Painting the Town 6

Artist Sara Abbott Adds a Splash of Color 
to the Valley’s Contemporary Art Scene

Sara Abbott and her husband, Bob Lynn, who is president and founder of La Grande Orange restaurants, reside on the border of Paradise Valley in a 1964 Al Beadle home.

Abbott, who is known for her contemporary pieces featuring a variety of colors and combination artwork, which includes both photography and paint, took some time away from her easel to answer a few questions about her art.

How long have you worked as an artist?

At first I had my own studio in Downtown Phoenix in 1998, where I worked as an independent artist and shared an old architect office space with three other painters. We would work in the space and hold a ‘one night only’ show every month. I now have a studio in Phoenix and in Santa Monica, California.

Looking back, what inspired you to become an artist?

My mother would always draw landscapes and flowers on my lunch bags, and as a 6-year-old, I drew a portrait of my father that was published in the newspaper. Then I really became focused on art when I took a photography class in college. I then left business school to focus on a Fine Arts Major specializing in photography, but also including ceramics, color theory and drawing.

Currently, what are your favorite mediums to use?

Right now, I prefer to work in inks, oils and pigment. Six months ago, I started my ‘Ink Paintings,’ a series of canvas pieces using waste ink from printers. I also work in mixed media, mixing my photography with painting.

 Where do you find inspiration for your work?

My husband and I travel a lot. I like to say we travel for food, art and music. There is always so much inspiration and learning that can come from traveling. Our favorite place right now is London. The sophistication of the Mayfair neighborhood contrasted with the grittiness of East London—we love that. I am also inspired by other artists and had the privilege of meeting Chuck Close last year; what a powerhouse!

Do you have a philosophy about your artwork?

Show up to the studio and work; let yourself be free to create with a mission in mind.

Will you comment on the importance of 
contemporary art and what it means to you?

Life would be pretty dull without modern art. It is a deep passion that drives me to want to get up in the morning and contribute something. I was a very competitive athlete throughout school, and I think that helps too.

 Who are some artists that you admire?

Artists who I admire include Ed Ruscha, Mike and Doug Starn, Marilyn Minter and Hunt Slonem. Musicians I especially like include Foals, Interpol, Chromatics, Nick Cave and Hiatus Kaiyote.

 What do you love most about Arizona?

Warm nights, open space and great light.

 What are some of your favorite restaurants?

It better be an LGO restaurant or I’ll be in trouble at home! Seriously, I love Ingo’s for the best Greyhound I’ve ever had and the Little Ingo grass-fed burger—yum!