Sarah Hand is an artist who works in many disciplines including drawing, painting, and sculpting. Her pieces always seems to inspire happiness and optimism and we’re more than happy to welcome her back to Quirk. The work she’s created for her current Shop Show, “heart’s desire” features 16 delicate paintings on plaster panels. They hint at brighter, warmer days to come this spring and these small pieces are helping to cure our winter blues in a big way. When she isn’t creating her own work, Sarah teaches classes at the Visual Arts Center here in Richmond. She took a minute to answer a few questions for us about how she spends her time in Richmond and to tell us a bit about what inspires her beautiful work.
Quirk Gallery: Would you tell us about your background? How did your interest in art develop? What brought you to Richmond?
Sarah Hand: My dad was in the Navy, so I was lucky enough to live in some cool places in the world – Germany was my very favorite. My mom is an artist, and we always went to museums during our travels, and she encouraged me to be creative by always having lots of supplies around. I’ve always been a maker! I have lived in Richmond for about 15 years. I moved here to be closer to family, among other things. Richmond has just been getting better and more interesting the longer I’m here.
QG: How do you decide on the content of your work? What is it that inspires the images you use in your drawings and paintings?
SH: I’m inspired by people – faces and expressions, color, and emotion. Wonder and marvel drive me, and those are pretty positive qualities, but I think they can be slightly melancholy, too. I like that combination and expressing it with simple lines and images.
QG: We know you’re an artist and teacher who has a background in everything from drawing and painting to sculpture. Is there one medium you prefer?
SH: I love to explore materials. My favorite thing of late has been papier mache. I’ve made lots of sculptures and shadow boxes. I’ve been exploring working on plaster, too, and love it – scratching into it is so satisfying.
QG: Is there something about the work you’ve created for this Shop Show that you hope viewers will recognize? What do you hope they’ll take away from the experience of viewing your pieces?
SH: I hope that people who look at my work will feel delight and wonder. I generally think of my art as happy, and when people react happily to it, I feel good.
QG: What’s next for you? Are you working on any other projects?
SH: Next up, I’m working some more plaster paintings. And I’m always doing something with papier mache. I have an etsy shop that needs a bit of updating and stocking, so that is keeping me busy! And, of course, teaching.
QG: Are there things about Richmond that you find artistically inspiring?
SH: Richmond inspires me in so many ways: happenings, food, art, creative people. The street art is totally inspiring, of course. And the river, which changes constantly. The Visual Arts Center, where I teach, has inspired me to keep learning and experimenting.
QG: When you aren’t working, what are your favorite things to do or places to go?
SH: Favorite places: the VMFA, of course. And Lamplighter Coffee. South of the James Farmer’s Market. Mekong….
Sarah Hand’s Shop Show, “heart’s desire” will run through March 29. Her work is being exhibited alongside Amy Rice (Main Gallery) and Aimee Joyaux (The Vault).