the past to help achieve those goals. I want to create more products using collage and design. I want to have more collage illustration projects for clients. I want to have projects that are purpose-driven and give back in some way. I want to be a part of more gallery shows. I also reset the goal every year to meditate every day, which helps me stay focused and remember my daily intentions. Oh! One project I am working on that I can talk about is with photographer Stephanie Vovas – I love her work so much and we are developing her first product right now that is going to be awesome. So, I’m helping someone else realize their goal too, which is exciting!
How can we get our hands on a copy of your notebook?
I sent out a bunch for holiday and self-promotion, but I still have some in my shop for sale, Scout readers can enter SCOUTGOALS at checkout for 20% off! Or if you are in a position to hire me and want to work together I might just send you one free. It’s easy to find me through Somsara.com. Thanks again Scout, and Happy New Year!
Big thanks to Somsara for working with on this project with us and sharing her process!