Last Saturday, on September 28th, Empire’s Comics held their annual Creative Women’s Mini Con. The Creative Women’s Mini Con is a yearly art convention for female artists in the Sacramento area and beyond.
AccessLocal was able to interview the mystifying Sacramento “fantasy-surrealist illustrator,” Sarah Rene Kraft over the phone. Sarah opened up about her life-long journey as an artist, and as an advocate for raising awareness on mental health.
Sarah Kraft has been creating art since she was very little, but was told in high school by counselors, that there was no money to be made as an artist- “there wasn’t a demand for this kind of work”. Unfortunately, this led Sarah to give up art for many years.
Obviously, her counselors were wrong and when Sarah was 26 years old, she wandered into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Here, she found an art exhibit by the artist named Anselm Kefier called “Heaven and Earth”. She found herself completely inspired and in awe with Kiefer’s work.
“This art was just so moving. It was a combination of mythology and his own personal biographical story growing up as a German child in Nazi-occupied France. And he had so much of that in his work expressed through these ancient mythologies like Gilgamesh, Osiris, and it just deeply resonated with me as someone who grew up loving mythology and fairytales. And I was so moved to tears, and I thought to myself, man if I can inspire someone, if I can move someone the way that I’m moved right now then it would totally be worth it to be an artist.”
And so she did. She started off working in comic conventions as someone who did fan art, but did not feel as if she was being true to herself. She hid her depression and anxiety and did not feel fulfilled by this kind of art. But after visiting a therapist for the first time, 4 years ago, she was able to understand herself more and change the course of her journey through art.
She was diagnosed with Bipolar II, and was able to dive deep into what that meant for her overall health; she was now able to embrace who she was and use her art as a tool for her healing and mental wellness.
Using a double sided red and blue pencil for her artwork, she focuses on balancing these two opposites; representing the symptoms that people with struggles such as depression, anxiety, or Bipolar face, require her to ride out cycles of high productivity and cycles of fatigue and chronic pain.
Sarah Kraft wants everyone to embrace themselves and all the cycles that we face because let’s face it, nobody is able to pump out artwork every single hour of their life or run races every single day, or sleep for weeks- humans and all living things have cycles. More importantly, Sarah’s artwork raises awareness on mental disorders because through her research, she has not been able to find much representation of people struggling with mental illnesses in writing. She believes it is important for us to cut out the stigma against talking about our mental health.
Follow Sarah on Instagram at Instagram.com/sketchykraft to see more of her artwork and upcoming projects that she is working on such as her Tarot cards. To shop for her prints, check out etsy.com/shop/sketchykraft or visit her website at sketchycraft.com !