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Meet the cover star of June's CityMag: Sarah Darling

Meet the cover star of June's CityMag: Sarah Darling supporting image

Sarah uses traditional styles with a modern twist


Tell us about your cover. 

The cover is of a male great tit and the picture is called ‘Contemplation’. This is one of my smaller collage art pieces which consists of watercolour, pencil and paper. Although one of my simpler designs it has proved to be a successful seller in my greetings card range.


What’s your background?

Art has always been a big part of my life and my family have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. My background academically is actually in textiles. I completed an Art Foundation Course at Chesterfield College specialising in Surface Design and then attended Manchester Metropolitan University focusing on Print. I think this is where my love for texture has come from in my artwork. I love the fact that I can create a piece of art which someone wants to touch rather than just look at.


How would you describe your style?

I would say that my style is quite traditional with a modern twist. My pictures are obviously quite faithful representations of birds but they are not the flat classic ornithological depictions of old. I use lots of different media in my work to build interest and can include personal items such as photos, poems and letters.


What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am focusing on creating a collection of pieces that are based on the birds and the people of Sheffield. Sheffield is the greenest city in the UK and has an abundant bird population with all species living and working side by side which in many ways mirrors the city’s inhabitants. Through my ongoing collection I’m attempting to portray this story of diversity and togetherness depicting the birds in similar social situations that the locals experience. 


Who/what is your inspiration?

I don’t have any artists who I follow religiously as I find if you focus on someone else’s work you lose track of your own style and start to compare your work to theirs. Everyone has their own flair and artistic ability, I don't like to be swayed by the work of others. However, there are plenty of artists I do like whose work is very different to my own. I love portrait artists such as Keith Breeden or Lucian Freud, I think if I could branch into another form of art it would be portraiture. As for collage artists I do really like Peter Clark he creates a whole host of different animals and objects using folded paper etc and his book ' Paper Work' is lush, a great coffee table and inspo book!


What makes Sheffield stand out from other cities?

I grew up in a village and have lived in other cities and Sheffield is the perfect happy medium for me, it has the buzz of the city and the friendliness of a village. The greenness of the city is wonderful it’s like having a part of the countryside with you always... when I go away on holiday I always feel homesick for the trees and the birds.


What would be your dream project? 

My dream project would be to able to have a whole year solely dedicated to producing my work and experimenting with new media. Day to day life is so busy that time is precious so to be able to have that time to develop my work would be a dream.


What does the future hold?

Hopefully the future is rosy! As well as my artwork I have a full time job, I’d love to be able to rely solely on my art for a living but I’ve never been brave enough to make that giant leap! I sometimes think that if I had to produce my art in order to live some of the joy of creating it might be sucked away. I think I’d like a balance between the job I do now and my art, the good bits of both, guess I’m greedy like that!


How would you describe the art/design scene in Sheffield?

Sheffield is just an exciting hub of creativity with more and more amazing projects, festivals and retail outlets popping up in the city yearly. If you have a love for the arts then Sheffield is definitely the place to be. One of the best things is that people from all backgrounds and creative genres come together to work on things, it’s a real community city.

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