SB: I’d say my work is monochromatic and abstract. I feel like our world is so saturated with so much noise, colors, things to grab your attention, that I want my work to be a safe haven from all that. A place where you let go of, rather than add on.
SB: And the reason it’s abstract is because I really appreciate the opportunity to freely interpret things in art. I’m not interested in direct representation, because that’s too literal for me. I like to create work that is inviting and open to interpretation.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
SB: I find randomness exceptionally beautiful. I believe the reason people find nature inspiring is not necessarily because they’re looking at flowers or trees, but because they’re looking at a random distribution of objects. We as people are preconditioned to create order and structure, and find it very difficult to create genuine randomness. And I find this incredibly inspiring!
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
SB: I always begin a new work deliberately without an expectation of what it’s going to end up looking like. I start sketching and something interesting usually starts to happen. Then I take it from there and start building up.
When I notice a good idea begin to form I usually do multiple iterations of it. If I get to redraw or repaint it the next few tries are usually much better than the first one. It’s good to exhaust your options!
SB: In my BA we had a teacher who made us do 50 versions of the same very limited exercise every week. In the first 4-5 iterations you create the expected. Then you really have to push yourself to come up with something new and interesting things begin to happen!
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
SB: I’m much more interested in people’s own interpretation of my work. Of course, I have an idea and reasoning about why the work is what it is to me personally, but I’ve heard so many interesting thoughts about my work from other people who don’t know about it, that I don’t want to discourage that. I think this gives life to the piece.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
SB: I juggle between clients’ projects, commissions and personal work. I try to spend every free minute at my art studio, maybe not necessarily working on final paintings, but at least researching and trying out different techniques. I work entirely for myself so every day can be completely different for me. I treat weekends the same way as weekdays. Some people say you need time off, but there’s nothing I’d rather do in my spare time than paint. It brings me sanity and personal satisfaction.
SB: Social time with friends is also important to me. I try to meet at least 2-3 friends every week and spend enough time with my fiancé and my dog. Communication with the right people can be very inspiring and energizing.
And lastly, I try to engage in a physical activity 2-3 times a week as well. I used to do yoga before, but now I prefer dance. I like it because it’s another form of expressing yourself.
SB: I try to not set myself too many rules, but one of them is to never have an expectation of what the final work is supposed to look like. To let yourself work without an image of how the artwork is going to turn out is vulnerability, and vulnerability is strength. And, even though it sounds paradoxical, to surrender to your creativity is actually very liberating!
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
SB: When I started working more seriously on my fine art pieces I was surprised to find out how emotionally draining the work is. People (me included) tend to think making art is pure relaxation, but I find it to be a lot of hard mental work. It really requires a lot of concentration, thinking, choices weighting. Of course, art can also be a therapy, but when you start pushing the limits it can become infinitely more challenging.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
SB: It’s definitely not the highest on my list, but I do appreciate an artist who looks, walks and talks like their work. Like Karim Rashid, Zipeng Zhu, Yayoi Kusama and many more.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
SB: Undoubtedly the doubt.
SB: Having to wake up every day to challenge yourself and your understanding of the world, hoping that you’re making some sort of an intellectual breakthrough, that you’re influencing people in some way, only to question every step of your journey. That’s the problem with uncharted territories – you just have to remind yourself that you’re making your path as you go, and that’s a valid way to live your life.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
SB: First and foremost being blessed about knowing, and being able to do, what I love every day. It can be hard for a lot of people to find direction in life, so I was really lucky to know since a very early age what I wanted to do.
I’m a better and happier person because I get to draw and paint every day. My art is my outlet – when I’m sad, angry or happy I take it on the paper. It doesn’t necessarily produce good work (it doesn’t have to) but it’s a form of letting go. It’s like screaming to release your emotions, but without worrying about disrupting people next to you.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
SB: So many, from so many different parts of history, styles and culture. I love folk art, especially foreign to me like East Asian, Arabic, Central and South American. I love the drama of renaissance art. The colors of impressionism. I’m a texture/pattern junkie so anything with that will get me excited. I love looking at architecture and film. And can we talk about fashion – there’s so much interesting things happening in fashion right now!
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
SB: I’d argue that anything is a useful tool for artists today! Technology is fascinating though. I myself am drawn to more traditional painting methods, but I am really impressed by contemporary artists who use technology to push the boundaries of art and create new and unexpected work. It’s an interesting process too – man creates a machine, and the machine creates art. There’s so much exciting work happening out there – by artists like Joanie Lemercier for example. And we’re just scratching the surface of what can be done.
SB: I would never know for sure, but I actually believe all people are creative in some way. Cooking, talking, even choosing your outfit is a creative act. But historically people who are heavily involved and work in art tend to be more liberal, open-minded, challenging the status quo and I hope that applies to me too.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
SB: I loooove traveling! How can you not – there are so many interesting places to see around, things to do, experiences to be felt. We are such an open, globalized world, yet places still have their very own distinct identity, sometimes completely different from yours. I love that.
SB: In terms of living long term New York is my soul city. I connect with the energy, the vibe, the ambition, the joie de vivre. Not surprisingly, it’s also a great city for art.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
SB: Too many to mention, but the most recent one is Margaret Atwood.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
SB: I want to continue exploring creating randomness as beauty in my work. I want to try working on larger scale artworks – see how that would feel. Experiment with new materials. I want to build a machine that is going to create random application of paint in my work. I’m not sure how that’s going to work yet, but I have some ideas.
SB: I’m launching all my new work at Fall Open Studios in San Francisco, in my studio at 1890 Bryant Street on November 10 and 11. You should stop by. 🙂
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
SB: That it’s socially acceptable to be a grown up kid. There are a lot of things that you can get away with because you’re an artist – being late, wearing funky clothes, have a strange lifestyle…
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
SB: Handsome Boy Modeling School, Cat Power – I’ve Been Thinking
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
SB: I hope to build a safe place for people through my work, the same way it has provided me with so much comfort, peace and clarity.