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Against the grain: Sarah Mayer

Jun. 15, 2017
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Art moves us; it changes us, inspires us, and shapes the way we think about life, people, and ourselves. But, unfortunately, in an American society where capitalism taints nearly every aspect of life, we have been taught that anything that does not consistently produce a high monetary return or guarantee great financial success is seen as a waste of time. That’s what British literary theorist Terry Eagleton meant when he said “[c]apitalism is at once far too rational, trusting in nothing that it cannot weigh and measure, and far too little as well, accumulating wealth as an end in itself.”  But what about those gifts that burn inside of us, the things that we can’t deny about what make us who we are?    

This is a series on female artists--young women who have chosen to be who they are in a society which often fails to appreciate artistic creativity and drive. This is a story about women who are conscious of the world around them and bravely share their thoughts and experiences in hopes of reaching and impacting others. These women are just like you and me: human. Yet somehow, they manage to conquer their fears, rise above the external and internal pressure they face and push against the grain, causing shifts in the culture we live in and lighting sparks in a broken world. 

Sarah Mayer is a graphic designer who loves bringing light to dark places. She loves making lovely things that catch the eye and grab the heart. She designs her products with truths that last a lifetime--love, grace, freedom, and joy! She is always trying new mediums--watercolors and calligraphy to name a few--to incorporate into her art.  At the core she is whimsical and wise, eager to embark on new journeys in life! 

Q: How old are you? 

A: 25.

Q: Where were you born? 

A: Chicago, Illinois--inner-city Chicago.  

Q: What was your childhood like?

A: I was privileged to grow up in a healthy, happy home with a family that encouraged creativity and exploration. My family wasn't wealthy, so certain experiences were limited by money, but overall my dad worked hard to expose my sisters and me to many aspects of our culture (and other cultures). From an early age I remember going to art exhibits, concerts, museums, and cultural events in my city. Because I wasn't able to have the latest toys I saw on TV, I was forced to be creative, making my own paper dolls, doll house, books, and etc. My childhood was literally DIY. My sisters and I would play together, imagining we were in various situations--in a school, in a library, animals in aquarium, cooking a meal, etc. My father was also a big fan of old movies, and my sisters and I would often re-enact scenes from our favorite old films, usually the ones with long, flowing dresses. 

Q: When did you discover your love for art?

A: My love for art started with my dad exposing me to all forms of it. As I child I liked to draw, and so did my sisters; our entire family noticed that we were good at it, so they really encouraged us to keep creating and making. I also loved how art didn't have boundaries. Due to my parents’ tight finances, there were different things my friends had that I wasn’t able to have, but through clever and creative avenues, I could make similar things for so much cheaper. And the best part was the great feeling of accomplishment when someone would ask me where I got one of my creations, and I got to say I made it!  I think that is how art won me over, and ever since I have loved creating beautiful and functional things in clever ways.

Q: What motivates you to make work?

A: My motivation is an inner desire to just make. It comes first as a great idea, then--like an itch and a yearning--I can't stop thinking about my idea until I actually make it. So I do! I also get inspired by other creative people, movies, objects in stores and pretty things. When I see people's work, or beautiful things in the store, it makes me think whether I could make something similar--or it inspires another idea and makes me want to create. Also I love pretty things, especially things that encourage, strengthen, and bring delight. So when I make, I make because I want to bless and encourage others. If I get encouraged by what I make, I know others must as well.  

Q: What has been the most touching or amazing moment you've experienced as an artist?

A: I don't think there was ever one moment, but I love when I find out people still have my art, or show appreciation for how beautiful and encouraging it is. 

Q: Inspirations (in or outside of art)?

A: My faith has always been a huge influencer for my art. My art is often an expression of my relationship with God--the ups and downs, but mostly my gratitude for all he has done for me.

Q: What are you currently working on? Or, where do you envision yourself going with your art? 

A: I am currently learning calligraphy and painting with watercolors. I hope to soon launch my own brand of inspirational prints and encouraging stationery: Luella Creative Co. The heart behind it is to create products that people will love and be encouraged by--and will also want to give and encourage others with. I miss the age of letter-writing, and there is something so special in expressing love, gratitude, and care in a handwritten letter.

Q: What others interests do you have? What do you enjoy doing?

A: I am a proud foodie. I love baking, cooking and especially eating all the latest food trends (and the good ol’ classics of various cultures). I also love reading, but honestly audiobooks are the bomb because what a great way to multi-task while running errands, driving, cleaning and even creating!

Q: Where can people find your work? 

A: My past work can be found at skhornm.carbonmade.com, but keep your eye out for Luella Creative Co. It will be launching soon on Etsy, Pinterest, and Instagram.