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Sarah Williamson

Posted by Kate Singleton on

Where are you from and where do you live currently? 

I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I currently live in Brooklyn.

You used to live in LA. Was it a bit of a culture shock moving to Brooklyn? 

No not really because I grew up in Milwaukee. Brooklyn kind of physically reminds me of Milwaukee ... concrete, bricks, neighborhoods, working class people, seasons, etc.  And people, well people are pretty much the same every where you go.

In an alternate life you would live in {blank} and work as a {blank}.

In the Netherlands as a miniature painter in a workshop.

Tell us about the work in this show.

It started because I had accumulated piles of used palette paper with oil paint on it. Remnants really. Every time I thought about throwing away these scraps I couldn't because I saw something in them that I liked.  So I started cutting out pieces which interested me.  And then I started to make these collages.  The more I thought about it with the other half of my brain the more I liked the idea.  I liked the idea of that palette paper being dead and frozen in time.  But I more liked the idea of it being reused and recycled and used to create something fresh and new.  It reminds me very much of death and the transference of energy.  I always wonder what happens to your energy when you die.  Because according to physics matter is neither created nor destroyed. So, I suspect it gets transfered ... re-contextualized.  This work is very much related to that idea.

How is your commercial work different than your personal work?

It's not really so different, unless I'm working non-representationally such as the work you're featuring.  My work always tends to be pretty abstract even when I'm working representationally. Once I had an illustration assignment for a book review and I tried to be very direct and literal with my idea and execution.  The art director came back to me and said he wanted something more abstract, artful, loose and he pulled a few examples off my website.  So I ended up reworking the image and sending in something far more abstract, less obvious.  The illustration was much, much better.  I learned a lot from that art director.

Why watercolors?

You have to be confident, direct, and willing to let go when you use watercolor. The medium is unforgiving. If you make a "mistake" everyone will see it.  But I like that about it. It's honest.

Name 5 things that inspire you.

Well these things are always changing and rather than be general (music, writing, films, etc.) I'll tell you specifically what I'm into these days.

Floating Points (music), movies with Paul Newman (Giant and Hud are two really good movies I saw lately), Mark Rothko, the William de Kooning show currently at the Moma.  Lastly, I'm pretty obsessed with light and I love how the light changes in New York from day to day, and season to season. It's a lot different than West Coast light. I especially like the winter light. It's harsher and there's a more drastic separation of light and dark.  I recently watched this movie called The French Connection which was filmed in New York in the winter.  The cinematography was pretty beautiful and it really highlighted this separation of light and dark.  Also, a great movie by the way.

What can't you live without?

A sense of humour.

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