Monday, 22 September 2014

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Sarah Ogren

I came across Sarah Ogren's work on Society6 and it jumped out at me as something completely unique and intriguing. To me, collage is an art form that many can not pull off and Sarah is a clear example of someone who can. I love how Sarah combines certain aspects in her work- the layers of illustrated detail, the texture, the patterns and the scenes that they create. Sarah has a wide portfolio of work, from whimsical and dark storybook inspired characters to brightly coloured and detailed mixed media paintings and collage. 

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I officially started my business 8 years ago after finding I had been an art student, receiving my BA in General Studio Arts from Southern Illinois University, but I didn't do much showing of my work other than University sponsored shows. I always had the idea that my work needed to be better before I actually made that leap and started showing my work to the general public (boy was I wrong!).
I think the anonymous nature of the internet gave me the initial courage to start. There was a great response and my confidence grew and so did my business.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I would love to say that all of my pieces begin with some grand, well researched idea. But in reality a lot of it is quite intuitive. Sometimes I'm inspired by vintage children's book illustrations or antique photography, and these images will plant a small idea in my mind on the general direction of a piece. Other times it's the happy accidents of the art making process that generate the ideas.
I often begin a piece with what I call play time. I paint a canvas in a very abstract and loose fashion. These abstract paintings serve as the backgrounds to the main imagery of a piece. It is during this play period that I find ideas for the piece begin to flow. If not, I put the piece aside and look at it another time.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

Marketing!! I find it difficult sometimes to know what people want to hear about my art or how much of the process I should share. I'm always wondering if what I'm sharing is too basic or not basic enough. Is this interesting or only of interest to me? What is this new social media thingy and how do I use it and should I?

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

The feedback I get from my fans definitely keeps me going. Also, doing art shows and setting goals for what I want to accomplish in regards to my work helps keep me on track.

I'm inspired by vintage children's book illustrations, antique photographs and nature.

 5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as an artist?

Freedom. Being my own boss. Structuring my day and my life around what and when I want to do something. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to live my life the way I choose and to do something I absolutely love.

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I admire people that have the courage to follow their hearts. Even more so if it goes against what society expects of them. I also admire people that are unapologetic for who they are and are comfortable in their vulnerability and imperfection.

7. Describe your creative space

Right now it's pretty chaotic since I'm sharing a studio space with my Mom. But if it were just me, everything would be put away and labeled. Yeah, I'm a bit of a neat freak and don't fit into the messy artist stereotype very well.

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

When it comes to art making there are really no mistakes. Just serendipitous moments that lead to growth, new ideas and making better art. Yay for happy accidents!

You can keep up to date with Sarah's work here...

(all above images are © Sarah Ogren)