British painter Sarah Graham was born in Hitchin in 1977, and works almost exclusively in oil on canvas. She completed a BA (hons) in Fine Art painting from De Montfort University, Leicester in 2000, and has been pursuing her practice ever since. From 2001 – 2007 she exhibited at independent galleries and art fairs in the UK and overseas and then joined a major UK art publisher.
Sarah’s paintings are in private collections across the world, in Europe, the USA, Australia, the Middle East, China and South Africa.
In 2012, Sarah was commissioned by the British band Kaiser Chiefs to paint the album cover of their singles collection Souvenir, which was released worldwide. Her work is also owned by Standard Chartered Bank, who commissioned several pieces by Sarah, including a self-portrait, for their vast global collection of contemporary portraits.
From 2014 Sarah worked independently from her Hertfordshire studio and joined Buckingham Fine Art Publishers in 2016 to again increase the distribution of her art across the UK.
My work is a vivid exploration of still life, using subjects that allow me to satisfy my obsession with colour; and within them somehow communicate that elusive sense of sheer joy. Imagery is often borrowed from childhood; sweet things, toys, stuff that might evoke a sense of wonderment, and ultimately nostalgia.
As a kid I do vividly remember thinking how wonderful it would be to hand paint the cells and characters in Disney films; given that paint has been replaced by pixels, I think Ive found a way to satisfy that dream in my own unique way.
Painting has been my first love for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been interested in realism, and occasionally will be drawn to portraiture, some of my latest work now combines both the still life subjects and portraits; the ‘Wilderness Of Kitsch’ series allows me to create a miniature world where figures sit amongst the kitsch memorabilia I’ve acquired over the years.
Using a photograph as reference I scaling up by eye and sketching out in yellow acrylic. I then roughly produce an entire under painting in acrylic. This process gives me the freedom to refer to the photo less once I’m working in oils, since it is my desire to enhance the world, rather than replicate it too precisely. Contrasts between focus and blur have become a key element in my work. Blurred areas become very abstract passages, and using dry brushwork, can be the most technically challenging sections to paint.
My work is often described as playful and fun, and even kitsch, due to the nature of the subjects. None of which I mind, however within it lies a serious practice that I have devoted my working life to, and a deep desire to improve with every brush mark.