by Sara Birns

We talked to Santa Cruz artist Sara Birns about oil painting, stupid memes and mind versus body. Enjoy!


How would you describe your current work? Have you ever explored other styles/mediums of art?

My work plays with the physical body and the disconnected mind. Bodies age, mutate, get sick, and decay while our minds would prefer otherwise. I’ve worked with acrylic and water colors, but nothing gives me the realism I love like oil paints. I also use colored pencils when I’m not in my studio, the control I get with them gives me chills.

Did you want to be an artist growing up? If not, what did you want to be?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I also wanted to make a lot of money haha. So I went into tech and kept art on the side. I realized that wasn’t going to work for me... so I changed paths. I’m much happier with a small income if it means I can put all my energy into art.

Who/What inspires your work currently?

My mentor Christian Rex van Minnen is a HUGE inspiration. I also get inspired from experiences that make me uncomfortable in life, details of the bodies, and random amazing artists I see on the web or in person.

What are your favorite things to watch or search for on YouTube/Google/Reddit...?

Psychedelic philosophers such as John C. Lilly and extremely stupid memes and gifs I find on Instagram. I don’t watch many shows but when I do I watch Tim and Eric, adventure time, and other surreal humor shows.

What do you have going on in 2019?

This year I’m working on mastering the oil painting old masters with the help from my mentor. In the process I’ll be completing a body of work (10-12 pieces) to apply to art residencies.