Q&A with... Sarah Maddox
I've been a little bit obsessed with Sarah Maddox's illustrations for some time now, following her on Instagram and instantly liking everything she posts. Her work is a breath of fresh air, and her love for what she does comes through in every painting.
F&A: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
SM: I live in Brighton with my partner and son. The things I love include making art, walking my dog, donkeys, shopping, fashion, café culture, vintage, going to art galleries and reading. Oh and watching TV. I think I am probably an introvert. I have a variety of part time jobs which include, working in a vintage emporium, doing admin at a university, doing freelance graphic design and recently I have started doing illustrations of people with their dogs that I sell through my shop on Etsy smaddoxartshop.etsy.com. I think this way of working where you do multiple part-time jobs instead of one traditional full-time job, is becoming more popular. It is sometimes called a 'portfolio career.' Basically, it just means you do a lot of bits of pieces of different things and that seems to sum up what I do.
F&A: How long have you been painting the fashion and dog portraits?
SM: I started doing the fashion and dog portraits in May of this year. It kind of evolved because I was doing the #365project. This project encourages you to create every day for a year. At first I was mostly doing abstract paintings and collages encouraged by various online artistic communities such as Get Messy, then I started drawing people and dogs that I saw in the park and then I moved on to drawing fashion bloggers from Instagram as they would often be wearing interesting and colourful clothes. I would draw them with their own dog or if they didn’t have a dog I would add the dog I thought they should have. I would post the drawings on Instagram tagging the person I had drawn and through that people started asking me to draw them. It was really nice and surprising. I love looking at fashion blogs to see what people wear every day and how they style clothes. I am particularly interested in the community of 40+ fashion bloggers. A huge community of inspirational older women all dealing with work and children etc and being amazingly stylish at the same time.
F&A: What's with the dogs?
SM: I am seriously a mad dog woman. I got my first ever dog, Lila, just 4 years ago having taken 14 years to convince my other half we should get one. She is a rescue dog from the streets of Portugal via a charity in Brighton called Helping Paws. She is a complete super mutt. I think she is probably part Portuguese podengo, part chihuahua plus lots of other things. She is totally neurotic and sleeps with me under my duvet at night. From the streets of Portugal to a cosy bed in Brighton, she has so fallen on her paws.
F&A: Has does Instagram help you to promote/get commissions?
SM: I have been incredible lucky as Instagram is the only way I share my work. I am very lucky that people at the moment seem to like what I am doing. I think the mixture of fashion and dogs is irresistible and I think people like to have a little portrait of themselves and their dog and I think they make thoughtful and affordable presents too.
F&A: Did you study art/illustration?
SM: I don't have a formal art or illustration qualification. I did an 'A' level in calligraphy 30 odd years ago and I have a professional graphic design qualification plus I did a degree in Art History quite recently which gave me confidence in talking about and understanding art.
F&A: What does creativity mean to you and how do you lead a a creative life?
SM: For me being creative is a way of life. I find I have to create to have peace of mind. It has taken me 50 years to realise that though. Now I always have a sketchbook in my bag that I carry around with me. One of my favourite things to do is to walk with my dog to a café and then sit and sketch. Preferable while people watching. Brighton is brilliant for that.