Sarah Stockstill was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 1, 1972, with the distinction of being the first baby to be born in Scottsdale that year. Raised in a square mile suburban town called Litchfield Park, Sarah’s earliest art influence came from a Modigliani print that hung in her family home. Inspired by her early creative impulses, as a young girl Sarah tore out fashion ads and collaged the walls of her room with them, along with art prints of Picasso and Van Gogh.
Sarah overcame the adversity of her youth and found harmony in the desert, melding it with the contemporary influences found in the Los Angeles landscape. Finding solace in the beauty of a multicolored world, she creates works that are both subliminal in texture and distinct in composition, and sought out by collectors from around the world.
She is a prolific artist whose inspiration comes from a career steeped in photography, and the humble beginnings of an artist’s apprentice. Her style explores imagery that evokes the deep sense of emotional passion lying within the psyche. Her style suggests a longing for simplicity, yet possesses a depth that seems almost impossible to grasp. The rich colors beg for attention by being simply beautiful, and at the same time they are covered in a sublime, almost transparent layer that is even more beautiful that what is apparent on the surface.
Prior to becoming a successful fulltime artist, Sarah worked in retail jobs, and managed a hair salon. She found that the intense competitive environment in a salon toughened her up a bit. “It taught me to be braver, and to not get distracted by temporary setbacks.” But ultimately, Sarah quit her job to pursue a fulltime art career. “I realized that if I wanted to teach my kids how to have a happy life, I would need to pave the way and learn to do something I love while balancing it with the realities of life.” She worked as an artist’s assistant for two years, and enjoyed the privilege of painting with an art company surrounded by many talented artists.
Sarah finds inspiration for her art just from living life. “Following my intuition in life puts me in the right places at the right time, so I’m exposed to the things I need . . . a conversation, a piece of art, and a million small details that I reference subconsciously.” Adds Sarah, “Most of my ideas happen while I’m in bed before I get up. The rest is luck.”
Sarah deals with artist’s block with persistence and determination. “I’ve learned to not stop working, but to stay in the studio and try to keep the fear at bay.” Sarah prefers to work in the morning (and on her birthday), working many paintings at a time, “. . . to keep the flow going and to satiate my ADD tendencies.” When asked if she was Felix Unger or Oscar Madison in the studio, Sarah quipped whimsically, “My studio has a first name . . . it’s O-S-C-A-R!” Sarah enjoys the serendipitous nature of her work, but “. . . sometimes I wish I painted cheetahs or something representational. It can be difficult to always create something that’s never existed before.”
Sarah works primarily in acrylics, finding that this versatile, fast-drying medium is both “. . . immediate and forgiving.” She’s interested in phasing resin, encaustic and photo emulsion into her works,, and is also gradually folding figurative elements into her images. When asked how she would describe her unique style, Sarah replied, “I don’t know that anything’s unique about it, but I do try to stay honest and keep my ego out of it. Then I can just play with color and movement.” Sarah hopes that viewers will find what they want to see in her paintings, and continually discover new things in them “. . . for as long as they hang it.”
Sarah shares her philosophy about art and life: “I think the way we cultivate our lives is the greatest art form. If you get to make some paintings along the way that makes it extra fantastic!”
When she’s not creating art, Sarah likes to spend time with her children, watch movies, practice yoga, cook and go out with friends.
“I am profoundly interested in the spaces between things . . . the light next to the spotlight just before the dark and the vastness of the seam where the sky meets the ocean.”
I am profoundly interested in the spaces between things . . . the light next to the spotlight just before the dark and the vastness of the seam where the sky meets the ocean. Growing up in the flatness of the desert, I became a sensitive observer of these less obvious beauties and find solace in discovering, exploring and ultimately celebrating them through painting.
Born on January, 1 Sarah was the first baby to be born in Scottsdale in 1972.