You say that you are new to painting, but let’s dig deeper. Can you remember where your creativity came from? What’s the first memory you have of holding something up and saying, “This is me. I did this?”
There was this point…I was depressed and I started drawing some stuff. My sister said she had a canvas in her garage and I just wanted to paint it black. I painted it black and then threw color on it. I needed to see some color coming out of the darkness…. My mom…its weird, I think when my mom was alive…when she was dying…I couldn’t have done this. She’d be proud now, but it was after she died that I was like, “Fuck it, I’ve got nothing left to lose,” that’s when I started really going for it. It’s actually that canvas from my sister’s garage that I can hold up and say, “this is it….”
Take us into your studio. When you show up to paint, how to you begin? Right to a brush, or do you sit and think about it?
Usually it is right away. I usually forget to set down my purse, or take my backpack off. Most of my ideas come from outside the studio and when I get there I just start to purge.
How many great paintings have you painted over?
Depends what you call great…you might think it’s great but if I paint over it, I thought it wasn’t ready. It’s like it wasn’t meant to be. Each painting has a soul…some were meant to be here, some weren’t.
So you pulled the plug on a corporate job because you just had to paint, right? And then you just started kicking down doors. You told us you are shy and anxious, but what we see is an artist who demands to be recognized and whose work is instantly noticeable. What do you think is going on with that?
I never felt like I belonged in the corporate world. Dropping everything to paint felt natural. I don’t understand how people make small talk at work. It was torture.
I think it is because I’m not like anybody else and I think people find different intriguing. When people connect with my art, I think they are connecting with part of themselves that they wish they could be in touch with again. Childhood innocence. I don’t know if Innocence is the right word. Through the eyes of a child, that’s what I think helps people connect with my work.
Do you think making art has reconnected you with that innocence?
Yes. It reminds me of a time when my whole world felt safe. Making art does that for me. Nobody can bother me in there…nobody can tell me that I’m doing it wrong.
You are from the eastside. Did ShockBoxx shock you?
I saw Mike’s work on Paddle 8 (for LAAA) that’s how I found out about ShockBoxx. You had just put the call out for the Addiction show and I applied. You guys were the first gallery show I ever applied for.
I didn’t know anything about Hermosa or the South Bay…I’d never been here. I was intimidated because I’d never been in a show. I was scared but I just thought, “play it cool, Sarah…then I met Laura and she was so sweet. I think I freaked her out about some weird stuff I was saying about my work and Jesus.
Was I shocked? Yes. Driving in I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s cool. You can tell that Shockboxx is owned by artists. I love that they keep the focus on the artists in their shows. There is a level of realness that I dig. It’s somewhere I like to put my fucking art up, and I actually like sticking around for the show!