30sec film artists Vol.42 – Sarah Carlson

“My art process parallels my experience with the natural world”

Sarah Carlson (b. 1987) is a plein air and studio based artist. She completed her Honours BFA at York University. Sarah’s art combines abstraction with representation by way of an explorative approach. From found and repurposed objects to time-based media, weathered walls and studio prepared canvas and wood, Sarah’s work embraces a play between the organic and man-made.

Sarah Carlson – 30sec film artists Q&A

How do you usually get inspired again after working on a big project/painting?

I get outside. A short hike, or a rock climbing session on the Niagara Escarpment is often somehow the basis for a project. Extended trips like my recent paddle from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon with nine other artists from across North America are incredible fuel for new work. Ultimately, a space in time needs to be created for reflection and often that space for me is outside.

Do you collect things?

Antlers, feathers, rocks and gnarly wood found outside.

What's the last great book you read?

No Ordinary Woman: the story of Mary Schaffer Warren, by Janice Sanford Beck

What project/art are you hoping to create but haven’t got chance to do yet?

Having designed and created large theatre sets in the past, and presently painting murals for health care spaces in North America, I absolutely love working large scale. I would jump at the chance to design create public murals and art installations. Additionally, I love working collaboratively, and would like to intentionally bring this back into my practice more.

Is there a childhood experience that has helped shape the kind of work you do today?

Both my parents are very creative people and have always encouraged and fostered my art making. I think the reason my painting practice is largely representational is because my mother used to take the time to draw landscapes and people with me as a child. I can distinctly remember doodling with her on restaurant napkin as she showed me how to draw the proportions of a human face. As a pilot and engineer, my father is a great problem solver and a highly resourceful person. His use of photography and video to document the family also played a role in my love for these tools in art, installation and storytelling. Finally, activities like camping, hiking, and canoeing have always been a part of my family’s story and have made their way into my work at various levels.

360 Art Experience – Sarah Carlson’s Studio – En plein air –

Artist’s bookshelf

No Ordinary Woman: The Story of Mary Schaffer Warren
No Ordinary Woman: The Story of Mary Schäffer Warren