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Meet Kat Onyirioha

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat Onyirioha.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Growing up, I was drawn to things that were aesthetically pleasing and anything that brought along the feeling of euphoria. Making things with my own hands was one of the first hobbies that brought me joy. I got into DIY projects before DIY was even a thing back in my middle school days. The way I see it is if someone can make it with his or her hands so can I. Some of my early creations were a clutch I made out of Starburst wrappers, a backpack made out of Capri Sun pouches that actually lasted me a whole school year. It would have lasted longer if it didn’t go out of style. Before that, I had a phase where I was taking things apart like toys or hand-held electronic games and putting them back together. It was so fulfilling to put something back together and have it still functioning! My “if he or she can make it I can make it too” mentality is what later got me into making earrings for myself. I saw a pair on someone once and when she told me a friend made it for her I immediately had visions of all sorts of styles I could create myself, all I had to do was learn. The following months consisted of me teaching myself how to make them until I was impressed with my work. As time passed, I beautifully mastered my craft.

I love the pieces I create not only because of that sense of fulfillment I get from creating something with my own hands but additionally because when I wear them, it’s a way for me to express my personality without speaking. It’s also a way for me to display my mood, my individuality, and brighten up my day to make it more exciting. And I love that they weigh close to nothing! Through making earrings I realized how important self-awareness is to me and that played a role in the choosing of my company name Juste Être. Grammatically, it’s incorrect but what matters to me is the message behind the name and that is to ‘just be you’.

Please tell us about your art.
When I started creating these pieces, it wasn’t about fashion to me. I pulled design inspirations from various cultures, art, music, and my Nigerian heritage. Over time, I began to focus more on the mood or feeling that I wanted my earrings to exude instead of just what outfit I could pair them with. Then my earrings started to have more meaning to me the more I created them. It boosted my level of confidence while wearing it; it kept my creativity alive when I had less time to create things as I pursued my bachelor’s and master’s degree; and it was a constant reminder for me to know and love myself as I am.

I’ve done a few art shows to showcase and sell my pieces and while doing these events I’ve learned that some of my customers are concerned about not having anything to wear with their earrings. The pieces I create are more than just earrings to match your outfit with. My earrings are works of art; they also serve as personality extensions, mood elevators, confidence boosters, and day brighteners to say the least. So, it’s best to look at it this way, if an earring I create stands out to you it’s because you see yourself in that particular piece. No matter what look you complete your earrings with everything will fall into place because the earrings already reflect who you are. My pieces don’t just serve as a backdrop for everything else you’re going to wear; they also highlight who you are as an individual. My dream is to have women around the world experience the positive feeling that comes with wearing my pieces.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Definitely get out there and attend craft shows, pop up shops, art shows not only as a vendor but also as an attendee can introduce you to other local artists around Houston. It’s a big yet small community everyone is so nice and welcoming it’s hard not to make friends and connections as long as your active.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can check out and shop my entire collection online. Please support me by purchasing and leaving feedback on your overall experience and I’d love to see pictures of you and your earrings, that would mean the world to me. You can also support by telling your friends, following Juste Être on Instagram and liking Juste Être on Facebook.

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Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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