Sarah Farrell is an up-and-coming northern artist based in London. Her first big outing on the London art scene, an exhibition entitled ‘Life About Face,’ will open this Friday at Stoke Newington’s Palatine gallery-bar.
At the age of four she wanted to be an artist and the Prime Minister in her spare time. Now, at the age of 21, the only thing that has changed is her postcode.
“My approach to art conflicts a lot with what you usually find on the art scene”, she says. “I think there is a lot of hype about oddness. I deploy a ‘back to basics’ approach in my work because that’s how I think my message will be best communicated”.
It only takes a few moments with Sarah to see how self-deprecating she is about her art. “I paint what pops into my head” she says, shrugging off any pretentiousness that might accompany her hobby.
With such an acute social conscience, Sarah’s art is something that she sees as an essential tool for informing people, but it is also something about which she seems almost apologetic.
Her personality is reflected in the energetic, rather raw brush strokes and focus on individuals as subject matter. “I don’t plan the colours. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m completely untrained but I’ve always painted. If people like it, that’s great”.
Here, the art reflects the artist. Her work is striking but with a depth of social conscience behind it so that beauty is clearly only one part of its overall effect. As a feminist, Sarah often draws on powerful women as inspiration for her work. The first painting she sold depicted model-turned-UN ambassador Waris Dirie, whose autobiography and manifestos against female genital mutilation she read at school.
“I give some of my profits to charity”. Then she smiles and lets me in on a secret: “I’m a bit skint but I’m not desperate for money. Living in London provides me with lots of inspiration and a variety of platforms for exploring and exhibiting my work. I’m having a lot of fun making the most of that”.
Life About Face opens this Friday from 7pm at Palatinate gallery-bar in Stoke Newington. 15% of profits from painting sales will be going to 28 Too Many, a charity that campaigns against the practice of female genital mutilation. If you can’t make Friday’s launch party, there will be a private view of the exhibition (open to everyone) this Thursday from 7-11pm.
For more info about the venue, see previous East London Lines article here: https://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2012/02/new-art-gallery-bar-opens-in-stoke-newington/