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IN MY ELEMENT : INTERVIEW WITH SARAH STAUNTON FROM PEN HEARTS PAPER.

Sarah Staunton is a Bondi based type illustrator behind the ever so lovely Pens Heart Paper. She is a free spirited soul who has a thirst for travel and a passion for words and motivating quotes. This girl plans to take over the world one word at a time and has been working on some really exciting projects. We caught up with Sarah to find out more about what she does and what fuels her creativity and inspiration.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? You grew up on the Central Coast, how has your background and life events influenced your work?

Yes I was blessed enough to grow up on the beautiful Central Coast. I think growing up in a sleepy town, surrounded by beautiful nature, allowed me the chance to really get lost in, and discover my own mind at a young age - which I believe is so important! I was always drawing, making jewellery, and writing over anything and everything. My true creative core self never got completely stifled by the rigid education system. I've had a pretty... let's say 'interesting' life, with tonnes of hardship and hurdles, but I prefer to refer to them as 'blessings'. I go back through these blessings as if they're written in a 'handbook for living' quite often, and definitely draw a lot of inspiration from there.

2. How would you describe your artistic style?

My artistic style is very inconsistent - as inconsistent as my life adventure is. Inspiration spawns inspiration, so I'm always finding new pies to put my fingers in. I usually refer to my style as 'ethnic eclectic', as it's a big jumble of colour fused with foreign stories. Some stories I’m still trying to figure out myself.

3. When do you feel ‘In Your Element’?

I feel most in my element when surrounded by obscure beauty. I love the challenge of finding the beauty in something that is commonly overlooked. I feel this way with words. There are so many words we use or see in everyday life, and it has become so common that it loses meaning. Like the word 'pause' - we see this everyday we pick up the TV remote. But this one word, if thought about properly, can transport your heart and mind to a completely different place. This kind of thing always makes me giddy with excitement - especially when i get to share it with someone else.

4. Can you tell us about your simple life pleasures and how you spend your ‘me time’?

Laying on my lounge, Bon Iver playing, and the afternoon winter sun pouring in through the lounge window. This is the most simple and enjoyable pleasure for me right now. If I were writing this in summer, it would be outside with Mother Nature, and Bon Iver.

5. If you could leave at the drop of a hat to travel anywhere, where would it be.....

Right now I am daydreaming about getting lost in the sand dunes of Morocco. I want to absorb their culture, wrap myself in their amazing textiles, and eat lots of delicious Moroccan food.

6. Where do you regularly turn to for creative inspiration?

I can't say I ever really 'turn' somewhere for inspiration. I'm a big believer in letting inspiration find you. That's when you get the 'POW' moments. Most of my inspiration comes from having amazing tangent filled conversations with my friends, or a random somebody I've met at the cafe over breakfast. I love it when song lyrics jump out at me and take me to another inspiration-filled world too.

7. Tell us about some of your favourite moments which have occurred during your career as an artist? (e.g. exhibitions, art school, people buying your works etc.)

I've had so many cool moments within all of my creative endeavours. Every morning I wake up and get to help create something meaningful for someone is a cool moment. Back when I was designing jewellery, I had someone commission me to make a custom piece for a dear friend who had gone through a rough time, and had admired my jewellery from afar for a while. This piece ended up being exactly what she needed and resonated with her on a spiritual level. There were lots of tears and thank yous. Nothing really tops making someone feel something like that.

Within Penheartspaper the moment’s just get better and better. My favourite moments are when I cross paths with someone inspirational - and that happens on a daily basis for me now. Words are so powerful, and when people want to give them even more meaning, you see some pretty special colours shine through.

8. What are you looking forward to and what’s your next big project?

I'm currently working on another magazine cover, which I'm so thrilled about! And I also have some exciting work planned in New York and London later on in the year.

9. What type of environment do you need to create your work and get in the right mind frame? Is it by surrounding yourself with plants? People? Natural light & big windows?

My passion is to give words light and life. So both of those things are paramount in my creative space. I work in front of a big light window, which always has bright sunny light pouring in, and I have plants in almost every corner of my house, including 3 on my desk. I usually work without any background noise as well. I want to immerse myself completely in my work, and as much as I LOVE music, it can be a bit conflicting sometimes when working with words and trying to emit a particular feeling.

10. What is your ideal way to spend time over a 24-hour period?

This is so hard because it changes so many times throughout the day (haha). In a perfect world, it would be sleep in until my body wakes me, go for a walk along the coast (Bondi - Bronte), have a homemade acai bowl for breaky, play with my cats in the garden, go for a drive somewhere and listen to music, release my creative energy, go for a dip in the ocean, catch up with a friend, cook dinner over wine with a near and dear, have a lavender infused bath, read a little, go to sleep.

My reality is nowhere near that. However, I do try and implement at least one or two of those things into my day everyday to keep me fresh.

Words and photos by Katrina Parker