Escapism is Bliss

Story by Casey Lessard

If you’re looking for an escape from reality, stop by Sarah Kane’s solo retrospective at Bliss Studio in Port Franks (7617 Riverside Drive, 519-243-3598), running August 11 to September 7. Twenty-five year old Kane, originally of London, sets up dreamscapes involving real people and transforms them through Photoshop before using graphite or acrylic to make art that bears her brand of escapism.
“It’s a literary term that’s been used a lot,” she says, “but it’s a form of art where you create a fantasy world to lose yourself in. When people come and see my show, because I create a theme for them to come and see, they enter a different world and it’s a new take on reality. The images aren’t so farfetched that you wouldn’t see it, but they’re a more beautiful and idealized version of what we see every day.”
Kane buys props and costumes to build her imaginary world, and often uses her younger sisters as models. Her art is beautiful and unsettling, and has matured into a solid enough body of work that at 25, she can have a retrospective show, a feat normally reserved for much more seasoned artists.
“I create a lot of art fairly fast. I do it full time, so I produce enough work to do two full out solo shows per year.”
Launching a full-time art career two years ago “was kind of a gamble because my boyfriend was in school,” Kane says, “so we took the chance and surprisingly I have been making money at it. I’m surprised at the response I’ve been getting. Everyone told me you can’t make it as a full-time freelance artist. I was uninspired by that and have never been interested in having a part-time job or in teaching, so I immersed myself in it. So far I’ve been able to make money off it to keep it going and it’s been rewarding so far.”
Bliss Studio is a sort of home for Kane, whose first group show was at the Port Franks studio.
“Usually we don’t do very many solo shows,” says owner Tony Miller. “But we’ve seen how hard Sarah’s been working and we thought it would be good for us and for her.”
“A lot of galleries are only interested in people that have already have been successful because they’re looking at the monetary factors. Who are they and can they sell? A lot of galleries are not willing to show up and coming artists, even if they think the art is visually appealing.”
Unlike many other galleries, Bliss enables young artists by charging a smaller percentage, and no hanging fee. It’s a bigger risk to take, but in the long run, Miller and Thomson think it’s worthwhile.
“No matter where she goes,” says owner Lorraine Thomson, “and I hope it’s to the top, I hope she see this as a home base.”