We interviewed Sarah Neuburger, an Atlanta-based artist, illustrator, muralist and designer whose latest work you can find at Empire Homebase.
Empire Communities (EC): Tell us more about who you are, how you began your journey into art, and how long you’ve been creating.
Sarah Neuburger (SN): I grew up in South Carolina and have been creating ever since I can remember. After attending college at Columbia College, I went straight to graduate school and received an MFA in Studio Art at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. I graduated in 2001 and returned to the South a few years later to start my handmade online business, The Small Object. Most recently, my focus has been on illustration, art and mural work.
EC: How did you go about teaching yourself the ins and outs of mural and acrylic art?
SN: The best way to learn is to just do it. My first cinder block mural was at Citizen Supply in Ponce City Market where I learned a lot about linework and texture. I also completed a mural in collaboration with Living Walls and Spanx with the assistance of two other artists, I learned a lot by working alongside them, too. Over the years, I’ve developed my own methods of painting lines and lettering—which my murals use a lot of typically.
EC: When did you first realize that this was something you wanted to make a career out of? What inspired you to become an artist?
SN: The only other career choice I ever considered was accounting. While I do love numbers, art is my true passion. The inspiration comes from the joy I have in creating, and the support and encouragement I’ve received along the way.
EC: Can you tell us about your creative process, particularly in regards to the new mural you created at Empire Homebase?
SN: I like to start with the clients’ needs and wishes are for the piece. I start by brainstorming a list of places to include in the map and places of important to include. From there, it’s like a visual game of Jenga to ensure everything fits together nicely in the space thats available.
EC: Are there any artists who inspire you? Any local ones in Atlanta?
SN: So many local artists in Atlanta are doing really inspiring work: Sofahood, Neka King, Angie Jerez, Dianna Settles along with Erica Chisolm and Patricia Hernandez who I had the pleasure of painting alongside on a mural last year.
EC: What do you find to be the major benefits of living in Atlanta? Any favourite spots you love to frequent?
SN: As a queer woman who grew up in the South, Atlanta feels loving and accepting. As someone who longed to leave the South and spent several years in Greenpoint and Jersey City, Atlanta feels big enough. And as someone with family in South Georgia and South Carolina, Atlanta is just close enough.
EC: Fill in the blanks…
The best part about living in Atlanta is… the people and the trees.
One thing people would be surprised to learn about me is… I’m super organized.
In 5 years I see myself… doing much the same as today.
The most rewarding part of my job is… drawing daily.
The most challenging part of my job is… being comfortable with the uncertainty and natural ebbs and flows of working freelance.
Learn more about Sarah Neuburger and her artwork by visiting her website.