Throughout my career, although I have changed mediums and genres frequently, the impulse to make art has remained driven by both a quest for meaning, and a desire to interact with a larger world. The process of discovery and the sensate nature of engaging with materials also drives my work. The gritty feel of pencil on paper, or wet, dripping ink, is enough to begin with, and art takes shape from there. Hearing the sound of a word, or music, can also inspire something visual in my synesthetic world.

I make art in direct response to nature, to personal and world events, and as an inquiry of art history. My books address both the look and sound of language with the physicality of craft, often juxtaposing the personal in relation to the universal.

Travel is also a profound catalyst for broadening my perspective. After several trips to Asia I began working with the timeless image of the Buddha. Following an impulse to combine East & West, I added the image of the Madonna to the Buddha in drawings and paintings. I found another subject in a small rabbit figure I began drawing as a meditation when my husband was dying. This “bunny” became a touchstone and a symbol that continued in my work as an alter ego, for more than ten years. Other art is rooted in humanistic concerns, such as large ink drawings of body bags, drawn from newspaper images, as expressions of despair at world affairs. Now, the play of light and color, and the spatial relations in my garden are the inspiration for recent paintings.

I’ve been making art, teaching and exhibiting since 1968, in this country and abroad. I live in Berkeley, California, and also spend time in Taos, New Mexico, where I lead an innovative art retreat, now in its 22nd year.

Sas Colby

January 2016