Funny how we stumbled upon Sasha Martinez's gorgeous journals on Instagram's Explore page. Who knew that we'd discover something so beautifully handmade hiding in between Instagram hearts and hash tags. We love how her feed marries analog and digital and gives major creative inspo in just a few swipes on a phone screen. We went ahead and reached out to Sasha to ask her more about her journaling and creative space. Read on to find more about her beautiful work.
Get to know her. "My name is Sasha Martinez, nearing 27, haunting Quezon City. I'm a writer by profession, and right now I'm taking a bit of rest after six years in civil service."
Her journaling history and style. "I first started journaling very young, around eight or nine years old. I began with one of those diaries with decorative golden lock-and-key, because a notebook's main purpose for the early years of journaling was to keep secrets. My record-keeping has since sampled whatever kind of notebook I can get my hands on, and secrets turned into monologues. It was all words at first, rants and raves and rambles; eventually, they turned into records of days, and a lot of navel-gazing. I started incorporating art into my notebooks about a year ago—unifying them, when before words belonged in one journal and art belonged in another. It's been revelatory, the mixing and melding together."
When she sits down to write and collage. "I journal as I the day goes on. I'm always trying to record as faithfully as I can not only events but my reactions to them: What they make me feel, what they make me think. My journal is always at the ready. This also means that I can go a few pages without much art, save for a stamp there or a snippet of washi tape here. But at the end of every day, when it's all quiet and concluding, I sit down and assemble a collage on a page—or on half a page, envisioning words eventually curling around the edges if the art. I try not to use decoration as an afterthought; there's always a balance that has to be struck between what you write down and the art that you make. They should coexist."
On the table. "My desk has sprawled to include small bookshelves on either side of it, and then a trolley, to include materials and tools and a lot of old books. I've boxes of used stamps in one corner, drawers of washi and rubber stamps in another, and pens upon pens and a lot of glue in between. (And my cat is a desk mainstay; I work with him and around him, too.) On-the-go journaling is more streamlined: All you need is a pen and your notebook."
Go-to stores for materials. "I'm thankful for stores like Common Room and Hey Kessy for bringing arts and crafts into the spotlight. The work of other artists are much easier to source, as well as the materials you need to make your own. Online stores like Hobby Depot and Crafty Lane and Bee Happy are wonderful resources for stuff that's not available in local stores. And Booksale is a treasure trove of old books for collages."
For those who want to start creative journaling. "When I started putting collages into my dedicated journal, I called them "artmess"—an acknowledgment that art isn't perfection, that exploring something new hardly ever leads to something slick and shiny. But you have to begin, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into it—and you have to hold close what you want your art to be, how it interacts with what you write down, even as you keep your mind open to new ideas and inspiration and even influences."
Just start, and don't be afraid of mess when you know it's what will lead you to art that fulfills you.
For your inspiration. "Instagram has been such a font of inspiration, and it has the warmest journaling community made of kindred souls from the world over. There are some artists I really admire, and I hope to one day feel the same way about my art as I do for theirs. Off the top of my head: @tokwap, @tofzapanta, @jelsuarez, @nick_bantock_art, @leeamckenna, @jose_naranja, @caitmceniff, @joychong, @ronnycakes, @thepaperedview."
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