Interview: Sarah Brooks
Luca Curci talks with Sarah Brooks during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, third appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at The ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Sarah works from her studio set in the West Sussex countryside, where she lives with her partner. She has been an artist for most of her life but it was only in the past five years that she ‘escaped from the boundaries of convention’ and realized a desire to express her work on a much larger scale and in a more abstract style. The amalgamation of natural debris and elements mixed with acrylics and oils shape the concept of Sarah’s work: the creation of three-dimensional canvases that speak about our passion, our selfishness or our complacency for this beautiful planet. The energy and movement that Sarah’s paintings convey represent the growth and decay, the ebb and the flow and the infinite power of the planet combined with humans’ existence and our symbiosis; how we play a part, our disruption and our endeavors to ‘save’. Sarah also incorporates human ashes into her paintings for memorial art. This is a medium that allows people to express how they would like to remember their loved ones in conjunction with nature and the planet. Often with an environmental awareness (rather than a political message), Sarah’s future projects are to explore the issues of recycling versus manufacture, from the car industry to clothing and pollution in and around the waters where she lives.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Sarah Brooks – Art is a powerful and cathartic way to express ideas, emotions, memories and questions. If the image also has the added benefit of evoking these in the observer then it’s a great success. If it’s just an attractive thing to hang on the wall, then that’s great too; the worst thing, for me, would be indifference.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
SB – I’m actually working on two subjects at the moment. One is just ideas at present but will be an environmental piece for a collaborative project where I live on the south coast of England. The event we are working on is to raise awareness of the pollution in our waters. The other is in memory of a friend who passed away last year. It’s a painting using textural elements and shades of pink, which are usually way out of my comfort zone! The piece will be called ‘Julia’.
LC – What is the most challenging part of creating your artworks?
SB – I suppose it’s the balance between my intention for the piece to provoke thought and a pleasing visual result. If I worked only on emotion and purpose it may be too complex a piece to enjoy aesthetically. So it can be that I have to put a canvas to one side for weeks or months and come back to it later.
LC – What is your creative process like?
SB – It starts with the idea, but I wait until a feeling or emotion can be attached to that idea. Once this happens I can begin to understand its purpose. Then I try to see the finished canvas in my mind’s eye. Sometimes I can’t and I literally wing it based on the intention. A canvas may take a day if all goes well, but in all honesty, it’s usually a lot longer, sometimes weeks until I’m happy.
LC – How is it being an artist nowadays?
SB – Well, I have to say it’s so, so different to when I was a young artist. Social media and the ability to reach out across the world and share is fantastic. I love it. I love connecting with other artists and being enthused and inspired by them. Also, the ease of photography, advertising and purchasing great products makes art available and accessible to far more people.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
SB – My piece ‘Natural Pollution’ is symbolic of the need to return to cleaner skies above our towns and cities particularly. The natural particles, pollens, minerals and dust are represented by salt, rust and eco glitter, all caught in a jet stream. The theme of the last exhibition of three, ‘Future Landscapes’, immediately enthused me to think of environment and pollution and how we can look at significantly reducing the highly dangerous particles that are damaging our health and our ecosystem. This has to be addressed by industry, community and individuals.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
SB – I think it’s very exciting that there is a platform for such a wide art genre to share and exhibit across the globe: to offer such amazing spaces to exhibit and to cover such a wide variety of themes to expand people’s thoughts and perceptions. I love the Borders theme, particularly of Future Landscapes because, for me, it was subjective, fitting with my ideals and passions. Thought, compassion and responsibility for our future are paramount. Art is such a great way to communicate this.