Building Communities One Word At A Time

Part 1: Artist Sarah Ozurumba (Drawing with Scissors)

Self portrait

Self portrait

To really understand and appreciate someone’s art, I feel it helps to get to know who they are as a person. Of course, the more you know about them, the more their personality shines through the pieces they create, and into your home.

Here, I’ve asked Milwaukee artist and children’s art teacher, our very own, Sarah Ozurumba, about her interests, personal philosophies, what brings her joy, and what keeps her energized (hint: it’s not coffee!). Then, in part 2, we’ll take a deeper look at her process, inspirations, which pieces are most popular, where we can find her work, and what she’ll be up to in the near future!

Sarah creates incredibly detailed cut paper collage art. (Lately she’s been creating mono-prints and drawings, as well.) To view some examples, check out her Drawing with Scissors Facebook page before you read on. The subjects are a variety of living creatures, from jellyfish to owls, and each has its own unique charm. They demonstrate great patience and attention to detail, and they all seem to exist to make people smile, just like her!

So let’s ask her a few questions…

Is there a band you’ve been into or book you’ve been reading lately?

I like a very strange variety of music.  Lately I listen to either electronic music like Swedish House Mafia, Ellie Goulding, and Avicii.  But I also love my new folk music like Family of the Year, Mumford and Sons, and Beirut.

I read a lot of dorky fantasy/adventure books and am waiting for the next Game of Thrones books to come out. I like these books because it makes reading a more visual experience for me.  I just read the Night Circus and it left me with so many ideas for drawings that I kind of miss reading it now and might have to pick it up again in the future.

I am also addicted to cookbooks, cooking magazines and blogs.  Given the choice, those would probably come first on my reading list.

How would you describe your personality? Are you optimistic? What brings you joy?

I would say I am right in the middle of being an optimist and a cynic.  I like to be in the gray area, but I have strong opinions about a lot of things. I would say I am usually a serious person, but laid back and easy going and I smile and laugh often.

Joy happens in random moments for me. Like when one of my students made an excellent observation about an abstract painting on a field trip to the art museum with no prompting from anyone.  It was a great moment. Joy is when I feel I have accomplished a lot of things and been productive in a day. I get great joy from cooking and feeding people and having dinner with my husband almost every night; and sitting down to a meal that I put a lot of love into making. Joy is also the moments when my art makes someone light up enough to want to take it home and make it a part of their lives. Of course, the sales part of that is probably not coincidental.

What’s your general philosophy on life? Do you have a funny story you’d like to share?

My general philosophy in life is that its too short to eat food that doesn’t taste good and find ways to see the beauty in each day in the world around us, even though there is a whole lot of ugly.

As far as my sense of humor, I have watched the cat in a shark suit on a roomba on youtube more times than I’d like to admit.  I also laughed from my belly after reading a kid’s question to her parent recently.  Child says: “Mom, what kind of meat are we?  Are we ham?”  I thought it was hilarious.  Kids have such great ideas and questions.

What is a typical day like for you? Are you a morning person? What keeps you energized?

I am definitely a morning person.  I am at school and starting my work day by 7 am.  I joke that on weekends I get to sleep in til 7:30 or 8.  I don’t drink coffee, so I think a good deal of my energy comes from the fact that at my job, I am facilitating learning and art making experiences for about 150 kids a day.  Whether they know it or not, they count on me to be prepared for them each day.  In general, I teach 6 classes a day of art for kids in K4 through 5th grade.  Each grade level is doing something different, but we are all learning about the elements of art and what it looks like and feels like to be artists.

I work at a teacher-led school which means we don’t have a principal, so all administrative duties are divided among myself and my co-workers.  We have many meetings for various committees and teams to make decisions for how our school should be run and what’s going to make our kids succeed.

I usually get home around 5 and exercise then make dinner and tweak any lesson plans or get things ready for school the next day.  My days are long, but I like being busy and feeling productive, although some of the breaks during our school year are very welcome reprieves. At this time, most of my personal art making takes place on weekends and I try to stock things up in the summer.

Thanks, Sarah!

Learn even more interesting and inspirational things about Sarah Ozurumba in Part 2

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