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An Artist Statement of Sorts - Sarah Vanphravong

As an artist I am constantly thinking about new ideas or ways in which I can approach my artwork. I identify with the ability to use something one is very passionate about to speak to the world. To be able to find a language to say what you mean and to have others identify with what you are expressing is a powerful thing. Art is incredible because it is a form of communication that everyone can understand regardless of cultural limitations. Because of this I know that art can make an impact, and I am careful to be deliberate in what I want to say in my work.

Often I find myself in the situation where I am obsessed with every little detail. Even if I find that I am no longer inspired by the art piece I am working on, obsessive compulsion keeps me moving. I might not feel as strongly about the piece as I progress, but the compulsion drives me to continue until I get something I like. I believe in working through things until they are acceptable, what’s the point in starting something and abandoning it the moment things don’t go your way? There’s nothing to gain from that approach.
I consider myself a “visual interpreter?, the things I see become subjects of my work. I have never felt that I possess the ability to properly articulate the things I think through words. Just like anyone else I react to the things going on around me, but I choose to do it through art. A large portion of my work is based on human emotions, ones that I feel or ones that I see other people go though. I am of the opinion that emotions are a very concrete way of connecting with people; if you have empathy you can identify with whomever you meet.
I very much dislike when people ask me what kind of artist I am. As an artist how can you grow if you limit yourself to some label such as “painter?? I view being an artist as a profession that has no limits and there is a constant need for exploring. You will never know what you like or don’t like until you try them out.
A particular theme that reoccurs in my artwork is the idea of mediating inside and outside. I am interested in how our exteriors influence our interiors and vice versa. It appears to me that often we take very important things for granted. What I’m really after is exposing the things that we often take for granted. We live in a world where we make things much more complicated for ourselves than we need to. It’s so easy to lose sight of the small things in search of fulfilling a bigger picture.
I’ve also been putting a lot of consideration into how to interact with the viewer. When one has been trained to look at art a certain way, how does one unlearn it and look at art from a viewpoint of someone not educated in the arts? How can I speak to my audience if I don’t know how they conceptualize my ideas? I made a series of paintings based on my interpretation of a song. Using watercolor, I’d paint my visual interpretation, and take a photo as I went on. The idea was to get photos of the paintings as they progressed, this way the viewer could see how I work as an artist. Paintings don’t just appear, there’s a process and most people don’t know what the process is unless they’ve done it themselves. Once the paintings were complete I took the photos and timed them to progress as the song progresses. I’d like to go on and do this with different mediums. Progression as an important thing. I hope to continue to grow into an artist who is able to connect with an audience and have that audience take something away from my work.