Interview With: Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones holds a special place in my heart. She creates art out of her Germain Street studio of things that are pertinent to my interests; cranes, buildings, streets… I love it.
I’m so excited to be able to feature Sarah on my blog this week. Please, read on!
( A photo of Sarah at her studio on Germain Street. Photo by Jen MacLean )
Hi Sarah! Tell me about yourself and what you do!
I’m a Saint John-based visual artist. I own a gallery and studio on Germain Street called Jones Gallery. I like to look at how industrial or functional urban spaces coexist/collide with domestic spaces (in other words, I just really dig refineries, cranes, train cars, tankers and precarious-looking fire escapes). I work with a palette knife in oil and mixed media.
Where did you go to school?
I have an undergraduate degree in history from UNB Saint John, and I finished my graduate studies in art history at Queen’s University in 2009. I also spent a couple months in Rome studying art history while I was a student at UNBSJ, which really inspired the department switch in grad school. I got stuck writing about Maritime folk art for my master’s thesis, but I’m really truly interested in stuff like Italian Fascism, Roman architecture, French Realism and Caravaggio.
( TROPIC ATLANTIC from PORT CITY )
Who are your major influences as a painter?
John Dolan is my art hero. He is an artist from the UK, and spent a couple years in Saint John when I was in university. Seriously the coolest person alive, and the first person to hand me a palette knife. No one was more instrumental in me being the artist I am now than John.
And Mario Brideau, owner of Mario’s Framing and Citadel Gallery, has always been a good influence on the business side of being an artist. Such a hard-working entrepreneur, which I admire – and he has always been so encouraging about my work and studio.
You’re heavily involved with Enterprise Saint John and with young entrepreneurs. Tell me about that.
I work part-time with the Emerging Entrepreneurs Program at ESJ. We do a lot of one-on-one business counseling for young entrepreneurs, workshops, competitions, networking events… all good stuff. There is a strong community of entrepreneurs in Saint John, so we all get together at ESJ and lament the loss of our weekends.
( WENTWORTH STREET COMPOSITIONS No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 )
Being self-employed must be great. Tell me your favourite and least favourite parts of the job…
Favourite bits: Owning my studio. Working on Germain Street (best street in the world). Business cards. Painting all day.
Least favourite bits: Bills. American tourists who stick their fingers in my palette of wet paint and then ask if it’s wet paint*.
Entrepreneurship is a tough slog. No weekends ever. No days off. No benefits. No sick days. But I love love love it. It’s the most rewarding challenge ever, and when it works (ie when money comes in or a good painting happens), it’s all worth it.
*This actually happened.
What’s a “normal” day like for you?
Enterprise Saint John early in the morning. Studio and painting for the rest of the day. And then business paperwork in the evenings. I fit a trip to the Aquatic Centre in somewhere. Plus some reading. CBC listening. Drinking tea. And I’m getting a Newfoundland puppy in a few months. :) So giant-dog walking will be added to the mix.
What’s your dream day? :)
Selling lots of art. That’s always good.
And maybe a trip to Barcelona, if I could squeeze that in too. With loads of coffee, wine, food and buskers.
And an interview with Jian Ghomeshi because he thinks I’m the future of art in Canada.
( CROWN STREET AT LOW TIDE from PORT CITY )
Where do you see yourself 2 years down the road? Still in Saint John? Abroad?
Saint John is pivotal to my experience as an artist – the character/landscape of this city inspires all my work – so I plan to stick around for a while. I doubt I’ll ever run out of stuff to paint here. Plus Saint John is awesome. I’m planning to make a move to send my work out into the Maritime region later this year, so hopefully in a couple years I’ll have made some connections with galleries in Fredericton and Halifax.
So yeah, in two years, I’ll probably still be at the studio. Painting more stuff.
And just for fun..
What is your favourite song right now?
What is your “desert island” CD?
Can I bring some CBC podcasts? I’m a nerd. Or maybe books on a cd? Plus a screen-thing so I can read them. So if I was allowed to bring books I’d bring Ross King (a crazy-good art historian – I’m going to be reincarnated with his brain), David Mitchell (British author, deliciously confusing), and Sarah Hall (British author, who kicks literary butt).
What is your favourite television show?
OH MAN, TOP GEAR. SO INSANELY FUNNY. “Terribly sorry, I’m afraid I ran over your dog… in my Jaaaagggg.” For people who haven’t heard of it – it’s a BBC car show. And the best thing ever created by man. They’re always doing stuff like driving dumps through the Amazon, or racing a Toyota Hilux and a dog sled to the North Pole. Or doing a beach assault with the Royal Marines and Ford Fiesta. My brother and I are big fans.
What’s the best way to get in contact with you, see your work, or sign up for an art class?
You can visit my studio at 122 Germain Street. I’m under-cover right now working on a super-secret project, that’s going really well, and I’m really excited about it. I’ll be launching/revealing the new work at the next Uptown Saint John Gallery Hop on Friday, February 25, 5-8 p.m. You can also check out my work at www.jonesgallery.ca; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 672-2326.
I have an art history lecture series coming up at the Saint John Arts Centre in March/April called NUDE: Five Thousand Years of Art and the Human Body. Call the SJAC at 633-4870 for registration or check my site for more info.
This is where this post becomes unbelievable.
Sarah has graciously offered an AMAZING prize to one lucky reader.
‘Three Sisters on a Rainy Day’ (12×12 in., oil on canvas) is from her Cityscapes series.
Here’s how to enter to win this painting
1. Visit the Jones Gallery Facebook Page. Like it and leave Sarah a comment! (HINT: There’s a surprise on that page, too!)
2. Do you like me on Facebook? Do it!
3. Come back here and leave a comment on this post.
**Don’t forget to comment TWO TIMES
That’s all! I’ll draw for a winner on Wednesday, February 23rd at 5pm. I’ll e-mail the winner and post the results back here. This giveaway is open to anyone. If you can get to Sarah’s studio- you can win!
Thanks so much to Sarah!
Edit: Congrats to Kate McLean, the winner of the Sarah Jones painting! Thanks SO MUCH to Sarah!!