Sarah Otts

View Work by Sarah Otts

“Painting is something I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember. I began selling my art as a teenager and maintained commission work throughout college. In 2007, I graduated from The University of Mississippi where I attained a BFA in painting. Anxious to continue working towards a career in art, I chose to move back to my hometown, Mobile, AL, where I had begun establishing myself as a working artist. I opened a studio in a high traffic area and taught art lessons in addition to painting. Years later but just up the road, my home studio in Mobile is where I am painting almost daily. My husband and I have two young children who became an unpredictable influence on my art. I am in the throes of motherhood while holding on to an embedded fixation for painting. The balance of these two worlds is the basis for my current art, both aesthetically and conceptually.

As an artist and a mother, I have found a fulfilling way to let my two most impassioned roles coexist and thrive from each other. Never before have I felt this compelled to wake up everyday and make art. On the same note, painting, for me, has become a lucid retreat for clarity in a hectic and competitive world. What keeps me ambitious about art is still the notion that there are endless ways to create and express. However, I have come to understand that the fuel to the fire is nothing more than hard work in the studio and commitment to painting on a regular basis. And, in addition to that, experience has taught me that artistic discoveries happen when I do what I love wholeheartedly. Whether I am painting or spending time with my family, I am always keeping tabs on emotional reactions that can influence my art.

Throughout my process, I use a variety of tools to make gestural, reactive and impulsive marks encouraging me to create without inhibitions. In addition to energetic line work, I focus on building layers to establish rich depth and dynamic fluctuations between tonal value, color and texture. With paint and concept, I refer to the delicate balance between contrasting elements. I seek out unpredictable combinations, but create ways for one element to enhance the other.

Originality in art has become a topic that I feel very strongly about. I believe in creating original work by finding inspiration from within my own heart. Essentially, my process comes down to allowing my hand and heart to work together, avoiding the restrictions of analysis and fear. The way I see it, no two individuals have the same emotions, experiences, passions or even the same handwriting. When you look at it this way, we are all equipped to create artwork that is as unique and as one-of-a-kind as each person on the planet. Therefore, I work hard to generate art that is free of wrongful influences, false pretenses or anything less than true and real. My paintings reflect what is behind my consciousness and reproduce the emotions that my mind cannot articulate. Understanding who I am and what makes me unique starts with being honest with myself. Knowing how I truly feel allows me to grasp those obscure, fleeting feelings, and turn them into something physical; a painting that is emotionally and visually stimulating.”