Contemporary artist Sarah Stieber’s style of Electric Realism is a stunning amplification of real life – using a bejeweled palette of brilliant hues and evocative energy to explore a spirited reality. A spectacle of saturated colors, her paintings are a kaleidoscope to her world of wishful seeing, magnifying the human experience with dazzling color – too often hidden in plain sight.
Stieber created the centerpiece paintings for Courtyard Marriott San Diego and Springhill Suites by Marriott in Oceanside. Her artwork was spotlighted at the “San Diego Dreaming” exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art , while she was also featured during Art Basel at Spectrum Miami in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
In 2017 Stieber was recognized by CBS’ On Mogul as one of ’15 Female Artists You Need to Know’ from Miami Art Week. Stieber was the featured artist of Art San Diego in 2017 and Art walk San Diego in 2016, and was awarded “Best in Show” at La Jolla Art Festival in 2015. Publications include a “One on One” with the San Diego Union Tribune, Poets and Artist’s 10 Unforgettable Paintings from 2017, and Buzzfeed’s 50 badass Figurative Painters You Need to Follow on Instagram. Stieber received cover features in the San Diego Downtown News, San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego CityBeat, San Diego Reader, and Bogamia Art and Fashion Magazine, Miami. Stieber even appeared on the CW6, Fox5, NBC news, and on John Dalton’s “Gently Does it” podcast.
How long have you been painting?
I’ve been painting for 12 years, but I’ve been actively drawing and using other mediums for my entire life.
Is there an artist or piece of work that inspired you to become an artist?
I had an amazing opportunity the summer after Junior year in High School to study art in Florence. I spent nearly every day drawing the David in the Uffitzi, and replicating master works all around town – there is amazing sculpture blanketing that city. My teacher was very supportive and encouraged me to pursue a career in art. Access to those renaissance paintings and sculptures at that young age definitely inspired me to become an artist.
Do you have any formal training, and if so, where?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from Boston University. I also studied painting abroad through Scuola International di Grafica in Venice, Italy.
Who are some of your favorite living artist?
Eric jones, Natalia Fabia, Eric Fischl, Ashley Longshore and David Hockney.
What was the first piece you sold?
The first painting I sold was an abstract nude at a coffee shop exhibition I set up while I was in college.
When did you decide to open your gallery?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and in January 2018 my art-business hero Ashley Longshore had just started collecting my work and mentoring me. It felt like a sign that I needed to take a chance on myself. My director of operations and I were driving up to a group show in Los Angeles and discussing the possibility of a pop-up art gallery on the drive up. We were so excited about the idea we made the call to rent the space on the sidewalk before we even entered the exhibition!
What do you find unique about the San Diego art community?
The San Diego art community has some depth but it’s really spread out. People always ask me where our “arts district” is and unfortunately we don’t really have one since so many galleries have closed here. That said, since we’re so close to Mexico there are some really cool things happening with the Latin American arts community. Barrio Logan is developing into a very cool art neighborhood, and we have a yearly Latin American Art Fair that’s fabulous. We also have an international contemporary art fair called ‘Art San Diego’ that brings a lot of buzz and great work to San Diego. I was really honored to be the featured artist of that event last year.
Do you have what you would consider to be a signature piece?
“Fish our of water” has been my most popular painting since I painted it in 2012. I was already planning on making it when the Marriott in Oceanside asked me if I had anything available. I told them about the concept and they bought it before I had even started, and it’s currently their lobby centerpiece.
What advice do you have for new artists?
- Make your own path. As in, find your own opportunities and be as creative in business and marketing as you are in your own art.
- Go really big with your concepts and development. A lot of people just starting out are too precious wit their paintings, they don’t want to paint over something that’s not quite working. You have to “kill your babies” over and over again if you’ want to get better. Same goes for business. No idea is too crazy to try, just keep reflecting, assessing, and moving forward with intention.