A while back I came across this breathtaking picture of the singer Sade while on Instagram. The detail blew me away and I had to know who drew it. After further research I found the website of visual artist Sara Golish and was entranced. I had to learn more about this amazing talent and share her story.
Your bio notes that you always knew you wanted to be an artist. What is your earliest memory that affirmed you loved art and this would become your passion?
I always retell this specific story that I remember fairly vividly considering my age.
I was 3 years old on a trip with my parents where they took me to the National Gallery in Washington, DC. As far as I know, at that point I was already interested in art, and was drawing and painting when I could. Anyway, when we were at the gallery we stumbled into a room that had Renoir’s “The Dancer” hanging. It was a large full figure portrait of ballerina on a greeny, blue-grey background. As soon as I saw her I stood in complete awe. I was so tiny and I remember how huge the painting looked to me, hanging high above my head. I just stood there staring at her. I thought the painting was so beautiful. My other love at the time was dancing, specifically ballet, so to see my two loves combined in this painting was incredible for me at that age. As I stood gazing up at her, I decided I wanted to be an artist like Renoir. Even though at the time I probably had no idea who he was! My mom couldn’t get me away from the painting. We went to the gift shop after where she bought me a small reproduction that was on a varnished plaque. I still have it as one of those special keepsakes that propelled my career!
Your educational background ranges from traditional to graphic & web design and development. While attending school, do you recall certain courses or programs that impacted the path you are on now?
During art school, not really. Which is strange isn’t it?
I attended George Brown College to take some graphic and web related classes a number of years after I graduated university, in hopes it would spark an interest I had in going into graphic design. Graphic design was only ever a plan B in my mind. Fine art always came first, but when the recession hit in 2008 and my art career wasn’t taking off after school as hoped, I started panicking after a few years of things not getting better. I thought graphic design would be something more stable that I could get into to support my art while I got things going. But after taking those classes while simultaneously interning at an Ad agency, it wasn’t working. So many things in my life were falling apart at the same time. It was a downpour. I wasn’t happy and felt stuck. I knew I had to get back to art and start painting again. I had to give it my all to ever be truly happy. I made some drastic decisions and changes with my life to get back on that path and things slowly started taking off from there. And now, looking back, I am forever grateful I made those choices and for the close friends and family that supported me through everything I went through.
You’ve also done work as a decorative painter. How did you get started with that?
During school when I was looking for some part time work, I got in contact with someone that was looking for an artist for their decorative painting company. It turned out he needed me to work full time, which of course being in school full time I couldn’t do, so I had to decline. A couple years later and a few months or so before I was going to graduate from university, he was looking again to hire someone. I got in contact with him and he pretty much hired me on the spot. At the time, it was paramount for me to land an art related job once I graduated where I could work 3-4 days a week. I just wanted enough to cover my rent, bills and expenses to get by so I could concentrate the rest of my time on developing my art and career. So locking down this job before I finished school was like striking gold for me.
The figurative paintings and portraits on your site are captivating. It was what first caught my attention. There seems to be an African/Afrofuturism theme to a lot of them. What drew you to Afrofuturism as a whole to influence your work?
Thank you! I always have a hard time answering questions like this. It’s similar to someone asking you why you like your favourite colour, or favourite food or music. It’s very difficult to explain or put your finger on. People like what they like and often don’t fully understand why. We all have certain aesthetics or things we are drawn to. I’ve always been draw to various cultures, styles of music and art movements from around the world. Afrofuturism is one of the many that speaks to me and pulls me in. I love what it stands for and I love the Sci-Fi/Cosmos feel. I’m always searching for more inspiration and wanting to create from places that inspire me yet do them justice and empower the people involved.
Where do you find your inspiration? Music, your environment, friends, family, etc?
Everywhere! So many things, people and places. From art movements to music to nature to colours to people. It’s all over the place.
Where can people see your work?
In person, either through myself at my studio in Toronto or in the States I have pieces through a gallery in Charleston, South Carolina called Robert Lange Studios. Online, my work can be seen on my website and all my social media pages that I update regularly.
If anyone would like to purchase your pieces, where can they shop?
I have an online shop on my website, www.saragolish.com/shop. Some pieces are available through me by directly emailing email@example.com. I have some print and device skins and cases available through society6.com/saragolish. And again paintings available through the gallery in Charleston!