Artistic Evolution

Cara Sanders' artwork has evolved, with the artist creating pieces she loves rather than what she thinks others wanted. IMAGE: Cara Sanders (Owlet).

‘Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion’ – Vincent van Gogh.

In the past five years, my art style hasn’t seen much progress – apart from the fact that I now give my stick figures a head of hair. But progression and evolution is something that has come in leaps and bounds over the past few years for ex-Townsville local Cara Sanders, who is set to showcase her work in her first solo Brisbane exhibition this April.

Cara’s artwork ranges from paintings (Owlet) to photography (Peaches and Cream), and through her own experiences as well as what she creates, she spreads messages of self belief and body positivity. 

Your art has changed quite a lot since you left Townsville – where does your inspiration come from? 
I believe the art I create is a visual representation of myself. I previously created works that were safe and didn’t allow for much freedom, I cared too deeply about what people thought; So a few months ago I stopped doing commission pieces. I wanted to focus on creating works that I truly wanted to do and evolve my style through venturing down creative avenues I had yet to explore.

I have turned my shyness of the blank canvas into self belief and art has become a way of expressing myself. I have reverted to pure instinct about how I want to feel in the process of painting rather than how I want a painting to look.

Being 25 this year, I had a bit of a quarter life crisis, as you do! I asked my mum if she had any regrets in life, and she said she wished she pursued her creativity when she was younger. So I thought that was my cue to stop mucking around and put the energy into doing what I love and give it my best shot! Since doing so I have never felt happier and more alive.

Would you say your art style is evolving, or are you just exploring different forms? 
Now that I have stopped expecting so much of myself, I think its definitely evolving! My self discovery has been a long time coming, now that it is here I am embracing it 100 per cent. It is a continuous process of trial and error, reinventing myself and learning things along the way.

Animals feature quite a bit in your work, where does that affinity come from?  
I am a huge animal lover and I really enjoy painting them.  I am able to explore the use of acrylic colours with deep intensities, and textures to build the animal on the canvas like a photograph. Elephants have always been my favourite. I love using descriptive brushstrokes to capture the breathtaking beauty of these majestic creatures.

IMAGE: Cara Sanders (Owlet).

You’ll be exhibiting work in Brisbane next month, how did that come about? 
I basically set myself a goal for 2017 – to have an exhibition for Owlet. This has been a huge dream of mine, and I thought now is the time to put thoughts into action. It was a good idea for me to build the art I had on hand and then release it online. I found a groovy space and locked in a date to motivate me to get as much art completed as I can. Not only have I been focused on art but I have also quit drinking alcohol in this process. This has been a journey of self discovery and I am so proud of myself and the progress I have made on the way.

How did you become involved with Garden Sessions? 
Garden Sessions is an event run by a best friend of mine down here, Emily Green. The idea came about as we were sprawled out on comfy rugs under the big trees in West End sippin’ vinos! It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring together like-minded creative people. It is an amazing event that’s truly taken off and I am so grateful to be a part of it!

What should people expect in the exhibition? 
People should expect to be taken on a visual journey. It’s a night to open the senses of sight, sound and taste. In collaboration with Garden Sessions, we have arranged for some local live music to complement the gallery style and create a relaxed atmosphere. As guests enter the space there will be a delicious platter of nibbles which will be an artwork of its own!  I want people to leave feeling overwhelmed with inspiration!

As well as Owlet, you also run Peaches and Cream in Instagram. Why did you launch that page? 
Peaches and Cream is a page designed to inspire women to be the best versions of themselves! My best friend Sarah and I launched Peaches and Cream because we want to utilise our skills and what we love the best way possible. Combining fashion, photography and feminism we want to show the world that passion can get you anywhere. We want to capture the rawness and beauty in women to inspire others to embrace their womanhood, own their power and build each other up.

IMAGE: Cara Sanders (Peaches and Cream).

The positive messages created by the photos are so special, have you received a lot of good feedback from the page? 
Yes and no, some people get it but some people don’t or they choose not to. The photographs we capture are very raw and these can evoke emotions some are not comfortable with… but generally the feedback and support we’ve received has been incredible!

What’s your dream for Peaches and Cream – where do you see it in a few years’ time? 
We hope for Peaches and Cream to grow and continue to inspire women from all over the globe. A dream of ours is to build the followers so it will then become a successful platform to eventually create our own clothing line.

What sparked the move to Brisbane?
After returning from Europe in 2015 my mind had completely exploded – I suddenly had this drive to be somewhere bigger, with more opportunities! I love Townsville, but I was very comfortable there. I wanted to feel nervous, scared and thrilled all in one day everyday. Within 2 weeks I decided to move to Brisbane for a new adventure, I wanted to feel alive like I had in Europe.

I have a bunch of friends in Townsville that are absolutely killing it in the creative industries. It’s so exciting to see people bringing something to life from nothing. I don’t think it matters where you are, it’s about believing in what you love and then risking everything for it.

If you are in Brisbane, you can catch Cara Sanders’ Owlet Exhibition in collaboration with Garden Sessions at 16-18 Austin Street, Newstead on 22 April from 6pm. 

IMAGE: Cara Sanders.
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