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.
From her studio in San Diego, California, Stieber vivaciously harnesses the bold and the vibrant. Her radiant figurative depictions showcase Stieber’s fascination with the human condition. Her work shines a brilliant light on daily life, depicting her subjects in a moment of overcoming adversity and achieving the mindfulness and playfulness that reality often corrodes.
Stieber has created custom work for global brands such as Marriott International and Effen Vodka. Her vibrant paintings are featured in art collections both nationally and internationally. She has been selected as a Featured Artist for the famed Beverly Hills artSHOW and San Diego’s North Park Festival of Arts.
Before graduating Cum Laude with a fine arts degree and a concentration in Psychology from Boston University, Stieber spent time living and painting in Venice and Florence, Italy, inspired by the Master’s works that blanket the cities. Stieber’s artistic talent flourished at a young age, winning national art competitions as a child.
Adelman Fine Art represents Sarah Stieber in San Diego, California.
Q & A | In the Studio with Sarah Stieber
AFA: Do you have any hidden talents?
Sarah: From time to time, I will shred down a mountain on a snowboard.
AFA: Walk us through creating a piece. Your reference material, tools you use, how long does it take?
Sarah: Once I generate an idea I arrange for a photo-shoot for reference material. I like to paint people that I know personally so the energy of my model(s) can inform the narrative or aesthetic of a painting. I coordinate photo-shoots with intentionally selected props (either crafted by myself of scavenged off the internet or thrift stores), and I do my own styling and photography for the shoots. Once I’ve sifted through the photos, I’ll get to work. Typically I’ll block out the entire canvas with big strokes of vibrant color in the first hour or so, and then the meticulous process of building up layers and layers of opaque paint begins. All paintings are different! Sometimes I will be grooving on a painting and it will take a few weeks to complete, other times I’ll change the composition again and again, put it aside, then re-visit it, and it’ll take a year or longer to complete.
AFA: Since photo shoots can be such a big part of your artwork, what was your favorite photo shoot?
Sarah: ‘Fish Out of Water’ was a really memorable and fun shoot. All of the models happened to have names that started with a ‘J’, so I got totally tongue tied trying to boss them around, and it was a really windy day so the balloons kept blowing sideways and flying away. It was one of those ridiculous and fun moments where I kept thinking to myself ‘I can’t believe this is my life.”‘
AFA: What is a skill you would like to learn and why?
Sarah: I would love to learn the skill of ‘adulting.’ Like, I’d love to be the girl that can effortlessly do her taxes, pay the bills, throw a party, and clean up afterword.
AFA: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
Sarah: Other then the paint and brushes….plastic wrap! I use it to cover my computer keyboard so I don’t get paint all over it, and every day when I’m finished painting I spray my big tub of paint with water and cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
AFA: How do you overcome creative blocks?
Sarah: I love Picasso’s quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” It’s also really important to know when to take a break. Yoga helps me get out of my brain and into a more intuitive headspace. Going on walks also really helps.
AFA: Do you collect anything?
Sarah: I collect funky props for my photo-shoots and interesting clothing that inspires me and my paintings.
AFA: What work of art do you wish you owned?
Sarah: I really want one of Natalia Fabia’s paintings! We’ve never met but I think we share a similar sparkly colorful aesthetic and love of representing badass women. Natalia Fabia is one of my favorite living artists!
AFA: Thank you for being a part of so many of our opening receptions and special events. What has been your favorite AFA show/exhibition? And why?
Sarah: My absolute favorite Adelman Fine Art show was their one year anniversary party. The show was packed with great people, artwork, music, and food, and the atmosphere was so celebratory. It was amazing to see the fabulous community of artists, collectors, and friends that the gallery has brought together in such a short time. I’m so happy to be part of that growing community.