Interview with Sarah Grace
She has drifted away, her eyes lost to the horizon beyond you, she tilts her head, and comes back.
Her eyes light up and she is talking about the most wonderful ideas she has had for her next art piece. She bubbles and expels into a fury of hand gestures as she explains the concept. I am enthralled.
I have been lucky enough to have been friends with Sarah for several years now, and get to see her more often now that we have moved to Joburg. I was even more honoured when she accepted my request to photograph her in the midst of her process and write this piece.
Sarah’s art is an expression of her emotions, how the environment makes her feel and then, as she translates it onto paper and canvas, a movement takes place. A movement of emotion, technique and experimentation, all marrying into something that draws you closer and sends you back slowly as you take a new perspective of each piece.
You come from a family of artists, have you always chosen art as your career?
I've done other things but always come back to art. I often think I didn't really have much choice haha... I was born into art and it's such a huge part of everything I've ever known.
You have produced a number of abstract works, is this body of work one that will set the tone as your signature, something that is uniquely 'Sarah Grace'?
As a young artists I think my work will change and grow a lot over the next few years, as I refine my techniques and concepts.
Tell me more about the technique you have taken with your abstract canvas and paper works?
My process is very tactile, and quite unconventional. Using many tools in studio that are not classically used for painting. Always starting with an anchor mark that inspires the direction of the painting. A lot of it is learning to follow the painting and move with the mark.
Do you generally work on one or several paintings at the same time?
Always more than one.
Do you have a favourite among the colours that appear in your paintings?
No, I love all colors!
Who or what has influenced you most in becoming an artist?
Living with two artist parents and being homeschooled I was exposed to many creative people. It was simple in my mind, all my natural strengths lay in the arts. There has never been one defining moment it’s just who I am.
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
Nature is a huge inspiration in my work! Mythology is a big influence too. I love listening to stories. Often nature has a beautiful narrative in mythology as a way for people to explain the (then) unexplainable. Its very creative and full of playfulness.
‘Woman' and the female form have a prominent place in your inspiration, tell me more about that?
I want my work to feel feminine, as a woman it’s very important to me. There must be movement, grace, emotion and beauty. There's a strong link between the feminine and nature. So it’s a very natural space for me to work in.
The titles of your work often echo the feminine influence, how do you go about naming each piece of artwork?
Most of my titles are found in mythology - a story that is closely connected to the work. I’m drawn to strong women in history / mythology so there’s a definite link between the feminine and my titles.
Do you ever experience creative blocks? How do you overcome them?
All the time. I usually try work through it, just show up and do something. If it’s a really bad block I look outside the studio for help. I'll do something I love that gets me excited again, something completely non art related that helps to get me into a better headspace.
You have curated exhibitions for other artists, how do you feel this has impacted you as an artist in the local art scene?
I haven’t done much curation yet... but I’m sure it will strengthen my relationship with other artists.
Sculpture or painting?
Both, the one feeds the other.
What has been your favourite piece you created to date?
World Maker in this moment is one of my favorite works. It hangs in our dining room above my piano.
What are your other outlets for creativity?
Music, I play piano and sing. A good book, a walk in nature, an inspiring movie.
What is your secret to balancing your passion with the demands of societal living?
What I do is my work, I go to my studio every day like other people going to their office and make work. I'm very lucky that my passion is my work it makes it quite easy.