Updated: Apr 20
Sarah Muldoon is one of our first forum posters who really showed multiple sides to her work. I’ve known of Sarah’s work for a little while now but I hadn’t truly gotten into it until she started posting on the Plebeian forum and I saw two sides of a dynamic artist. On one side you have an excellent designer who brings a simple but elegant style to her brand work and on the other you have an illustrator who’s soft touch with line and watercolor creates engaging, beautiful imagery. Her work has an all around soft touch to it but that doesn’t stop it from strongly displaying her message or narrative. One of the things I appreciate most about Sarah’s design work is the hand done element that she often brings in that I think is often lost in an increasingly digital age.
I got to chat a little bit with Sarah about her background in art, her style, and future plans. It was a great talk and I think she gave some excellent answers and insight to her work. Check it out!
1. First Thing, give us some background on your work! What makes you the artist that you are? (inspirations, mediums, etc.)
I've been making art since my childhood, and although I played sports and tried all kinds of extracurriculars, it has sort of always been my main thing. I could not imagine pursuing a career that wasn't creative at the heart- I'd simply be unhappy. I practiced mostly drawing and painting before college, working with chalk pastels, charcoal, pencil, pen & ink, oils, watercolors, and acrylics. I'm thankful for the exposure to other media in my first two years in UD Art, trying things like ceramics, sculpture and printmaking for the first time. I believe those tactile learning processes have made me a stronger creative overall. But I've always had a design-driven mind, and mostly knew that was what I wanted to study since high school. As a kid, I was hooked on HGTV, and when I was probably 10, I made this menu on Microsoft Publisher for the pretend restaurant my younger cousin and I would play. I remember being more concerned with the thoroughness, beauty, and perfection of the menu than playing the actual game. I would then make random shit on Microsoft Publisher, which is now such an irrelevant program. It's funny I would even get frustrated in middle school when other kids' PowerPoint presentations had things that wouldn't line up, or if we were doing a group project and no one would care about those stupid details like I did. In design, I've found a place for some of these overly-organized tendencies. Still, the Visual Communications major has re-trained the way I approach a project and convinced me of the importance of concepting, process, and imperfections. Having purpose to my design decisions, communicating an original thought, or presenting something in a way that would make somebody stop and give a fuck, that obviously goes a lot further than being able to make something look pretty. Now I do mostly branding, illustration, and animation. I believe TV shows and movies are forms of modern art, even though there are a lot of bad ones, and so I think Christopher Nolan and Jordan Peele are some admirable artists and masterminds. Illustrator and designer Christoph Neimann is a genius as well.
2. You work primarily in design, especially as a student, but you've got some awesome illustration work as well. Did you start as an illustrator and it led into design? Or do they work Parallel to one another?
Since college I have found illustration to be like the bridge between fine art and design for me. I am very much a visual learner and while I can note-take and chicken-scratch until my hand falls off, it feels pretty easy to draw out what I'm thinking. I find illustration a natural, enjoyable, more fun means to design and I like to incorporate it in my work wherever applicable. I am experimenting more with digital illustration, but illustrating with watercolor is relaxing to me.
3. Siting your Miu brand design there's some collage in there that looks hand done. Do you find hands on work important to your design or are you all digital?
Working with my hands feels fulfilling and and almost always makes the end result so much better. Even if the final product isn't itself analog, I do believe it is important to work with physical materials wherever possible, but especially in collage.
4. Siting your Baskin Robins mock-up, which is super badass they should buy it, do you have future hopes in branding? If not what does your design future look like?
Branding would be my top choice- starting as a junior designer and working my way up through that would hopefully give me the opportunity to work on a variety of brands, using a variety of media. I am considering taking another internship in a cool place, to focus on and strengthen a skill I felt I couldn't devote enough time to in school such as animation. I want to travel, try a couple things, and see where it might lead me, before I settle into a long-term position.
5. Do you plan on keeping solo illustration or other fine art work going in the future? Or do you think you'll strictly go the design route?
At this point, I don't think I could ever give up illustration, so if not for clients, I plan to make time to illustrate and paint for myself and for family. I hope to always be learning a new artistic skill.
6. Personal Plugs! Tell us what you've got going on, future projects, and where to find you!
I'm in my last semester at UD, currently perfecting my portfolio, and preparing for my senior exhibition (May 22nd-31st in Recitation). For my next project, I'm researching the concept of dreaming, and I've learned some pretty interesting things so far. I almost always remember my dreams and I've been sketching and recording them every morning to identify patterns and bigger themes. I might take a summer off and take a breather, but after that, you can find me somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line because I hate the winter.
Remember Folks! Feature Friday is an awesome way to get your work seen and promoted, as well as make you eligible for other prizes! But, you’ve got to post on that forum so we can see your work and promote it! So post, comment and post some more! Let’s see and talk about all of your work!