Symone Salib

Symone Salib (she/her) is a first generation Cuban/ Egyptian muralist, illustrator, and educator based out of philadelphia. She creates art that focuses on the storytelling of community members through public art installations. Creating art that depicts the people you love and admire in the community helps to pay homage to the hard work that these people do everyday. She wants to give people their roses while they’re still on this earth. She wants people who dedicate their whole lives to building strong communities to feel the gratitude they deserve. She wants people to feel seen. She wants people to feel heard. She wants people to feel valued.

Tell us about the type of work you do. Walk us through a typical day for you
Through acrylic paint and illustration I works to highlight the lives of people, with a emphasis on BIPOC throughout the city of philadelphia since 2017. I focus on vibrantly sharing the stories of people in hopes we can connect and resonate with humans who are different from ourselves.

A typical work day for me varies! These days I’ve tried to create boundaries around the time I create work in hopes it start to feel like my day job. Although being an artist can feel like a 24/7 job when you get spurts of inspiration late at night or while making dinner.

What does your studio look like?
I take so much pride in my studio! I work out of Bok, located in South Philly, in a shared space with Nicole Nikolich (Lace in The Moon) and Sammy Kovnat (SKoves Art). It’s a big room with huge windows, lots of plants, and so much colorful paint. We’ve been super hands on in creating a cozy and open space. We even built our own big table to have a spot where all three of us can create together. Honestly could not ask for a better place to follow my inspiration and hone my craft.

What are your biggest obstacles in being creative every day, and how do you overcome them?
This can definitely be tricky! Creating every day is literally so much fun to me. An actual dream come true that this is how I pay my bills. I think sometimes when I am making things one after the other, I sometimes get the fear that I’ll run out of ideas. Ahaha. Honestly it just reminding myself that ideas will always come and go but they are never ending. When I get in a funk I try to give myself a break. For me creativity blocks are tied to feeling burnt out. By giving myself a break I’ll take the time to recharge and catch up with friends! I give myself the space to refill my cup with the love in my life.

How does Philadelphia influence your creativity?
I’m such a people person! I am notorious within my friend group for making a new friend when I’m out and about. I don’t even know how it happens sometimes. I’ll just end up talking to someone when I’m at the grocery store or running errands and the conversation will often spiral into a genuine place. A place where maybe they are sharing a story with me and it will feel like beautiful moment of connection. I value organic little moments like that so much. A wish there was word to describe this kind of interaction. Where conversation feels effortless. Talking to someone new often pushes me in a new direction and almost always inspires me.

I think at the end of the day that’s about community though! The older I get the more I realize, what you put into a situation will often come back to you. I just want to put goodness into this place I call home. Creating community based art that visually represents folks in this city, that I love so gosh darn much, is me physically bringing that goodness to walls in the public space.

What woman/women are you most influenced by?
I am super inspired by everyday people. I think when I realized that celebrity culture is a load of garbage, I started to shift how I looked at people differently. There are so many people in my surroundings that are creating really dope stuff and doing really important work right where we live. I think taking the time to recognize the beauty around you can make your world feel so much brighter. I hope people feel that through my art at the end of the day as well.

By aigaphiladelphia
Published April 1, 2021