The art of Sarah is original. Among flowers and engines, inspired by nature, culture and mythology, with a great passion for motorcycles. The young artist draws motorcycles in a simple but unique way, she almost creates a contrast between the delicacy of the background or the style of the drawing and the theme, the one of motorcycles, a little more aggressive!
Butterflies, flowers, a romantic touch for helmets and illustrations that celebrates motorcycles through a unique art that you have to discover!
Sarah please introduce you, where do you live and what about your background?
I am Sarah Rice; I am an artist living in Brattleboro Vermont USA. I grew up in New England and have travelled all over the United States.
I’ve been making art ever since I could pick up a pen/pencil/paintbrush. When I was 6 years old, my folks enrolled me in a private art class usually reserved for older children and adults. Mr. Gaudette (my teacher) only let me in because he saw how focused I was. He would have me sit and draw from photographs for hours, and I would crank out one drawing after the other. I could barely write my own name, but I was so compelled to recreate what I was seeing.
Since my passion was kindled at a very young age, I have never been deterred to make art. I have always had friends, family, and mentors that have been supportive and encouraging. I’ve been lucky to have this inspiration in order to grow and experiment in my creativity.
You love art in general. Talk me about your need to experience, to try different types of art.
I always knew I would “grow up” to be an artist. The only thing I’ve never known is what kind of artist I would be. I’ve wandered from one medium to the next throughout my investigations in creation. My first lessons were naturally in graphite, I quickly moved to pastel then oil painting. In college I tried my hand in graphic design, jewelry making, stained glass, bookmaking, and eventually majored in photography. While I started with very traditional training, I have found that I now tend more toward an illustrative style. I’ve just recently, now in my mid-late thirties come to the realization that I am an illustration artist. I mostly work now in pen and watercolor, I also enjoy graphite, color pencil, and acrylic.
What about your sources of inspiration in art and in everyday life?
I am a gardener, animal lover, and vintage enthusiast. I love stories and mythologies in listening, reading, and creating them. I have collections of vintage things, try to help my partner maintain our hobby micro-farm, and love listening to public radio and large variety of music. I’m usually reading at least 2 books at a time, always have a project going, and love to pick on my partner. I obsess over details and can spend hours easily focused on attempting to perfect the smallest thing.
Let’s talk about motorcycles! Are you a biker, why you love it? What are the feelings connected to motorcycles?
I am a rider. My partner, Josh Steele, and I started riding together 8 years ago on 50cc mopeds. We learned quickly how to maintain and modify them and soon moved to larger bikes. I officially got my motorcycle license three springs ago and now ride a 1976 Honda CB400Four Super Sport. Josh now owns and operates a small motorcycle shop called Vintage Steele (visit the web site!) right here in Brattleboro with our best friend Chris John. Our riding season here in Vermont is relatively short, so in the summers, they mainly concentrate on maintenance and repair and in the winter months they focus on custom builds and modifications.
I often ride with a small group of girlfriends; we’ve dubbed ourselves the Four-Stroke Foxes. No matter the length of the ride, I love the feeling of being on my motorcycle. It’s a feeling of clarity and bravery. I look forward to my future as an motorcyclist and am eager for lessons I’ll learn riding and maintaining a two-wheeled vintage vehicle.
Are you a vintage lover?
Growing up and living in New England, there is a tradition of vintage here. From auction houses to abandoned barns, you can find antiquities everywhere. I have several vintage collections of my own, including an ever-growing toy gun collection – I easily have over twenty vintage cap guns; Hundreds of old keys, and just about every type; small pen-knives; vintage cameras; typesetting blocks; locks; old photographs; buttons; and a wide variety of other bric-a-brac. My mother refers to my studio as my art nest to give you an idea of the curio-cabinet like resemblance it takes on. I suppose I may be compared to a magpie in the fact that I love vintage things as much as they love shiny objects.
Talk me about helmet customization.
I’ve done some helmet design, mostly just for my own purposes. I typically like to take vintage helmets and repurpose them as pieces of art. Most vintage helmets are pretty rough and unwearable. There are amazing craftspeople and artists out there that take old helmets and re-line them. I mostly just love them as aesthetic objects and have started to use them as a canvas. In some ways, because of their shapes, it’s much like sculpture, in that putting an image on them is not as straight-forward as on a flat piece of paper or the like. When creating a design for a helmet, you really have to think about how the image will be viewed at different angles. It’s quite a fun process of problem solving.
What are you working on and what about your future artistic projects?
I am currently concentrating on two series of work. I have a series of Japanese inspired botanical watercolors that I have been working on for 6 years on and off and have been recently re-inspired to continue. The other series is a group of illustrations I started a little over a year ago. Josh had asked me to make a drawing of a bike for him to use as a promotional tool to let people know that Vintage Steele buys motorcycles. He had drawn up a pretty adorable sketch of a sad stick-figure bike with boxy lettering next to it to show me what he meant. I took that and ran with it. The first image was of an old Ducati motorcycle, not sure the year now, which they had lying around the shop. It’s seat was torn and it was rusty and neglected looking, but still had a look that was not only nostalgia igniting, but also quite sweet looking. That was the model of the first of this series in which I illustrated a banner flying off the back stating “We Buy Motorcycles.” Since then I have made a follow up of six bikes, mostly inspired by either motorcycles they have had or built. I just finished the biggest of these, a 24×18” image in which I am awaiting to hear if it has been accepted into the 2016 Oil and Ink Expo! Until I’ve heard, I will not be revealing too much of this image… In the meantime, after creating most of these on 11×8 ½“ to 12×9” sheets of paper, I’ve now been inspired and encouraged by Josh to make more at this bigger size.
Where can we follow you and admire your art?