What Matters to Sarah Boris

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Sarah Boris is a London-based artist and designer. She started a studio in 2015 that focuses on public art commissions, screen-printing, sculpture, paintings, letterpress, books, and more.

We caught up with Sarah after her talk at the recent OFFF Festival in Barcelona.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

I love walking. I also love drinking coffee in the morning. I like the ritual of making coffee, having a sense of time, and starting the day.

What’s the first memory you have of being creative?

My first memory of being creative started in the US. From two to six years old, my family lived in Connecticut. My most vivid childhood memories are from that time and place, a place where people would say hello to each other. This early experience about being social and neighborly stuck with me.
We lived just across from a candy store. I remember the name of the woman who owned it. She was called Aida and the store, to me, at five years old, was almost like a gingerbread house. I would walk in and just stare at the candy and all the very bright, colorful candy wrappers. I think that awakened my sense of color and visual culture. I’m still a fan of Fun Dip and Nerds. Oh, and Jolly Ranchers!

What’s your biggest regret?

I think maybe one of my biggest regrets is not being more confident about my art practice sooner and hiding it. I’ve only recently begun focusing on it a lot more. I went to a Josef & Anni Albers exhibition just after COVID lockdown and I saw that Josef Albers started his seminal Homage to the Square series at 62; it reassured me that perhaps the best is yet to come.

How have you gotten over a heartbreak?

By making artworks. I think sometimes I do my best work when I’m heartbroken. I’ve also gotten over heartbreaks by writing. I deal with sadness by creating.

What makes you cry?

Cheesy movies. Sad love stories. Injustice. War. Sometimes I get a bit emotional before going onstage with nerves and excitement. And of course, losing people I love makes me cry a lot.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

I’d say a lifetime. I feel like we all have places where we keep all the moments when things go well in our memories— like little drawers. They say that you can often retain pain within your body, and that’s why it’s good to find ways to release it. So, I think the pride and joy that you experience as well also stays with you physically too: stored away in each human.

Do you believe in an afterlife? And if so, what does that look like to you?

I don’t believe in an afterlife per se. But, I wouldn’t mind if there is one where I could be reincarnated as a bird. That would be like having a travel pass to fly anywhere.

What do you hate most about yourself?

I dislike the negative voice in my mind which sometimes makes me question myself too much.

What do you love most about yourself?

I love being an artist and the life and adventures it allows me to have. I can completely disconnect from any sense of time or worries when I’m making artworks and I cherish that feeling which is truly a gift. I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to create and develop skills that can lead to new, unexpected places.

What is your absolute favorite meal?