Meet the artist: Sarah Emily Porter
Left: Sarah Emily Porter portrait. Right: Sarah Emily Porter pouring pink paint onto a canvas.
Sarah Emily Porter graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with a Graduate Diploma in Fine Art in 2016. Her paintings often have sculptural attributes but are inspired by the history of painting. She was shortlisted for The Annex Collection Acquisition Award and has work in collections in Paris, London and Australia.

What was the inspiration behind the piece(s) in not just a shop?

I originally studied architectural history, so my work is heavily influenced by architectural forms and structures. I’m also interested in pushing the boundaries of painting’s history so I use experimental processes to manipulate the materials and structures associated with the traditions of painting.

With Galactic Bulge – the piece for sale in not just a shop – I subjected the work to the forces of gravity to create a tension between what was, and what could be. Rather than artificially aiming for permanence through painting, I wanted to create a piece of work that had the ability to adapt and transform over time as it is moved from one position to another.

Two images of a Sarah Emily Porter painting

Who has influenced your work the most? 

I’m inspired by many artists, including: Daniel Buren, Analia Saban, Ian Davenport, Natasha Kidd and Alexis Harding.

Tutors at both Chelsea College of Arts and the Slade opened my eyes to what was possible and challenged me to really push my practice. I also have a couple of close friends who continually shape and influence my work.

When did you know that you want to pursue a career as an artist?

I’ve always dreamed of being an artist – I can’t remember wanting to do anything else – but it took me a while to make it a reality and I definitely went the long way to get here!

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

I’ve never particularly liked the idea of enforcing my viewpoint onto someone else and I’m not sure it’s possible for someone to view my work without bringing their own self and experiences to it. As long as viewers get some form of enjoyment or intrigue from it my pieces, I’m happy.

What three things are essential to your practice?

Chance is really important to my practice. Some of my best work has been created when I’ve managed to create an environment for chance to occur.

With this, comes the ability to take risks and not be afraid of an idea that seems too big or too difficult to implement, so not being risk-averse is also essential.

Lastly, but most importantly, the kindness of others – those big, risky ideas often couldn’t happen without the help and kindness of other people.

Artist pouring green paint onto a white canvas.

What is the most inspiring place or exhibition you’ve been to in London?

I love the ‘In the Studio’ galleries at Tate Modern. The work in this gallery focuses on two areas of the art world that I’m particularly interested in – the artist’s process of making and the viewer’s perception. I also can’t help but find inspiration in the rich architecture of the space there.

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