Local artist Sarah Delaney was the winner of our first Call for Submissions, which led to her showcasing her work in our storefront windows for two weeks. We sat down to interview her and learn a little more about her story, work, and find out what inspires her.
When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
Since as long as I can remember. There wasn't a defining moment that stands out in my mind. I've just always enjoyed drawing pictures and building lego, it seemed like the logical career choice.
Did you formally study painting?
I took painting classes while at UVic where I received my BFA in Visual Arts.
What initially drew you to abstract art, and incorporating those ideas into your work?
There are quite a few things that influence my work and reasons why I paint abstract:
• I like the idea of creating something new. Something that hasn't been done before; something that isn't a realistic representation of something that is right in front of your face.
• I'm a perfectionist and if I painted realism I would never be able to finish a painting.
• Most of my favourite artists were best known for creating abstract work (Cy Twombly, Franz Kline, Eva Hesse). I am inspired by them.
• The conceptual purpose of art has always been just as important to be, as the act of making. For me, this is easier to explain in abstract.
• I love that connotations and assumptions that people project onto abstract work. They create a narrative from their experiences.
Where do you find the inspiration for your work?
All over. I'm in a world surrounded by inspiration, but I'm most open to appreciating and accepting the inspiration when I'm traveling to someplace new. Nature and travel, mostly.
How do you decide on the materials or mediums for your paintings?
I do a lot of experimenting. I'm like a scientist, hoping that my hypothesis is correct, I run a series of tests that when satisfied with the result, I introduce new media into my larger paintings.
What are some of the influences on your work?
My work is about my lived experiences. It's a non-linear biography of where I've been. I'm a collector of marks and colours from the world around me.
Does your work change from time to time, and what do you think you might explore next?
As I evolve as an artist and as a person, my style also evolves. I learn new techniques, or I am introduced to a new medium that changes the look of my work. However, my fascinations and interests are harder to shake, and therefore the themes within my work don't sway as much. There have been a few themes that I've explored recently that are similar to 10 years ago. However the actual approach, style, and media have changed quite a lot over a decade. I plan to continue to explore location in my next series of work, but the location that I'm portraying will likely change.
Where can others see your work in person?
Do you do custom work?
Yes, most of the work that I do are commissions for clients. This means clients request a particular size and explain what past work I've done that they are drawn to and I create something special for them.
What other local or international artists inspire you?
There are so many wonderful artists in Vancouver who inspire me. Any other emerging artist is a rockstar in my books. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to put yourself out there and try to make a living as an artist. It is like starting a business from scratch, without any business education and the product you are selling is very personal. (There are too many to count and I don't want to leave anyone out!!)
All photos by D. Hocking, The Field Office.