A conversation with Sarah Barnfart

God bless the gram because this is where we discovered Sarah Barnfart.

Sarah Barnfart is a 26 years old mixed media artist from Northern Virginia and her collages are so fine they’re gonna break some hearts. In a good way obviously! What we noticed weren’t only her amazing pieces but the best secrets. Yes, not her best secrets but the sessions of QA she does with her followers with the help of instastories. Sometimes they’re super funny, sometimes they’re more serious but she’s always super respectful and she has the right words for everyone. And if you don’t believe it, try it. Oh and she kisses personally every order she sent out, if this is not positive marketing, we don’t know what it is.

Who is Sarah Barnfart?

I am kooky 26-year-old mixed media art bitch living in Northern Virginia!

How have you started your art practise and where do you find inspiration on?

I’ve always been interested in making art and expressing myself creatively. But the collaging, I kind of just fell into it. One day, I was making collages with my friend and it just felt right. So, I kept on doing it and it kind of developed on its own into what it is today. When I used to make collages, it was just paper on paper, no added elements. But as time progressed, I started trying new things. Slowly, I began to add colours, then full on background pattern and then words, and it started to become more like what I am making now.

Can you say to us three adjectives that describe your art at the best? Why have you chosen them?

Emotional – because each piece is a diary entry. I try to make one piece a week, and what I am expressing in those pieces are actual feelings I have been dealing with in my life at that moment. I using my art as a way to understand my emotions and get them out and on paper so I can assess them.

Vibrant – Color is SO important to the pieces I make. I really respond to colours and something about putting a colour palette together is one of the most satisfying things. I love making a cute little colour board and mixing and matching until I find the right scheme. I try and make everything as colourful and as bright as possible.

Empathetic – I want people to see a little piece of themselves in the work that I make. I want them to feel like I’m saying the things that they were afraid to say or that they have been grappling with in their own lives. I want people to feel like I noticed them, I saw that energy they were putting out and I took it and felt it too.

BEST SECRETS

Lots of your followers tell you about their secrets and are interesting how a screen or a social media has the power to reduce the afraid of people about bias, and how this phenomenon push them to open themselves easier with unknown and virtual people.

Which are the most common subject of the secrets that the followers usually tell to you?

I get A LOT of secrets about sex! I’d say about 85% of the secrets I receive have to do with a fetish, a secret love affair or some scandalous public sex act. You would be surprised how many people have had sex in a cemetery. I had about 7 people tell me that my last secret goes around! Also, just about everyone wants to fuck their boss!

Which emotions do you feel after these confessions?

Usually, the secrets are in good fun and people are just glad to get these things off their chest anonymously. For me, it really depends on the secrets. Generally, I’ll be very happy, walking around with a smile on my face because I can’t believe so many people trust me with their secrets! It’s amazing to see how many people really just needed to say that dumb thing they’ve been holding on to and I’m happy to provide the vessel for that. The secrets can get really heavy from time to time and I have to spend time crafting the right response because the last thing I want to do is be dismissive or say something that might upset the person being so vulnerable with me. Those secrets sometimes hit me hard and I’m taken back down to Earth like oh it’s not all fun and games.

One of your best secret?

HARD QUESTION!!!! I can maybe give you a top 3 hahaha even that is hard!

The person who burnt down their rapists’ house

The person who used to clean an old man’s apartment in their underwear and red lipstick. One time, they even let him stick a finger in their butt!

The person who uses their partner’s toothbrush as a vibrator without them knowing.

BODY POSITIVE

As I told before, in these years virtually everybody is aware of the concepts of body and sex positivity, and most of them feel more sure about themselves after these thoughts, thereby demonstrating what they are in particular with Instagram maybe for the same reason that pushes your followers to tell you their secrets.

What is your point of view about it?

I think it is a movement that was really needed after literally decades of being told we have to look and be a certain way in order to be considered valid. As someone who struggles constantly with their body image, it has helped me to look at my body objectively. To take actual time seeing everything, to realize it is not just this ugly thing I’ve been burdened with! I mean, I live in here! This is my home!!!! I should treat my body with respect and gratitude and be thankful that I even have one. It’s a work in progress, as I am sure it is for a lot of people, but being able to constantly see other people living in their bodies and cherishing them, it’s uplifting. I have access to so many different people, of different shapes, genders, ethnicities, loving their bodies and sometimes also hating it and I’m PROUD to open my feed and see naked lovely bodies everywhere. It’s truly amazing, and hopefully, it only gets better and goes farther.

Do you think social media as Instagram can be a good promoter about body and sex-positive philosophies more than their beginning, or not?

It’s kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, Instagram allows you to curate what you see. We can choose EXACTLY who and what we want on our feeds. If I want to see people loving themselves, artists making radical art or memes spit directly from hell, I can do exactly that. But on the other hand, when you curate your feed and put yourself in certain circles, you begin to see people being targeted. Getting their works and messages removed because they don’t fit into the type A Instagram category. I want to see Type F, Type XYZ and Type zFNFUDF, whatever the hell that means. But Instagram makes it difficult because that don’t want that, they want Type A, and maybe a lil bit type B. But the people who are getting removed are the ones with THE MOST IMPORTANT things to say and that’s not even my opinion, it’s just the truth. And it’s sad frankly.

Which is/are the message* you want to transmit with your collages?

Honestly, I‘m just trying to be real. And I want people to be able to relate to me. I want to make something and have someone say “Wow, how did she know exactly what I was feeling?” Because I’m a human too! Just like you! Just like everyone else!

Future plans, projects or collaborations?

Nothing serious in the works right now, just going to continue with my weekly diary pieces until I feel like I’m finished, which might be never! I’m hoping to make a book by the end of next year but nothing concrete yet! As far as collabs, I AM LOOKING to collab on things with other artists/businesses but I don’t have anything on the table right now.

Thanks a lot to @sarahbarnfart