Truckee artist and author Sara Zimmerman is a self-described “busy gal.” In addition to her artwork, which is expressed in multiple forms, and the creation and launch of her new book, “Unearthed Comics: Unearthing the Universe One Comic at a Time,” she is also a rock climber, business entrepreneur and drummer. Did I mention that she’s an active mom, too? There’s never a shortage of activities to fill her days but that only energizes her more. On Friday, July 5, she will feature her art collection “Tahoe Macro and Micro” at Riverside Studios in Truckee as part of the traditional First Friday events. “My hope is that my work will help others see their own potential,” Zimmerman said. She will sign copies of her new book between 5 and 7 p.m. “I welcome you to check out my art at www.sarazimmerman.net and my web comics at www.unearthedcomics.com. Share them with your friends through social media so everyone can laugh. Life is too short to be serious.”
Lake Tahoe Action: To what do you credit your artistic talents? Is there something or someone who inspired you?
Zimmerman: My entire family is artistic, but my painting was mostly inspired by my late grandmother, Rosalie Ritz. She was an oil painter and courtroom artist who worked for the Associated Press. She sketched courtroom scenes long before cameras were allowed. Her work covered a multitude of sensational trials dating back to the 1960s, including Charles Manson, Patti Hearst, Angela Davis and Sirhan Sirhan, to name a few. Sometimes she sketched her subjects in San Quentin Prison. She was a firecracker who encouraged me from the beginning to pursue my artistic goals.
When did you realize you were gifted with artistry? What was your first piece?
I’ve painted all of my life. My mom still has some pieces from when I was 3 or 4. When I was 14, I painted a huge mural over my bedroom walls. I named it, “Over the Sea and Under the Sea from the Tropics to the Arctic.” It wasn’t until I was 16 that I became aware of the appreciation others had for my work. I started painting sweatshirts to earn extra spending money and they sold well. It was then that I could foresee a career in my artwork.
Your art is expressed in multiple forms; painting, drawing, comic sketches, watercolors, web design and you’re even a drummer. How do you balance and prioritize all of these venues without spreading yourself too thin?
I allocate my time for work and family first and then I add in time for play, including athletic pursuits. I’m a rock climber and love physical sports which I often enjoy with my family. After that I set aside time for my artwork. I couldn’t do it without my husband, who is my major supporter. I do a little bit each day and forgo other activities to spend more time with my artwork.
Can you explain how you integrate science into your artwork?
I have a degree in environmental studies and I am trained in science illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I love science, the earth and am fascinated by our world. My intent is to integrate elements of the sciences that intrigue me such as energy, biological components and fractal geometries into my art in order to create a feeling rather than just a visual display. I want my art to stimulate energy and movement for the viewer. It’s this pursuit and passion that drives me.
Your new art collection “Tahoe Macro And Micro” captures energy from Lake Tahoe. How was this concept conceived and how do you begin the process?
I’ve been painting Lake Tahoe landscapes for many years. Recently I’ve been reading new-age teachings where new ideas were conceived. I contemplated, “How would patterns of energy look”? While creating two separate bodies, one landscape, the other microscopic, I realized that they melded into one. I saw commonalities; consistent strokes, colors, shapes and forms. My “Tahoe Macro and Micro” exhibit demonstrates that energy reveals similar patterns on both a macro and a microscopic level.
Much of your recent work involves a family theme. Has motherhood changed your art?
Yes, dramatically. After becoming a mother, I felt compelled to visit core issues. I learned a lesson from my grandmother long ago. That is, I need to paint for me, to allow my individual voice to be heard. I want be a role model for my daughter and pass this lesson on to her. I want her to honor her uniqueness, be true to herself and not just do things to please others.
Your collection, “Women In Raw” is autobiographical. Please elaborate.
I became frustrated and angry during my pregnancy. I wasn’t able to continue with activities I loved such as drumming and rock climbing, which created conflicting emotions. I was forced into a period of self-examination. Then my parents separated two weeks after the birth of my daughter, devastating me. Being a new mother only intensified my insecurity, doubts and fears. Unable to express my feelings outwardly, I took two pieces of raw, unstretched canvas with torn edges and laid them out. I poured paint and began, scraping, scratching, spreading and moving it in all directions, not really painting in the traditional sense. I saw figures forming and I saw myself in them. It was this time of intense, raw feelings of uncertainty that gave birth to my “Women In Raw” collection.
You’ve recently released a book, “Unearthed Comics: Unearthing the Universe One Comic at a Time.” What is its overall theme?
“Unearthed Comics: Unearthing the Universe One Comic at a Time” is a web collection of comics I’ve created since November 2012. The main themes include parenting, business, science and health. I am now publishing them in a book and I’ve added newly created comics to the mix. The book also includes “A Guide to Unearthing The Universe,” a five-page humorous take on new-age teachings and ancient wisdom.
Is there a target audience for your book?
I am targeting an audience between the ages of 25 and 50 who share similar interests as I, such as science and the world, those who are busy with families, have an appreciation for art and a sense of humor. However, I have a lot of fans in all age groups. Anyone who needs a laugh and appreciates my style of humor is my target audience.
What can attendees expect to find at your Truckee Art Show and book signing on July 5?
This show will have more than 15 works of art on display including at least 10 new paintings. There will be a book signing and a giveaway that includes two books, some art prints and other goodies. The show coincides with Truckee’s First Friday Events where appetizers, music and fun are featured for all to enjoy. It’s free to the public.
How can you use your art to help someone who is starting a business?
I can help them with logo design, branding, graphic design, web development and marketing. My goal is to marry the client’s vision and business goals with my artistic skills in order to create something unique and appealing for their target market.
Where can we purchase your artwork and book?
My artwork is available at Riverside Studios in Truckee or online at www.sarazimmerman.net. My book “Unearthed Comics: Unearthing the Universe, One Comic at a Time,” is available on www.amazon.com in paperback or a Kindle version.