Shervla Ojentis is the founder of S.O. Inspired Art. Shervla was born on January 30, 1985 in Newark, NJ to Haitian natives, Camilla and Servidieu Ojentis. By the time Shervla grew into a teenager, she perfected the skills of playing the violin, drawing, singing, sewing, cooking and working with children, however, she really shined her best in Art and in singing. She later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Kean University and gained experience working as an Art Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club in Union, NJ and as a Museum Educator at the Newark Museum.
Shervla’s paintings, drawings, designs and work continue to be loved by her extensive clientele list. Her artwork has been displayed at local events including her own, where she has helped other aspiring artists, singers, spoken-word poets, dancers and others showcase their gifts in the Arts, with hopes to inspire them to be proud of their gifts and to continue doing what they love. Shervla Ojentis is currently enjoying her life as a preschool teacher and artist, and is looking forward to where her art will take her.
Learn more about Shervla in this week’s Spotlight Saturday.
WHAT S.O. INSPIRED ART DOES
S.O. Inspired Art creates and sells artwork that is different to the mass public.
“I like to create art that speaks to me at a level, hoping that it would speak to others too. I also create artwork that hopefully inspires others to love themselves along with believing in themselves.”
S.O. INSPIRED ART’S BUSINESS NICHE
“My artwork has been known for its versatility, however lately, my artwork has been known for its ability to bring awareness to natural beauty, whether it’s in our skin, our hair, sense of style, or anything else that sets us apart. There were times when it was frowned upon to be “dark-skinned”, to have short or “nappy” hair, or to wear a less popular brand of clothing, but there has also been a shift in the recent years, where people have been able to embrace themselves and love what makes them who they are. I just want my artwork to represent that change.”
HOW S.O. INSPIRED ART GOT STARTED
“S.O. Inspired Art officially began in September 2012, when there came a point in my life when everyone around me kept telling me how great I was in the art field, and how I need to be doing something with that gift. I never liked “broadcasting” my skills, but I noticed I was becoming unhappy with my life, so I decided to do something. One random night, I made the sudden decision to create a Facebook page for my artwork. I began to post pictures of the art that I made, and waited to see people’s reaction. Once I began to receive a lot of good feedback, I decided to run with it, and that became the start of S.O. Inspired Art.”
ADVICE TO SOMEONE PURSUING THEIR DREAMS
“GO FOR IT, BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DOES!”
“The only thing that can keep you from pursuing your dreams is you. I am guilty of holding back for a long time, because I was afraid to break out of my shell. Doubt and the fear of failing will keep you paralyzed and keep you from ever pursuing your dreams. If you allow these things to take over your life, you will get to a point where you become miserable, tired and unfulfilled. When you reach to that level of negativity, that’s when you’ll make a move. Why wait until you get to that point? Do it now, before you get to that miserable place.”
Her family, but more specifically, her siblings and nieces.
“My siblings have always “praised” me for my gift of art, but because I’m shy I don’t like being put on the spot. They speak so highly of me.”
“My nieces constantly brag to their classmates and teachers about their aunt who is an artist, and they would actually look me up on Google. Lol… I would literally see the hope and pride in their eyes, because they see so much in me; more of me than what I saw in myself. Seeing how proud they were in me, motivated me to do more. I thank God for them because I’ve always known I was meant to do something big with my art, but never knew what exactly, or how it would happen.”
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“I’ve always been drawn to this passage, and I think it’s because deep down I’ve always known I was supposed to do something big with my life. Sometimes we tend to stress over our future, and it’s silly that we do that. We know nothing about our future, God does. Why stress over something we have no control over? I just know that whatever I’m meant to do, will be guided by God; therefore He will be pleased in it.”
Shervla’s favorite pastime is watching TV and movies at home.
“I love to escape the reality with watching what’s viewed as entertainment. This world can be so depressing at times, so when you think too much about it, you tend to become stress, and when you stress too much about it, you tend to become depressed, and when you stay in the state of depression for too long, you die! I choose to live by watching my TV shows and movies…lol.”
IF HER LIFE WERE A MOVIE
If her life were a movie, it would be called, “Hidden Butterfly.”
“For years I’ve been intentionally and unintentionally hiding a lot of great things about myself. A lot of these things have been hidden because I didn’t feel they were worth showing. I believed for a long time that I wasn’t worth anything. I didn’t love myself. I believed that I wasn’t beautiful, but little did I know, there were many beautiful things about me that just needed some time to develop and blossom. There were times in my life where I’ve made mistakes, was too hard on myself, or allowed other people to rule me out. Although they weren’t great times, these moments all worked out for my good. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I didn’t accept it all. Now, that I’m older and lived a little, I’ve learned from my mistakes. I can help others realize that the “ugly” experiences we go through in life make a beautiful transformation for our lives.”
ADVICE TO YOUNGER SELF
“Always look for the beauty in yourself.”
“You may not see it at times, but remember God made us in His image, so if we claim to love Him, and call Him words of endearment, we must remember we are His children. If He is beautiful, you are His “mini-me”, therefore YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Tell it to yourself repeatedly until you start to believe it. Once you begin to believe it, there is nothing you won’t be able to do, because you have God on your side.”
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE FUTURE
“In the future, you can expect to see many more artworks and hopefully that will branch out into new business ventures. Ultimately, I hope that I my art will highlight not only the beauty in women of color, but all women in general. I also hope that my artwork can reach the younger men population as well. My heart goes out to young men, because of how the rest of the world sees them. They too, have been fooled into thinking that they aren’t worth anything, but they are worth more than they think. They are kings and princes. I hope to contribute in letting them know that, in my art, or whatever else I get myself into. Lol.”