We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Sauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victoria, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
I wanted to answer this question, mostly to bring attention to the fact that even though conventional advice may be helpful 90% of the time, everyone everywhere is different, and lives different lifestyles, and has different needs and priorities in their artistic practice. A very common piece of advice to artists is to ALWAYS be working, maybe even working on multiple things at once. I personally can’t live by that standard, and I think that’s perfectly okay! My work takes a toll on me, mentally and physically, and I often take a couple months in between big projects to recoup, relax, invest time in other hobbies. This way, I’m well rested and re-energized when it comes time to dive back into a new piece.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an oil painter primarily, and I typically work in a hyper-realistic manner with elements of surrealism intertwined. So my imagery may look “real,” but pushed just beyond the bounds of our reality. I attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for undergrad and received my BFA in Painting & Drawing in 2020.
Finishing school and graduating in the beginning of COVID was a massive challenge and letdown for students, as it was and still is for many individuals all over the world. But a few months later, I began my year-long residency fellowship at Stove Works, a Chattanooga residency, gallery, and arts organization. It was lovely to live and work there for so long, making so many incredible connections to other artists and art lovers. But now I’m moved back into my Chattanooga home with my two roommates, and I work out of my bedroom as a little studio space–and I actually love it!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d probably take them to a lot of live music shows! I’m very involved in the music scene here as well, and there’s always some great shows happening, whether it be at Cherry Street Tavern, JJ’s Bohemia, or The Spot. There’s also great outdoor spots in Chattanooga, like hiking on Lookout Mountain or swimming in Suck Creek. There’s a great vegan restaurant, Sluggo’s, that I highly recommend, but I also love Sticky Fingers or Jim n’ Nicks–both barbecue places!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to shoutout Stove Works. They are a local Chattanooga non-profit arts organization, residency, and gallery. Working for them almost right out of undergrad helped solidify my place in the arts community, motivate me to keep making work even after college burnout, and introduce me to hundreds of artists, gallerists, and critics from all over! They do amazing work in the community, have great outreach programs for youth, frequent exhibition openings, live music shows, programming and workshops for visiting residents, curatorial opportunities, and so much more. They’re incredible!
Other: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images of paintings courtesy of the artist. Portraits of me: Kat Friedmann Josh Simpson William Johnson