So many people dream of giving everything up and following their passion, and Sally West has done just that. From travelling the world exhibiting her art, to taking inspiration from a Great Aunt, her original pieces and zest for art has seen her turn her passion into a pay check. Our writer Jenna caught up with the Aussie native to discuss her favourite places to exhibit and what’s next …
JC: So after reading a little bit more about you, I can see that you’ve done a hell of a lot of exhibitions! From all around Australia, to as far as New York – you truly are a #WomanWorldwide! Where has been your favourite place to exhibit so far?
SW: Definitely New York. It’s such an exciting place to be. I have shown there quite a bit and my kids have grown up coming with me. They just love it also. There’s something for everyone in New York.
JC: New York is 100% on my list! As well as all of your fabulous exhibitions, we also see that you were commissioned back in 2004 to do works for the Herbal Tease Tea Company for their complete range of contemporary packaging. What has been your favourite commissioned project to work on to date?
SW: At the time of the Herbal Tease Tea Company I was working on nudes so it fitted in really well with what I was doing. I do lots of commission work and it’s always a little nerve wracking when you have to come up with something for someone. There is more pressure and expectation with a brief.
JC: What other artists or exhibitions inspire you?
SW: I am constantly looking at art, mostly online. There is a lot of exciting things happening all over the world. But I have really enjoyed watching my kids do art over the years. They are now teenagers but their early work was so inspiring especially. The freedom children have with their expression is like no other.
JC: On your website we saw an awesome image of you painting in the Central West of NSW on “Belleforest”, the farm where you grew up. Can you tell us more about your history before ‘Sally West Art’ was founded?
SW: I grew up in Central NSW on a sheep and wheat farm. It was very isolated and I spent most of my time mustering sheep and being pretty alone really. I certainly didn’t grow up around art. At 12 years of age I was shipped off to boarding school and this is where I started painting. I remember being extremely homesick but found comfort in the art rooms. I guess I never really stopped painting from this time.
JC: My grandmother is a painter and designer, and I’ve always been in absolute awe of her work. Do you have a family member who inspired you at all?
SW: I had a great Aunt who used to babysit my brother and myself from time to time. When we would arrive she would have the whole lounge room and sunroom set up as an art studio. It was so special and I revisit those memories often.
JC: Can you tell us about your own personal ‘Girl Boss’ moment?
SW: Unless I’m painting I feel like that’s my Girl Boss moment. Pretty much all of the time I’m running a business now. Yesterday I spent the day dealing with art galleries, helping them select new works for upcoming shows, I scheduled couriers, wrapped paintings, updated my online stockrooms, photographed new work. Everyday is a big day. I rarely ever have a quiet day. My favourite days are those when I paint. This is what it’s all about to me. My happy place, my reason.
JC: What has been the hardest part of running your own art business?
SW: In the initial stages it was hard to find galleries to represent me. That was a real battle. Now that I’m more established I find it hard to keep up. I am grateful however that I have this dilemma. I feel very lucky to be doing what I love – I am very happy about that.
JC: Busy attracts busy that’s for sure! Moving forward, what’s in the pipeline for 2019?
SW: I plan to challenge myself further with my painting techniques and exploration of colour and form. Later this week I will be speaking to my Sydney gallery about my upcoming show so that will be exciting and something that I’ll be working towards.
________________________________________________________________To see more of Sally’s work visit www.sallywestart.com | firstname.lastname@example.org