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A chat with Sarah Strachan – Artist

Sarah Strachan is an eclectic, Totnes based artist who has exhibited nationally and collaborated with fashion designers and worked in film projects. The Totnes Pulse had a quick word…

Hi Sarah, Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Simple answer, yes, it’s always been art/craft/making things.

Your more recent works have taken a turn for the graphic, angular?

In the last couple of years after a lifetime of working in 3D, I’ve started drawing and painting. I love mid-century style and art so a graphic, angular, maybe sculptural aesthetic is where I’m happy.

What would you say are your biggest influences?

Opening Up…An Art work by Sarah Strachan

Mid-century design, brutalist architecture, simple graphics.

You open your house up for exhibitions – is that fun or stressful?

A bit of both. Mainly it’s fun but the lead up to it is stressful, we’re not a naturally tidy household so getting the house organised is challenging. Once all the art is up on the walls it’s a pleasure meeting interesting people and lots of friends drop in for cups of tea and catch up chats too so, yeah, it’s fun.

You worked for Jim Henson? – Tell us more…

I freelanced as a model-maker in London, then found myself making a life-size hedgehog for an advert which spurred me on to try for a job at Hensons… and I got it and had several years working on some great projects there including a stage production of Doctor Dolittle, lots of creature based adverts most well known, helping out making the troll for the first Harry Potter film.

Lone Ranger?

Do you enjoy working on your own and have you collaborated on any works?

miniatures for Orla Kiely by Sarah Strachan
Orla Kiely Miniatures

I prefer working alone when painting, but back when I worked at Hensons I was always part of a big team and for that scale of work, a team is great.
I did a collaboration with Orla Kiely a few years ago. She saw the dolls I used to make and asked me to make 27 dolls in miniature versions of her clothes for her retrospective exhibition “A life in Pattern”

What was behind that toy creature installation in Dartington a while back ?

The installation in the bell tower on the Dartington estate was called G H O S T It was made up of 100’s of donated or second-hand plastic wild animals. I painted them white and arranged them as a herd in the space. The idea was that these solid plastic animals will probably last longer than the species they represented.

G H O S T installation by Sarah Strachan

Emin, Constable or Rothko


What next Sarah Strachan…

What’s piquing your interest at the moment for future works?

I’ve booked Birdwood House for a week in May so I’m working on some larger abstract paintings for that.
I have some work in a group show in Bristol coming up at Bocabar Paintworks in February/March.An Artwork by Sarah Strachan

You can join Sarah Strachan on the third Tuesday of the month at Things Happen Here. A free, very casual evening, participants take it in turns to draw each other for 10 minutes. Bring your own materials and it’s from 6 ‘till 8 in the winter months, 7 ‘till 9 in the Summer months. Contact Sarah for more details. 07710062426 or message via Instagram @artsarahstrachan.

Sarah’s website is here

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