Who is Saarrah Ray and what do you do?
My name is Saarrah Ray and I am a (currently second year) BA student at The University of Cape Town; majoring in Gender Studies and Sociology. I illustrate my own original creations for my own card business, although my ambition is to illustrate for children’s novels
How would you define your style or art?
I am torn between two styles. When I do create art I usually go for the inks and acrylic paints and I use these mediums by throwing them around on very large scale canvas. My latest abstract artworks were completed for Frank Joubert Art Centre. However I have taken a turn to something much simpler in style- my illustrations are maybe the complete opposite of my painting style. Instead, my illustrations are sharp, edgy, crisp, and juvenile and perhaps grunge. My illustrations are created by the use of black fine liner pen ink on white card paper that then undergo digital editing.
What inspires your work?
Lines. As strange as it sounds I love the sleekness in stylised linear works and I think that inspires my illustrations to become experimental with line drawing and direction. Furthermore I am inspired by my favourite illustrator Chris Riddell; I think his illustrations are fantastic; I admire his use of great detail in his illustrations at the same time as embodying simplicity in them.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on making my growing card business a success. I illustrate my own original illustrations on cards and I accept commissioned offers too. I have three card collections thus far, my first collection was the “CRYBABY” collection and I drew characters of my own creation that embody a particular feeling or everyday action. I would like to expand on printing my illustrations on clothing- that is something I am most definitely planning on doing. I am selling my cards between the ranges of R25-R85 depending on how detailed and how large the illustration may be, but if you keep up to date on my pages you’ll see that there are always a few 2 for 1 specials going around!
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Firstly I would say young artists should support and appreciate one another’s skills: “Local is lekker”. Secondly, I have heard it said that “Art” has no specific meaning, but to me there is no real truth in that. Artists create art for a purpose, and that purpose can suddenly change or challenge the mainstream meaning of art, creating a new form until the meaning is changed again, then again. So I would say, do not be afraid of your art not being good enough. I always underestimated my drawing skills and I labelled my drawings as remedial but then I accepted my remedial style and developed it into something that spoke out as another reflection of the many styles of “Art” that has to offer and which contributed to the many changing meanings of “art”. So go for it, change the meaning of art with your own style.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
I was really proud of my portraits that were on exhibition for the Michaelis Heritage project at Michaelis School of Fine Art. I am also very excited that my illustrations have been much loved, shared in popularity and appreciated by my family, peers and followers.
Where can our readers follow your work?
You can keep up to date with my illustration sales on facebook @Saarrah RAY Illustrations and on instagram @sray_illustrations