Sarah is one of the hardest working people we know. She pushes herself both mentally and physically in order to continue experimenting and creating. She is always smiling and laughing even if she is running on empty. We were extremely excited to spend some one-on-one time with the busy designer and see what she’s been up to these days.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Overall, I’m a lover not a fighter, although I do box, which is kind of contradicting. I have too much energy than I know what to do with. This is something that definitely directs the way I spend my day and how I work. I’ve been living in Chicago for the past 9 years and I simply love it. I’m currently a Senior Art Director at a marketing agency called Upshot, but the true passion lies within fine art and typography for me. In my work I love to combine typography, stenciling, illustration and a lot of texture. The texture comes from the materials but also the texture within the meaning or message that I try to work into each piece. I have learned that hands-on, down and dirty art is the ideal fit for my fast-paced personality. Through my work, I can convey my life experiences as visual stories. My style gives me the power to share an interaction, start a conversation, and continue to grow.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Sarah.
One would like to hope for a day to be untypical but there are certainly habits and routines that I find myself getting caught-up in. But, I do try my best to shake up the typical day whether if it’s just simply within a new human interaction. I try and start the day as if it were meant to be. Use every second to share a laugh make a creative choice. Monday-Friday I typically find myself here, at Upshot. After work I have 2 goals, release physical and creative energy, use the time that I have. I go straight to boxing after work, maybe get punched in the face a few times and then I go home and draw, paint, etc. I’m currently working on a series of graphite figure drawings that I have a big plan for. Still in the works, more to come. On the weekend it’s a little bit more of a wild card but once again I guarantee myself to do two things, box and create. There was a point when I felt I had to choose between the 2 and then in doing so I realized how necessary both of them actually are for me. Get the physical stress out and get to the inner creative thoughts. Almost like cleaning off the dust every-time.
Where do you find inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from human interaction. The good, bad and beauty from different humans in my life. What is more interesting than other people, how their minds work, the decisions they make, the love they have. It simply blows my mind and intrigues me more than any other subject matter.
How do you make time for creativity and collaboration?
You just kind of have to. Take what little time you have and what little time you don’t have and make it work. Luckily I’ve always ran well with lack of sleep. So, that’s usually the way I find time. By using the time I have when I would be normally sleeping.
What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started?
Work your ass off. Be open to new ideas, new thinking, use time that is being used for things that aren’t productive for things that help you progress. Laugh a shit ton. Never say never. If you have a dream job in mind, work for it. You might have nights where you want to stop or you’re creatively blocked as hell but KEEP GOING.
What keeps you motivated and making?
I would go crazy if I didn’t do it. Doing the work I do actually stresses me out quite a bit and there are often times when I ask myself why I create. When things don’t look right or there’s just something off but I HAVE to figure it out. Solving and exploring is what drives me to continue to do art and finding new ways to become inspired or new things to be inspired by. I’m constantly looking for people whom inspire or things they say that also inspire me. There is nothing that makes me happier than being creative and exploring visually how to express myself.
If you weren’t doing this what else would you do?
I’ve always dreamed of simply being an assistant at an art gallery and just primarily focusing on fine art. I’ve also always wanted to be florist. Nothing seems more calming or more ideal than being surrounded by hydrangea and calla lilies all day. Thinking of the scent of those flowers alone calm me. Mostly I dream of just being the most calm and content that I could be and having a job in which perfectly syncs up with my ideal time to focus on art but I mean what artist doesn’t want that?
Does having a full time job as a Senior Art Director drain your creativity or fuel it?
A little bit of both I think. It uses to completely different aspects of my mind. On one side, Art Direction is more of a strategic thought process and coming up with visually communicating something that is perfectly balanced with hierarchy and follows certain rules that apply to design associated with marketing. Where as fine art I can do whatever the hell I want. It’s MY story or MY interpretation of whatever story or thing I want to talk about. So, to a certain extent it creates a kind of balance within my life of using both sides of my creative mind. Part of me thinks without flexing the muscles of one I might not be as inclined to flex the other or wouldn’t be as inspired to do so. Without one I won’t miss the other as much. Of course there are times where I do wish I could focus on one simply because it’s a bit exhausting to have over 12 hour days where your flexing between the 2, but I do think it creates a certain synergy.