Local mural artist discusses her work

Sarah Jamison shares her artistic process behide work at Eckington Park


The Eckington Parks and Art is a hidden gem unfamiliar to the tourists of Washington D.C.
The park includes a long beautiful strip walking path that displays many unique colorful murals leading into the park. The many murals along the park help contribute to The Eckington Parks and Arts mission and goal of beautifying and activating public spaces.
The murals along with the walkway change periodically to invite fresh work from other local talented artists.
I was given the opportunity to connect with one of the artists, Sarah Jamison, behind one of the remarkable works of art in Eckington Park, and spoke with her about her time as an artist, her artistic process, and the meaning behind her mural in the park.
It just so happens that her dad went to AHS as well.
Sarah has always found passion in art and knew from high school that she wanted to be an artist and take her passions to the next level.
“It is the only trajectory I have ever envisioned for myself, so after graduating high school, I attended art school and graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts. It took a bit of time after graduating to build momentum, but by 2016 I was beginning to exhibit regularly and decided to dedicate myself to my studio practice full time in 2018,” Jamison said.
Jamison received the opportunity to create a mural from her friend, Kelly Towles, who is a director at the D.C. Walls, an annual mural festival.
“For me, the process begins by projecting my design onto the wall in the evening, so that the next day I can get right to painting. For the festival, all of the paint and supplies are provided, so the colors and paint quantity are requested months beforehand. I approached this piece as a giant painting, using only rollers and brushes,” Jamison said.
“D.C. Walls is a ten day event, so I created my mural within that time frame.”
While this isn’t Jamison’s first mural as she has created a mural in 2019 for the D.C. walls once before the pandemic. She is still new to the process as it differs from her normal art.
“My primary practice is mixed media drawing using colored pencils, ink, gouache, marker, and paint pen. When Kelly invited me to paint at D.C. Walls, I decided I wanted to try to recreate a drawing that I had made earlier in the year,” Jamison said. “I had created the piece that you see on the Metropolitan Branch Trail originally for an exhibition titled, ‘What a Weird Time to be Alive’ at A Hurd Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
“This exhibit was reflecting on the first year or so of living in a post-COVID-19 world, so I created a drawing that was in concert with my fine arts work, that was a play on the idiom of cutting off one’s nose to spite their face, with a weathered bust representing the repetitious nature of history, overlaid with a hopeful color gradient.”
Jamison explains one of her favorite parts of creating the mural was getting to work closely with different amazing female artists.
“It was amazing to learn from them and dialogue about the experience of being a female in the art world. That camaraderie was so special,” Jamison said.
Being a professional artist is a great honor, it’s a unique profession that allows you to be compensated for your time and talent.
“Creating art professionally means absolutely everything to me. Being an artist is part of my identity in a way that is difficult to put into words. To be able to work as a full-time artist is the fulfilling feeling of walking in my purpose every single day. It can be difficult and anxiety-inducing, and you have to wear many, many hats, but there is nothing I’d rather do,” Jamison said.
Through the trials and tribulations that come with pursuing art as a career, Jamison shares her advice to students in high school wanting to continue their artistic journey and pursue art as a career.
“It can be difficult to pursue a career in the arts, and along the way, you will likely be told that it is not a sustainable vision, but you should do it. I subscribe to the theory that being relentless in the pursuit of your goal is the only way,” Jamison said.
“Start now. Reach out to artists or DC Walls about assisting or volunteering, apply to calls for entry (submittable.com or callforentry.org for example), and make sure your social media is on point.”
“I know that having a social media account for your art goes without saying, but it is extremely important to have your work out there. I have gotten more opportunities from Instagram than anywhere else – it’s up to you to create those preconditions. When galleries, curators, collectors, colleges – anyone – goes looking for great work, you want to be seen working dependably and consistently.”
To check out any other of Sarah Jamison’s artworks you are encouraged to check out her Instagram (@sarahjanejamison) and website by scanning the QR code.