Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Jones.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sarah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I never made a choice about being an artist – it was just the way I navigated the world from an early age. My first memory of working with my hands was in the garden with my mother. While she cultivated lush patches of blossoming color, I would dig massive pits of mud, dislodge bricks to scavenge for grub worms, and meticulously gather splendid rocks.
I grew up in Houston Texas and in middle school we moved a few blocks from the Menil Collection with its spectacular Rothko Chapel and Cy Twombly pavilion. Those spaces imprinted the somatic experience of viewing art and the way in which you engage in a relationship with a painting or sculpture. In high school, I learned how to use power tools and weld, which cemented my infatuation with form, materials and process. I studied Sculpture and Art History at the University of Houston and received my MFA in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After school, I headed to LA for the vibrant art scene, the proximity to the national parks and active outdoor culture. I’ve been in LA for six years and continue to be invigorated by the energy here.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate in many ways and also experienced some difficult times. I’ve had amazing education opportunities since I was kid, and lucky to have a community that nurtured the impulse to explore the world and make a unique mark in pursuing my passions.
My biggest struggle has been overcoming the loss of loved ones and learning to embrace the entwined beauty of impermanence and life. My mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when I was 15 and died when I was 22. My father passed away a year and half ago from cancer, which was another huge blow. It’s been challenging stepping into my thirties without both of them and weathering the existential spiral. I’ve been anchored by my supportive partner, compassionate family, and friends. There was a patch of time that I felt so devastated that I couldn’t really make anything, and that was super frightening, as though the well had dried up. It took time and practice to get back into the studio and now I feel more potent than ever.
The experience of losing family has ingrained the huge lesson of appreciating the potential of each day, savoring the times of peace and embracing the hard stuff as part of the journey. I’m so lucky that I wake up in good health, in a beautiful city with someone I love, with an adorable dog, and that I get to contribute to making the world more interesting.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I make sculpture, installation and drawings. Right now, I’m thinking a lot about the diversity of creatures and radical forms that have evolved for millions of years on our planet. I find the human relationship to nature really fascinating and believe artists are uniquely poised to reinvigorate our connection to it. I just closed a solo show at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum called TANGLE, inspired by the scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and his vision of the earth as one interconnected living organism. He was the spark of the naturalist movement who directly inspired the work of Charles Darwin, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau and is credited with first recognizing the potential for human-induced climate change.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people who have supported me along the way and had a huge impact on me creatively. First, I’d have to say my mother, father and stepdad who planted seeds in my mind that are still sprouting. The artist Anne Wilson, who lured me to Chicago and taught me the pleasure and discipline of developing an enduring artistic practice. Clare Kunny, a longtime museum educator who has cultivated a thriving community of artists and historians in LA that I feel very privileged to be a part of. Most recently, I’ve found a mentor in the architect Frank Clementi who has a feverish exuberance and enlightened point of view. I owe him major thanks for nominating me for the Alley Fellowship at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. My partner, Matt Ippolito who is a documentary film producer and improv performer, contributes to every shred of my existence – he is my sounding board, my editor, my radical candor delivery service. He imbues our life together with a focused forward momentum, unrestrained exploration, and makes me laugh the hardest of anyone.
- Website: www.sarahejonesart.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @sunoptions
Jim Simmons, courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Jim Simmons, courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Sarah Jones, Kevin Buzzell, Brett Lupfer