Snowboarder and artist Sarah Yates is the mastermind behind Fauna Graphics, a quirky graphics company who are about to launch an exhibition with For Boarders By Boarders. Experimenting in graffiti, acrylic and oil painting, airbrush, street art, graphic design, illustration and photography, check out her unique blend of art...
Name: Sarah Yates (Sazzelli Faunagraphic)
From: Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England
How did you get into art? I’ve always drawn and been around art from a very young age. My inspiration came from watching my mum, who used to draw illustrations for children’s books which she also wrote and published. As I got older, although I had Interests in other subjects, my greatest interest and passion was for art, so I chose to go and study graphic design when I was 16.
When did you decide to make it a full-time career? During school, I found the path I wanted to take, and doing design full time seemed to fit the lifestyle I wanted the most. I wanted to see my design work in the boardsports industry eventually, and be able to work on projects close to my heart, that I worked on from start to finish. So that’s pretty much being my own boss. I like the type of work I’m getting into now because it’s applying my work to painting walls, clothing and events, and it means traveling too, which I really enjoy!
What’s the upcoming London exhibition all about? The exhibition is of the work of six artists from different backgrounds, who are becoming more established in the UK. We all have unique styles that we apply to many mediums. At the show there will be canvas, prints and t-shirts both on display and for sale. On the 28th June there will be a party at the gallery where we will all be ready to sell off our work and meet people!
Do you get nervous before a big exhibition? No I don’t get nervous, I just like to make sure I have all the work in that I wanted to get in. Exhibitions are fun! Even more so when there’s a closing party...!
How did you secure backing from For Boarders By Boarders? Art is a big part of FBBB, and the artists who are involved with them feature regularly in all FBBB events. For Boarders By Boarders hunt out good talent then hold events to attract everyone, from riders, up-and-coming brands, stores, artists, designers, bands, musicians, photographers and film-makers to make an impact within the industry.
How did you get into snowboarding? At 15 my friend Nat and I got into skateboarding and went to competitions at different skate parks, we skated for three years, then I stopped skating when I got ill and decided to take up snowboarding and watersports instead. I've been surfing all over the place, from Florida and the Gold Coast in Australia, to Wales in the UK! I had my first snowboarding lesson at 13 and I really loved it. I've been hooked ever since! I do break dancing too but I can't spin on my head!
What’s your favourite place to ride? I started out at Rossendale, on a dry slope... when I rode on snow for the first time I didn’t want to ride dry slope ever again! But I do like Leeds Xscape a lot. As for mountains, the best place I’ve been so far is Morzine, France. That was an 'Our Camp' snowboard camp holiday by England’s old-school girl riders Gilly Seagrave and Sonia Shaw. It was great!
How does your love of boardsports influence your artwork? The fun and excitement you get from it, the feeling you get when you're gliding along on your board, whether it’s on water, snow or concrete. It’s a motion that I have a lot of passion for and I love it in every aspect. I like my work to reflect the energy from these sports, they are soul sports and in my view we are riding nature, she gives us the obstacle course and we ride it!
What types of art do you practice? Loads! Graffiti, spray painting, acrylics, oil painting, airbrush, street art, graphic design, illustration and photography.
Can you give us a run down of your average day? I usually have an early start at about 7am to walk the dogs! Then I'll either start or finish off some freelance projects, the best is starting on a blank canvas. In the afternoon, I'll take my dogs out again! And at the moment, I'll spend time planning my next trip or exhibition. There's lots of other stuff inbetween - my days are always different, which is how I prefer it!
And if you could have the perfect day, what would it include? A day next to the beach painting a wall with some friends, then having a few hours to swim and surf some waves not so far away! Finished off with an ace BBQ with all my friends and family.
What have been your biggest setbacks? Having cancer just over two years ago slowed my artwork down a lot. Although I struggled to get my ideas on paper after leaving hospital, I do think it is an inspirational illness to have if you’re an artist. I knew what I wanted to draw but couldn’t draw it. But now I have a new creative freedom. I’m glad I had cancer though, because it’s given me lots of opportunities and a new insight that otherwise I may not have had.
But on the flip side, what have your greatest achievements been so far? For me achievements are the good contacts and friends I’ve made the past three years; finishing my degree and getting involved with FBBB exhibitions, and raising £6400,00 for Cancer Research with friends and family. And my growing client list, that’s most important to me because I love designing for all types of projects and I hope to stay freelance. Plus, buying and renovating a house in Bulgaria, so we can hit the mountains in winter and beaches in summer!,
Who or what are your inspirations? I'm inspired by my mum, she’s a strong, business-minded woman and her life has been full of creative business ventures, she’s got a great imagination. She taught me a lot and still does. Other than that, emotions, nature, dereliction, technology, people’s strengths and weaknesses, community spirit and charities all inspire me in my artwork.
What affect does your career have on your personal life? My personal life is art. It’s all I do. Having finished my degree I will make time to read some of my favorite authors, and catch up with old friends. But my boyfriend is an artist too, so we are always thinking of ways to work together.
How do you relax when you get the chance? Gardening - I love it! In winter, it's nice to paint a canvas and read a good book. But nothing beats an adventure with my dogs and my camera, I find that both fun and relaxing.
What are your plans for this summer? Now that I’ve finished my degreee, I'll be focusing on getting more artwork in the online shop on my website. And I’ll be heading to an event in Greece to paint – it's the 'Color Your Life' competition. I’ll be painting live at Leeds Xscape on the 13th September, taking part in the FBBB Summer Tour, and then heading to the Metro Ski and snowboard show to paint later this year.
What’s up next for you? More freelance projects and travel! And hopefully more opportunities! Not forgetting t-shirts for sale in summer, so don’t forget to check them out!
For more info on the FBBB Summer Tour, go to Faunagraphic.com