With floor to ceiling windows, walls filled with her favorite designer's books, fabric swatches, and magazine tear outs to inspire color palettes and shapes, Sarah Ella paints with her windows wide open to feel the sun on her face. Her studio sounds like a dream! Lucky for us Sarah Ella let us sneak into this hip and cozy space for our rapid-fire Pardon Me interview, we wish we could visit every day! Step inside her studio by reading our latest blog post Pardon Me, Sarah Ella Cole. If you are anything like us you will be incredibly inspired by this talented artist! We could hardly wait to debut all the goodies straight from Sarah Ella's studio and are so thrilled that her work is now live in our collection! Welcome, Sarah Ella, we are so thrilled to have you as part of the Well + Wonder team!
What is currently on your nightstand?
I wish I could say a novel, but it’s just my Silk sleep mask and my Avene lip cream. I cannot sleep without either. My phone would be, but that was a New Year’s resolution I actually kept.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
Kelly Wearstler. She is an artist of design rather than art on canvas but her intuitive juxtaposition mixing modern and traditional, contemporary and vintage, inspire my work. She gives me a conviction to my authenticity as an artist. She curates her design eye in architecture, scale, and texture which are the basis for each of my works.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
I grew with a younger brother, Seth, and with a single mom in a tiny town in the Mississippi Delta where my entire family lived on the same street. I had my great grandmother and grandmother as neighbors. Both played inspiring role models in my life. My great grandmother never learned to drive so in a small town she made due, hence my DIY spirit. I learned from a master. She ate what she grew, wore what she sewed and lived on what she built. I spent as much time with her as I could. We shelled peas, canned, gardened, cooked and cleaned (oh and lots of soap operas). We had a street full of cousins to play with and a tiny local pool to spend our summer days. It was a simple childhood. I was always into a project using my hands, and still, am. My grandad owned the local lumberyard so I took right away to woodworking and playing secretary. I was never a “book smart” child but I was a strong-willed visual learner. You show me once and I’ll never forget…street smart (and a little bossy). Sidebar: At our rehearsal dinner my mom gave my husband my kindergarten report card sighting: “Sarah Ella is a sweet child, but tends to boss the other children around”. Well, I’m still working on that. My most memorable moment would be a bit tragic in most folk’s eyes, but I am a firm believer in being your authentic self. I lost my uncle and grandfather in a tragic accident in 1985. That event had a ripple effect on all our lives. Things would never be the same. There were no men left. The women in my life showed me resilience like I couldn't fathom. My mother, aunts, grandmother, and great grandmother were living breathing examples of the meaning of the “yes we can” mentality. They showed me what walking a true faithful path looked like amidst unfathomable circumstances, how to pick yourself up and try again. I have wonderful memorable moments of love, prayer, meals, community, laughter, and love in those years after. It made childhood a little different for me, but it is what made me who I am today. No ceiling too high, no mountain too tall, no grief too great, no journey too winding. I can and I will!
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Titanium white paint. It is the base of every color I mix by hand. I can’t bring myself to use premixed colors, It’s always a shade off the color wheel to my eye. I can paint using my hands on any surface: cardboard, plywood, or even walls, but can't create without my paint.
What is your favorite room in your house?
Describe it. My living room is my haven. We added it onto our home in a renovation 2 years ago. The walls are dark grey Down Pipe by Farrow and Ball but almost every inch of the room is floor to ceiling windows. I love natural light. I designed each detail in the space to be family cozy, yet modern chic. I used an old porch post from the demo as my mantle to pay homage to the old space. I had to use my hand at building/creating something for space so I designed and wood worked a custom geometric door to mimic the log storage floor to ceiling adjacent to the fireplace. I also slurried concrete to fabricate the fireplace surround. To enjoy that fire or a good movie with the family I splurged to have a dreamy cloud couch with an ottoman perched front and center. We forged a coffee table for comfy quarters. No nick knacks or useless objects for filler. The room has plants for clean air, my favorite coffee table books for flipping through and of course a couple of artworks.
What is your biggest score online?
I found my first pair of golden goose sneaks for 40% off, and boy am I glad I did. I would never have spent that kind of cold hard cash on kicks, but sadly I didn’t know what I was missing. Now I’m addicted to comfort. They remind me of “jazz hands” it’s like art on your feet. The sale or no sale…. gimme’ all the sneakers.
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective?
What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art? So many benefits to buying from a collective. One, the artists are each curated to bring you something. They differ in style, medium, price, textures, and theme. A collective can also offer advice on gallery walls and pairing works from different artist together to create a collection of pieces. Art collecting is like any other collection, you want each work to speak on its own. Buy art that speaks to you. Far too many new collectors buy “on trend” works or because it’s the right color scheme or size. Don't do it! If it speaks to you, no matter the color, size or price you will find a space for it. A collective provides you with many avenues to start your collection and dive in with many emerging artists at a price point that is easy to invest in. Remember this: Art is an investment. It only gets better with age and speaks to you and generations of walls as it is passed down through a family.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
The MET hands down. It is an overload of history (my favorite subject) with a full day of sculpture, artifacts, textiles, and the collection of original works by the greatest artist of all time is awe inspiring. I can look at a single Matisse for an hour and dream about it for days.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
I am a sucker for the Ace Hotel in New Orleans. We have stayed there 3 times, and another trip planned for August. The Ace checks all the boxes. It is nestled in my favorite part of town, the warehouse district. Walkable to all my favorite local shops. Rooftop pool with an amazing view. The lobby is filled with vintage furniture and original artwork. Original architectural bones. Old school black and white photo booth, attached to the award-winning Josephine Estelle’s restaurant (order maw-maw’s gravy), Stumptown coffee in house workspace. And did I mention live music nightly, carefully curated rooms, and a fully stocked SMEG? What’s not to love?
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
Totally pink! I have a hot pink front door. I adore pink everything, not just lipsticks. Maybe it’s because I am surrounded by boys (two sons and a hubby) most days. I like a little edge, and red is a little too classic for me.
I can never get on a plane without….
a Xanax, I’m terrified of flying and I also get super plane sick
How did you get into the world of art?
I have always had a love affair with art and started collecting in my early 20’s. My long time bestie and maid of honor was a trained artist and I obsessively watched her create. In 2009 I started a handmade, hand-painted framing company on Etsy and it flourished. I was an early adopter of social media and used that to grow my business and brand. As luck (or God) would have it, The Nate Berkus show reached out to feature a frame and the rest was my version of the American Dream. I worked countless hours with a brush glued to my hand until I sold the company in 2013. I wasn’t sure I would want to paint again, but again as luck (or God) would have it I was on the committee for my son’s school fundraiser and decided we needed more auction items. My gut said why not paint something. And so it goes…. I have hooked again, but this time on canvas.
What do you do to relax?
You can’t beat a glass of wine on the front porch swing or anything outdoors.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Traveling hands down. The architecture of a city is the best inspiration there is. I soak in the culture and character of a city.
Prediction for the Color of 2019?
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
I love a pre-dinner drink on a patio and a great meal in a small cozy restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy but the food has to be good.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
Tough question, eeeehhhh. I think I always go back to this piece I did after a New Orleans trip in 2017. It was the work that inspired my “Alto” series. It is mid-size, dark and moody and has hidden butterfly wings and flora. I have never listed it for sale and it hangs in my dining room. It reminds me of the wonderful memories on that trip and the works that came from it.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Buy what speaks to you. Never fuss over the size or the color scheme. If you love it, buy it. You will find a wall. Don’t purchase to fit your décor, buy from the heart.