Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Martin.
Sarah, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I suppose my story starts the same as many other creatives, in the sense that I was passionate about art but hesitant to pursue it, as I considered it too impractical. Because of this, I took time off between high school and college to travel, and to decide what my future, stable job would be. I kept coming back to my love of art, and after about five years of being out of school, I decided to take some art classes at my community college. At that point, I figured that if I still had a passion for my art, maybe an occupation would emerge.
I loved the 2-year visual arts program at my college so much that I decided to go to university to further pursue my visual arts studies. In both of those art schools, I felt a true excitement being in a creatively invigorating environment and knew that I had found where I wanted to be. After my visual arts degree, I went for an additional year of teachers college training, since I was still concerned about having a stable profession. Immediately, after graduating from university, I was represented by a gallery in Toronto and that allowed me to keep my art passion going. My roster of galleries continued to grow, with representation in Toronto, Ottawa, Whistler (British Columbia) and Banff (Alberta). This steady growth pushed me to the point of quitting my part-time teaching position, allowing me to fully focus on my art.
All thrown into the mix of that was getting married and having three children. As any parent, and particularly women understand, there have been many times over the years where I have felt stretched in many directions. However, I am frequently reminded of the first step I took, in going to art school, and how it taught me to lead my life following my passions.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create mixed media artworks, combining vintage photography and painting. I print the vintage photograph directly onto my canvas or panel and I add paint – typically chunky skies and then sections of patterns, often polka-dots, on the photograph.
I first became enthralled with vintage photography from a young age while going through albums of my mother’s old photos. I used to photocopy the images of her as a child and cut and paste her onto paintings. What started as a familial exploration, turned into a deeper connection of discovering how old photographs can have the ability to emotionally move a person. It is this collective memory, or feeling of nostalgia, which stirs memories that I try to respond to within my work.
I continue to be interested in old photographs and the single moments from the past which they display. I enjoy that it is such a stark contrast to our current societal obsession of the immediacy and multitude of images. By using vintage photography and painting, I hope to explore the way personal and collective memories can respond through a connection to landscape, portraits and seemingly familiar moments in time.
How can artists connect with other artists?
It absolutely can be lonely! It can also be very hard to have a good perspective and truthful conversations about your own art. Art school provided a community of artists and teachers who gave consistent feedback, critiques and challenged me. So after school, there was a huge void left of not only the community but also the valuable feedback. I have a couple of close artist friends that support me and give me truthful critiques, and I am also in touch with a few of my art professors who are mentors to me and are still practicing artists.
I highly recommend keeping a few close creatives in your life, so that you can call them up and invite them to see your work and to have the hard conversations with you. It’s not always comfortable, but it is valuable. If you don’t have those people in your life, I definitely recommend reaching out to artists you admire and asking for a few moments of their time. I would say most would be honored to help a fellow artist out! Aside from that, I have found Instagram to be a great community, where artists are truly supportive of each other and inspire each other every day. And of course, nothing beats going to art openings and gallery nights!
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
They can find me on Instagram, at: @samartin Facebook: SarahMartin: Artist and my website: www.sarahmartin.ca I have a show opening in June, at Canada House Gallery in Banff, Alberta, Canada. (www.canadahouse.com)