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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Every Sunday from 10:00 AM ‘til 5:00 PM, Cabrillo Boulevard is speckled with pops of passionate color and quaint quirky designers offering up their most prized works. The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show originated in 1965 with only 12 artists and has now grown to an over-150-person event attracting thousands of attendees. 

It is known for being the only “non-juried”festival of artwork in the world. Everybody is welcome, regardless of status, price, or artistic background. Each member is a Santa Barbara County local and the sense of community really comes across. Artists are always more than happy to talk about their art and their journeys, and what makes it special to them. In honor of Women’s History Month, I took a trip down to interview some of the incredible women artists and learn more about their individual stories. 

Once walking out of the parking lot, I was immediately met with beautiful vibrant oil color paintings by Amanda Beth. Her attention to detail and fascination with light and glass objects fashioned up a gorgeous spread of personal designs. She graduated from Westmont College with a B.A. in Studio Art and explained that  she had just started selling her art in September 2022.

Amanda told me that she “makes oil paintings predominantly on wood panels” and “really loves to do still lifes on fun objects and painting [them] light and fun.” When asked what inspired her to get started, she said that after graduating college she was doing graphic design and trying to keep doing art as well, and eventually made the switch to just focusing on oil paintings. She said that “so far [when] selling on the art walk [she] has been doing pretty good.” 

I wanted to know if there was a piece that specifically stood out to her as a favorite. After some deliberation, she pointed over to a beautiful oil painting of a glass kettle and a china cup and saucer titled ‘Tea Time.’ Amanda goes on to point out another piece, one of a lava lamp, and discloses to me how it was featured in Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara in their “100 Grand” show. The show hosts 100  pieces of art for $1,000  or less, making it a perfect opportunity for paintings with more of an affordable cost, which for her, was “pretty exciting.”I inquired as to whether she had any advice for other artists who were starting out. Amanda said, “look at other people’s art and immerse yourself in it.” She explained that she follows a lot of cool artists on Instagram and that “it is a really awesome community” to be a part of. She goes on to recommend setting goals, and that one of her goals is to try and paint every day, which really helps her get better. She adds how she always tries to finish every piece in [a] painting session [to feel] more gratification.”

After leaving Amanda’s stall, I noticed the most beautiful Parisian Street painting contrasted against the blue Santa Barbara sky. It turns out the artist was UCSB Class of ‘84 Art Major Alumni, Sue Slater.

Sue explained to me how after graduation she: “painted full time as much as [she] could and also worked a part-time job.” She then, “signed up for this show three years after, and got in [and] also did out of town shows like Beverly Hills, La Quinta, and some gallery shows, and had success in a local gallery called Gallery Bianca in ‘88, and [she] has just been going full time from there.” 

I wanted to know if she also had a favorite piece and immediately she replied “I am so glad you asked that. The Paris one probably is one of my favorites.” I explained it was funny as that was what immediately drew me to her art. 

I went on to ask her about what advice she would have for young women artists. She stated, “With any artist, it depends how old you are and how much you have worked before somewhere else, but I do recommend kind of saving up some money so you can work for like a year on your art. But don’t not have a job and try to do your art. Try to pay your bills. So I really recommend working hard, even two jobs sometimes, saving the money and then do what you really want. Perhaps have a part time job in the background that is steady and it will maybe cover your rent. So you can create and then ultimately, hopefully like it did for me, you can just do your art or your music or whatever it is.

“That’s what I recommend because sometimes people want to start [when they are young] and they realize how stressful it is because they have 1,000 dollars they have to pay for rent. So I think it is really important to get your bases covered so you can do what you want. And keep your focus, think about why you’re doing the job (that might seem boring) for another job.”

The last artist I spoke to was Tarannom Khokdabandehloo. Her work was beautiful feminine watercolors of nature and landscapes. The intricacy was incredible. I asked her about how she got started as a painter.

“Since I was a child I really liked painting and I took different courses and then it became my hobby,” Tarannom said. “But, during Covid, I realized that I wanted to make it into a business. So about two and a half years ago I started as a business. I made an Instagram page and then attended the show.”

She explained that her favorite  pieces were both “scenery” and “flowers.” She said, “I love to do flowers, but I can sell sceneries better, so that is why I do both.” Most of her inspiration comes from pictures but she “changes them a little,” and adds “her own colors.”

A huge influence for her was the Persian mystic and poet, Rumi. “I love Rumi and Rumi quotes, so I use them a lot. Rumi has a quote that says ‘As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.’ So it’s like if you move and do something for your goals, the universe will help you. The energy will help you and you can get it. So you just have to start it. Because some people, they are afraid to start something so they will never achieve [it]. You have to be brave to start the way.”

Each of these women’s inspirational stories was unique and captivating. Their artwork mirrored their mottos and journeys, and each was beautiful in itself. To find so much freedom, creativity, and hard work just around the corner was an enlightening experience for me. If you’re wondering whether hard work is worth it, the proof was in the paintings. 

Hi! My name is Francesca, I am a second year at UCSB. I am originally from England but have moved to California for college. I love living in SB and being able to live out my California girl dream!