We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Wahl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I hear risk, I just think of taking a chance on yourself, a leap of faith. When I was 18 years old, having never visited, I took a risk and moved to Los Angeles. I had applied to colleges in and around Pittsburgh, where I grew up, and nothing felt right. Then one day in my guidance counselor’s office I saw a poster for an acting conservatory in LA and I knew this was it. That might seem like crazy risk but at the time I trusted my gut and need for adventure, and I was off. Moving to LA changed the course of my life, I learned so much moving to a new city at 18. Listening to that inner voice and trusting myself brought me out here. It takes a little bit of risk and courage to leave a job that is no longer serving you, ending an unhealthy relationship, or even something like traveling to a new country. I have been through that, I felt so stuck in a job I hated and was unsure of my future. I took a chance on a yoga training in Mexico, started a health and wellness business that helped me cultivate a life I wanted. I left an unhealthy relationship and moved out of my apartment. I was nervous leaving what I knew behind, but I needed the change and was only one that could do it for my life. These risks led me to a life I am proud of, exploring a sober lifestyle, teaching yoga and selling my art. I hope to continue to invite risk and courage into my life, learning from failures, and encouraging others to share their art and explore the life they want to live.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love sharing about my journey because it took some time to figure out. I always loved and admired painters, any time I saw a bright wild painting, spent time in a museum, or saw friends post their art, I felt this stir in my chest. I pushed that down for a long time. I loved painting and I know if I had told my parents about this desire they would’ve supported me. I stuffed this passion down with my own self-doubt. I didn’t go to art school for painting I ended up studying theater, I tried acting and stage combat. I traveled and learned to teach yoga, but something was still missing. It was when heartbreak hit, I was at a low and feeling lonely, that art found me. I painted the heartbreak away, day and night. I didn’t know what I was doing, I just went fort it. There were mistakes, wasted materials, frustration, but also joy, growth, and passion. It took time to develop my style and honestly I keep learning and exploring new things. I share this because would I have loved to go to school for painting…yes, but I didn’t. So I watch videos, I use trail and error, and I have fun. If you’re pushing a dream down I’m here to say it’s not too late. Start now. Share your art, your poems, your film ideas whatever it is. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” -Carl Bard
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love taking the ferry to Catalina, we would definitely take the trip there. Rent bikes and cruise around the island, grabbing fish tacos for lunch and ice cream. They also have golf carts you can rent and cruise around the island. Huntington Gardens has become one of my favorite spots in LA, it’s hidden away in Pasadena. The land has been preserved for years, gardens full of succulents, roses, a Japanese garden, and library/museum. Which leads me to The Getty, I love going there with guests. It’s a museum high on the hill looking over the city and they also have beautiful gardens. I final stop on the tour would be downtown for a trip to the Last Bookstore, a really artsy fun book store. Then a quick walk to Grand Central Market. It’s an open market with all different food vendors, little tourist vibe, a good afternoon spot.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I can’t share about my art without thinking of and thanking my amazing community. Teaching yoga has brought so much joy to my life and as my journey added selling my art, my yoga community was right there with me. From students opening up their homes for art shows, to purchasing art, to sharing it online and spreading the word for me. I also have to shout out my family and friends, the moment I started sharing art they were on board. They’ve given me 100% support and encouragement. My friend Matt was the first person to encourage me, when I was at a low point in my life, to share my art. I always give him credit because it probably seemed like such a small thing but it changed my life. It gave me courage to put myself out there and become the artist I am. My partner, Rishikesh, is a wonderful support and encourages me to ask for what I’m worth. We get to bounce creative ideas off one another. It’s so important to have a partner that supports me creatively and challenges me to keep working my craft. Also a big thanks to Jenni Kephart for introducing me to Artist’s way, a book that is changing my life and my art, and for giving me this spot in Shoutout!
Facebook: WahlArt Design
Art photos taken by photographer Katie McGhie with Rad Pine Creative