In these #SPREADTHEGIRLPOWER interviews I have been chatting to creative girls from around the world who I've discovered through instagram, with a focus on those who have recently set up small businesses. I've gained so many amazing contacts through instagram and been given some brilliant opportunities, so I'm doing my bit to help others gain new contacts and find out about creatives they might not have come across yet.
This month I chatted to Sarah Day - I think I first found out about Sarah on Sara M. Lyons' account - if I remember correctly Sara was painting a mural when Sarah stopped by with donuts and they had a chat about art and activism - obviously I had to go and follow Sarah straight away.
Sarah's drawings are as captivating as her instagram captions - her beauty (inside and out) truly shines through in her posts - she's totally clued up about what's going on in the world and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in right or to speak out about what she thinks is ringht and wrong. I chatted to her all about her art, her excellent taste of music and the state of American politics today...
Your business originally started life as 'Get Lettered' and you sold hand-lettered prints and custom signage - how did it evolve into the business it is today and do you miss brush lettering?
My early artist brain loved lettering. Over the course of a year, with a lot of help from the Internet, I taught myself a utilitarian set of hand lettering skills, mostly because it was meditative and relatively left-brained. I’ve always looked at art as a therapeutic exercise, and lettering was the perfect entree. I was obsessed with patterns at first: the delicate leaves of succulents and roses, the variation of thickness in letter lines, the repetitiveness of drawing drills and pen practice. Soon, little figures started to make their way into my lettering pieces…especially portraits of women. Little by little, the pieces turned into portraits or drawings with words around them. Then the words started to fade out altogether, or they’d appear in block letters to show deference to the drawings. Several months into my Instagram life as “Get Lettered,” I found I’d already outgrown the title. Do I miss brush lettering? No, not really. I still pull it out now and then, especially for custom projects. And I’ll always thank lettering for giving me rust in my own artistic aptitude, faith in my own ability to self-teach, and my first real artistic audience.
Much of your work is politically charged and you speak very openly about your views on instagram. What have the past few months been like in America (for you personally and the general atmosphere) and what would you encourage people to do if they're feeling disconnected and angry with the current political system and government?
The day after Trump was elected, I became a paying member of my city’s NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). First of all, isn’t it a shame that it took me so long? I reference that example because I think it’s important to remind ourselves of two simultaneous facts: the problems that Trump represents have been born and bred into US culture, and lots of folks in this country have already been fighting the good fight for decades upon decades. This has been an especially shocking time for liberal white people like myself, because it’s the first time we’ve genuinely felt like our government could turn against us. We forget that, for many other groups in this country, this has always been the case. We must look to those communities now, not only because they’ll bear the brunt of this administration, but because they already understand how to speak truth to power… they’ve been doing it for a long, long time.
You've worked on a number of collaborations - several with Pindemic and most recently with The C Project - How did they come about why you think collaboration is so important?
Collaboration is important for a whole variety of reasons… creatively, socially, and even financially, collaborations provide endless opportunities. Collaboration is important in that we should never forget how to work together… and even beyond the wonderful experience of sharing art with other artists, there’s plain and simple strength in numbers. Amazingly, most of the collaborations I’ve been involved with have come from shamelessly pestering my Instagram friends, and on the occasion (as it was with Pindemic), a company that I knew could produce submitted designs. When I first started creating, the idea of randomly messaging somebody on Instagram to suggest partnering on a product was intimidating… but soon it became habit. The lesson here is that it never hurts to ask!
Can you tell me a bit about your 'weird girls' design and how it originated?
The “weird girls have more fun” slogan originated with my mom… in fact, the first time I said it, I’m pretty sure she’s the one I was saying it to (and possibly about). This is a message that resonates pretty deeply with all the women in my family, and it was always my first and favorite pick for a shirt slogan. The legs (which in earlier iterations of the design actually had socks on them) are something of an emblem… they represent a sense of freedom and simple joy. I feel it important to note here that not all weird girls are “girls,” and choosing to leave one’s leg hair alone is in no way a membership card to feminist thought… instead I believe the ephemeral “Weird Girl” has evolved into a character that can be harnessed by any person, and realizing one’s inner weird girl is about claiming one’s sense of spontaneity, creativity, and weirdness… whatever that means for you.
A lot of your illustrations depict women alongside empowering or honest thoughts and messages. Who are these women and what do you hope to achieve through your artwork?
In a sense, my girls are my imaginary friends. Sometimes I’ll draw characters inspired by someone specific, do caricatures, or create original characters… but most of the women and girls I draw are more an expression of feeling than fully developed characters. For the most part, they come into the world because I need them… and I guess the ultimate hope is that someone who also needs to hear that same message might connect to them, too. I used to be a teacher, and I was raised by two psychologists, so I tend to want to produce art that in some way educates, or somehow helps the viewer elucidate problems they may be struggling with. To put it simply, the greatest achievement I could hope to make with my art would be helping someone realize they’re not alone.
I'm always digging your taste in music and it seems to inspire your work a lot. Can you list your top 5 tracks that you're loving right now?
This is a weird blend, are you ready?
- Come In from the Cold - Joni Mitchell
- Sweet Va Breeze - D.R.A.M.
- All I Need - Noname
- Willin’ - Linda Ronstadt
- Here Comes a Thought - Estelle (Steven Universe soundtrack)
What's the creative scene like where you're from in California? Your t-shirt photoshoots always look like a lot of fun!
Yes! I’ve been very, very lucky to work with two incredible photographers (Matt Lingo and Savanna Lindley) who have made the photoshoots a joy to put together. I’ve also been lucky to have friends who don’t mind hamming it up for the camera upon request! The art scene in San Diego is tremendously diverse, and I’ve been very lucky to learn and grow in such a dynamic environment. Especially notable has been my exposure to the art scene in Tijuana, and learning from the incredible artists whose lives span our southern border. I also draw a lot of inspiration from the natural surrounds (mermaids need an ocean, right?), and from the cannabis culture that’s blooming in California. It’s truly a creative scene with a little bit of everything!
Who should we all go and follow on instagram right now?
Check out three of my favorite artists from the aforementioned Tijuana/San Diego art scene: @luisaluisaww, @iamhalfasleep, and @aypanca! Out of LA, I’ve been digging on the tremendously talented @jillian_evelyn, @penelopegazin, and @kliuwong. Finally, my favorite graphic designers and painters in the Leucadia scene: @daniellamanini_art, @tierneymoses, and @shelbyling.
What does 'Girl Power' mean to you?
There are as many ways to define “girl power” as there are girls in the world, but to me it means harnessing your inner strength, and even more importantly, the love and compassion it takes to fully embrace and lift up the women and girls around you.