Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariel Cherry.
Hi Ariel, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
To begin my story, I would classify myself as a multifaceted creator. As a kid, I was interested in the art of all genres, so my parents gave me the freedom to try out everything, for which I am incredibly thankful. Art has been in nearly all areas of my life for as long as I can remember. To make a long story short, I realized that art for me was mostly about finding my self-expression. As an introverted child who struggled to express herself vocally, I tried to find expression through many creative outlets. From drawing to playing the cello to soldering device boards and thinking I wanted to be an engineer, I couldn’t narrow it down. I had grown with all these expressive skills and still did not know how to utilize them to express myself. Then came my love for photography. I didn’t want to be in the pictures. I just wanted to be the one taking them, which was a problem for my mother. I wouldn’t smile in pictures, and I didn’t like my smile. One day, I believe she was fed up with me and decided to barricade me in the bathroom with our family camera and said, “Don’t come out until you have a photo of yourself smiling. Find your side!” Let’s just say I was in the bathroom for a very long time and discovered my smile with a little bit of confidence.
Soon, I discovered the communicative power of visuals. I went to college for photography and digital imaging, where I focused on finding my style and which type of portraiture I wanted to pursue. Then, I had to deep dive into why I wanted to take photos of others in the first place. It all led back to self-expression and it became my intention to help every person in front of my camera discover something new about themselves or see something they hadn’t seen before. It fills me with joy to see their reaction when they view their images for the first time and I can see how moved they are. This, opened the door to my graphic design and illustration journey because I wanted to get more creative, so I decided to go back to college. With the knowledge of graphic design, I was able to create album covers and promotional art for musicians, and flyers and get into branding. Now, I’m very excited to have two college degrees that I can use together in the creative field.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road, but it has been the most enlightening and beautiful road of my life thus far. Life happens and for someone who likes to be overly prepared for everything, you just have to know that things happen out of your control. One of the most significant obstacles has been healing from a traumatic head injury amid a pandemic and trying to continue working and graduate. By the grace of God, I beat all those odds against me during that period. This obstacle taught me to slow down. Mostly because I didn’t have a choice but ultimately taught me what was important and that was healing from the inside out. I learned more about myself in the past year than ever before, and I’m just hitting 25. This challenge revived my passion for art and motivated me to get back into everything I loved.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
What do I do? That’s the question, isn’t it? Currently, I am a freelance graphic designer and portrait photographer. I have done contract work for a few organizations and businesses in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois. Graphically, I specialize in visual branding and illustrative portraits. Photography-wise I specialize in portraiture. I love being able to do both, so I am going to open a creative studio soon where I can have everything in one place.
I am most proud of being comfortable with being uncomfortable because that’s where the magic happens for me. Getting out of my comfort zone has given me opportunities to work with other local artists in the Twin Cities and out of state, as well as showcase my art with RAW Artists, Public Functionary, and many other places.
I don’t know what sets me apart from others who love their craft, but I understand that people gravitate toward me and my work because I pulled something good out of them. I’m passionate and in awe of everything around me. If I’ve seen it a hundred times, there is something different about it from the last sight that I didn’t notice before.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Whoever is reading this, I hope you keep your imagination alive and believe you are capable of anything you dream of. It is just going to take patience and work, but you have to want it.
Samantha LeeAnn Photography (main photo)