After Material Matters, we wanted to get a closer look at Sarah Boyts Yoder‘s art practice. Her mixed media works combine paper, paint, & canvas, transforming into tight compositions that are so freeing and fun! We like her intuitive use of undies and buns in vibrant colors. We asked her some questions about her inspiration & process, & came away with some #realtalk to use in our everyday lives!
Your works on paper are playful & refined at the same time. Tell us about your process.
I’ve said this before but it’s useful to tell myself every time I’m in the studio…nothing is precious. I had a lot more fun in there after I stopped stressing over whether to paint over something that wasn’t working or to cut it up entirely. I think this is what gives the work it’s quirky, playful style. You make more bold decisions when you realize you don’t have to be attached to any one thing. The thing you love always reappears. One of my favorite painters, Elizabeth Murray, said something like that & I always remembered it.
This is the obsessive part I mentioned above. When I allowed myself to really follow through with these–I guess you could call them compulsions I felt–to draw & paint the same shapes over and over obsessively (think buns, suits, & cross stars), I really felt like I started to be on to something. It was because I started to see & feel them change ever so slightly each time I repeated them. They started to build their own narrative, which felt serious & funny at the same time — exactly what I hope my work feels like to others when they see it.
So often you paint something & you think that ‘piece is done’ & you can’t do it again. The thing is, if you’re being honest & present in your work & in your life, you couldn’t ever do it again, even if you tried. So I just kept doing it again, & again. The other part that felt like I was onto something was that thing about being honest. I just wanted to paint that bun over & over…and then cut it up & paint it again. I allowed myself to do that a hundred times, not caring that I already had done it. Here is my favorite quote mashup via C.S. Lewis & Ricky Gervais, paraphrased (& mashed) by moi: ‘If you simply try to tell the truth, without bothering about material success or even if it’s already been done, nine times out of ten you’ll become original without even having noticed it & you will be bulletproof.’