The first of a new series of studio visits with artists, dancers, musicians and other creatives.
Sarah Emily Porter is a London-based fine artist specialising in abstract painting and more recently, sculpture. These images were shot in May 2018, near the end of Sarah's one month Griffin Gallery residency at ColArt in London.
What unusual habit or absurd thing do you love? This could be a studio ritual or something in your wider life…
I love rummaging through the paint recycling shed on Leyton’s industrial estate. People drop off some incredible colours and paint manufacturers often donate colours that are no longer fashionable. I love the idea that I can transform and elevate something that’s been discarded and deemed undesirable into fine art. My friends do think it’s a bit of an odd pastime though!
How would you describe your practice in a sentence? What excites you at the moment?
I use unconventional painting tools and processes to create abstract, colour field paintings which explore the history of painting and architecture.
When did you realise that you wanted to be an artist? Was there a particular experience that shaped your decision?
I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. I have been drawing and making my whole life but I never had the guts to really go for it. Then my Dad had a stroke and I realised that I couldn’t wait to retire to give it a go.
It sounds really corny, but I believe that if you really want something you have to just go for it and see what happens. So that’s what I did. I left my job in the city working in Marketing and Events and went back to school to study Fine Art - I haven't looked back since.
Who are your art icons and why?
I love David Batchelor’s work. He uses simplistic forms and interesting materials that allow colours to speak for themselves. His book, Chromophobia, has been particularly inspirational to me.
What are you learning at the moment?
I was recently awarded a commission to make a large scale timber sculpture for the Broomhill National Sculpture Park in North Devon. I’ve always been interested in how my practice could bridge the gap between painting and sculpture. This was a great opportunity to put this into practice, but I completely underestimated how much I needed to learn. I’m used to working with paint, so upscaling a 20cm x 20cm x 20cm paper maquette into a two meter square outdoor timber sculpture has proved to be quite the challenge!