Sarah is a contemporary artist specialising in pencil-drawn portraits and abstract paintings from Lincolnshire, mother of two, tattoo artist and aspiring artist turning her passion for art into a career, and achieving her dreams to do what she loves most.
As part of our focus in Revive Magazine Art edition, Sarah answers our questions and gives us a brief insight into her journey.
How long have you been creating your artwork for?
Art and creativity are an intrinsic part of who I am, and I’ve produced artwork in various forms for as long as I can remember. I think my earliest memory of finding joy in art was around age 4. I’ve been a self-employed artist now for nine years.
What’s your background?
My first art teacher was my mum! She taught me how to draw an adequately proportioned face at around age six, and I’ve never looked back. After school, I went on to study art and design at Nelson & Colne College and subsequently attained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside. My first love has always been pencil drawing, and it’s still my go-to medium; however, my chosen medium for my degree was analogue photography.
Who or what is your inspiration, and who influences your artwork?
My inspiration is predominantly the human form, and I’m always drawn to portraiture and life drawing. Painters Frida Kahlo and Jenny Saville and photographer Cindy Sherman are amongst my biggest influences.
I also have a massive love for music but unfortunately wasn’t blessed with any talent in that department, so have often centred my artwork around my favourite musicians.
What creative materials do you work with?
I haven’t used photography for some years now as I much preferred analogue to digital. The main body of my work is now either pencil drawing or acrylic paint on canvas.
Since the introduction of social media, would you say it’s become more accessible as an artist to get your artwork out to the masses if so how’s it affected your art?
My business is built on social media platforms, which were initially very productive however it does appear to be increasingly challenging to reach the same audience in recent years, due to certain platforms requiring ever-increasing fees in order to promote posts. That said, I do still believe it is a useful tool when used in conjunction with other methods of promotion.
How would you describe your artwork?
I believe the key to my artwork is its simplicity—a celebration of the human form, sometimes with a leaning towards the voyeuristic.
Do you have any plans for 2020?
I am currently expanding my skill set by training to become a tattoo artist.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will split my time between producing artwork and tattooing. I cannot wait for my artwork to actually be carried around on somebody’s skin as well as hanging on their walls!
Roughly how long does it take for you to produce a piece of artwork?
It depends on the piece, but I’m renowned for being impatient when it comes to seeing my finished results! A pencil-drawn portrait may take around 4-5 hours, whereas I may spend about 15-20 hours on a painting.
What role do you have in society as an artist?
I think all artists are incredibly important in society. Art is a universal language, and as much as it can at times be controversial and divisive, I believe it is more often a source of joy and unification. I feel very lucky to have a talent for creating art that brings happiness to its recipients.
What style of art do you most identify with?
Most definitely portraiture and figure studies. I find the human form fascinating and beautiful in all its various states.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Out of everything I’ve done, sitting down and spending a few hours producing a pencil-drawn portrait is by far my most enjoyable artistic pursuit.
What’s your favourite piece of artwork and why?
It’s very difficult to single out one particular piece of artwork as a favourite, but I think Jenny Saville’s figure studies and portraits are amongst them. They’re so beautiful in their unashamed honesty and vulnerability.
What jobs have you done or doing other than being an artist?
I’ve had many jobs before I found the courage to take the leap of faith into becoming a self-employed artist. From delivering car parts and working in the office of a builder’s merchants to managing a customer service team for an online retailer, all of which equipped me with various skills I can utilise for running a business but mostly left me cold and uninspired.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I’ve been blessed to have had incredibly positive responses to my artwork, notably a lady for whom I drew a portrait of her recently deceased father which reduced her to tears as she was so moved by it.
Is an artist’s life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Initially, I worked from home so could sometimes feel quite isolated; however, I now have a studio in Higherford Mill which houses vibrant artists collective, and so loneliness and isolation is no longer a problem.
Do you think art should get funding?
It saddens me immensely that funding for the arts is rapidly dwindling, the creative arts are an essential part of life, not just for practitioners but also those who absorb and enjoy the fruits of our labours. Creativity is fundamental to our wellbeing and that is being massively overlooked and undervalued.
Given a choice to have a superpower, what would it be and why?
It sounds like a massive cliche, but if I had the power to help people find their own happiness within, then I’d choose that! Having suffered from depression for a number of years and finding my route to wellbeing through my own artwork, I understand how dark and lonely that place can be.
I would do anything to help anyone find their path through that kind of suffering
What is your dream project?
I would love to produce artwork to be used on an album cover; it’s always been a dream of mine.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to?
I’m not used to drawing comparisons between myself and other artists so I have absolutely no idea if I’m honest. I think maybe I take elements from artists I like and utilise them in my own way. Perhaps Frida Kahlo’s introspection and Jenny Saville’s honesty mixed with a hint of Roy Lichtenstein’s pop-art styling
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Listen to all the advice you’re given, then do what YOU want to do.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I’ve exhibited many times as part of a collective, but I have yet to have a one-woman exhibition, so that is my current goal.
Where can people view your work, buy a piece or commission you to do a piece of artwork?
Currently online only via my Facebook page www.facebook.com/sarahdeardenartist
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