Howdy to all you cool kids, Nicole here, bright-eyed, bushy tailed and reporting for duty.
I’m super-excited to be sharing an interview with the always-inspiring Sarah Fishburn. I first became familiar with Sarah’s work in True Colors – an incredible collection of art journal pages and from what I’ve seen at Sarah’s website, she just keeps getting better! Once you’re done reading all about this talented lady, be sure to pop over to her site and be prepared to lose yourself for a few hours and come out dripping in paint and over-flowing with ideas.
Can you share a little bit about yourself? I really like the phrase at your Etsy Shop, “A LITTLE BIT STEAMPUNK + A LITTLE BIT JACKIE-O” Can you tell us about that?
I was born in 1954, the year more kids were born than any other in the history of the world. I grew up sans sisters (3 younger brothers) here and there, the Midwest, California, but mostly the Southwest – Arizona and New Mexico. My husband Colin and I have lived in Colorado for about 25 years; we’ve been together for 37. I was attracted to him initially because he plays a mean flute. We have 3 fabulous daughters, September, Corina, and Sierra-Marie, and one equally fabulous son, Silver. We have 7 cool grandkids, from 1-12yrs. Only 1 kitty at the moment, hoping to get another pup sometime this year…we share a veggie garden in the front yard with our neighbors… I’ve never had a driver’s license. I do have a swell retro style Raleigh bicycle. I love to travel anywhere especially if there’s a beach involved, but at the moment I am working 7 days a week so feeling a bit fettered and frustrated at the lack of scenic change! I do like what I do though, and feel grateful to have 2 (outside of art) jobs. Colin just signed a lease on a building and will be opening a coffee house this summer, so we definitely need that bit of security – knowing we can pay the rent – while he gets established. I guess you could say my hobbies are watching movies (I’ll give anything a shot…) and reading (ditto).
I’m so happy you like my etsy shop motto! I can’t tell you! It’s a play on the well-known phrase”A little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll”. My style – and most of what I create – generally has just a bit of dark steampunk edge, mixed with a drop of elegance, ala one of the greatest style icons of the 20th century…
Show us a favorite project or two and tell us why you love it?
The girl in the doorway is my great-grandmother in a studio portrait at age 13. I loved my concept for the piece, and being able to use her image (everyone says I take after her, and she was an artist, too). I love what I wrote, and the overall fairytale look.
Done for a 26 person Alphabet collaborative that has been shown in several galleries across the US, this mixed-media painting (letter S) is totally autobiographical. I’m crazy about all the shades of red I was able to incorporate and the overall dark and abstract quality of the piece.
I’ve seen your work in some of my all-time favorite publications (True Colors, Complete Guide to Altered Imagery etc.) What are you working on now?
Right now I’m so busy at my day job that I’m mostly trying to get my studio redesigned to facilitate being able to work on anything at all, in 1/2 hour blocks! I am working on the 2010 summer/fall issue of my zine and also have a third book in mind for Angela Cartwright’s and my series “In This…”; we have yet to go full-steam on that though.
I wish as one of the True Colors artists that we could do a second volume – we certainly didn’t cover everything in the first…
You can catch a glimpse of some digital art exploration I did in Susan Tuttle’s new book Digital Expressions…
Where do you get inspiration?
I try to always be open to the possibilities no matter where I am or what I’m doing. There are inspiries to be found in posters stapled to kiosks downtown, in the shadows of houseplants on the wall in the late afternoon, in the movement of a curtain as it catches the slightest breeze from an open window…The kidz at the school where I work my day job are a fantastic secret source for me!
Steam punk style and houses make frequent appearances in your art. What draws you to these forms/style?
Turns out, Steampunk was part of my style before I even knew it had a name! I grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy and the combo of those and the mad Victorian sensibility that defines Steampunk just appeals to every fiber of my being. What could be more perfect for an artistic magpie attracted to sparkley bits embedded in machinery… Steampunk’s dark with the promise of light, it’s the poetry of machinery, in a flamelit world that lurks just past the periphery of sight…
Houses – now that’s probably a subconscious thing! I’ve lived in almost three dozen house and apartments in my life – sheesh. I’m definitely a nest builder – I would just as soon be arranging things prettily wherever I live as almost anything else! I’ve worked with a close friend and also my daughter in re-doing other people’s living spaces, too. Houses – and homes – were the subject of my first book In This House: A Collection of Altered Art Imagery and Collage Techniques.
Are there other images that consistently appear in and inspire your work?
I definitely use family photographs. Images of children for sure…flowers…I just went and peeked at my own website (!) and that pretty much sums it up, yup, children and flowers. BUT. I don’t always use them in the most expected way – that is – there may be something undefined, something darker, lurking just out of sight – a threat, or maybe just a mystery, with no real image to define it – a presence felt, yet unseen…
What products can you not live without when making art?
I love ALL of the Tūl markers and Tūl fine point black pens, Krylon X-metal paints, printable transparency sheets, my Canon Pixma Pro9000 printer, my sewing machine, a decent pencil (one whose lead doesn’t constantly break), a set of good colored pencils, and any tape, decorative or otherwise, I can get my hands on. Images of course. And though they’re not actually a product, and it might sound strange, I would be hard pressed to make my art without words – after all, I am a Narrative Artist…
What’s your process when creating?
It varies from one project to the next. In general, though, I go into a project with only the vaguest sort of notion of what I want to do. It usually starts with words – a phrase that I heard, or made up, and it’s my job to “illustrate”… hence, Narrative Artist. I delve into collected bits to create a background of papers and on top of those a splattering of paint, and then embellish with images, sketches, stencils, glitter…
Tell us about your zine and your experience publishing it.
Pasticcio Quartz (QUality ART Zine) comes out 3 times a year. It’s printed in brilliant full color by Lulu.com and at 8×8, our readers can easily toss it in their bags and have it ready to pull out to peruse at the drop of a hat! Angela Cartwright and I work on each issue for months in advance – we look for artists from all over the world to feature in a gallery called Palais d’Art. A fair number of guys usually contribute to the gallery – you don’t always see that in mixed-media magazines. We include articles on a myriad of techniques and other content to excite the interest of artists of all disciplines. A little Art History is covered in each issue – I write an entertaining and edifying feature called Art Attack, highlighting two artists from the past – a man and a woman – of whom our readers may or may not be aware. We also include an in-depth interview with an artist currently on the scene. Every issue also includes peeks at things each of us have done, and a lot of pure inspiration – quotes, book reviews, and more. There’s almost always a surprise or two included – maybe a page of clip art imagery, a fabulous recipe, an article written by a guest artist of renown… Here’s the link to order a copy (we currently have 9 issues available and are working on our 10th).
Sarah has offered a RAK to you, our wonderful, creative readers.
If you want to win Issue 9 of Pasticcio Quartz, please leave a comment for Sarah.