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Maker Feature No. 004


At its core, Sozo is a brand that celebrates artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and of course, makers. We do this by supporting their work and telling their stories through our SOZO Maker Features.

Rubeen Salem, artist and model, sat down with us for an interview conducted by our team to discuss what being an American maker means to him. Read his full interview and shop his look below.

What does being an american maker mean to you?

Be yourself and do whatever makes you happy.

Was being an artist always your passion? If not, how did you come into it?

I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, ever since I can remember. My mom and dad were really into art, so I learned a lot and pulled inspiration from them.

What is your daily routine to keep you motivated and on track for creating your artwork?

The perfect day for me would be to wake up, make myself a double shot of espresso, start journaling and drawing to set the tone for the day. Then I would hit the gym and go into work or get back into drawing. Every day looks a little bit different, but drawing and journaling are always a big part of my daily routine.

Take us through your creative process, and why your drawings and paintings are unique?

I love acrylic painting on canvas, but I especially love drawing faces of people. I think you can evoke a lot of emotion through facial expressions. I love drawing black ink on paper - I try not to use pencil to avoid second guessing myself. I think that all mistakes were meant to happen. I usually don’t overthink it much, I just sit down with a pen and paper and start.

What does a “life well lived” mean to you?

Life is moving by so fast. The older I get the faster it seems to go. What I’m realizing is that I’m doing what I truly love to do right now. And to take my time slow with things. Art is truly my passion, so as long as I’m doing that, I’m happy.

How do you get inspired to create?

I’ve started going to different cafes. I was recently in NY, and I’d just sit down and start drawing the people I saw and giving it to the cafe owners. Just for fun, I’ll record it and put it on TikTok. I also love to give my friends drawings so that’s where I pull a lot of my inspiration from.

What’s something that makes you nervous or uncomfortable? Why?

I get nervous before walking up to someone I want to know. I love being around people as much as I love being alone, but people can add to the quality of life. I’d love to explore deeper relationships with people, and trying to do that can be scary. I just try to get over it.

Think of the 3 people you spend the most time with. What do they all have in common?

They accept me and value me. They are also all super creative and talented.

What is something that triggers joy in you?

Spending time with people. That’s literally it. 

If we were to interview you next year, what do you hope will have happened by then? What are your short and long term goals when it comes to your artwork?

I would like to see my message more established throughout my art. I would like to be able to say that my art touches me as well as others.

What’s your favorite cup of coffee?

Double shot espresso - sharp, dark and sweet. 

How does the coffee shop culture help what you’re doing creatively?

I naturally gravitate towards local cafes. There’s a certain type of vibe from the people that come here; In the sense that you come in, sit down, socialize and get lost in your own world. 

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Artistic, modern casual and electric vintage.