Q: You talk about having relationships with the farmers who grow the food you photograph and paint. How do you cultivate those relationships and what do those relationships look like?
A: I am a regular at the North Market and its farmers market. Many of the farmers have been selling their produce there for years. When you are buying directly from the farmers, you get to know who is farming "organically" verses "naturally." I started talking with the farmers whose produce I loved and over the years, developed connections.
Q: What places and farms do you frequent the most for your subject matter?
A: I have four favorite locations. My favorite community gardens are the Wallace Community Garden in Grandview and the Franklin Park Conservatory Community Garden. I also frequent several small farms. My two favorite farms are Toad Hill Farm in Danville, Ohio and Rock Dove Farm near West Jefferson, Ohio. I am so appreciative that they let me tromp through their fields.
Q: Why are sustainable food sources so important to you? What's your biggest concern for sustainable food?
A: I believe all people should have the ability to eat food that is safe, affordable and chemical-free. Using pesticides to limit insect destruction is irresponsible and not in the best interest of the planet. Creating GMOs (genetically modified organisms) as a substitute for organic vegetation is not a healthy alternative. Mother Nature created it, who are we to alter it? I enjoy highlighting the bug-eaten leaves in my work. I believe in aiming for perfection and striving to be my very best, however, nothing in life is "perfect." I value the wabi-sabi elements of life.
Q: What is the relationship between art and food for you?
A: They should both be sensual and enjoyable experiences.
Q: Do you have a favorite vegetable and if so, what's one of your favorite recipes for it?
A: My favorite vegetable is arugula; the flavors are bright, peppery and spicy. I have an arugula salad every day for lunch. I usually dress the salad with fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and top with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Simple and easy.
If you ask me what I like to paint the most, I would have to say Brussels sprouts. The plant looks otherworldly and often quite figurative.
Sarah's show, "LUSH: New Works by Sarah Fairchild," is on display at Hammond Harkins Galleries in Bexley until March 12, 2014. Visit their website for more information. And learn more about Sarah and her work at sarahfairchild.com.