Sketching: it’s been Sarah Bean’s passion from a very young age. If we’d had the opportunity to ask her primary school teachers, they would clearly have remembered her scribbling away in her notebook. Before shining on social networks, especially on Instagram, Sarah was unable to sit still in the classroom.
« I remember that, in primary school, I often finished my work before the others, and since I was a little crazy I just disturbed everyone else; I was doing my show – and let’s just say the teachers weren’t ecstatic about it », she explains. It’s during this period that her first memories of drawing resurface. Drawing as a distraction in class, but especially drawing as a solution. Rather than giving Sarah Ritalin and categorizing her as hyperactive, her mother very aptly suggested that her teachers distract her and let her draw.
“The teachers wanted to give me Ritalin, but my mother, who advocates natural alternatives, strongly suggested that they take care of me and give me something to do. Since drawing was already my favorite pastime, Pierette let me draw Biblical scenes in my blue catechetical notebook, with the fish on it.”
Not a simple image technician
As a teenager, Sarah’s passion only grew. She stacked drawing books and diaries full of her doodles. For CEGEP, the choice was obvious: she pursued studies in visual arts. Not seeming to find what she was looking for, she branched out to the École Nationale de la Chanson de Granby before returning to her first love. Subsequently, she decided to start a DEC in graphic design in Sherbrooke, then an undergraduate degree in graphic design at UQAM, which she finally completed in May 2017. Sarah explains that, even after this long journey, she still found it difficult to find her true self.
“In visual arts, teachers often criticized me for being too graphic, and they were not wrong. I didn’t want to make a living by designing Kleenex sculptures. But the problem is that in design, I felt that my approach was too artistic. So leaving the school mold after all these years gave me a breath of fresh air! I don’t regret any of these years of training, but it’s liberating to stand on my own two feet.”
Urbania, Undz and Instagram
Originally from Granby, but now a resident of Verdun, Sarah has found her “hood”. She feels at home in her new neighborhood. Now her playground is Instagram, where her account has more than 10,000 followers. Among her drawings, you’ll often find figures of pop culture, a lot of references to the 90s, as well as drugs, specifically cannabis. You might say that Sarah Bean’s art is halfway between humorous social criticism and Generation Y nostalgia.
What Sarah also finds motivating is to work with different artists who use different media: comedians, singers, writers … She describes it as “art for art”. She works with Urbania, especially to illustrate the texts of the comedian Jay du Temple, and with Undz, a brand of underwear. Sarah Bean is slowly building a solid reputation as an illustrator, and she has a lot of great projects in store for us in 2018!
“I am passionate about art in general! I’m a great music lover, I read, I listen non-stop to funny podcasts, I love tattoo artists, I find it completely crazy what they do on a human canvas. It’s hard for me to find specific influences, I think if I had to name them, it would be people who have nothing to do with my work. I am influenced by life, by death. Like all humans.”