Artist_Sarah LedermanMeet the Artist

Sarah Lederman

Can you describe your work in three words? 
Abstract, figurative, bodily. 

What got you into the arts? How did you become an artist?
My parents would often take me to exhibitions as a child and I vividly remember visiting the ‘body’ section of the Tate Modern in the 90s. I also have a strong memory of going to see a Dalí exhibition in Florida and finding the work so ugly and repulsive. The experience of viewing that exhibition really stuck with me. It helped me to realise that an artwork doesn’t necessarily need to beautiful to be impactful.

I began drawing and painting at a very young age and as I got older I felt like art school was the most obvious choice for me. I was so excited by the prospect of spending three years dedicated to painting. I got a lot of attention at my degree show: I got Kay Saatchi’s attention and I won the Catlin Art Prize the year after, so I just kept going. I don’t think I could imagine being anything other than an artist now.

What drew you to painting specifically?
I love how dirty paint is. When I paint I feel like I’m like taking dirt and muck and going through a process of alchemy to make something beautiful and valuable. I like using my hands to mix colours and I feel like a witch when using rabbit skin glues or different paints. In the book Wet: On Painting, Feminism, and Art Culture, paint is described as womanly in the way that it seeps and is uncontainable like the female body.

What is the process behind your work? 
I always start with a drawing, whether it’s directly onto the canvas or on a sheet of paper. I feel like I use two different parts of my brain to draw and to paint. Drawing is about composition, line and observation whereas painting is about shapes and colour. I tend to draw on the canvas first and then paint the next day. Most of my time is spent refining the details of the painting. It’s always hard to know when a painting is finished, but to me the most important aspect of a painting are the small details.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from things around me and my life experiences. When I spent time in LA I drew a lot of palm trees. I am looking at a lot of erotic paintings at the moment and I have a book on eroticism that I get a lot of ideas from. I’m also starting to experiment with using AI to generate new imagery. I recently froze my eggs so I’ve started to think about IVF in my work. My inspiration really depends on what I’m interested in at any given time.

What do you hope to convey through your art?
This is a difficult question for me to answer as I think it’s important for the viewer to find their own interpretations of my work. Generally speaking, I want to combine beauty with the absurd and sometimes the ugly.

Who are the artists that have inspired you most? 
Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, Hans Bellmer, Unica Zürn, Pierre Bonnard...

What interested you about joining Canopy Collections 3 years ago?
I think they have excellent taste. I always love the work they show and I admire the other artists. I am always happy about who they show me with and always feel like my work is presented in the best way possible. I am extremely happy to be working with them.

Do you collect art from other artists? How important is it for you to live with art?
I know from my work that art has a life in a home, and I think that life gets breathed into a piece of artwork when it’s lived with. At home I have art works by Lola Bunting, Margot Sanders, Hanne Lillee and Aindreas Scholz, Cynthia Cruz and Holly Birtles — I absolutely love all of their work. I also have a wonderful piece made of electric wires that a child made, it’s totally amazing.