Sarana has always had to balance motherhood and her commitment to art. When her kids were young, she was the stay-at-home parent while Tom worked full-time. She had to make the most of any spare moment.
“I stayed up late at night to work on marketing, building websites and answering emails or finishing commissions. I used nap time in the day to create whatever I could in my home studio. I became a master of 15-minute productivity blocks. I sacrificed time with friends, and my priority when I had a free moment was always: art first, housework later.
“In retrospect, I’m proud and grateful for this span of time and my determination to juggle it all, but I do just want to tell that woman that it’s OK. There’s time. You don’t have to do it all now. You’re tired. Go have a nap. Take yourself to the beach and for a coffee and you don’t need to justify it to anyone.”
Sarana finds great comfort in her girlfriends and emphasises the importance of creating connections with women at a similar stage of parenting. “No one will really understand the true depths of your sleep deprivation and lowered personal hygiene standards like those going through the same thing,” she says.
“Here in Alice, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by incredibly smart, strong, caring women who both constantly nurture me and inspire me. I’d be a sad, shrivelled sack of a person without them.”
Sarana has had many learnings throughout her career. One is the realisation that there are no rules when it comes to art.
“I know it seems like there are – like curators and gallery owners and senior artists are part of a secret club with a secret handshake and secret rule book that you must somehow penetrate. But there’s not. You don’t have to reach your career goals via the same road as everyone else. You can literally create your own road. You’re an artist! That’s your job description: To create.”
Sarana has also learned not to put certain people on a pedestal. “Every curator or person of perceived power is just a person. Same as you and I. You can approach this person for a conversation. You can put your work in front of this person and if a collaboration happens that’s great and if it doesn’t that’s great – because it wasn’t the right person for your art and therefore won’t lead your art to the right eyes.”
Another thing Sarana knows to be true is that your inner critic is your biggest blockade. “The only thing that will stop you from success is the voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. Tell that voice to shut up. Its words are not helpful nor necessary at this time.”
Sarana had counselling for a few years to combat imposter syndrome and self-doubt and improve the relationship she has with herself. “I try my hardest to convert that imposter syndrome voice into a pep talk voice, to talk to myself as I would talk to a friend or to my daughters.
“I think also as we get older you begin to realise that everyone is plagued with this horrible inner critic, so I now know that no one is really judging what I look like or what I do because, unfortunately, they’re too busy judging themselves. For me, overcoming imposter syndrome is a constant practice but it’s incredibly freeing when that voice is suddenly a little bit quieter.”
Through self-acceptance, Sarana has learned that her voice is valid. “The voice I have through making art is just as important as anyone else's,” she says.
“The art industry is competitive and challenging. Knockbacks are always plentiful but, my gosh, I’m pretty darn good at receiving No’s. A ‘No’ is fuel for my fire.”
As an artist living in rugged desert terrain, Sarana’s personal style is “laid back, sophisticated tom-boy-turned-artist with holey sneakers but expensive taste” – not dissimilar from her style at age 10. “I still look back on my white singlet and knee-length board shorts and think: Yeah, that’s a vibe.”
Some of her favourite labels are Alpha60 (“The Kirby Pant in beige-black-paprika is calling my name in the breeze”), Lottie Hall, Kowtow, Still Here NY, House of Darwin, SUK Workwear, Kristin Magrit, Many Peaks Assembly, Post Sole (“namely the Trail Square in Mahogany Shine”), Radical Yes, Extra Vitamins, Slow Love, Sir The Label, Alemais, Lee Matthews, Bassike, St Agni Studio.
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, Sarana says she’s excited to create and show her art. “I feel really certain of where to put my energy and the kind of life I want to grow,” she says.
“I’ll be living back by the beach and I’ll be kid-wrangling like a pro wrestler. What more could you want?”
By Ellie Wiseman. Photographed at Rainbow Studios by Kaitlyn Bosnjak.
Sarana’s beautiful first solo exhibition ‘I Send Myself Love Letters’ is taking place at Rainbow Studios in Darlinghurst, Sydney from 2nd - 17th November.