We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Stone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I left a job on the East Coast for a possibility of doing something different, maybe better, on the West Coast. I had no knowledge of LA, 2.5 contacts, no place to live, no job prospects, just a desire to make a big change and see where it took me. The take-away for me was, I made a difficult leap and didn’t fall flat on my face. In fact, I made friends, found work and built a career. When I feel intimidated about trying something new, or letting go of old habits that are no longer productive, I remind myself that “risk” is just another word for trying something new. Being an artist requires overcoming shyness, being an outgoing introvert, dealing with frequent rejection, making complex business decisions, stretching out of comfort zones and trying new things all the time. The old shark analogy: gotta keep moving. Every new thing I try might not end in victory, in fact, it might totally fail. But at least I learn what (not) to do next time. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”- Wayne Gretzky
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been an artist for decades. I graduated college with an interest in illustrating children’s books, and found my first day-job at a small graphic arts company making cartoon graphics for tourist products. This was in NYC. My first winter in this job I was leaving work when a cab drenched me in slush. That night I called a friend in LA to lament and he said “come to LA.” I had just enough saved to buy a plane ticket and some shorts, so I packed & flew to the coast. Through this friend I met two women who worked on low budget indie movies. One of them was an art director who pulled me onto a film job painting murals and making props for a Roger Corman space adventure called “Android.” This wasn’t illustrating books, but it was a lot of fun, so I stayed in the film business for about 25 more years making props, art directing, set decorating and so forth. Was it easy? No. I worked long hours on demanding projects that offered many chances for failure every day. Every job was finite and every few months I had to scramble for a new job. But those experiences taught me to work through perceived limitations (don’t look down!) meet difficult deadlines, collaborate with a wide variety of people, and become more comfortable with the many uncertainties built into a creative career. When I turned my attention to full-time art making, the question I asked myself was, “What do you have to say with your art that hasn’t already been said, and better, by someone else?” My answer is this: My imagination is unique to me. No one has seen or interpreted the world the same way I have. I share my environment with animals, plants and people, all of which have their needs and challenges. Through my art I draw connections between these lives and experiences that other people might not have seen or felt if I hadn’t expressed them. 2020 was a year that brought a lot of dire issues into clear focus. For future art, I am thinking about our place in the Anthropocene, and where we all go from here.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a fun question. I adore thrift stores and vintage shops, live music, craft beer, animals and art, and I’m going to dictate that this visit occurs in Spring when the weather is amazing and Covid is over so we can go anywhere we want. My itinerary would go something like this: Day 1: Fish and Chips for brunch at Reel Inn, Malibu, followed by (check the tide tables for low tide) tide pooling, sunbathing and hiking for a few hours at Leo Carrillo beach. Head over the hill via Encinal Canyon to take in the views and grab an early dinner at The Old Place in Agoura Hills. Day 2: Brunch at Farmer’s Market, then browse shops and trolly around the Grove, followed by a trip to the shops on West Third street. Freehand Gallery is one of my favorites. After a day of walking and exploring, relax with a microbrew and a bite at The 3rd Stop Pub. Day 3: Breakfast at Rae’s on Pico, head to Bergamot Station to see what’s in the galleries, followed by a visit Venice to check out the vibes and some great vintage shops like Animal House and the boardwalk vendors. From here, hang out on the beach, visit Small World Books, maybe check out LA Louver, and wrap up the day at Hama Sushi at the Venice Circle, a venerable Venice restaurant and one of the first places to give me a solo art show back in the 80s. Day 4: Hollywood/Los Feliz Start with flannel cakes at Musso and Frank, a quick look at Hollywood Blvd, then pop up to N. Vermont to browse the shops including Skylight books. I have a weakness for pies, so the House of Pies would get a visit, followed by The Griffith Observatory just up the hill, which is a great way to spend some hours (very photogenic, and bring a sketchbook!) Finally head back down the hill to Wacko/La Luz de Jesus shop/gallery on Sunset, ending up at Tiki Ti for a classic umbrella drink. Day 5: Downtown LA: Hauser & Wirth, Chinatown (Ocean Seafood Dim Sum!) Grand Central Market, The Last Bookstore, Spring Arts Collective and The Hive Gallery, wrapping up at Little Easy Cajun restaurant for food and jazz on 5th street. After 5 days of city touring I’d take my friend out to Joshua Tree to spend some time in this magical desert. On the way we would check in with some favorite art galleries and locations like La Matadora Gallery, Hey There Gallery, Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Museum, and Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. Then nothing but sunsets, stars and Joshua trees until it was time to get back.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My friends who let me couch surf until I could get on my feet in LA. My many adopted dogs and cats over the years who have shared their unconditional love and friendship no matter what. My husband, Lee, and our two daughters Amelia and Sonya who encouraged me to trust my dream and become a full-time artist.
Other: https://sarahstoneart.square.site https://sarah-stone.pixels.com https://www.instagram.com/sarahstonedigital