We recently caught up with class of ’12 Fine Arts alumna Sania Tamimi!
In a few sentences, tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating?
After graduating, I worked in Paris as an artist’s assistant making cast bronze sculptures and one of a kind furniture. Then, two years ago I moved to Austin, Texas and worked with a local foundry to continue making my own pieces in bronze. I also became involved with a group organizing art exhibitions and open studio events featuring local artists.
Around the same time, I took a position in the costumes department for several TV shows being filmed in Austin. Most recently HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ and ABC’s ‘American Crime’. Though working in film was a bit divergent, it has been a fun and creative experience that led me to my current project: creating handmade steel and bronze door hardware.
Tell us about this new chapter in your life, and the inspiration behind it.
Although I enjoyed my time in the film industry, I still longed for the satisfaction I received from working with metal. I found myself back in the shop with a welding torch in my hand and a smile on my face. I began creating and fabricating furniture, fixtures with a new found focus.
I have recently begun collaborating with a designer of custom handmade steel doors and windows for high-end homes in Austin and around the country. I was inspired to create equally beautiful handmade hardware that compliments the aesthetic.
What has been some of the challenges you’ve faced?
I found myself having to make a few minor adjustments leaving the cultural capital that is Paris for Austin. I had to learn to be patient in a sometimes frustrating world where realities and limitations can get in the way of vision and ideas. In a simpler city with fewer artistic resources and a less supportive art culture, I had to be more creative with where I derived my inspiration.
What classes or projects in school have helped you overcome some of these challenges?
The lowest grade I have ever received was during my junior year in sculpture. It was devastating to me. I had no desire to work in 3D as I stubbornly only wanted to paint and draw. With the support and guidance from professors, I navigated my way through. This culminated to a final project in bronze that not only am I still proud of to this day, but is also where my passion was born for my current professional pursuits.
How did Paris inspire you as an artist?
It is an amazing and fortunate thing to live in a city with such a high level of art and culture. It seems difficult not to be inspired by everything: museums and countless exhibits, the fashion houses and design studios, and everyday examples of artistic expression, all set to the backdrop of beautiful architecture.
Working in foundries where the masters of bronze still have molds, working with people who restore their bronze, and being able to visit the museums where those pieces are displayed has been so inspiring.
What advice would you give to people thinking of going into art and design in higher education?
One of the most rewarding things about studying Fine Arts or design at a school like PCA is that while you begin learning important basic skills and honing your craft, you can also cross pollenate with other mediums and disciplines. This makes you a more well-rounded and versatile artist, and helps you develop new passions. It will also create new opportunities in the future. The skills that you may not think you need, sometimes can be the most beneficial, even critical when least expected.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
With my focus being more on functional pieces, I’ve been drawing inspiration from everyday things that are often overlooked by great design. Trying to find where the intersection of useful and aesthetic come together.
What advice would you give to students thinking of starting their own projects after their studies?
When embarking on any new endeavor there are any number of steps to take to give yourself the best chance for success, but I think not to fear failure is the best advice I can give: to be willing to give your entire being to something. To put your heart and soul into it without concern for criticism, negativity, or your own self doubt, is how mediocrity is overcome by greatness.