By Margarita Hirapetian
If you need a burst of joy, color, and happiness in your life, you need one of artist Sally K’s gorgeous and radiant pieces. They will brighten up any room, and brighten up your mood as well. There’s no way you can have one of her paintings in your home or office and not feel buoyant and joyous – think of it as a literal mood booster. A typical Sally K painting features a beautiful, bare-shouldered woman with a riot of flowers on her head like a giant, blooming crown. In several of her paintings, the woman’s eyes are covered by flowers as well, and you can only see the bottom half of her face. It gives an aura of mystery and seduction to the piece. In fact, flowers of all kinds and hues are a prominent feature in her work as Sally finds them to be “refreshing and beautiful.” She says, “I have found that the flowers have merged with the human element in the painting into an integration of woman and nature. There is no clear distinction between where one begins and the other ends. I try to use colors, combinations, textures, and details to play on canvas.” This integration of woman and nature brings to mind Mother Nature and how women have always been linked to different aspects of nature, particularly flowers, since very early on. As for what Sally herself hopes people take away from her work, she says, “I would hope that my work is expressive in that it communicates a sense of power, strength, and confidence in its beauty. I want my work to express sentiment that commands attention, drawing the audience in to be immersed in colors. I want my work to stand out, to stir up a conversation, and to emulate the contemporary woman.”
Born in the United States, Sally lived in Saudi Arabia until she was 14, when she moved to Beirut, Lebanon for high school and college. Although art was always something she has loved to do, she never really thought she would be able to do it for a living. Other people in her life were a big influence, as she says, “My artistic path has been influenced by my amazing teachers.” She first took art as an elective at the Saudi Arabian International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Her art teacher, Mr. Misner, introduced her class to a variety of artistic mediums, techniques, and styles. This is where Sally first began her educational journey and cultivated a love for art. Once she got to college, Sally was unsure of which major to choose. Art didn’t seem like the greatest choice because it wouldn’t necessarily lead to a career path. Though others pushed her to take business classes, she decided to enter the graphic design department at LAU (Lebanese American University). Sally explains, “As I was taking prerequisite courses, I was introduced to Chawki Chamoun and Youssef Aoun, teachers in the Fine Arts Department and well-known artists in Lebanon. They both made a huge impact on my art. They both saw something in my art and persuaded me to continue my studies in Fine Arts. I am so thankful for my teachers because, looking back, they were instrumental in shaping who I am as an artist. I graduated with distinction with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 2004 and embarked on my art career.”
Like many artists, Sally’s support system has proved invaluable. She credits her family and teachers with giving her support and mentoring her in ways that have made her flourish. She says, “First and foremost my parents’ support of my work has been an essential to my success. My father has been my biggest fan since day one. My teachers, particularly Chawki Chamoun, taught me so much and support my work. Their encouragement has led me here. Artists I have been influenced by include Corno. Her vibrant colors and fast brush strokes captivated me and motivated me to create work that was expressive. It’s an approach I have integrated into my own work.” Sally finds inspiration from everything in her environment. Currently, as you can surmise, she is “fascinated by flowers: different shapes, sizes, colors, movement, arrangement.” However, she also draws inspiration from fashion photography, in addition to pop culture and the perception of beauty and its varying trends. If you purchase one of her pieces and display it proudly in your home, don’t be surprised if it immediately becomes a conversation starter. Painted on rather large canvases with bold and eye-catching colors, Sally’s work will stop you in your tracks. On one of her Instagram posts, she describes her art as “For the daring, statement making, stand-out-of-the crowd humans…” It couldn’t be more accurate.
With so much experience under her belt, Sally also has some true pearls of wisdom to bestow on up and comers: “My advice is to remember that while you see yourself as an artist, the people you will work with see art as a business. You will come across many rejections in your career, but don’t take these rejections personally. It takes time, focus, effort, and dedication to evolving your craft. As a painter I have found that the more I paint, the more I learn. I continually try to improve on my techniques through the act of painting. As the ideas flow, the more confident I become. Just keep painting.”
You can show your support of Sally by following her on Instagram (@sallykpaintings), and visiting her website (sallyk.com) where you can view more of her incredible work and purchase a piece or two for yourself!