Artist Spotlight: Sabrina Baron
If Hollywood made a movie about the life of Sabrina Baron, it would start in Germany, move through Europe and ultimately end in the U.S. where the setting would transition from the bright lights of the Big Apple to the sun and sand of Palm Beach. The tall blonde would be played by Cate Blanchett or someone equally as glamorous to reflect Sabrina’s history in the beauty industry.
Before becoming the accomplished painter Mecox knows and adores, Sabrina owned successful boutique beauty salons in New York and Florida.
Today, she’s traded her hairbrushes and makeup palettes for paintbrushes and canvasses. Despite her busy schedule, the mom of two recently took time to explain the personality behind her paintings which can be seen everywhere from luxury hotels to hit TV shows (House of Cards, season 3) and of course, Mecox.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a painter? Not young enough. I was experimenting with other forms of expression.
And if you weren’t a painter? I'd be doing something else having to so with the arts.
Your website says you’ve gone through a rebirth. Can you describe what that was like and how it’s influenced your work? My rebirth happened through the reinvention of myself, out with the old, in with the new after working in the beauty & styling industry for 30 plus years and mothering two amazing sons. I finally had the time to explore my inner voice in many other ways.
Why do you refer to yourself as a serial series artist? Because I don’t know how to do just one painting, I find myself going to another canvas or surface and the ideas keep coming.
Describe your studio, I hear it’s expansive, and you have many paintings-in-progress laid out. It’s an artist’s delight: large space, good lighting and located in the exciting South Beach area. My studio is also well- equipped with a material library and supplies to explore different projects.
Where are you be based these days and why? In Miami—where my studio is—because I feel connected to the lifestyle and energy of that area. There are many other places I would love to work: the world is my oyster.
You say your artistic style has changed over the years. Is there anything that has been consistent from day one until today? We don’t know what we know. I started painting the masters than I moved onto painting my own life’s adventures in the realistic realm. But I was always curious about Abstract expression. I feel that abstract images are more organic; sometimes it’s not about the skill but the imagination and you have to find your way. I am fascinated by abstract visions that tell a story.
Give examples of how your work reflects the now. My art is a form of journalism where I express myself in my own visual language. I interpret the times we live in, in my own way. I’m currently interested in organic expression and most important engaging the viewer.
What do you do differently from other painters? I begin with trust in the moment and connect with my materials and the vision, that’s when I’m in The Zone.
Who are your mentors or sources of inspiration? From the Cave drawings to the Renaissance masters to the most far out Contemporary artists, they are all my mentors.
Where have you traveled, and how has it inspired your work? Latin and European countries. I’m inspired by their architecture, climate, colors, dance, fashion, food, music and etc. Many places and many more to see...It’s a journey!
Describe a painting you haven’t started but look forward to working on. I want to do a multi-piece work featuring iconic people and places.
Your pieces run the gamut in terms of subject matter and composition. Is it possible for a fan to walk into a gallery and go, “There, that’s obviously a Sabrina Baron work,” or do you just keep them guessing? The abstract nautical pieces would be something fans would easily recognize and associate with me. The other work I’ve done would keep them guessing.
In 2015, the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington, D.C. commissioned you to do 350 original paintings for its rooms. You also did 2,500 pieces for The Lord Baltimore Hotel where House of Cards was filmed. How many paintings do you estimate you’ve done in your lifetime? It would be in the thousands; I’ve worked on many projects that included hundreds of pieces to be made for each client. It’s too hard to count!
If you could have your work exhibited anywhere, where would you want it seen? The Whitney!
Describe the moment when you knew you had “made it.” If that moment hasn’t happened yet, what has to happen for you to feel that? When I’m able to communicate with the viewer. When I enjoy my work, I feel like I’ve made it. When I get commissioned, it feels like I’ve made it. When I enhance the aesthetics of a space, I feel like I’ve made it.
What do you do in your free time? I travel and visit art galleries, artist studios and museums and just stroll through life.
How do your friends describe you? My own person, an authentic free spirit, one look at me and you know I'm an artist who lives outside the box, open to the uncommon.
What makes you feel most alive? When I see people reacting to my art, enjoying the pieces I create, enhancing spaces with color and texture and expressing my vision.
Credit: HC&G photography above by Eric Striffler.