Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with Sarah Verardo
View Sarah Verardo' latest work
Maine. I am from a (very) small beach town in Rhode Island and have always had a strong connection to coastal New England. I spent almost 20 years living in Washington DC and New York City, returning to New England to raise my children in Rhode Island in 2017. I consider this area to be such a part of my identity and, unsurprisingly, the greatest inspiration for my work. It is very important to me that my subjects are from my own personal experiences with my environment, like a shell picked up from my hometown beach or a stone I found on a weekend trip to Maine.
Inspiration. I am deeply inspired by nature and the environment of my native New England. My subjects are almost always found objects foraged from a local beach, but I would say my greatest inspiration comes from my personal journey with grief, awareness, and reckoning of my own spirituality. I’d like to think I’ve learned to become a more thoughtful observer of my environment, and I choose to paint subjects from my environment that are often overlooked as a gesture of appreciation for the ordinary pieces of time and place.
Medium. I paint exclusively with oil paints. I love the malleability of oil and enjoy painting with lots of layers and glazing. My work is very much an appreciation for the nuances and complexities of a simple organic subject, and I’ve found that oil paint gives me what I need to achieve this.
Artist Hero. My first artist hero at a very young age was Georgia O’Keeffe. My aunt gave me a book of her paintings when I was in grade school, and it still sits in my living room today. Initially, my work really wasn’t aligned with hers, but as I’ve evolved as an artist, I can see so much of my inspiration comes from her work. Some other artists that I am incredibly inspired by are Helene Appel, Alison Watt, Alan Magee, and Aaron Siskind.
Studio. My studio is currently in the attic of my 174-year-old house in Providence, RI. It is a small space with all the original details (including almost 200 years of stuff in the cracks between planks on the floor). The previous owner of the house was also a painter and created in that same space. It only felt natural that it should be my studio as well.
Where in Maine. My cousin spends her summers in Maine, and a couple of years ago, we all had the chance to visit the Portland area for her wedding. I immediately fell in love with the city and have been back to visit whenever I get the chance.
Fun Fact. I am a self-taught painter. I took one Intro to Oil Painting class in college and didn’t pick up a brush again until 17 years later during quarantine.
Education. I have a BA in Government and Studio Art from Georgetown University. After 20 years of working in marketing, I began painting again in 2020.
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