By Sarah Lee—It’s been a busy year for Sarah Lee.
Her new book, The Art of Your Dream—an anthology of her work—is out now and she’s also recently begun working on her first major TV series, The Mind Palace.
In this exclusive interview with the Daily Dot, Lee reveals her passion for art and the work of the artists and thinkers that inspire her.
Read more Sarah Lee was born in the South of France and is a member of the Association for Contemporary Art (ACA).
Her family moved to London when she was five years old and the city’s rich history and vibrant art scene made her a keen fan of both London and New York.
Her parents divorced when she turned eight, and she moved with them to the US to attend the prestigious American School of the Arts.
“I was in New York for five years, and I went to art school at NYU for a year, and then I moved back to London to go to Art School,” she says.
“The school was great, and there were a lot of people there.
It was a really supportive environment.
It wasn’t the same as being a student there, so I went home to my parents.”
Her love of art began with her parents, who bought a painting of her mother as a baby and gave her an easel when she went to school.
When she was about five, she was given a canvas of her own mother’s face and a black brush by her parents.
“It was a pretty amazing painting, and it was really the first time I had a painting in my life,” she remembers.
“That was pretty cool.
I was so young, and my parents were the most supportive people I could imagine.
They gave me this incredible gift and I wanted to share it with people.”
Lee began taking classes at the prestigious New York School of Fine Arts (NYSFA), which is home to many of the great artists and designers of the 20th century.
“My first class was at the New York Academy of Art, where they teach a lot about painting, they teach you how to paint and they teach your art, but I remember I had to do it all in black-and-white, and that was really hard to do,” she recalls.
“But I knew I wanted it, and the more I learned, the more inspired I was to keep learning.
So I decided I was going to go there to learn.”
She was also a huge fan of the work produced by artists like Henri Matisse, Albert Serra, and Jean Renoir, and took up painting with them.
She had a lot more of a love of painting than the students who studied at the academy.
“There was this very important painting by Henri Matiss called The Daughters of the Revolution,” she reflects.
“Henri Matiss was a great painter, but the painting that was most important to me was The Dresses of the Resistance.
It’s the only painting that I could see on the walls of the school where I grew up and I still think of it every time I see the painting.”
Lee says that the work she was working on in her home studio—which is in her parents’ basement—was a culmination of her fascination with history and modern art.
“So it was a combination of the art I saw in my home studio and the art that I was working from in the studio,” she explains.
“We were talking about this idea about painting a painting and it just kind of came together.””
One of the things that I really wanted to do was to work with this idea of history and contemporary art, and also to paint a little bit with a modern aesthetic,” she continues.
“We were talking about this idea about painting a painting and it just kind of came together.”
The idea of working with an artist that she could call her own and who had a vision for her work grew and grew.
“When we first started working together, it was about making paintings,” she reveals.
“What was interesting to me about this collaboration was that I had the opportunity to work for an artist, a friend, who I didn’t know that well, and so I just asked her to do some paintings and we made a series of paintings.”
It was in the beginning that Lee began to think about her future career as an artist.
“You have to realize that art is a very personal thing,” she tells us.
“For me, it’s like a relationship, where you know how to take care of yourself and you don’t have to go out and do everything for everyone, but it’s always the same.
You need to make a commitment to yourself, and to the other person.”
When it came time to get started on The Art Of Your Dream, Lee worked with a friend and asked her what