Tracing the heart
Magazine August 19 2017
Sarah Pirrottina was always an artist at heart, so once her mind was made up, the change of career path came naturally, writes SUZIE COFFEY
When Sarah enrolled in an Applied Science course at university, she admits to following her head, not her heart.
The now 41-year-old says she grew up in a time where sensible career options were favoured and being an artist didn’t fit that category.
But it wasn’t long before her heart began to take control. It was during the second year of her university course, that Sarah’s Paleontology lecturers started noticing how precise her rock drawings were.
“They could clearly make out each characteristic in each specimen, which implied to me that my love for art was greater than my love for rocks,” she recalls.
“It highlighted that I was under-utilizing my natural ability.”
It confirmed to Sarah what she had long believed – that art was her true calling. It was also the prompt she needed to steer her life in a more creative direction.
She made the decision to change courses and was soon enrolled in a screen printing design course at The Gordon.
That led to a 15-year career in graphic design with Target where Sarah developed technical skills and gained an understanding of colour combinations, meanings and trends.
But still, she says she had an itch that the corporate world couldn’t scratch.
So, last year, with the encouragement of her husband Rocky and daughters Ruby, 11 and Sophia, 8, Sarah leaped headfirst into a career as a professional artist. And she hasn’t looked back.
“I have loved to draw for as long as I can remember,” the former Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College student says.
“It was one thing, growing up, that allowed me to escape in my own world and just be me.”
“I have always wanted to be an artist.”
From her Geelong West home Sarah allows herself to tune out the world, and become lost in her own fantasy world of colour and exotic forms.
Favouring acrylic on canvas, ink and pen on paper, and even playing around with felt pens, the talented artist is fulfilling a long-held dream as she creates her brightly hued and beautifully detailed pieces. “I would describe myself as an intuitive artist, who creates from the heart,” Sarah explains.
‘I’m drawn to ancient artworks and stories. What were their messages? What do the symbols, hieroglyphs and patterns mean?
“Ancient stories, traditions and belief systems fascinate me, the continual thirst for knowledge of our world and beyond keeps a constant flow of inquiry and inspiration.
“Each individual artwork that I create has it’s own little story and personality that evolved from a thought and a feeling.
“My style is influenced by my mood, my interests and a long career in graphic design, with a nod towards intricate lace details geometric shapes and floral-like patterns.”
Sarah also undertakes commissioned pieces where she will work with the clients colour preferences.
Some of her standout professional highlights include being commissioned to create pieces for the Cotton On Body flagship store and the SCENTRE Group Management office space in Westfield Geelong. This also led Sarah to being commissioned to create a 6 x 3 metre mural depicting Geelong in abstract map form, and showcasing a host of city icons, which is currently on show in the shopping complex.
“This mural took much planning to manipulate and distort into an artistic version of Geelong and surrounds,” she recalls.
“The map ended up taking a week to paint and it was a fun project to work on.”
These opportunities, coupled with the positive response her art has received, have cemented in Sarah’s mind that choosing to launch her artistic career was the right decision. The self-confessed deep thinker says she is dreaming big and looks forward to seeing where her creative path leads”
“I want to be that role model for my daughters – to show them that if you want to do something so much, just go for it,” Sarah says.
“There is no failure. You only fail if you don’t try, and with that comes regret. I have no regrets taking that huge leap out of my comfort zone. I’ve trusted myself to have a go, to have courage when the fear is so strong, and do it anyway.
“This is my absolute love. This is what I wake up for – my family and my friends, my coffee, my music and my art.”