Sarajo Frieden: Blue Water

Released Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blue Water, by Sarajo Frieden.
15% of the sale of this print goes to the American Forests.

Sarajo Frieden is an artist and illustrator living in Los Angeles with her son. Raised in the wilds of Oakland, California, she chronicled her family’s adventures both real and imagined, something she drew upon to illustrate Noonie’s Masterpiece, a graphic novel published in 2010 by Chronicle Books. Her work can be seen on lamps, pillowcases, teapots, journals, and the like. She divides her time between illustration and painting, which can sometimes involve collage, shaped paper and embroidery. Her artwork has been exhibited in a variety of cities including Los Angeles, Melbourne, San Francisco, and Rome.

About the print:
I love to spend time in the ocean - both on the surface and below. The marine environment fascinates me. This piece was inspired by photos of bioluminescent phytoplankton. All marine life relies on phytoplankton, which also “fixes” carbon dioxide by removing it from the atmosphere. Recent studies suggest a decline in phytoplankton, and warming seas threaten their populations. These amazing creatures that inhabit the seas, so crucial to life, made me think about all the beauty and wonder that often goes unseen. This piece is a humble attempt to paint an imaginary slice of the sea; like shining a flashlight in a hidden place to illuminate what is there.

Blue Water was printed on 365gsm 100% cotton rag paper with archival pigments by POVevolving. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist..


What is your process?
For personal work, I usually never plan—I just get started. My paintings and collages evolve through a process of addition and subtraction. I usually work on several pieces at once, and some pieces I come back to after leaving them alone for a while.

What has inspired you recently?
We’ve been camping in Big Sur for many years and it is a magical place. One place in particular that I like to visit can only be reached from one of the coastal trails. About an hour in, hidden from view, is a densely packed grove of pygmy redwood trees. On a windy day, it is possible to sit beneath these trees and hear the orchestra of sounds they make as they squeak, screech, moan, and knock against each other. It is a quiet orchestra, but I’ve never been anywhere else like it, and it always inspires me.

Why did you choose to pair American Forests with your print?
I wanted to pair this print with an organization whose mission in some way involves repairing the planet. That is the work American Forests is engaged in. Their goal is to plant 100 million trees by 2020.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
I am always hoping that art somewhere is transforming our relationship to the world. Art can transform with wonder and the power of imagination, and I don’t believe the human race can really progress without it.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I could never pick one! An ever expanding constellation of artists inspire me - Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, Beatriz Milhazes, Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Kiki Smith, William Kentridge, Jacques Tati, Federico Fellini, Pina Bausch, to name a few.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
The artists above, and so many others. Charles Burchfield (at the Hammer this year), Machine Project in residence at the Hammer or at home in Echo Park, Velaslavasay Panorama, Steve Roden - a painter who also works with sound. I think the process of looking for and finding artists - seeing work that inspires and informs you - is part of the job of being an artist.

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