Regan Hayward sits down with abstract artist, Sarah Terrill, as a part of a new series of candid conversations with practicing artists.
Regan: Welcome everyone, I am Regan Jane Hayward, I’m a curating artist and also the managing director of Beaux Arts Gallery, Downtown Brampton. We are a not-for-profit artist-run space and currently with Covid-19 in effect, our arts collective has been doing a lot of pivoting on our programming for you, our audience, to enjoy and today is no different. We are doing a series of candid conversations with artists that we are showcasing. This particular interview is with exhibiting artist Sarah Terrill, abstract artist. Sarah is a featured artist in our “I Know Why” Art Exhibition available virtually now at our website. In honour of Black History Month, we are showcasing the works of Black artists, to demonstrate our support of Black culture and artists themselves. So today we’re having a conversation with you, Sarah, how are you?
Sarah: I’m good. Thanks for having me. This is great!
Regan: Thank goodness for zoom and the internet. I thought we would start by you sharing about your art practice. When did you start with your art practice? Take us through that.
Sarah: Sure! I was always artsy in high school and I always loved the arts. And then life goes on--things change. Then I was at a very dark place in my life and I turned to painting again. Actually, to be honest, art saved me. It made me see the light. It made me find my passion again. It made me find my truth. And I will always respect art and it just brought me out of that dark place and into the light.
In 2010, I decided to do my first solo show. It was a lot of hard work, but it was such a great success. Just seeing people talking about my art—it was my art they were talking about and purchasing. It was such a great show and that show in 2010 gave me the confidence to continue my art and I had something to say to the world through my art. And that was it for me.
Regan: It set you on a journey that you are still on today. I also wanted to ask what it means to you to be a Black artist, then, now and over the course of your career? Tell us a little bit about that.
Sarah: When I was starting out as a Black artist, I didn’t really know that much about shows—and just the process of it. And I started connecting with some local shows and my artwork was chosen and when I got there, I realized there wasn’t lot of Black artist—only a few. And I looked around the room and I found the support. Just having that connection as a Black artist, you connect with each other and we support each other. Now, I see the doors have opened and it’s just amazing. I mean there’s so many great artists out there, Black artists out there. And what a difference that makes, not just with artists but musicians and curators. The doors have opened so much now. It’s just amazing. Opportunities there.
Regan: That’s wonderful. What is it that drives you to create?
Sarah: To be honest life, everyday life. I wake up and I’m like “what am I going to create today?” Visions of colours. Art’s art. Visions are visions. You know. I look at art. I see colours, visions. I love working with texture. So for me to put my visions of colours and designs on a blank canvas, that’s what motivates me to do my artwork. And for people to say, “wow Sarah, that’s a great piece,” when you have that passion and love and it comes out in your art, that’s what motivates me.
Regan: Yes, it absolutely does! Full disclosure for our audiences, we’ve been working together for a number of years. We’ve had our touchstones if you will, different productions, more in the Toronto scene, but Sarah’s always been full of enthusiasm for her passion and that has always lit me up. I always love working with you Sarah.
Sarah: Thank you. Likewise.
Regan: It’s great to see that you’re still driven as you are. I would like to know what you’re working on for 2021 and going forward?
Sarah: Well 2020, with this Covid, it’s been such a challenge for everybody, not just for artists but for everybody. And I thought, you can’t give up. You have to keep going. So I thought I’m going to reinvent my business. I’m going to reinvent myself. It’s a new year and you got to stay positive. I’ve come up with a relaunch for my company, my art company: new logo, new website, a brand new me, some new pieces. That’ll be launching soon. I’ll be working on some commercial contracts. Hopefully, I’m going to get some virtual shows together. I miss that interaction with clients.
Regan: Well we’re glad to have you in our virtual show. Do tell everyone how to find you going forward.
Sarah: Well my website is sarahterrill.com. You can find me there. My website will have all my information. It’s been a great journey and I’m so proud of the news website. And it’s basically a new me!
Regan: Very good. We’re excited to see it! Thank you today for your time.
Sarah: Thank you so much for having me. This is great.
Regan: And thanks everyone out there for having a listen. As I shared in the beginning, it’s about having candid conversations with artists that are short, sweet and sincere.