As an uncontested master of coffee, Albert-Louis Van Houtte inspires us every day. Our new video series, Making Life a Masterpiece, tells the stories of other masters who are determined to transform their passions into art and make a difference in their community. Here, we are proud to present the story of Samantha Youssef, who is to crafting imagination what Van Houtte is to coffee.
Samantha is an art director with many years experience in film animation, an area of expertise that allowed her to bring so many unique characters to life. She now teaches her skills in character development and animation to young talents. Her infectious enthusiasm for art as well as her love and passion for animated films have all contributed to her creative success.
While some look at the future and see a single, clear trajectory, Samantha’s path is proof that following one’s passions in many different areas can also fuel a truly creative life.
We spoke with her about these passions and all the great qualities that make her a true master of imagination.
What does it take – and mean – to be a master?
A master is someone who has fully learned all the techniques and vocabulary of their craft, and who is able to go beyond the techniques of that craft to create work that inspires others. Many people can create work and put their ideas out there, but to me, a master is someone who not only inspires the individual, but inspires the collective movement as well.
How important is it for you to master your craft – and why?
For me, mastery of my craft is essential. I believe that any craft is a language, and mastering it means you can fully express your intent. If a language isn't properly learned, you are always limited in your ability to speak and communicate freely.
I believe any craft is like this. The goal of a master artist is to express themselves through the choices they make, and not to be limited in their choices by a restricted vocabulary.
What does the word "passion" mean to you?
To me, passion is a love, dedication, devotion, joy, and commitment to the craft, or subject of interest, that inspires the focus of that passion.
What excites you in life?
ALT: What gets you up in the morning (other than a cup of Van Houtte coffee and film animation)?
I have to confess that I have a bit of an "all or nothing" mentality. One of my most influential teachers always said to work hard and play hard – not to exist in between. If you are doing something, do it 100%. If you are relaxing or taking time for friends, then enjoy that fully. And this is the way I endeavor to live. Everything I invest my time in is something I am passionate about; from my work, my art, my choice of activities. Also, the people I share my life with are amazing and I appreciate every moment I have with them.
If you were a cup of coffee, what kind would you be?
I would be the kind of coffee I drink! I love dark roast. I would be an Americano!
By using imagination as her everyday driving force, Samantha shows us that life is much more meaningful when it is driven by passion.
Discover more portraits of inspirational people who are making life a masterpiece.