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Sarah Beetson

Sarah Beetson

About
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Interview
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Sarah graduated from Falmouth College of Arts, Cornwall, and won the Pentland Prize for Fine Art the same year. She then spent 4 years in London working in fashion, illustration and design in-house at Yellowdoor, Pop and The Face magazines and completed a 7 month print design internship at Stella McCartney. A commission followed to decorate the walls of the shoe room of Stella's Bruton Street shop. Since then, she has built a career as a freelance artist and illustrator, exhibiting work in London, Paris, Portland, New York, Ottawa, Adelaide, Melbourne and The Gold Coast, Australia; where she now lives. Sarah creates all elements within her work by hand with paint, pens and mixed media paraphenalia, layering in photoshop if required.
Question: What first drew you to illustration/design? Sarah: I spent a large part of my childhood in British pubs – so my parents would give my brother and I colouring books and felt tips to keep us quiet. I don’t think they really thought of the consequences – my brother is now a graphic designer! Question: Do you have any formal design training? Sarah: Yes, I studied Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts in Cornwall for 3 years. It was an incredible experience, being in a beautiful seaside town with a great creative gang of student talent from around the globe and lecturers who are also practitioners within the field. Question: You live in Melbourne. What drew you there? Sarah: I came for a visit in 2005 and fell in love with this city. There is an Arts Festival literally every week, a great fashion and live music scene, and the best coffee in the world! I used to live in London and loved it, and still return annually, but London comes with a price tag! Question: Where is your studio? Sarah: Currently, it’s a chaotic room in my house in Melbourne’s Inner North, but from August, it’ll be in a converted dairy building on my boyfriend’s farm in lush tropical Queensland! Question: Who/What is your biggest inspiration? Sarah: I guess my most continued inspiration is through film. I have been known to hop around London or Melbourne taking in 5 movies a day at the ICA, Curzon, Acmi or Nova cinema. And in which case, I’d have to say film director John Waters is my biggest inspiration. I like that he perversely twists all that is mundane in popular culture and presents this screwed up, bastardized view of it. Pink Flamingos is one of the greatest movies ever made.
Question: Do you collect anything? Sarah: I have a nice collection of vintage badges (I just paid over the odds for an original Michael Jackson Thriller badge with the zombies et all). I have a penchant for military hats, particularly Soviet. I have a Russian one with ‘No War’ spelt out across it in Fridge magnets which I like to wear with my ‘Jewish Day’ tshirt. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Sarah: No, but I hoard everything. My studio is littered with what would be the contents of a scrapbook if I had time to put one together. I tend to cover the walls in found printed matter which inspires me, so my walls are like a visual scrapbook, much to my landlord’s dismay. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Sarah: I just did a group exhibition for Belvedere Vodka, which involved 50 Australian Artists illustrating a bottle of Belvedere. I decorated mine with portraits of the former residents of Belvedere Palace in Poland (The building features on the bottle.) Question: What would be your "dream job/commission"? Sarah: Working with Anna Piaggi on a series of fashion illustrations for Italian Vogue. I would like to look like her when I grow up. Question: Where is your favourite place to loose yourself? Sarah: Coney Island, NYC. It’s the greatest place on earth and a wealth of all things tawdry and carny. One of the best font reference resources on the planet, although it’s slowly and devastatingly being torn to bits. Question: You have recently completed a montage of 40 original art badges recording the Body Mass Index of a number of celebrities. What inspired you to create this? Sarah: My 3rd solo exhibition: "YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU EAT: Eating Disorders in Fashion" will open in Melbourne and Adelaide in early 2010, and was initially a response to the deaths of 3 South American models; Ana Carolina Reston Macan, Luisel and Eliana Ramos. This triggered Madrid and Milan to adopt a policy of no underweight models on the runways, and I am hoping to urge Melbourne to consider enforcing it too. The poster image contains the first 40 original art badges from a series of 100, and was inspired by my research into the BMI statistics of 50 prominent female celebrities - a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is healthy. I discovered 69.8% of these are underweight (with a BMI of 18.5 or less) and that 18 out of the 50 are at or below what the World Health Organisation defines to be starvation (a BMI of 16 or less.) The exhibition will feature a number of text-based works around the theme, including a giant wordsearch, and will see collaborations between myself a a handful of fashion designers.
SELECTED CLIENTS:
Compendium Inc, Trader Joe's, The Sunday Times Style, Molo Kids, The British Fashion Council, Perth Fashion Week, Delta Airlines, The Wall Street Journal

Favourites
Shop: Polyester Books in Melbourne – their slogan is “Totally Weird Shit!” polyester.com.au
Website: It’s kind of pathetic, but I love this cuteoverload.com and this thisiswhyyourefat.com
Blog: lostateminor.com
Magazine: Interview.
Gallery: Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art qag.qld.gov.au
Cafe: Kent St, Melbourne.
 
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