Q – Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Sure! After a 6 year stint working in theatre I’m trying to do more of what I love, which is illustration! I’m at my happiest when drawing and tend to use a lot of ink and bright colour palettes in my art because I like the messy process.
I aim to celebrate queerness in my work
– whether that’s through the subject matter or by trying to put a queer lense / female gaze on something else. Making the kind of art I wish I’d seen growing up.
Q. How important do you feel queerness in arts & culture is?
Incredibly important. It can be really hard to discover who you are without any kind of roadmap or representation, and
art is usually a beautiful portal into possibility! (don’t dream it, be it).
It can also get very complex because queer culture (especially black trans and queer culture) has a history of being taken out of its original context without compensation or credit, and re-packaged for the enjoyment of the wider (straighter) world, so authenticity and getting to tell our own stories is important.
I also think a person’s definition of queerness can be personal to them, for me it’s also about art that tries to empower, and is politically aware, because queer resistance & joy is political.
I think that arts & culture is a natural home for queers because at its best you can be proudly weird and flamboyant and express your truth in a space, on stage or off, in relative safety – a little slice of freedom. It’s the feeling I get at drag shows – community + CAMP. And there’s so many great collectives in london (for example) that are working to make the cabaret scene more inclusive too, like The Cocoa Butter Club and The Bitten Peach and WOOF . I get a special joy whenever I see art made by or about bi people because we unfortunately have a *lot* of dusty stereotypes to fight and growing up in a religious and very straight environment didn’t help me, so I love seeing more depictions of people from the wider gender and sexuality spectrum loving each other.
Q: What do you want people to take away from your piece?
That queer love can be all things…there’s nothing inherently adult or deviant about being queer. In my case being bi. Secondary school can be tough for kids discovering who they are (this was the time in my life I started hearing ‘it’s just a phase’ on the regular from parents and teachers) and some adults try to shame you with a belief that being queer is just teen rebellion or wildly inappropriate, but it’s so important to not internalise their fear, like I did for ages.
I came out as bi during secondary school because it felt like the most natural thing in the world when I started dating my first girlfriend. It was first-love and sweet and simple, I never had to question anything (except on google searching for the language to describe my sexuality) but the negativity of others is hard to shake and being bullied by other students *and* teachers wasn’t exactly ideal. So
hey media, normalise bi characters holding hands and taking naps and making out to mixtapes pls.
The theme of our second issue is ‘Dream’. Can you tell us how you interpreted that theme?
I wanted to try to do something playful and relatable with the theme, so I went with daydreams! I wanted to translate that sweet and simple feeling into the art, so I stuck to basic shapes and a dreamy (bi lighting) colour palette.
This was for all those moments I used to spend in lessons that used to draaaag on (for me it was always maths) so my mind would wander and I’d think about my gf instead. Or doodle all over my notebooks, or both.
Do you have any bi role models? If so, who are they and why do you look up to them?
I have lots! Which is very different to when I was growing up and didn’t know anyone in the public eye that was out as bi or pan. Maybe not role models exactly, but three people off the top of my head are Rebecca Sugar, Janelle Monae and Desiree Akhavan – all making different kinds of amazing art and
using their platforms to champion queer representation
they’re so incredibly inspiring to me.
If you had one piece of advice for your younger self (looking back now) what would it be and why?
Learn about queer history,
then it will all make sense. because no-one will ever teach you lol!
She / Her | Suffolk,UK | Illustrator & Graphic Designer
You can find more of Sarah’s art on her website for more sketches and personal bits on Instagram and Twitter
Sarah was interviewed by Lucy Everett