Interview of Sara Pfeiffer by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a little about yourself; where are you from and what do you do?
I am from Baltimore, Maryland, but I am currently attending a semester boarding school in Napa, California for art. I am 16 years old and I am a junior in high school.
How did you get started in the arts?
I have always had a general interest in art; my stepdad and mom absolutely love art. Every vacation we go on consists of gallery hopping, and exploring art museums. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that I started to make my own stuff. I started out with doodles and drawing zentangles until it eventually kind of exploded into everything else.
What medium/s do you work in? Do you have a favorite?
I really like photography, film, drawing, and painting. However, I think digital art is my favorite. I recently got Adobe Illustrator, so I have been creating a lot of digital art. It is a really new medium for me, but I absolutely love it.
Tell us a little about your artistic work process.
My work ranges from researched-based to just creative. When I am trying to make a piece that makes a statement, I create a lot of brain maps and journaling to help direct my brainstorming. I also create what is called a “grid of 9” where I make 9 sketches within a grid of a potential art piece relating to my ideas. However, a lot of my art is just fun ideas that pop into my head, that I feel the need to illustrate.
Are there any songs/films/books that have had a real impact on your creative processes or work?
I absolutely love films, and there are several that have definitely influenced my work. I really love Wes Anderson movies because of the aesthetic they provide. I love the colors and the way the characters dress; visually these are some of my favorite films. However, movies that have had a deeper impact on me include Donnie Darko, The Virgin Suicides, Coraline, and American Beauty. All of these movies have a dark aspect to them, which really fascinates me. Every character is so intriguing to watch, and the plots are always very obscure. When I am not doing a commissioned portrait for someone, I like to add grungy tiny details to my own pieces.
Any other big sources of inspiration?
The biggest source of information I have ever encountered is the Oxbow School. It is a semester program for high school students in Napa, California, which I am currently attending. Besides being an art-intensive school, the school’s faculty and the friends that I have made here, are an endless source of inspiration for me. Everyone here has pushed me to try out different mediums and experiment, in addition to constantly being encouraged to put my work out there. In fact, many of my friends suggested that I make an art Instagram account so I can start networking for my work.
Most of your art seems to be portraits. Are the people you illustrate based on real people in your life or more imaginary people?
For some reason, when I use Adobe Illustrator I feel much more inclined to draw real people. Recently almost all of my portraits have been based off of a real person, but I have changed around the background. Before I started using Adobe Illustrator, however, all most all of my drawings were people I imagined.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on that you can tell us about?
I am currently working on a huge art project at school. At the Oxbow School, we spend the last month doing what is called Final Project. During Final Project, we have absolutely no academic classes, and we spend the whole month researching any topic of our choice, and then creating an art piece about it. I chose the topic of violence, and whether or not it is inherently bad. For my art piece I have chosen to make an animation. So for the next month, I will be super busy working on this project.
How do you fill your time when you’re not doing work on your art?’
Since I am currently at boarding school, I am rarely ever actually alone. Which means that almost all of my free time is spent with friends, which is really fun. When we hang out we either watch movies, go on walks; listen to music, or just talk. However, before boarding school I spent a lot of time playing sports and reading.