Art Spectator Turned Artist
Sarah Cooper is an emerging artist based in Hervey Bay. She is drawn to the beauty of nature and delivers her intuitive expression of those experiences in her delicious acrylic pouring technique.
See how Sarah took the steps to immerse herself in what she loves:
You describe your art as beautiful, messy and fluid fun, can you elaborate by explaining your technique? ~ I have described my art in this way because of the process and the results. I’ve been experimenting lately with acrylic pouring techniques, which can be pretty messy but it’s also very exciting and so much fun! It’s impossible to know exactly how work will turn out, short of the colour palette, and I feel almost like I can’t take credit for how beautifully the pieces turn out!
How long have you been immersed in artistic practices and what are you goals for the year? ~ I’ve always played around with paints and graphite drawings, but it’s always just been an occasional indulgence. I’ve been an avid art spectator for most of the time but I am finding it increasingly difficult to remain on the sidelines as my urge to create is becoming unstoppable. I can’t seem to get my mind (or hands) out of the art room these days! My goal for this year is really to make the time for my passion in amongst work and Mummy commitments, and to keep experimenting with pouring techniques and anything else that inspires me along the way. I’d like to build up a body of work and also work on gaining some exposure. I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful little part of the world in Hervey Bay, that has a lovely creative community, so I’m looking forward to getting myself out there and hopefully inspiring people with my beautiful art work.
What excites you the most and inspires you? ~ I’ve been inspired by the acrylic pouring trend that is going on at the moment. I love what people are doing with both paints and resin, though I am yet to try a resin pour. There are so many cool artists with amazing techniques for manipulating paint, that I just find so incredibly mesmerising. The thing I really find interesting and beautiful is the way this painting technique can mimic the appearance of natural formations, from rock surfaces to ocean currents. The possibilities and variability, and the experimental feel of it is such a buzz!
Where are you based and how do you get involved within the community? ~ In my little town of Hervey Bay, about four hours north of Brisbane, there is a small but I would say thriving arts community. We have a beautiful gallery, which was re-designed and expanded a few years ago and now sits in the Discovery Sphere in the middle of town. We also have strong connections with the Maryborough arts scene and the fabulous Gatakers ArtSpace. There are some amazing touring exhibitions that visit us here as well as great support offered by these spaces for local artists and emerging students, which as a teacher is a great opportunity to harness.
Do you have any exhibition plans for the future? ~ There will be an Arts Council event held in Hervey Bay in September where I will have a few of my pieces on display and I may be offering one as a prize in their raffle. Other than that, I am working on a few more pieces which may be exhibited later in the year. Details will be on my Facebook and Instagram pages. I also have a couple of works with a local vendor in town if you’re ever passing by! :)
What are your other interests and loves? ~ Outside of my little art bubble I have two boys, four and seven, who fill my world with chaos and love, and I am a high school teacher, which also keeps me crazy busy, but I am constantly inspired by my beautiful students who are just so full of energy and spirit and creative ideas.
Do you have a routine that you follow when making art? ~ Trying to fit my art making into my weekly schedule can be a challenge at times but I’m trying to keep at least one night available that’s just for making. I like to call it my Friday night flow. The kids are spending the night at their Dad’s and I have the house to myself! I’m usually pretty exhausted by the end of the week but I find getting creative is a good way to clear my mind and it’s a great start to the weekend. Mixing the paints can take quite a while so it’s usually pretty late by the time the paint hits the canvas, but I quite like working into the night. I usually have an idea of something I’d like to try and a picture in mind of how I imagine it will turn out, which has always been completely different to the actual result! But that’s ok, every painting is a learning experience and it just gives me more incentive to try another one with a new strategy.
How does art affect your life? ~ I am so in love with the beauty that surrounds us everywhere. I find art everywhere I look. I think it’s a way of seeing; a mindset maybe. I find making art is allowing me to express that love and appreciation in a way I simply can’t voice. I used to struggle with the concept that art had to have some deep and meaningful purpose or message, or had to make some kind of statement, but actually, I’m ok with art for art’s sake. Just creating something that is beautiful, even if only to a few people, I think that’s meaningful in itself and statement enough.
As an emerging artist, what advice can you give other emerging artists ready to take the next step and get their art out there? ~ As an emerging artist, I’m still finding my way. I wish I’d started this journey a long time ago! Social media is our friend. I think it’s a lot easier now to get yourself out there, although there are a lot of amazing artists doing incredible things. Rather than feeling intimidated by their awesomeness I think we need to just post some stuff and don’t second guess what we’re doing. Making connections with people like Chantel Schott and platforms such as Paper Bou is a great way to gain exposure and be aware of what’s going on in the community. I feel very lucky to have been offered this feature as someone who really is just beginning on this artistic journey. You don’t have to have a huge portfolio of work to make a start. Just start and let the rest happen on the way (that’s my plan anyway).