Welcome to Soma's Creative Profile Series, where we profile several creatives and ask what hydrates their creativity and craft.
First up is Sam Ushiro, product designer and photo stylist based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Tell us about your craft. What sparked your interest in baking?
Sweets and desserts have always held a special place in my heart (and my diet), and I never seem too full to finish off the last slice of cake or eat a bowl of ice cream after dinner. My mom has a cookie business in Michigan, and I grew up watching her bake constantly, so baking is pretty much in my genes. I never had an interest in it until college though, when I started watching more cooking shows and seeing people construct extravagant desserts out of just a few ingredients. The first dessert I ever baked was a chocolate caramel donut, which explains my HUGE love of donuts, and about a couple hundred donuts later and a whole lot of frosting, here I am!
Can you elaborate on the items that fuel your art? How is each item instrumental to your creativity and craft?
Without a proper mixer, bowls, whisks, spatulas...none of the desserts that I make would ever turn out quite right. Baking is such a science, that with one misstep, the whole recipe could be ruined. When I first started baking, I didn’t have an electric mixer, and I can’t even explain the relief it’s been now that I have one! There are so many things that I just wouldn’t be able to make without it, which is what makes it so instrumental to my craft.
Looking at your Instagram feed, we can tell that you have an eye for bright colors and fun concepts! Can you break down your creative process?
I keep a collection of really fun props, which is where I usually start off in thinking about what I want to photograph for the day. I treat my Instagram gallery like a little curated space with all of my work, so I then choose a color palette that suits that space best. I think about what would make me excited if I were seeing my photos as an outsider, and I try to bring that excitement into whatever I post. Usually a lot of balloons and confetti are involved...and donuts of course!
What inspires you? Are there any places, designers, writers, websites, etc that you immediately go to when you’re stuck in a creative rut?
I love to walk around party stores or look at the murals in Brooklyn. I find a lot of inspiration in the really strange things you can discover in a party store, and I thrive off of the challenge of taking a silly party supply and trying to style it in a way where it takes on a completely different life. I also am a huge film lover, and draw a lot of my inspiration from Surrealist filmmakers such as David Lynch and Michel Gondry. There are so many bizarre things that exist in Surrealist film that can inspire a lot of really fun ideas or at least get your mind moving in a creative direction.
How does utilizing a product like Soma in your daily life hydrate your creativity?
In recipes that call for water, a Soma filter really makes a difference in the overall taste of what I’m baking. I also drink a lot of tea throughout the day, and filtered water speeds up the steeping time, allowing me to stay hydrated while also saving me time. Plus, I love having cold, crisp water ready at any moment to add to whatever I’m making!