Interview with Sarah Katherine Amelia Townsend

sarah_townsend.jpgInterview with Sarah Katherine Amelia Townsend: Art – The Coitus and Innate

Written by Jean-Paul DeBuffet and Lucia Andrea Sweeney
Photography c. Artist Sarah Katherine Amelia Townsend 2007.
Monday 19 February 2007

Sarah Katherine Amelia Townsend is a recent new artist to Transvoyeur. She is internationally travelled and her art explores the post-modernity of intervention on form and existence in the parameters of philosophy and nature. Townsend explains in an interview with Debuffet and Sweeney:

Sweeney: Can you briefly explain how you became involved in the arts and why you chose this as your career path?

Townsend: My siblings and I have all been raised in a very creative environment, all eager to release our brotherly and sisterly tension in different ways and taught from an early age to openly express our thoughts and feelings. Our house has always been full of imagery on the walls and sculptures on every available surface, and with my moma’s studio the lounge and pop’s studio at the bottom of the garden, often knocking out brilliant creations, it feels extremely natural for me to follow an artistic path.

Sweeney: There seems to be an international interest in the nature of your professional activities, how does this influence your work?

Townsend: The amalgamation of cultural extremes: the ancient and philosophical with the futuristic and technologically, each compass point holds new inspiration. I find a balance is struck between urban modernity and gathered historical and natural references adding a new edge on a timeless classical approach.

DeBuffet: Your work imbues the coitus? What is the significance of this through your creative philosophies? Does gender and sexual politics play a large significance in your work?

Townsend: The head of the praying mantis is triangular. The eyes of the mantis bulge large and round from the sides of the head. The eyes are made even more effective by the mantis�s ability to rotate the head 360 degrees. The mouth of the praying mantis is made for chewing and biting. The female praying mantis is known for her habit of biting the head off her partner while they are mating, though contrary to popular belief, this act has no influence on the reproductive process, save for terminating the male’s ability to pass his genes on to any other females. Sexual cannabalism may be rarer in the wild than in captive mantis kept in a cage, due to the lack of room for the male to evade the female after mating ends………right on!

Sweeney: Who has inspired your art and for what reasons? Whether this be another artist, philosopher or experience?

Townsend: My parents first and foremost, they have been my driving force and have both intensely inspired my pratice. Diverse palettes from journeys afar, creating a framework for original and confident colour interpretations. The strangeness of the familiar, the fascination of the mundane. Celebrating both the unusual and the ordinary, to create the extraordinary. The plethora of memories, which has fed my fascination with what lies beneath the surface of everyday life. This is also reflected in how I find art and beauty in the oddest places; how what often seems serene can turn out to have a strange edge. Erotic art has also always fascinated me. Whilst spending time in India I was overwhelmed by imagery of figures in the act of union. The stone sculptures in Mallapurum are almighty! Vast carvings of orgies and penetration. Ageless wonders. The intricate beauty of the Karma Sutra, so delicately depicted but such a taboo! I remember visiting a small shop in Gujarat, where my father was led behind a curtain and later told me he had been shown exquisite examples of miniature Karma Sutra paintings. Different cultures have such a varied approach to sex even though it boils down to the same act of conjunction. I take pleasure in celebrating this through my art.

Sweeney: Through your art, what do you hope to realise, for either yourself or others (contemporary audience)?

Townsend: I hope to be continually realising things! I generally find that I realise things a lot later on, maybe after an idea has been poured over for ages or a particular paintings has been on a wall for a few months after painting it. I love these moments and live for them! Through my art I want to show that sexuality doesn�t necessarily have to be portrayed in a stereotypical fashion, that a girl can get excited by a horses cock, that a guy can desire an unusually shaped creature. That everyone, the lonely, the worshipped, the undesirable, the predator, the unsure, the malformed, the glorified, the unimaginable, whoever, can all be turned on……this is my �contemporary audience�. Art should allow us to see difference in human relations, in human history, in the human mind.

DeBuffet: What are you future objectives and why?

Townsend: My future objectives are to continue travelling whilst i still have no major commitments, I am currently very influenced by the intense tonal difference in the colour of currency in other countries!! I still have itchy feet and eyes that need feeding and I learn so much from broadening my horizons. I’m hungry for the challenge, for my work to keep me awake at night and for my vision to stay alive. As for tomorrow, i plan to swim in the ocean, eat some fish, drink some vino and then draw till my eyes fall closed, feeding my mind ’til it’s time for New York in a couple of months time.

DeBuffet: Do you want to be remembered for your art and if so how and why?

Townsend: So much of art is forgotten about. If for just one moment my art is remembered whether it be by a person on the bus, on the loo or in bed, then i feel that my work is reaching out there. Great art I feel insists on consciousness whether the viewer likes or hates it. I’d like to be remembered for new and exciting imagery that does not age and remains avant-garde, evoking a sense of the wondrous and the unexpected.

Further information on Townsend’s work can be viewed at:


For future events Townsend is involved with Transvoyeur: