Artist Sara Pope’s Work Subtly Trapezes the Line Between Beauty and Decay
They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but the lips? The doorway to lust, and no one does lips quite like artist Sara Pope. Her pop-art colors and highly stylized graphic Warhol-esque prints–her most famous of which are her lip series–subverts the notions of beauty, consumerism, advertising and the ephemeral sate of fame in today's celebrity obsessed world.
Sara Pope was not the kind of Creative who pursued her passion since she given her first set of pencils as a child. Born in Stoke-On-Trent, England, she originally pursued a mathematics degree before realizing that her creative ego had too strong a pull on her. She worked for various magazines and companies like
Hachette Filipacchi and Natmags as a designer and art director before moving to Spain and turning to vintage shoe custumization. The success of her champagne and shoe parties led her to earning her shoemaking diploma at the London College of Fashion, afterwhich she went on to work with luxury brands such as Paul Smith, Lacoste, Jasmine di Milo, and consulting for Pippa Middleton's brand, Jemima Vine... Sara is a wearer of many creative hats to say the least, and this doesn't even including her incredibly successful career as an artist, which has amalgamated her experience in the world of design and media.
Her artwork was made famous because of her lip series, high-gloss, colorful, sexy and seductive at first glance, Sara's lips conceal a myriad of meanings. From her paint dripping lips to her color-makeup smeared portraits, Sara's work subtly trapezes the line between beauty and decay. And this blurring of lines hasn't gone unnoticed. Her work is gaining serious traction in the art world with exhibitions at Artrepublic, Lawrence Alkin and Jealous Gallery in London, and 166a Arte in Florence, and a solo exhibition "Slick" at WorkHouse Modern in Harrogate, and to top it all off, her original portrait of Pope Francis was recently accepted to by hung in the Vatican Collection.
"Our lips can communicate a multitude of emotions, and are integral to us reading a face. Yet when colour is applied to these lips, they become powerful, sexual symbols."– Sarah Pope
ABOUT SARA POPE
CM: Who is Sara Pope?
I’m an artist, best known for my paintings of big, glossy, sexy lips.
CM: What did you study?
When I left school I studied a degree in Mathematics, then later on studied shoe design at the London College of Fashion.
CM: What/who are your main creative inspirations, passion?
For inspiration I look to fashion, advertising and the media. I’m particularly passionate about fashion, having worked in the industry as a shoe designer for over ten years.
CM: Tell us more about your transition from art director to shoe designer to artist?
After completing my maths degree I began working in magazines. A few years in, my interest in shoes led me to organise a series of champagne shoe parties selling vintage shoes. I was subsequently approached by avant garde fashion designer Robert Cary Williams to design his collection for London Fashion Week. I’ve designed shoes ever since. I began painting about six years ago. I’d had a lot of experience working to a brief by then, and felt I wanted to create works of free expression without commercial constraint!
CM: What medium do you use?
I use oils, acrylics, sometimes photography...
CM: What was your first break through in art ? What was it?
My biggest breakthrough was teaming up with my agent Daniel Syrett at NakedInc, which has led to me having a piece of work accepted into the Vatican collection, and a whole host of exciting plans for next year including a collaboration with major beauty brand Bare Minerals.
CM: What were your first lips? Why Lips? what do they symbolise ?
Lips in the media tend to symbolise sexuality and seduction. Of course in reality they can express and communicate a multitude of emotions. I find it interesting the distinct extremes of emotions a mouth can convey with just slight changes in expression.
CM: How many have you created so far how many more? Do they each tell a story?
I’ve painted over thirty lips paintings. I like to leave the story to the viewer, whatever it suggests to them.
CM: How do you manage to make each of them so different?
They each express something different, so it’s not so hard to make them distinct from each other.
CM: tell us about your other art work and what you are currently working on.
I’m currently developing my Violent Femmes series. A mixture of photo imagery and fluorescent, acrylic, paint. I like using the paint in this energetic way. It transforms the fairly passive, sometimes vacuous expression of the model into something quite dynamic and powerful.
CM: What messages are you hoping to convey with your art?
I’m not trying to convey any message particularly, but I do hope to reflect something of the media obsessed world we live in.
CM: What tip would you give an artist just starting up?
CM: What is next for you?
Coming up in Feb, I have a joint show with sculptor Sam Shendi, whose work is amazing, I’m very excited about that. Then shortly after I have a collaboration with major beauty brand Bare Minerals, for their new ‘Pop’ lipstick colours range.
I’m in talks with a Parisian Cabaret and an iconic international gentleman’s club. Later in the year, I have a solo show at Workhouse Gallery, Harrogate and there are also possibilities opening up for a show in Tokyo!