During my senior thesis critique in college one of my professors pled with me to stop painting and leave the country. He said something along the lines of; “Please just go travel or something, do anything, get out of here, and then maybe think about painting again.” This was his response to an enormous painting I had done of a tiger vomiting beige paint that dripped down the wall to the floor. It was a bad painting, and his harsh rebuke was well founded. It was a shocking blow to my ego and to the diligence with which I had committed myself to my work.
However lacking the vomiting tiger may have been as a piece, and however glaring my shortfalls in contextualizing my work, what it did have was a sense of the unsettling dynamic that we had created with our world. What neither I, nor my professor appreciated at the time was that such a grotesque image both in subject and execution was an authentic interpretation, product, of the culture that I was part of and its disconnect from so much that it was exploiting. A culture that was making nature sick while boastfully and often blindly reaping the rewards.
I ended up inadvertently taking the professor’s advice. I did leave, and travel, and do other things, I even spent years not painting. Until it made sense to paint again. I’m still not sure if I have completely moved past creating tasteless or vapid imagery. But I do know why making this work matters, and that it needs to work toward easing the suffering of an earth folding under the tremendous weight of our missteps. I believe that aesthetic and messaging go hand in hand, and that dealing in pop culture is nothing more than fluency in the language of the day. For me, finding ways to use that language with purpose has become the assignment moving forward.
Sarah grew up in Northern California where art played an important role in her life from a very young age. Animals, nature, and issues around the health of our global ecosystems play a key role in her work. Through her signature imagery, she explores the anesthetized natural figure as both monument and object; a revered and belittled antidote to modern life.
Her credentials include a BA in Fine Art from the University of California at Berkeley, training in conceptual design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and a Fellowship in painting from Yale University. Her experience as an art maker has also been informed and enhanced by years of work in advertising and production design.. for better or worse.
She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Reach her at - firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of her commitment to conservation, Sarah is currently partnering with the Kenya Wildlife Trust and 15% of all art sales are going directly to the organization's programs working to protect East Africa's iconic wildlife.
Learn more about the work of Kenya Wildlife Trust and how to donate on their website KENYAWILDLIFETRUST.ORG