Every so often I'll see an artist's work that stands out and makes me do a double take. Such is the case with Pennsylvania artist Sara Broski, whose subtle, understated pieces immediately caught my attention while browsing through Flickr. After a year or so of follwing Sara's art, I finally found the opportunity to interview her about her clever, charming work. Enjoy!
1. Q: Where'd you go to college, if any, for your art?
A: I went to Syracuse University to study fine arts for a year. I came back home and went to a local college and took up Mass Communications focusing on graphics and web design for the next three years. This wasn't exactly where I wanted to be at the time but due to circumstances at the time and practicality, I ended up doing web art instead of fine art.
2. Q: What part of Pennsylvania do you live in? What's one thing you love about PA?
A: I live in northeastern Pennsylvania near the Poconos/Scranton. I love the changing seasons here. There's something to love about each one, and it's really beautiful in the fall.
3. Q: Animals seem to be a great source of inspiration in your work. Why animals?
A: I've always loved animals in real life and as a subject matter. I think that this is because they vary greatly and have the ability to be little characters that I can play with.
4. Q: You employ a strong, refined, almost minimalist sense of space in your art. Can you pinpoint a reason for this?
A: After taking a few years off from art, I decided that I wanted to focus on one piece of a painting and not have to worry much or at all about things that seemed too much like work to me like backgrounds. This is why my backgrounds are always minimal or absent. It's served me well and become a signature characteristic of each painting.
5. Q: Wordplay plays an important, even humorous role in your work. How and when did you start thinking about these things with regards to your art?
A: It happened accidentally and I stuck with it. I usually start with a title and go from there. Also, I love subtlety - someone possibly not fully understanding one of my paintings until they see the title. I want the person who sees it to 'get it', and have a brief moment of amusement or enjoyment.
6. Q: Your style has a very delicate, almost calming quality. How did this style evolve?
A: I never actually thought of my paintings like that so I'm not quite sure. I think it's just a part of my personality that comes through in what I produce. I've always had a huge preference for working on small scales, with small brushes, fine points, detail, etc.
7. Q: What would you consider an ideal situation for getting into a creative mindset and producing a piece?
A: When I want to start something new, I usually brainstorm as I'm driving. It's one of the only places where I can come up with ideas because there's nothing else that you can do while driving besides think, talk, listen, or zone out. I think of words, phrases, and subjects until something excites me. If I'm not excited about something, it's going to feel like work and I won't feel creative at all.
8. Q: The small scale in your work seems to emphasize the importance of your subject matter even more so than if it was large. Is there a preference or particular reason for working small rather than large?
A: I've never managed to successfully work larger scale despite many art teachers throughout the years telling me that I should. It's just not me. I'm small, I have a preference for small things and keeping myself in focus. I think that staying true to yourself and your preferences has a tendency to work out on it's own. My subjects are never meant to be in your face. They are meant to be little and interesting enough on their own.
9. Q: I see some embroidered pieces popping up at your Etsy shop and on your Flicker stream. Is this a newer endeavor? What got you into Embroidery?
A: This is a NEWER endeavor but not the newest. I get bored at the drop of a hat. A few months ago I started obsessively making embroidered pieces even though I never embroidered a thing in my life. It's appealing because so many materials can be combined to make a one of a kind piece. One day I just stopped embroidering and haven't since. There are many finished or mostly finished embroidered pieces laying around my apartment.
I've been dabbling in metal and resin jewelry more recently. I'm thinking about opening up another Etsy shop once I feel my pieces are purchase worthy - that is, if it lasts until then! I still paint off and on though. My prints have served me well and proved that I can actually sell things that I do - a concept that I never really believed until proven otherwise.
10. Q: What are some of your plans for your work in the near future? Any shows or sales on the horizon?
A: My plans for my prints are the same as they've been. I'm going to keep painting and stay open to opportunities that come up rather than seeking them out. I'm still trying to figure out how I can make art an independent sustainable income without working for someone else, and what I'd like to pursue full time to get there. I'm not sure that it's prints but I'm going to stay loyal to them while I continue to actively throw myself in directions until something really works.
You can find more of Sara's work at her Flickr stream, and purchase it as well at her Etsy shop!