Sarah Soward just moved to San Diego a little over a year ago. Art has always been a part of Sarah’s life. Her work was shown and published as early as grade school. That trend continued throughout all of her schooling. She landed her first solo show in college while she was carrying a painting home from class. A restaurant owner came running out of his establishment, asked if she was the artist, and gave her a show. The show sold out!
Soward’s version of contemporary surrealism is characterized by expressive brush strokes and an impressionistic sense of light. She plays with scale, juxtaposition, and enjoys employing a purposeful combination of color and brush work. Getting the point across is more important to Soward than realistic rendering or maintaining a rigid adherence to any single genre. If the idea requires a different style, she will experiment.
What is the name of your rabbit?
Sarah: The title is, “Against All Odds, We Thrive!” but if I got frustrated with him, I’d call him “Mr. Rabbit Face”, and every once in a while I’d call him, “Bunneh!”
What does your piece portray?
Sarah: “Against All Odds, We Thrive!” speaks to Mr. Horton’s passion and vision for San Diego changing from a wilderness of rabbits—surviving regardless of their predator—into a thriving port town home to gorgeous architecture, thriving business, and sunny skies.
How did you do research for your design?
Sarah: I love history. I also loved looking at old reference photos of the Stingaree, and Gaslamp Quarter. Referencing the architecture, the colors and the animals that live in the region.
How did you take your design from concept to completed work?
Sarah: This sculpture took a while to prep for the paint. Lots of sanding and “Bondo” to make Mr. Rabbitface perfect for the straight lines and the acrylic. I drew my design onto the rabbit using my age-old drafting skills and a few self-made stencils. I also used a combination of techniques, including tape, to paint the design onto the rabbit. I have a history of successfully handpainting signs using these techniques using enamel, acrylic paint, and exterior house paint, so I felt comfortable transforming this unique Canvas.
Sarah got to see her sculpture unveiled at the 150th press conference May 24th. We know you are no stranger to having your art shown around the world, but how did you feel seeing your rabbit unveiled to the public?
Sarah: It was incredible! And so exciting to see the other rabbits that have joined the herd.
Sarah’s artwork has been exhibited around the US and the world. “Against All Odds We Thrive” will be a part of the Rabbitville Exhibition, www.gaslamp.org/150/rabbitville. She is also one of the artists exhibiting at a gallery space connected to The Studio Door called “Hype” (3758 30th St. at University) Open Friday-Sundays here in San Diego.
Sarah just had a piece accepted into the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017 exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, England! The exhibition runs from the end of June to the beginning of July. They even have her painting featured on the event page! www.davidshepherd.or/events/eventswildlife-artist-year-exhibition.
Stay tuned for more artists and rabbits joining the herd! We will also be updating our rabbitville page with where you can see the herd as it grows celebrating the Gaslamp Quarter’s 150th Anniversary!