|Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on March 3, 2015 at 5:45 AM|
(Sneek peak of an article for a local mag)
Artist Sarah Rowan Dahl is not your stereotypical painter. She doesn’t burrow away in her studio concerned about the opinion of others or speak in deep metaphors that are difficult to grasp. She is a performance painter, taking the public platform of festivals, weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and more, to inspire and share creativity on a mass scale. Equipped with a spinning easel, trendy outfit (glow-tie even for some events), and a contagious smile, Sarah takes a blank canvas and turns it into a finished work of art in the amount of time the rest of us eat breakfast or watch a movie.
For the past decade, Sarah has been developing this unique profession and continues to push herself to stay current with the changing landscape of entertainment. Recently at a corporate golf tournament, Sarah engaged with the high flying golfers at the second hole and had them painting on her canvas with a brush that was attached to an old 8 iron. Following that gig, she boarded a plane to Melbourne to paint LIVE during Australia’s Premier technology festival held at Federation Square. On stage during presentations with world-renowned geeks, Sarah transcoded their speeches into works of art.
“My goal is not to ‘wow’ my audience, as much as it is to inspire them,” Sarah frequently says. “There are plenty of entertainers out there bringing the ‘wow factor’ to their performance, but does the audience walk away feeling inspired to be creative or make a difference in their own lives? Obviously, ideally, it is great when I can do both, but if I had to choose one or the other, I would rather someone see my work...the process of its creation and leave inspired to draw, paint, view life differently, or want to use their gifts to make a difference.”
In 2009, Sarah first began hearing about human trafficking and has made it her life’s ambition to raise over a million dollars to help fight this injustice. Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of human trafficking. That means in the simple time it takes to skim this article, someone’s entire world has been destroyed. With over 27 million slaves on the planet, this horrific industry is 2nd only to drugs. As a mother of two young girls, the plight of other children around the world being robbed of their childhood and forced into sex labour is not something Sarah can turn a blind eye towards.
“Some people fight with injustice with music, weapons or protests. I fight injustice with my paintbrushes”, Sarah’s says in a recent YouTube video she made to send to The Ellen Degeneres show and other local TV shows in hopes of painting LIVE during a taping to raise funds and awareness on the issue. “I want to show others that they don’t have to be afraid of world issues, but that they can use whatever gifts and strengths they have to solve problems.”
Sarah isn’t the only creative in her family. Jared, her husband is a cellist and the pair are currently practicing a performance combining their creativity as Jared plays on his electric cello and guitar, looping and adding depth to the sound through numerous pedals. They hope to travel around the world in the future, performing a unique set full of spontaneity of colour and rhythm.
Dahl has painted LIVE in the Great Hall of Parliament and at the Opera House as well as with events for some of Australia’s largest corporations. Whether she is painting in front of an intimate crowd of 20 or at a concert with thousands, Sarah brings the same message and energy to her work. She is always quick to share her ambitious goals and inspire others, never hesitating to take on gigs that seem impossible. Last September, Sarah painted 10 original works in 30 minutes during a concert with Phillip Shovk, one of Australia’s most respected pianists and pedagogues. For every “Like” on Sarah’s Facebook fan page she donates $1 to The A21 Campaign, an organization effectively fighting injustice across the world.
Categories: Personal Insight