If Willy Wonka had a cool younger sister it would be Samantha Ushiro. Her creative lifestyle venue AwwSam features pink emoji cake rolls, paper party decorations and an abundance of sweets topped with sprinkles. Sam doesn’t just tap into the color wheel she swims in it. The bright, simple and white backdrops used in her photos playfully showcase all facets of living.
What began as creating images as an extracurricular project in between classes while attending Parsons New School of Design turned into a vocation once Sam graduated last May. “After I got my first big job doing styling and freelance photography I started getting more inquiries and job offers and things really took off,” she says. Read on to take a tour through Sam's oh-so-vibrant Instagram world.
“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!” says Sam. She also finds ideas in the Surrealist films of 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.”
The Set Up
The process begins with a blank space. Sam is a disciple of color, notably schoolgirl pastels where pink rules. A clean slate allows the working shades to show their natural appeal. “I love color,” she says, “so a blank space works great to be able to pack in a lot of color without it getting overwhelming. It also makes for a seamless backdrop for photos!”
On a shoot Sam plays the roles of stylist, photographer, designer and sometimes model. “It’s always important to make the set up as easy as possible. This usually involves the camera, tripod, a backdrop and reflector.” Even in the doldrums of a gloomy day her world is captured through a rainbow filter.
To achieve a current home design with a sense of humor sometimes you have to take a deep breath and start laughing. This is the reaction received in Sam’s Brooklyn loft. While her Instagram posts show her talents for making pastries into something you’d pay tickets for, her home also gets ample play. The right space, pieces and color achieve that enviable balance of modern and fun.
Sam designs similar to the way she makes her pictures, beginning with an anchor piece, typically something with a large print or dominant shade, followed by complimentary colors and items. It is no surprise that Samantha’s favorite piece is her pink couch. Once the main feature is set the accents practically fall into place. Giggly pillows and prints from travels in pastel shades further dramatize the look.