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MONTH MEETING WITH... SARAH LARNACH

Here at Element Eden we encourage inspired and passionate women to live their dreams fearlessly expressing their creative minds.

This month, we caught up with New Zealand artist Sarah Larnach for a little chat to get to know more about what she does, who she is and what fueled her creativity and inspiration for her collaboration with us for Fall 14 collection.

1 / Tell us a bit more about yourself-

I was born in Cambridge, New Zealand, its a small pretty town. My mother is an artist, painting in oil and watercolours and I went to lessons with her when I was very young. We moved to Nelson, New Zealand when I was 11 and my parents still live there. Nelson is a wonderful place to visit, it has beaches and rivers for swimming and loads of artists and bohemian types and wealthy foreigners live there, making for a great mixture of people. My favourite place in the world is my mothers kitchen, in Nelson.

I moved to Australia on my own at 18, and lived there for 13 years. I travelled a lot and lived in Vancouver and New York before going to art school in Melbourne at 23. I met my best friend Pip Brown (Ladyhawke), also a New Zealander, at this time and she became my artistic muse and motivator. A few years later I created her album cover which is what got my art noticed around the world. We continue to work together and I look forward to working on her third album. (I am writing this from her house in Los Angeles right now!)

I love creating my own work for exhibition, and working with Element. My favourite application of my work is when I collaborate with musicians for album art. I usually design the whole package - album cover art, the booklet, all the lay-out. My longest collaborations have been with Ladyhawke (two albums and 12 singles) and Passenger (three albums and 10 singles).

Living in Australia I supported my art career by being a DJ. For six years I DJ'd at least 4 hours a week, and while that was terrific I was happy to almost-quit two years ago and now only DJ occasionally doing the for the odd gig or DJ-ing for fun.

Last year I went to film school, to learn more about directing, and have made a music video this year. I'd be doing more music videos if I could but have just been really busy with art!

At the moment I live in Auckland, New Zealand, with my partner Genevieve who is a builder and shares my passion for music, animals and . We hope to move to the country, lake-side or sea-side and build a house, but at present we live in Auckland in a little house with a garden and our over-weight cat, Cecelia. I have a studio at home which has the loveliest light late in the afternoon. I work in there as if it is a regular day job but often find myself in there late at night working with people in different parts of the world.

I like to live my life with a mix of the energy of the city, and the calm of the sea-side. I have been vegetarian for 22 years and I LOVE cooking, and don't mind cooking meat on the BBQ for my loved ones. I even went to chef school at 17 but didn't find working as a chef to be satisfying. I also garden and make preserves from my own garden produce, which my friends appreciate because I'm always giving the preserves away to them. I love museums, dinosaurs, creepy stuff, UFO's (I've seen one!), films and photography. I collect vinyl records and Fleetwood Mac is my favourite band. I wear jeans every day and I listen to audio books while i work.

2/ How would you describe your artistic style?

I love watercolour and ink because you have to embrace your mistakes. My portraits are acts of devotion, but still hide jokes and stories, as with all my works, I add back-story and dimension to entertain the viewer and myself.

3 / Where do you find your inspiration?

I am hugely inspired by my friends; the conversations we have, the trips we take, the artists and films and books we recommend to each other. On my own, I am very curious about science, the cosmos, the natural world and the ancient world. Watching documentaries and reading, as well as visiting museums and galleries, informs my work and inspires me. When I need a fresh shower of inspiration, a walk in the bush and a browse in a good book store are my ideal cures. But nothing is as potent as the rush of inspiration that is triggered by watching live music, being at a cultural event or even on an aeroplane, where collective focus really gets my creative mind working.

4 / How did you approach your collaboration as an advocate with Element Eden Europe? What does it represent for you to be and Edenette?

Element Eden Europe are always so lovely to work with - they ask if I have time to contribute a painting, and if I have anything nice that I've been working on. I love to see their moods and inspirations for the coming season and then I file through my memories, diaries and drawers for something that might work as a starting point. They are great at pointing me on the right path too, and I like that they appreciate a little bit of darkness and humour that I always try to sneak in!

Being an Edenette is like having a very clever, kind and far reaching 'patron'. I am so grateful for the exposure and for wonderful opportunities that come because of the collaboration. I have made some lovely friends through Eden and when I was "a struggling artist" it always seemed like Eden were there, asking for a colab', just when I thought I was really broke! Most importantly, and I have never said this to anyone at Eden, but when I am doubting myself as an artist and thinking I should get a new job, I count my blessings and remember that someone else has faith in my work, because there is this big team of really nice people on three different continents who are backing me and being my champion, my advocate.

5 / What is your interpretation of being a seeker ?

To be a seeker is to never stop being interested, never stop exploring, never stop examining and never stop learning. The seeker is not restless, she seeks because she knows that there is always so much more to know.

6/ We know that for an artist each illustration has a particular story, what’s the story behind your illustration Phases part of our Fall 14 collection?

Phases started as a study of a pair of feathers, and the moons came into the image to enrich the idea of a cycle; a bird grows/drops her feathers/the moon waxes, grows full and wanes. The triangles were to look like crystal, for the exploration of self ... but mostly I thought they looked like pyramids, which you could say is culture. The illustration was all created in ink on watercolour paper, with the small moons and pyramids cut with scissors and repeated. I love working in black ink, because it's so fatalistic, but it doesn't often lend itself to the most beautiful and light of themes.

7 / Do you have a particular life motto, that defines you and your life?

"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid" , is my motto. To me, it says that when you act bravely, make large and interesting work, and push boundaries, others will be inspired to share your vision. The theory has always worked for me - when I have really pushed , the response has been grand. (quote from Basil King, a Canadian writer)

Here's the music video Sarah directed this year.

Sarah's life motto, a quote by Basil King (Canadian writer).