When asked what type of artist she considers herself to be, Sarah Symes eschews the label of a traditional fabric-work artist. At first glance, the works of this Marina Peninsula-based artist appear to be paintings; it’s when the viewer takes a closer look that the true material — fabric — is recognizable.

“I relate to the painting world and what they’re doing more than fabric work, because I paint with fabric,” Symes says.

Her images are multi-sensory pieces that evoke memories of scenes, instead of presenting rote representations of traditional landscapes.

“Rather than depicting what I see, I depict what I remember I see, so rather than creating a landscape, I create my memory of it,” Symes says. “That gives far more information about what’s actually there, because you can capture the seagull noises and waves crashing.

“I express the emotion of what I see with composition and color.”

Raised in the countryside in England, Symes grew up with stories of the West Coast from her grandmother, who lived in San Francisco. When she moved to Los Angeles a few years ago for her job, she was fascinated by the art scene on the Westside.

“I’m lucky enough to live close to the sand every day, and what most people, what the tourists never find out is that the beach is different every day,” Symes says. “It’s a bittersweet experience living at the beach, but this time of year everything seems so perfect, and it really is a California dream.

“Los Angeles is so receptive to art in a way that England isn’t Ö the light is remarkable, the kind of light people in England can only dream about.”

Symes has come a long way from England, where she was told she could never make a living as an artist. After training as a graphic artist and working in London, her job brought her to Los Angeles to open a studio, when she was inspired to pursue art full-time. Symes has spent the last two years building her portfolio, and has been selected to appear in the Los Angeles Art Association’s annual open show at Gallery 825, through Friday, January 11th.

“It really is an honor to have my piece selected for this show, I’m really excited to see it in a contemporary art environment,” Symes says.

“The important thing about art is that nearly everything in our society is rushed, but art needs to take as long as it takes — it has to always be that way.”

Information, www.sarah symes.com/.

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