ST.ART Artist in Residence 2021 – SARAH FAGAN
Sarah Fagan (b. 1985, Bridgeport, CT) received a BA in English, Art History, and Studio Arts from Stonehill College in North Easton, MA and a post-baccalaureate certificate in bookmaking from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR. While living in Portland, Sarah was a member/owner of the cooperative Blackfish Gallery from 2013-2016. Sarah has attended several artist residencies in the U.S. and Canada, including a year-long residency at the Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA in 2016. Her work has been shown nationally. She received her MFA in Drawing and Painting from UT Austin in 2019. Primarily a painter, Sarah works to reveal the secret lives of everyday objects through assemblage, drawing, and stop-motion animation as well.
Interview with Sarah
What excites you about working with our summer students? Is there any info you’d like to share with students about how they might interact with you?
A group of people who love to make art and are dedicating a summer to it? What’s NOT to be excited about! It’s a special thing to be sharing a studio building with some of the students again after a fully remote 2020. Feel free to ask me anything in our sessions or when I’m in my studio!
Who inspires you as an artist?
I love to see other makers doing their own thing. I appreciate the playfulness of multi-media artists Nina Katchadourian and Lenka Clayton. I enjoy the paintings of Giorgio Morandi and Wayne Thiebaud — painters that stuck with subjects they loved. I look up to how Trenton Doyle Hancock centered his artistic practice around his creative dreams as a ten year old. Kids inspire me too! I spent many years as a preschool/early childhood educator, and kids’ art is the best. They can’t help but be curious and creative and I try to emulate them in this way.
What is your art making process like?
There is a cumulative, serial element to my work — whether this is a series of small paintings or hundreds of frames in a stop-motion animation. I enjoy tactility in my process. I work with objects I can touch, move, and rearrange. I paint from life. Sometimes it feels theatrical — I set a little stage and light a still life, I do the same for a photo or an animation. I’m putting the literal and figurative spotlight on something that doesn’t usually have a spotlight on it.
What is your preferred material to work with?
I like to say my favorite material is “everyday objects.” Sometimes I use them in a still life painting (I usually use acrylic or acrylic gouache). Sometimes I make sculptures from found objects or use them in stop-motion animations.
What is your favorite thing about summer in Austin?
I like how green and wild it is. I often forget where I am when I walk in Central Austin on summer evenings. There are fireflies and lush creeks and sounds of tree frogs and owls.
Is there anything you wish you could tell yourself in high school or your freshman year of college?
It’s not a race! I triple-majored in college because I wanted to do so much, but I crammed it into four years. Some of my classes were one-week winter break intensives and I wonder if I got as much out of them as I could have.