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Sara Blake (New York, USA)

Illustrator Sara Blake mix hand drawing with digital techniques for her brand of gothic art...

The East Village NY illustrator and art director Sara Blake aka ZSO balances a hand drawn intricacy with digital techniques to create truly striking and original work. Featured as one of 120 of the "most exciting female graphic designers and illustrators" from around the world in 2009 for the Curvy Book compilation, Blake’s future gothic styles will be showcased at her very first gallery show in Sydney called White Lies in September later this year. Check out her work for Yen Magazine, The KDU and Hurley, or simply peep her stunning gallery of work here.


... your work all about?
Shape, color, texture, line, women, fashion, music, secrets, lies, power, fear, love, opposites, memories...

... the next great art movement going to be?
Digital has blurred the lines between mediums. The best traditional artists seem to now really be getting their feet wet in motion, interactive, photography, and so on—perhaps in places they might not normally be engaged before. The next big thing is more collaboration, a more cross-disciplined global art community. It's about networks, and shared talent and knowledge.

... Your dream day?
Limited to New York? Low 70s, brunch at my favorite French restaurant on Orchard, quiche lorraine, mimosas, café au lait. Meandering walks with the camera around the Village, a catnap in park grass, farmer's market, exploring, sweating, seeing, getting lost, finding my way, laughing with someone special, ice cream truck, a long run at dusk, bookstore, cocktail hour, pulsing through the streets with sticky summer air pushing back against you. Sleep with my mini fan drowning out faint ambulance screams. My dream days, they sometimes come true.

...the best piece of advice you've ever heard?
Live in the moment. And it's also the piece of advice I have the hardest time following.

... the most important thing for an artist to remember?
Never forget why you do what you do. That's pretty important at 4AM on a weeknight when you have a deadline and a day job.

... the most inspiring thing you've ever seen?
People who don't give up. Runners who don't have legs. Prisoners of war who don't hate the world. Beaten dogs who still want to give kisses before uttering a growl. Refugees who start someplace new with nothing—New York's a tough city, but not that tough. And sometimes it takes an amazing survival story to put things in perspective. If Aimee Mullins can give a TED talk in 5 inch heels and prosthetic legs, I sure as hell better be able to pull an all-nighter or five.

... the greatest book you have ever read? What did you love about it?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I was wildly in love with Heathcliff. I think I still am.

... next on your collaboration dream list?
(Insert girlie squeal of delight here.) I've got a couple of my dream collaborations already underway! It's going to be a very exciting year, but you'll have to stay tuned to see what's in store. In fantasy land, I'd love to collaborate with James Jean, Von, Krzysztof Domaradzki, or Bison.

... the next big thing?
Siestas in the US. Natural breasts. Traditional arts. Southern hospitality and manners.

 ... the point?
Plain and simple: love. If it's love for a person or for a practice—whatever it is—what's the point of it if you aren't waking up every day because you love something and want to work every day to make it just a little more yours? I swear, I'm not a hippie, but I really believe it.

How do you like working with digital art?
I always thought I would be a traditional artist but when I taught myself the Adobe suit, it turned out to be a really unexpected and ideal workflow for me. Digital allows me to discover new ways of making images that I never could traditionally. Overall, I prefer the traditional, hand drawn part of the process, but working on the computer is so much a part of every day, I can't imagine life without it. It's just another tool, and it works for me.

How would describe you work?
An experiment. Freestyle. Contour dreaming. Portraits that got stuck in the dryer with your grandma's quilt.