The Who behind the “WHO AM I” Skipton Open Art Studios 2018 || An interview with Sarah Taylor


You may not know this, but I actually have an Art Degree in Fine Art Print Making. So when I found out about the Skipton Open Art Studio (opening today) you guys know I was all over it!

One of the best thing about this type of event is that it encourages people who may not have a background in art to explore and get involved in a non judgmental environment. There is so much going on in the event there is bound to be something for everyone. Your likely to have a “wow I didn’t expect to enjoy that, but I’m so glad we decided to have a look” moment.

This post is dedicated to an exhibition that really spoke to me. When it comes to art the ‘what, why, and who’ interest me most.

Who Am I? is an evolving art installation curated by Sarah Taylor, taking place at Piquet House as part of the Piquet House Takeover.

This project invites members of the public to create a life size collage of who they truly are, from the inside out. Using a range of mediums, including paint, pens, chalk, fabrics, vinyls, wallpapers etc, each individual will be drawn around on a large sheet of paper and is then invited to create their own multi-layered self portrait … an expression of who they feel they truly are.

Reading about Sarah Taylor’s Who Am I? art installation made me super keen to met her and to get to know the person behind the idea.

While at college (what you might call university) my studio work was about escapism. I was keen to know what drives us to it and what makes one person choose a trip to the cinema as an escape and what makes another choose drink or drugs. It’s this fascination with human nature, and my own nature, that had me hooked on Sarah installation. I had a real clear vision in my head of what I’d create but was so fascinated to see what others would do and how.

Upon meeting Sarah I could tell we had very similar energy, there was a feeling of familiarity and openness. We arranged to meet at Piquet House in the Royal Square to have a chat before she began the process of setting up her exhibition. We had a chance to chat about her life and what inspires her and her work / lifestyle.


Q1. How did this project begin?


Sarah told me how this project evolved from her fascinations with people. How their stories, dreams, and experiences make people who they are. She explores how people feel comfortable, or don’t feel comfortable, with who they truly are in life. She reflects on the growing pressures of social media. How the constant bombarding of imagery and information can sometimes cause people to become numb or insecure. It can also have an effect on self worth, asking us to question ‘am I good enough, do I fit in?’

Her role as Mother has also had a lot to do with her drive in this project. She wonders how can she assist her daughter in protecting her true self and feeling the confidence to show her true self as she grows up.


Q2. What is your “role” in the project?


Sarah is the curator of this project. She has come up with the concept and has created the space, mediums and environment. Visitors will use these mediums to become part of the project in association with signtech, the Channel Islands’ leading visual communication company.

She will also be showing a video she created of her doing her own “self portrait’ which she will hopes get peoples creative juices flowing.


Q3. A) You give people such a broad choice of mediums, what is your favorite choice of medium?


Her own self portrait has a bit of everything, she uses bold colours with a splash of every medium going. She’s attracted to textures. and thinks art should be touched and engaged with. When she is experimenting, texture is always an important element she uses to create layers within her work.

       B) What do people seem to gravitate towards?

During her last instillation, she found most visitors started off with traditional choices, such as pencil, pen and paint. Yet as they loosened up and forgot about the process other mediums {such as___} would creep in


Q4. A) What kind of feed back do people give?


She had fantastic feedback from people saying they had really enjoyed the experience and the process. Some even say it gave them an opportunity to connect with their inner child. For me it was an opportunity to connect with my inner artist again. Having read about the project I found myself thinking about how I would portray my inner self, what medium would I use, how would colour play a part? Even before the process of making my self portrait, I was already influenced by the concept. It was great!


Sarah says the project is “not about being judged about what we are creating, its about having FUN!” and that says it all really!

        B) Do you find some people struggle with the process and do you yourself get involved? How do you help people come out of themselves and express themselves through the project?

Sarah explained that the reaction was mixed. Some people came along saying they were just there to observe, but as time passed they became engaged by what others where doing. They might start having a look at the mediums set out and then suddenly, when a space became available, they wanted to get involved. Some visitors she may approach just to have a chat, not even necessarily to do with the project, but to start the interaction. Once she has felt them relax a little she would point out all the weird and wonderful mediums to choose from.


Q5. What are you trying to evoke with this project? And who?


Sarah wants to give people the opportunity to create something for themselves in a none judgmental space. This allows them to freely express who they are in this portrait. “To really let the real you shine!” She’s encouraging people of all ages to come in and explore the creative process again. To try and find that creative inner child again. She invites people to enjoy the process, let the creativity flow and HAVE FUN!

It opened yesterday and promises to be fun for all the family.

When I arrived yesterday morning at Piquet House I was met with a transformation. A beautiful old derelict building was now transformed into an even more beautiful Arty hub. There was a great buzz and energy and the excitement hit me so I was keen to get straight up to Sarah’s ‘Who Am I’ project and stuck in.

The room, now filled with black paper on the walls and a table that bought me right back to primary school. Pens, Markers, Chalk, Paint, Glitter, Pom Poms, you name it, it was there!

As I mentioned above, there was a clear idea in my head of what I hoped to achieve, but I have to admit I was swayed by the textured fabric and pom poms. Prints tend to be very flat, which personally I love, but once I saw the glitter I was gone, adding this and that. For me the piece had to be colourful, but not just any colours. They had to be carefully chosen that represented me, my values, my beliefs, and my personality.

Heres what I came up with…

If you had time this week, I’d highly really encourage you to drop in and explore. Even if you don’t get involved, you’d be surprised what can spark your creativity. Let me know if you drop in, I’d love to hear what you enjoyed.

Till next week.




  • Reply Meldy 24/06/2018 at 10:31 PM

    Great piece magpiemagpie! Love your in-depth chat with Artist Sarah Taylor, that was great to get a feel for the project from Sarah herself and her enthusiasm for the project really comes across. So nice to see your video clip of yourself in action with your own piece engaging with the different mediums and letting loose on the page. Love the idea of this project creating a space for people to express themselves in a non -judgemental environment!

    • Reply MagpieMagpie 13/07/2018 at 6:16 AM

      Hiya, thanks so much for your super positive feedback! I really enjoyed researching and writing this piece. The event was great and I’m looking forward to next year already! Hope to see you comment on here again 😉 Sarah

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