We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Cowan White and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work-life balance is definitely something I struggle with. Since I am a full-time educator and my art business currently exists in the margins of my days, I often find myself feeling like I am waiting for a spinning plate to fall. Some years I have had the bandwidth to put a lot of energy and time and effort in to my business, and I’ve been able to see growth, but there have been other years where my business sits further on the edges of my attention. For instance, this August I accepted a position at a new school after 5 years of teaching at the same school. So in this particular season of life I have had to divert more of my energy to learning a new school environment, and my art business has had to slow down some. I am slowly learning to accept those ebbs and flows that come with work-life balance, and have had to engage with my limitations as a human. Luckily I think there are a lot of creatives who are making honest conversations about work-life balance more common. Seeing other creatives model balance and rest helps me to feel like I can do the same.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A large part of my practice is commissioned continuous line portrait drawings. These are often, individuals or family groups. I see them as a contemporary answer to the classic cut paper silhouette. I love creating these pieces because of the way they allow me to be a tangible part of people’s family narrative, and I hope that they become treasured pieces of art that get passed down for years to come. I also create paintings in oil and acrylic of interior spaces, which are a desire to explore personal and collective memory and the ways we experience and inhabit spaces. I love to consider the relationship between people and their environment, especially as you consider the way our spaces eventually are influenced by entropy and age. Also, I cannot get enough reference photos of 1960s-1970s color coordinated bathrooms! Growing up in the Atlanta area (specifically DeKalb county), I never felt like pursuing a career as an artist was unattainable. Atlanta is such a creative city, and there are so many opportunities to see and experience art here. I attended DeKalb School of the Arts, and I believe my time there really helped me begin to commit myself to my craft in a new way, and definitely lead me to become an Art Educator. Being an artist and an educator are central to my practice. Even though it minimizes some of my availability, I love teaching because of the way it forces me to continually reflect on my own processes. Teaching and creating are similar in that they are also incredibly humbling experiences!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Gilly Brew Bar – Stone Mountain Village Wild Heaven Beer – Avondale The Flying Biscuit – Midtown Dancing Goats Coffee Bar – PCM
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband Ian, is my biggest teammate and encouragement. He challenges me like no one else. My friend and fellow artist, Mary Catherine Lowery, helps keep me sane and is always an empathetic ear when navigating the creative process.