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Travel away to distant lands with Sarah Albinson's Illustrations

InterviewsErika BelavyComment

This week we're traveling to Minneapolis to meet the Viennese artist Sarah Albinson. Two series of her works are featured; Wrapped, which is defined large, strong animals so delicately drawn they appear to be made out of yarn; and, Auslandish (German for "Foreign") inspired by Sarah's many international travels and her life growing up as a foreigner.

Often spending months on a single work, she focuses heavily on meticulous detail and permanent mediums. Sarah's calling to become an artist was so strong that she has stepped outside of her own practice to get involved with a non profit art program, Inverted Arts. She also frequently works on commissions and collaborations, ranging from a sharpie mural in a coffee bar to live painting events across her city. We were so intrigued we had to learn more about this talented artist!

1. What made you decide to become an artist?

My decision was solidified, when I realized that I so deeply believe that art matters. When I recognized that it is a priceless record and a continued dialogue, covering everything and anything that human beings have been feeling or thinking about since the day our early ancestors could pick up a pen-like object and draw on a cave wall. It is a sacred tradition, having evolved and broken all of the rules. It has been the song of freedom, the asking of vital questions, reminder of beauty, and the cry for change. It holds room for every emotion, thought, moment in time, hope and fear. That is an incredible thing. 

Because I believe these things, it seems like the best way I could possibly spend my life, is by attempting and working in every way I know how, to be a worthy participant. 

2. Your work conveys a sense of fragility, especially the Wrapped series. Tell us more about this series. What inspired it?

I wanted to make strong creatures, from fragile lines, resembling fragile material (yarn), to represent strong concepts. The thoughts I have been contemplating through this series, I have expressed better visually than I can through words, but here is my attempt: 

I have been trying to contemplate attributes, through physical means. I have chosen animals to represent them and taken away their skin, turned them into woven creatures and challenged their physical characteristics through unraveling yarn. For example: ‘wisdom’ without feet to anchor it. 

I was also intrigued with the elegance and the incredible delicacy repetitive fragile lines made with a permanent medium could create. Pen used to be, in my mind, a harsh medium- unforgivable. Yet, no matter how tiny the line (all of these pieces are done with 005 microns) the line carries weight and a stubborn permanence.  I thought that quality was very beautiful and powerful when paired with studies of attributes and ideas. 

3. What do you want to accomplish with your work? How are you doing this?

I desire my work to ask meaningful questions, to document life well, and to actively participate in the conversations happening around the world through visual means. I believe doing this will be a lifelong growing process, but I hope to grow in my craft and articulation of concepts, questions, and experiences that I find meaningful. Life, as it is, tends to be a chiseling force. 

By leaning into it’s various chapters, and by persistently learning and seeking growth, I hope to continually grow and better my contributions to the general art world. 

4. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To be able to build everything out of anything. I am not a builder. It isn’t in my DNA, but I wish, so desperately, that I could build giant things. To be able to create structures- whether art, buildings, cars, space ships, bridges, or gadgets- to be able to create anything and not be limited by materials- that would simply be amazing. 

Shop Sarah Albinson's illustrations here