We talk to artist Sarah Watson – exhibiting at BMECP

Hi Sarah – we are really pleased to have you exhibiting in the Artists Open Houses festival this year! We love your exhibition of portraits of friends and famous people.Can you tell us a bit about how you chose the people you have pictures?

Sometimes people make suggestions of famous people and I draw them.  Sometimes I like to target people and grill them, like Boris Johnson.  I like that old programme (Spitting Image) with the puppets of politicians.

How do you make your pictures?

My first way of drawing was using Staedler pens, they were really nice.  Then my friend Will showed me how to use Pro-Markers, pens are good for me because I’m a messy bugger!  I like seeing people for who they are, their essence.

What I do is I use pencils for the base, then I go over the pencil with black fine liner, then rub out the pencil, then I add colour with Pro-Markers and texture with Posca Pens.  Finally I add details with black fine-liner again.

I’m self taught, so I just make it up as I go along. I like patterns, and an artist I like is Vincent Van Gogh.

How is making your art important to you?

Art is a way for me to cope, a way of expressing myself.  I want my art to be different, colourful and stand out.  I’m a visual thinker, I think of things that are different and unusual.  When I did some work on my last project I chose the theme of Wonderland, but with Brighton as Wonderland.

Can you tell us about your special event, taking place on the 19th May?

It’s my first time doing live portraits.  I’d like to talk to people and draw them at the same time, as a way of getting to know the person and put that into my drawing. There will be five slots available so quickly grab them before they go!

Will visitors be able to see the portraits produced at the event?

Of course they can, and we will send people a copy.  I’ll put it on my Instagram too.  We are going to print the portraits and display them in the exhibition on the last weekend in May.

What do you hope will result from taking part in the Open Houses Festival?

I just hope that people will love my work and remember me as the artist.  I want people to know that art is for everybody, no matter who you are.  That artists with a learning disability should be involved.  Anybody can be an artist.  We are here!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Next I’m thinking about combining my photography and drawing together to do something new.  That’s a new challenge for me.  My next step is to take more photos, I have been learning to use my DSLR camera.

Sarah’s live portrait session will be on Sunday 19th May 11am -3pm
(all portrait sessions are now fully booked)

Sarah’s exhibition is supported by Figment Arts as part of Level Up, funded by Arts Council England.

Sarah Watson is a member of Carousel, an organisation that helps learning disabled artists develop and manage their creative lives, true to their voice and vision, challenging expectations of what great art is and who can create it.

Limbo ( I )