i discovered sarah john afana on the etsy front page last week and new she would be perfect for “finding passion.” her faceless figures, haunting abstract landscapes, hand-painted ornaments, and endless passion for her art represent exactly what i’m looking for! you can find her work in her fine art shop, sarah john afana, and her craft shop, schemata.
you’re a fine artist, photographer, and knitter. anything else? which are you most passionate about right now?
“Right now” changes from hour to hour. As you mentioned I work in a variety of media so it’s really a matter of what needs the most attention. This is my first year selling my hand painted glass ornaments online so I am preparing inventory for two gallery locations and two online marketplaces. Sundays I am fortunate enough to get out to the beach for some surfing and photography. My Surfer Series of paintings is all worked from photographs and having just the right action photo to work from takes perfect timing. Although crafting media may be consuming more of my studio time at the moment, I am constantly thinking about my next painting I can’t wait to start.
tell me about an obstacle you overcame in becoming a full-time creator.
I think like most artists you talk to, the business of being an artist is a huge obstacle. Finding the ability to market and promote sales while still trying to maintain the creative time in the studio is a difficult balance. For me, living in a rather rural part of California, the opportunity to market and sell my work was very limited. While it might sound cliché, having the technology that is available now has allowed me the opportunity to be selling and shipping around the world. By having an online presence with the venues and social networking that is available along with digital cameras and the professional print quality at home, I am no longer limited to what is locally accessible for me.
your paintings are evocative, full of motion, and feature interesting techniques. tell me about your process in envisioning and creating a new piece.
While my Surfer and Figure Series’ are created from photographs much of my work begins very organically. When working in acrylic I cover the entire surface with 1-3 colors and pour or spray with rubbing alcohol for a resist effect. Once that dries I can general see a texture or a pattern that intrigues me to work into the final image. Sometimes it’s that pattern that ends up being the focus for an abstract piece. I enjoy working expressively and letting the materials and textures guide the direction while trying to work an image I want out of them.
what do you struggle with daily in living out your passion as a working artist?
Focusing, since I enjoy working in so many media I have a tendency to bounce from project to project. Lately my days go like this; I will do some of the business of being an artist (emailing, listing work for sale, packing and shipping), spend an hour or two on a batch of ornaments, either photograph new work or edit photographs, find time to knit if possible, and somewhere in there find time to maintain daily life. The BEST days are the ones I know I will get a block of hours of painting time in the studio. I have thousands of photographs to be edited and manipulated for new paintings, if I could just obtain the time to focus on them.