Sarah Kane

Sarah Kane is a self-taught artist working to produce a collection that she hopes will evoke both inspiration and admiration. Sarah strives to bridge the divide between dream and reality through Escapism by producing images that create a surreal escape from the viewer's daily routine. The admiration for dark and dreamy representations of life has brought her work to the forefront of her career; seeking to bring together the essence of acrylic's candid movement with graphite's scripted monologue of dark and light. One thing is always unchanged, the haunting element in her work that seems to dance upon the surface from one acrylic painting to the next. A sort of semi-surreal undertone she mixes with every stroke of realism, to produce a state of phantasm in reality.

Pencil work is no longer a preliminary form of art, in which an artist prepares for their masterpiece; but rather graphite is a delicate medium Sarah uses to bring out the spirit trapped in all of us. She aims to create windows for the viewer to gaze through and lose themselves in, if only for a moment. With careful thought and planning, Sarah researches every theme until they eventuate into a visual collective. Spending every waking moment immersed in some form of art, through our modern chaos, she is constantly trying to create a body of work that will glimmer in this sea of gems we call the art world.

-Bio provided from the artis's website.

Sarah’s words to live by: “I have sometimes heard painters say that they paint ‘for themselves’: but I think they would soon have painted their fill if they lived on a desert island. The primary purpose of all art forms, whether it’s music, literature, or the visual arts, is to say something to the outside world; in other words, to make a personal thought, a striking idea, an inner emotion perceptible to other people’s senses in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the maker's intentions.”

– M.C. Escher

See more artwork by Sarah in our Artwork section. 

Questions by

mindyourmind and Leigh, 21, Canada

When did you start painting and drawing? Has art always played a huge role in your life?

I feel as though I’ve been drawing all my life. From a very early age I was peaking over my older brother’s shoulder, picking up techniques and tips. I owe a lot of my initial interest in art to him. I hadn’t even really thought of painting until my final year in high school. I began really enjoying the fluidity and freedom of a brush, as opposed to the safety I felt within the confines of graphite. My pencil work is still years ahead of my painting, but I devote a lot of time to learning the craft. My entire life is art, I see it everywhere and it’s never far from my mind.

Being a self-proclaimed and self-taught artist, would you recommend that a new artist take this same route? What kind of effect or influence do you think training can have on an artist?

I truly believe that the skills you find within yourself throughout your life as an artist cannot be taught in any institution. Sure it’s true you learn the history of art, basics on color and techniques; but there is something unspoken in the world of art when an artist gazes upon another artist’s work and feels that fuel tank of inspiration fill up. Although it is true that choosing art as a career can be exhausting and at times it may seem impossible, if one is afforded the opportunity to become immersed in what they love it should not be taken for granted. I do believe it is as simple as determination and finding ways to keep that inner spark ignited.

Is there anybody in your life (i.e. friend / family member) that really encouraged you to pursue your art work?

As I’ve mentioned my brother was my earliest mentor, I have many motivators in my life. When I decided to quit my job and become a full time artist, I received only positive reinforcements from my family. My mother especially has always believed I could make anything happen that I wanted, and I couldn’t help but fall for that idea my whole life. My younger sisters have always beamed about how much they looked up to me, and I feel I owe it to them more than anyone to show them how to make a dream a reality. Luckily I met a wonderful man and his wonderful family, I’m not sure how they do it, but they seem to find the silver lining in every single cloud out there, it’s contagious.

A lot your acrylic and graphite pieces seem to share a common type theme and vividness. Is there anything significant about it?

When I’m preparing a show of work, I first am inspired by a theme that strikes my fancy. It starts out as a blurry idea in my mind, vague at first with little hints of pieces I pick up from here or there. Eventually the whole thing snowballs into a chain of ideas that come into focus one by one. My paintings tend to give the gist of the story, and my drawings take the viewer into a more detailed look. I take more chances with my graphite work, as I’m more confident in that medium; however, I am finding that with time the gap between my acrylics and graphite is slowly closing in.

When creating a piece of art, do you have a picture in mind before creating it? Or do you create and reinvent it along the way?

I have never seriously worked on preliminary sketches for any of my finished pieces, it’s just not how I work through an idea. I tend to jot down these ideas on any old scrap of paper I can find, and eventually I have this mess of ideas in no particular order. Agreed, it’s probably not the most organized way of going about the process, but I can’t seem to kick myself of the habit. After the brainstorming, I begin to look for costumes and props to stage photoshoots in various and odd places. I like the idea of placing something synthetic in nature. The photographs I work from are never the finished idea, from there I will alter and change the images until I’m happy with the way they make me feel; and there are some pieces I never get to that happy place with.

Some of your pieces appear to be of famous childhood characters, such as the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Did these fairy tales play an important role growing up?

They played a huge role in my childhood. These were the females I looked up to and fantasized about being someday, or perhaps in a parallel universe. Many of the morals in the stories were lost to me as a child though, it wasn’t until I was older I realized a lot of the darker undertones in each character.

When it comes to your art, who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I find inspiration in all areas of life. Although it’s wonderful to see beautiful paintings in a prestigious museum, a stormy day with a mug of tea can do just about the same thing for me. I would say I am most motivated by the feeling I get when I create something I am actually satisfied with; because that brings a bit of hope that someone else will connect with something I’ve created.

It is noted in your bio that you use graphite to “bring out the spirit trapped in all of us”. What would you suggest to someone who is trying to find the “spirit trapped in them”? How do you find yours?

I think there are different strokes for different folks and what might work wonders for me, may not do a thing for another artist. I love bringing soul to the everyday; a pathway overlooked by most, a stream hidden from every angle but one, or a young girl who in school might also be overlooked, in my pictures becomes one of those characters I longed to be as a child. Find passion in everything you can, and when you do enjoy it.

Is there a message you're trying send to the public via your art?

I don’t think I’m trying to send any one particular message, just a sense of being. Art’s purpose has changed in so many ways throughout the years. There was a time its necessity was evident, where as now I feel it’s trying to find its place again. If I can in anyway be a part of that, I’m honored.

What can we expect next from Sarah Kane?

Same old, same new. I hope to continue to create work in themes that intrigue the masses. This year there will be two main exhibits I’ll be working on: The first is a series of pin-ups based on the characters in a deck of cards, which will be taking place from July 15th – 26th at the Arts Project; and the second will take a look at the beauty and differences in both day and night, running from December 9th – 20th also at the Arts Project.