Carol and Eddy Sagebin are the duo behind Sage Tribe Art. Originally from Brazil, then Salt Lake City, the couple moved to Kansas City in 2014 for employment in a family-owned business and fell in love with it. Sage Tribe Art leapt into the local maker scene in 2014. With dreams of what their brand could become, they started off by offering custom portraits, drawn in ink and filled with water color. As life took over and full time jobs demanded their attention, their maker business was left on the back-burner. Fast forward to 2019 and they are now full-time artists, concentrating on Sage Tribe Art’s many mediums.
Coming from immigrant families who struggled financially, The Sagebins pride themselves on being very hard-working and also, great with finances. These traits have helped Sage Tribe flourish. After starting a family with the births of two children, they didn’t want their lives to be too busy for their family and wanted to accomplish the things in life that made them happy. “Years of studies, research, training, and an accumulation of art supplies resulted in the easy transition to accomplishing our dream of being professional artists,” Carol says. Their lines of work highlights both of The Sagebins talents: Adventure Portraits and Spirit Animals. Eddy is the watercolor and ink artist, illustrating all Sage Tribe’s portraits and stories. Carol’s favorite medium is ceramics and she is skilled in graphic design.
The Sagebins both have Native blood (Brazilian Natives for Carol and Bolivian Natives/Incas for Eddy) and have always been fascinated with their spiritual beliefs and connectivity with nature and animals. This fascination inspired a story in Eddy’s mind of a boy and his bear protector (coming soon!). This vision grew to include spirit animals (a teacher or messenger that comes in the form of an animal and has a personal relationship to an individual) as an intricate part of a story the couple is now in the process of authoring and illustrating. Carol studied and picked eight animals, creating a whole product line around them. This includes a Spirit Animal Quiz, so people can connect with the story and learn a little bit about their identity through spirit animals. She sculpts clay into one-inch-tall fox, owl, racoon, and other animal totems and creates necklaces that are also essential oil diffusers. “I got the idea for the diffusers you can wear when I was pregnant with our second child. I was really ill and the only thing that made me feel better was smelling essential oils. I decided to turn the totems into wearable necklaces with a place for essential oils so I could stave off my nausea,” Carol says. The majority of their merchandise is in support of their book project. They continue to develop different aspects of the spirit animals with the sole purpose of furthering the story and world building. Currently they have embroidery patches, wooden puzzles, and wall hangings.
Eddy uses his talents to create one-of-a-kind Adventure Portraits, an unconventional take on the average family portrait for those who are looking for a more whimsical representation. This process is very mindful, starting with Eddy sending the family or individual a questionnaire. “The paintings take place in our own little world we have created and will accommodate all personalities. We love a challenge and to test our creativity,” he says. The portraits are vividly colored and contain breathtaking imagery. He even sneaks in special memories in a “Where’s Waldo” type manner. The pictured family portrait is an imaginary world that blends experiences the family had mixed with fantasy.
When asked what advice they have for up-and-coming makers, Carol says, “Focus on bettering yourself and your craft over anything, everything else falls into place once you’ve done that. Live on a budget, work normal jobs, and work on your dream as a side hustle until your funds can sustain you! Learning about business and social media marketing goes a long way. Connect with local artists and learn from them.” Eddy says, “Surround yourself with people who see you at your fullest potential. Life’s too short for negativity. Be the light in someone else’s life and that positivity will spread through your life and your community.”
You can find Sage Tribe Art online and at numerous events around Kansas City like Artfest in Springfield May 4-5, Strawberry Swing’s Spring Swing May 11, and at Wichita’s Riverfest- Strawberry Swing Pop-Up June 1-2! Follow them on instagram for news about when their original book will be published!