“Sarah Bush’s Artistic Process: A Short Documentary”

About Sarah:

A-Sarah-AboutPagePicI’m a mixed media artist and public speaker living in the NY Metro area. I have an MFA in Fiber and Decorative Design and was a home and personal accessories designer for over 20 years.

As an artist, I like to explore ideas by developing different bodies of work using a variety of media. Because of that, one body of work often looks very different from another.

That said, there are strong, consistent underlying themes and threads of interest that tie all my work together:

  • My lifelong interest in repetition, pattern, texture, and stitching informs all my work.
  • My passion for the written word gets expressed either visibly through using text and language directly in my work, or it inspires the work content-wise. Many pieces reflect my interest in particular poems, for instance.
  • My interest in time and memory–and how to express that visually–permeates much of my work. albeit in different ways.
  • I’m also obsessed with the tension between fragility and resilience, strength and weakness, timelessness and decay and this exploration shows up consistently in my mark making and subject matter choices.

I’m also inspired by the bold totemism and symbolic focus of tribal and folk art and by the flat, filled picture plane of medieval art. I believe these artistic traditions express a focus on the elemental aspects of existence and use art as a vehicle to make sense or make magic–something I strive for in my own work.

On a more prosaic level, I also really like objects. I was a designer of home and personal accessories for many years and designed many an object in my career, which I’ve always found pleasurable. I notice there’s a sneaky object-ness to much of my fine artwork as well that is unintentional but clearly there–even my pieces meant for the wall kind of feel like objects. I think of this as my way of turning all my work into personal totems.

About the Art:

Open Each Toggle (+) Below to Read About Each Body of Work:

ButIamtheFireThis body of work is an exploration of what I see as the poignant tension between timelessness and impermanence, fragility and resilience, and memory and imagination—that point of apparent contradiction where I think all the truth lives.

Although my collages are extremely layered abstractions, they almost always possess a narrative component or convey a totemic quality that serve as an invitation to the viewer to examine these questions through their own experiences. I’m looking, with this body of work, to create an almost religious visual vehicle for examining and appreciating what I perceive as the “big questions” of life.


Each piece is developed by first scanning original drawings, photos, and physical collages into the computer. I then digitally layer, blend, and rearrange up to 40 or 50 physical images as I seek that moment where they finally transform into a completely new image that is uniquely digital.

As I create on the computer, I always seek to balance the extreme coolness inherent in the digital medium with an intense warmth in imagery and color. In order to maintain that tension, I infuse the images into brushed metal because, when lit directly, the artwork appears to glow from within.

This glowing quality creates the depth and warmth I’m after while still referencing the cool, back-lit source of its origins.

This body of work is also featured on the Artsy Shark website where I talk about another aspect of my process. You can read about that here: http://tinyurl.com/nw9799w

OutToSea-TODLThis series of drawings combine the text from actual weather reports with a vocablary of simple marks and symbols to delve into the politically charged issue of global warming in a deeply personal way. The weather reports, belonging to no one and everyone, are instantly recognizable, neutral, and familiar and I was intrigued by the idea of exploring this fraught subject using the forecasts as my starting point.

Folk Art Inspiration

I drew inspiration from colonial quilts, gravestones, and folk maps–irregular stitch marks, hand drawn compasses, delicate house, crowded, story-telling text–highly specific, graphic symbols that express intense emotions, human frailty, and universal experience through their uneven simplicity.

Emotional Fragility

I used repetition and pattern to reinforce the surface of the picture plane while also seeking to create depth with the layers of mark-making. Inserting the factual weather forecasts in a wandering, folk-art, ornamental fashions, contrasts the dispassionate, neutral narrative with the emotional fragility of the visual marks and symbols. I hope to quietly surprise the viewer into engaging with the overwhelming issue of climate change on a personal, visceral level.

Fragility and Resilience

I have a love of pressed flowers and I’m particularly partial to the delicate and expressive lines and shapes of pressed Queen Anne’s Lace. I have long wanted to create an expansive space that allows them to move beyond their narrowly defined traditional, decorative function to also serve as an expressive mark making tool.

My goal is to evoke a tranquil, decorative beauty while also expressing big ideas and emotions such as the tension between: fragility and resilience; the individual life and our collective nature, and timelessness and temporality.

NoPostageNecessary-HomePageI’ve become very interested in the challenge of expressing ideas or emotions through formal elements alone or by using a minimum of materials.

I consider the pieces here to be successful expressions of this quest, and are, individually, some of my favorites. One or another piece may eventually lead me in a particular direction and separate bodies of work may evolve from those explorations.

Until then, this “mixed media” portfolio category serves as a way for me to express myself outside of my other more focused explorations.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.