Interview: Sarah Joncas

Sarah Joncas was born in 1986 and grew up within both Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her interest in the visual arts developed at a very early age, starting with the dedicated drawings of dinosaurs and lizards. Though at five years old her desire to become a paleontologist overshadowed the dreams of drawing cartoons for the remainder of her life, Sarah’s need to create visually returned and surpassed. Eventually the study and enjoyment of drawing from existing images stirred up the need in Sarah to create images of her own nature; ones that could reflect the world we live in, yet also appease the personal feelings/ideas that she herself maintained. With this, Sarah’s interest in art changed gradually from the world of animation and illustration, to the eventual and grounded path towards fine art. Though Sarah has developed a particular style and manner of painting, there still progresses a steady evolution to the art she is continually producing.


CM: First of all, congrats on all the success and attention you are getting right now. It really looks like your art is taking off. You seem to have gotten a quicker start than most, and at a younger age, is it a little overwhelming?

SJ: Thank you very much for the congrats. It still comes as a huge shock to me that everything has been developing as quickly as it has. Though I’ve always worked hard for what I have, I’m endlessly taken back when those successes come into reality. I wouldn’t say the load is heavy enough to be overwhelming for me (as I tend to thrive off of pressure, in some ways), but emotionally it has been a bit of an excitement roller coaster. With good time management and some common sense everything can run smoothly in the end, even if the list of duties exceeds what you’re typically used to.

CM: As far as your style goes, what do you think was the main influences that helped to shape it?

SJ: My style has changed very gradually, though I’ve always leaned towards certain traits. I started doing more creative work in my pre-teens, starting with anime/cartoon kind of imagery. I would write stories, draw out characters and settings, make comic book story boards – probably because at that time I was thinking animation or illustration as a career. Over time I’ve had many influences from music, film, and art history to novels, comic books and photography. Anything and everything. The tendency for me to use the “solo female” narrative has been going on since I started as well. As far as artists who’ve been of impact on my art, Joe Sorren, Viner, and Frida still carry strong with me.

CM: I also noticed that you paint with acrylic or oil, sometimes wood panels or canvas. Is there one you like better, or one for specific purposes?

SJ: Not particularly. It seems to really depend on my mood, though I have focused almost entirely on my acrylic/oil work now. If I switch to wood, it is likely I just want to have that feeling of wood for the “while I paint” period. The process is very enjoyable for me, and the tangible surfaces of my materials often impact how well my painting sessions may turn out – thus, if I’m not in the zone for acrylic, it will not likely work out to use acrylic.


CM: What do you think is the most valuable thing you have learned at college thus far?

SJ: I’ve been mostly bitter about my post-secondary education thus far, but, to be positive, I think I’ve matured more due to the responsibilities of living alone. My management skills have improved tons, I’ve become more confident towards arising opportunities, and I’ve learned to lighten up. As far as actual “education”, I’ve found there to be more rewarding material in my liberal classes, as opposed to my studio courses.

CM: Are you overall happy that you decided to go to art school, or was a university an option as well?

SJ: Technically or officially, I am getting a “university” education in the field of art since my reward for 4 years is a BFA… However, I would never compare my work load to that of an engineer student. I don’t regret going to art school even if I feel as though I’m paying a ridiculous amount of money for little to nothing. There are more benefits in mistakes and hardships then in success; you just have to learn how to respond to them.

CM: I read that music and film greatly influences you, are you either watching movies or listening to music while creating?

SJ: Always listening to music while painting, yet rarely watching movies… However, if I’m doing sketchbook sort of work that can generally happen anytime, anywhere. Film comes as more of an after thought, while music can be instantaneous.


CM: What specific movies or bands have influenced your art the most?

SJ: It’s difficult to put only a few. With music, bands such as Pink Floyd, Tool, Radiohead, NIN or Portishead have aided me. Sometimes it’s in the lyrics, sometimes in the sound, sometimes just a feeling. With film, movies like Blade Runner, Vanilla Sky, Fight Club, or Interview with the Vampire have all had their moments.

CM: Are there any specific artists that you would love to have your work shown with?

SJ: Every new event I participate in, I show with new artists I love. I have my list of personal loves, but more so then getting to exhibit with them, I would rather just get to see their work in person. Living as a student in Canada, I haven’t had the chance yet, but I’m sure in due time that will happen for me.

CM: Are there any artists that you would love to learn from?

SJ: Not in a “master-apprentice” kind of way. I prefer my solitude while painting, though that’s not to say I wouldn’t love to meet other artists and talk with them… Though, I’ve also found I tend to learn more by listening and observing, rather than talking.


CM: With such a big future ahead of you, is there anything else you would like to do alongside painting?

SJ: Take it as it comes, really. I would love to travel, learn to drive a motorcycle (and a car), go scuba diving (even though I’m terrified of sharks), possibly illustrate my own book… Battle a grizzly bear with my bare hands…

CM: Last question, your working space, clean or really messy?

SJ: Usually clean, sometimes messy. Overall, very, very small.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for putting up with these questions. Hopefully ill be able to see some of your pieces in person, I’m sure they’re just as stunning.

If you haven’t done so yet, head over to one of Sarah’s site and check her art out. Her art is selling fast, so don’t wait.

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  • Reply
    Jun 22, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Hrm, art school as simply something that’ll throw away money…that’s my biggest fear. I’d like to know, though, if it ever turned out to be worth it in other ways; like getting the opportunity to meet like-minded people? I’d love to know cause my biggest fear would have to be wasting my time..

  • Reply
    Sara Joncas
    Jul 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    My name is also Sara Joncas (no “h”), and I was born in 1986 as well. I often have people mistake me for you, especially where my mother is an artist. I absolutely love your work, particularly the dark lines and use of bright color. I’m happy that your work is so fantastic, especially since there is an occasional mix up. Keeo up the inspiring work and good luck!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Sarah Joncas is so overrated, she’s getting some attention because of the way she looks, it’s not because of her art.

    • Reply
      Jul 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      oh, and also – she’s incredibly talented.

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