Sarah Clough Chambers, OKC
Tragedy at the Balloon Fair
Oil on Canvas
Q: What was the concept behind your Momentum artwork?
A: My husband saw a primitive version of this in my sketchbook, and asked me to paint it. I went back and forth in thinking it’s a ridiculous frivolous painting, and knowing how interesting it could be if done right. I think a lot about which animals go in and out of fashion and how they’re portrayed. I’ve seen a lot of octopi, birds, and deer recently in jewelry and graphic design, but I notice none are really about the animal, or communicating anything about it. It’s more human interpretation-focused or anthropomorphized. I don’t think octopi are cuddly and cute; they’re strong and crafty, with an extremely complex sensory system. They have no bones, and they can taste what they touch. I like how completely removed they are from our own species, almost alien (some myths say just that). I like thinking about how we share a planet with organisms that are about as old as dirt, and how relatively short a time people have been around. I like to think about how our species might change as we evolve, and to what extent our biological systems determine the things people like to view as unique to humans: our emotions, the presence or absence of a soul. Will we become more or less similar to other species? In which direction would we go of we could determine it?
Q: Explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum work.
A: This was the first thing I’ve painted without models or based on my photos. My husband liked the grouping of the subjects so I kept the basic design the same as what I sketched – balloons on top, lady and octopus falling in the center. The old lady transformed from scrawny and dirty to shapely, and I struggled with the idea of trying to capture the effects of a body falling through air, or even accurately capturing the effects of age on a body, and ultimately scrapped it. I wanted the colors to be natural and organic-looking, so I shied from primary colors, and mixed my own, I used a lot of purples and browns. I looked at pictures of octopi and visualized where and how its legs would look falling. I was amazed at how beautiful and singular octopi are, and without the repetition of the suction cups how uninteresting this painting would be.
View, Purchase and Experience Artwork by Oklahoma's Emerging Young Artists at Momentum OKC tomorrow 6-midnight and Saturday 8-midnight. Gallery Hours: March 9, 10 & 11. Tickets and more information: www.MomentumOklahoma.org.