As the final feature in our Meet the Makers series, we met and photographed painter Sarah Delaney at her Vancouver art studio. Our immediate thought upon walking into Sarah’s workspace was that it was a direct reflection of herself– her decor, her attire, and her artwork all resemble the same muted colour palette. Her space was calming and relaxed with plants scattered throughout and a view of the North Shore mountains (perfect for sunset viewings).
For many, deciding a career path is a long process, but not for Sarah. She knew early in life that she wanted to be a painter; she grew up loving art and being creative, and went on to study Visual Arts in university. When asked what her favourite thing about her work is, she said: “It just feels really real. I don’t feel like I’m faking it or doing it for somebody else, I’m doing it purely for myself.” This statement resonates as you take a look at her distinct and recognizable artistic style.Though her technique has evolved and grown over the years, she says that it’s done so in a linear way, and that it has simply become more refined and focused rather than changed altogether. That being said, she’s always looking forward and getting excited about the next piece. She joked about what her favourite project is: “I’m always excited about what I’m working on now or next. I always feel like the next one is going to be the best. But I think that every time”.
Sarah describes her painting style as raw, feminine, fluid, and organic. The colours she uses are typically muted and earthy. Looking at her work, it’s no surprise that her favourite climate is the desert. She finds inspiration through getting out of her regular routine and traveling, and two of her favourite places have been Joshua Tree, CA and Bisbee, AZ, both of which were locations where she attended artist residencies. Though travel has been inhibited since the pandemic, she still finds ways to recharge by getting out of the city to the nearby resources in BC. She says, “When I create, I feel like I’m producing and outputting energy, so I have to fill up on that. I can't really get a quick fix, sometimes I need a full day off or a trip to the mountains or the ocean in order to fill up on good energy.”
While many of us have shifted to remote, solitary work since the pandemic, Sarah has always been used to that kind of lifestyle, but cites it as a challenge at times. She explains, “studio practice is so intimate, and there's not a lot of interaction with anyone else, so you spend a lot of time listening to your own inner critique and those mini problems become your whole world, so it’s just about giving myself space”. Stepping back, staying grounded, and giving yourself space is likely a lesson we could all take from Sarah.
We launched the Meet the Makers series in honour of our newest shoe, Utility One, which was designed with modern utilitarians in mind. In meeting with a selection of hands-on makers, we learned so much about their creative processes, challenges, and the importance of art and design. Thanks for coming along for this series, we hope you’ve enjoyed it.