To celebrate the release of our FW20 Artisan Finish, we met up with local visual artist, Sarah Kathleen Roberts, to talk art and the nature-derived inspiration around it.
Like all of our BED|STÜ finishes, this season’s palette is inspired by nature. Our Fall/Winter 2020 Artisan Collection celebrates natural phenomena; drawing from the warm tones of desert sunsets to the cooler blues and greens in a stormy sea, and everything in between. Each of our tie dye finishes is our interpretation of the most beautiful palette of natural occurrences.
In homage to our roots in handcrafted pieces created by a family of artisan shoemakers, we sat down with Sarah Kathleen Roberts, a local artist who pulls inspiration for her work from the little details from the world around her to create mixed medium abstract pieces both big and small.
Tell us a little about yourself - how did you get started as an artist and develop your style into what it is today?
My name is Sarah and I am a visual artist. I also teach art workshops. When I was younger I was interested in many different things including drawing, watercolor painting, and photography. I had a mentor in high school who was my manual photography teacher and he was very encouraging and helped me work through the trial and error and experimentation of darkroom photography. He helped me in seeing that there was an opportunity to experiment in art and that felt natural to me. After I was finished with school I took a knitting class as a hobby and really loved it. It turned into a larger passion and I began making large scale knitted pieces and commissions and showing in galleries about 15 years ago. But because of a back injury I returned to watercolor painting about 10 years ago. Since moving back to watercolor painting I continue to feel more inspired and comfortable with the process every year. I am still excited to paint everyday.
What do you draw from in your life for inspiration? What subjects of inspiration do you find yourself going back to the most?
I am inspired by a little bit of everything. I love music, and I love all visual art forms. I enjoy seeing how things are made. If I am using a paint I enjoy seeing how unique I can get the paint to look. I am inspired by my materials and the process is intuitive. But for outside sources of inspiration I am constantly inspired by the interconnections in life and nature. I enjoy studying animals, plants, aerial photography of landscapes. I like to take notice of the little everyday things that might seem meaningless and put the magnifying glass on them.
“I also love all natural organic reactions that come about through manipulating materials. There is a level of experimentation, fun, as well as intuition that I use when working.
But my main source of inspiration is nature, animals, peace and examining everything down to its most fundamental parts and materials.” -Sarah Kathleen Roberts
On the topic of inspiration, with all that is going on in the world at this moment, have any of your approaches in creating new work changed?
I haven't changed my process that much. The biggest change for me has been in social distancing. I have always included an element of peace in my work and I feel like that is giving me some strength at the moment. But I haven't been able to go to see art shows which I really enjoy. I have done some virtual demos and seen a couple virtual art shows.
The thing I miss the most is being able to talk to my friends who are also artists and seeing what they are up to and bouncing ideas off of them.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created or are particularly proud of?
I am most proud of a painting that I did about a year and a half ago. It was around 4ft by 5ft and it was using ink and watercolor paint on paper. I'm most proud of it because I used a couple of different techniques that I have been practicing for years and at the moment I am not sure that I could recreate it. It also led directly to my second solo art show.
The piece is called 'Eruvada' and it is abstract. But it appears similar to an eclipsed sun or a planet in space.
What is your favorite collaborative/partnership project you’ve worked on?
My favorite collaboration has been with Bell Arts Factory in Ventura.
It is a non profit community space and hub in Ventura for art studios and classes. I began sharing a studio space with a group
called the Girls Girl Collective about two years ago. With Bell Arts and Girls Girl Collective have been able to get involved more in the community and provide low cost/ free
community workshops. It also became a place where I felt that I could share my work with others and have open studio visits.
Any tips for people who are just getting started in their careers or artistic journeys?
The best advice that I can give is to lean into what you are inspired by. When I was younger it took some time for me to find the right artistic mediums and style. But that is something that can reveal itself in time with practice and experimentation. Many people may not understand what you are trying to do. But I think that you have to listen to your own instincts and know that even if it is only to satisfy your own curiosity it is still worth pursuing.
You can view more of Sarah’s work and learn more about her here
We are excited to share our second Artisan Finish Collection
with you over the next few months as new styles are released. Our nature-inspired tie dye finishes will be the perfect addition for the transition
into fall season, but if you’re not ready to let go of summer just yet,
take a peek at our SS20 Collection
inspired by the time-worn aesthetic of Old Havana.