A Profile of Sarah-Jane Szikora: A Popular British Artist
Sarah-Jane Szikora, born in Durham, is known for her humorous portrayal of the human condition and ordinary situations. Recognised by her gingerbread men and shockingly exaggerated fat ladies, Sarah-Jane is serious in her aim of promoting a confident people (particularly the women) who appreciate themselves. She wants people to smile.
Born in 1971, Sarah-Jane was at a young age encouraged to follow her liking for drawing. This liking probably started when she was in a hospital aged only 4 and with bandaged eyes. She had a crayon with her and began drawing pictures. Sarah-Jane had 11 siblings. So, rightly searching for self-amusement, she realized that drawing and painting were what she liked the most. Larger than life men and women that she came across in Hungary were her early influences for the figures for her paintings on canvas.
Sarah-Jane didn't like school, except of course for music and art classes. She dropped out and joined Harrogate College, studying Art and Design. There, she learnt about sculpture and photography. However, the life drawing classes were her biggest attraction. These classes and illustration studies at the Cleveland College of Art inspired her fervour for depicting the human form. The Cleveland College was also a contributing factor for the creation of extreme figures in her art.
After Cleveland, a period ensued during which painting was given the backseat as Sarah-Jane didn't know how to make a career out of her studies. During this period (from 1991), she was pre-occupied with a business she established, making papier-mâché models by hand. 2 or 3 years in the business, she thought about displaying some of the art from her college days. The astonishingly fast sale of her canvases depicting large women of personality led her to pursue a career in painting.
For a while, Sarah-Jane's partner took up the task of getting her work published as greeting card designs. Later, her first agent took over this task and in 1995, this very same agent introduced Sarah-Jane to Halcyon Gallery and Washington Green Fine Art Publishers.
The funny drawings of Thomas Rowlanson and other prominent artists have influenced Sarah-Jane. A lover of humour, she gets inspiration from human behavior, and funny books, TV and films. Interior design, fashion, and common embarrassing incidents are other inspirations. Even simple, everyday scenes get her working. She creates from imagination, using references only for animals. Sarah-Jane being an impatient artist, rough work and experiments with colour are not for her. She starts with a few fast scribbles to find out composition, then creates a pencil outline and develops the complete work in layers rather than an object or figure at a time. "Heavenly Abode," "Taking the Biscuit," "The Makeover," and "Misfit" are some of her works.
The quirkiness and elaborate detail, the coming together of big figures with smaller living beings or edible items makes it easy to identify a Sarah-Jane Szikora piece. Her struggles with bulimia might have been an inspiration for her fat ladies. Through her paintings, Sarah wishes to reverse negative feelings that women have about their body.
Sarah-Jane's works have been shown in Harrods, Selfridges, and in several important exhibitions in the UK. Her creations have been replicated as sculptures, limited edition prints, stationery, jigsaws, a hardback book and Royal Worcester ceramic ware. Her many signed limited editions have won the admiration of even celebrities.
For further information about and a portfolio of her work visit The Website of Sarah-Jane Szikora.