Featured Artist Friday with Sarah Escarraz
I am bursting with excitement as I am finally able to reveal this project we've been working on. Coffee and Charcoal is introducing a new monthly series titled: Featured Artist Friday. Each month writers of Coffee and Charcoal will rotate in choosing an artist, conducting interviews, and writing a post for this series. This month I had the pleasure of curating an interview with the incredibly talented, Sarah Escarraz. She was a perfect participant for our first post. Sarah was a great sport and I had a blast diving deep into her work.
So without further ado, Featured Artist Friday!
Q. Where are you based?
S.E. Harlem, New York City
Q. Did your childhood have any effect on your current work?
S.E. Absolutely, I got a camera when I was 13 and I would go exploring in my neighborhood for fun. My aunt used to also take me on road trips out to Yellowstone over the summers and that's where I learned to really explore and look at things in different ways.
Q. Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to pursue photography?
S.E. New Years of 2015 while I was shooting Alyson Williams at Minton's Jazz Club. Alyson was wearing these diamonds draped around her head and big earrings. She's singing out into the audience - you could just tell it's what she always loved to do.
Q. What was your experience with formal arts education?
S.E. It was necessary, but not pleasant. I didn't really enjoy the environment or the work but it helped me realize that my true passion photography. Taking photos became a way for me to escape.
Q. Do you have any shots that stand out in your memory as your favorite?
S.E. Yes! The one of my niece Tegan and my brother James playing under a moss tree in Florida.
Q. Do you get creative block and how do you deal with it?
S.E. Yes, yes I do. I like to drink wine! *lots of laughing*
Q. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you - art or life?
S.E. My mentor, Frank, gave me a wipe for my lens and said "stop using your shirt, you're going to scratch the lens". I know he didn't mean it as a metaphor for life, but I took it as that. Basically to use the right tool for the job, and to always do things the correct way.
Q. Can you talk about your crossover with photography and painting?
S.E. Sure! I use photography as a way to stop or pause thoughts. It's my one thing that I really do in the moment, I'm fully there in the moment. So I need that quiet space to help me continue with everyday life. But with painting, it allows me to release any of my anxieties or stress that have been clouding my mind - They compliment each other.
Q. How does living in NYC effect your work for better or worse?
S.E. I'm able to have these incredible opportunities in New York and be around some of the best musicians in the world... for that, I'm so grateful and thankful. However, I feel like I need to get out and leave every few months so I can get out and shoot a landscape. Being in the quiet is my comfort zone.
Q. Who are your biggest supporters?
S.E. My dad, my mom, and my mentor Frank Stewart.
Q. What is your favorite part in your process?
S.E. Shooting. The actual act of shooting because I'm watching the musicians hands and mouth move as the music is happening. I just think it's so interesting and so beautiful to watch their art happen so closely through my lens. Really just waiting to push the button and capture that moment.
Q. Which do you prefer - Color or Black and White photography?
S.E. Black and White!
Q. What are your camera essentials when shooting?
S.E. My Nikon D3 and a 50mm lens.
Q. What is your favorite editing programs or apps?
S.E. I don't edit or I do very minimal editing in iPhoto. I feel like the camera is able to do the work for me and I can make any necessary adjustments while I'm shooting.
Q. Lastly, what are your professional goals for 2017?
S.E. To be able to fully support myself through photography work. I did a lot of odd jobs this past year and it would be great to make this my only focus.
To wrap things up, we had Sarah fill out a pop quiz!
If you're interested in learning more about Sarah, or would like to reach out to her, you can do so through the links below!