Sunday, September 6, 2009

September Featured Team Member: SarahJohnAfana

Sarah is a very talented artist, painter, photographer. Sarah's artwork is original, colorful and fun. There is a little bit for every taste in her etsy shop. You can get her original work, prints of her work, or get her work on blank cards that you can send to all your favorite people. I know I would love to one day own something from Sarah.
We are so glad to be able to have Sarah as our team member and love supporting her works!



Etsy: and

Twitter: @sjafana

What furniture/design/home d├ęcor piece do you love most? Our home definitely leans towards modern, while trying to remain warm and comfortable. We were lucky enough to be able to build our home completely custom a few years ago. Ever since then I have been working hard to create a space that we love to live in. One of my favorite pieces is a coffee table handmade by the owner of The Art Works (the frame shop/gallery I work). We used it the gallery for a while and I had my eye on it the whole time. (I know that there is a tall matching sofa table somewhere in his shop he hasn't finished yet, fingers-crossed.)

Married/single? I am married to my high-school sweetheart Terry.

Kids/no kids? No kids.

Pets/no pets? Unfortunately, I am allergic to most all animals. But we have taken to feeding several wild cats, six regulars at current count-Mama, Mimi, Niner, Spooner, El Gris, and Nancy (she has boots). We have an occasional visit from Pepe a beautiful little skunk who comes by for a late dinner most nights.

Day job? I have worked for many years at The Art Works in Paso Robles. I am considered family now by the owners and I can pretty much show anything I want in the gallery-again, very lucky.

Location? My studio is in my home which is located on Terry's families almond ranch just a few miles outside of Paso Robles, CA. We built our house on the hilltop that he chose when he was just a kid; it has amazing 360 degree views.

Age? 37, shhhhhh

How many languages do you speak and what are they? I really only speak English, even though I have taken both Spanish and French in school. The only result of all those classes being the occasional foreign phrase that meanders into my dialog.

Do you play an instrument? Not proficiently. I have a piano that is yet another thing I wish I had time for.

Can you sing? Not that anyone will ever hear.

Let's Talk Business…

What’s a good story behind your craft and what got you started? There is no big story here. I have never seriously considered being anything but an artist. I admit that life's distractions have kept me from being consistent with my work, but I have a good momentum building now. Finally being settled in a studio and having the venues that are available online have given me the exposure I have been missing in such a small area of California. I joined Etsy earlier this year sort of as an experiment and have found tremendous opportunities and support through it.

Where do you get inspirations? All over, but here is a few- my figures are usually inspired from fashion magazines-addicted to Vogue and W. (I can't believe my Vogue Fall Fashion Issue has been sitting here over a week and I haven't even peeked.) My landscapes are sometimes specific c locations worked from photos, and sometimes they are imagined. I really just enjoy the experience of working with paint, creating colors and textures. I prefer to work in my studio from photographs-being on location limits me to whatever supplies I brought along. At home I can bounce from medium to medium layering textures and experimenting, it's far more freeing and expressive.

Does your family help with your business/hobby? So supportive in so many ways.

Do you like your craft/hobby? I have never considered anything else.

How do you market? I have a blog where I post work in progress and other news. I am on twitter where I can also post quick shots of a painting in progress and the occasional "check out my shop" but I try to keep that to a minimum. The sales and marketing aspect of this business is one part I do not embrace. I often wish for a studio apprentice who could do all the busy work of photographing, listing, tweeting, etc.

What gets neglected when you're tending to your shop or creating? I have almost forgotten what I used to do with all this time. One thing I do wish I had more time for is cooking-I love my kitchen and love making fancy food. We end up eating the same dinner too many nights because I doubled up knowing I wouldn't have time to prepare a new dish. I miss more work in the kitchen-does that make sense?

What are you future plans for your business? At this time I am working out the details for my second shop on Etsy, For this fall and holiday season I will be listing my fine crafts including my hand-painted glass ornaments. I have been making them for a few years and selling them locally at the gallery and SLO Art Center and doing well. I am still working out the best photo styling for them but I hope to start listing them soon.

Any bad experiences with Etsy…rude customers/bad buy? Like I said I haven't been on Etsy long and so far so good. I have heard some stories though...

For Fun…..

Are you awesome? I like to say "legendary"

When was the last time you had a staring contest? Does it count if my opponent was a kitten?

When was the last time you fell asleep with the TV on? The tougher question to answer would be "when was the last time you fell asleep WITHOUT the TV on?"

Do you believe in love at first sight? Si'

Are vampires real? I will say I own every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on DVD. And- I have considered downloading them from iTunes to watch on my iPhone. But I know those are just actors pretending to be vampires.

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster? I will never know the answer because I push it over and over until it comes.

Where you named after anyone? My father "John" must have wanted a son.

What is the first thing you notice about people? Whatever they shouldn't have chosen to wear that day.

What is on your mouse pad? A wave of course

If you were another person would you be friends with you? I would, but I would never see me. I am too busy.


Favorite number? Can't come up with one-I must not have one.

Favorite flower? Orchid-the more wicked and surreal looking the better.

Favorite color? The perfect shade of gray. It's particularly hard to find, but I have a pair of Cole Haan Biker boots that nailed it.

Favorite smells? Fresh pineapple, mmmmmm and citrus.

food? Is cappuccino a food?

Favorite Etsy shop? There are so many and I have a tendency to be a little fickle about favorites. I do have a couple of other painters I continue to enjoy - her work has great patterns - her style is consistent and dreamy

Favorite pass-time? I do love my television, and I wish I had more time to waste with Lego's.

Favorite memory? Memories are personal. Honestly-just reading that question created a storm of images in my head and I couldn't possibly narrow down.

Favorite YouTube video… (Please provide link)? I don't spend time on YouTube-but I do love a good recipe search on

Try these, AMAZING flavor


Becky said...

What a wonderful interview! I love all the light in your studio where you paint. Your kitties outside the door are just too cute. And the ornaments for your new shop are very beautiful. : )

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Fantastic--Sarah is as lovely as her work. :) The studio looks incredible, and ooo, living on an almond farm--so cool!

I now need motorcycle boots in gray, too. And to try those cheddar burgers. And can't wait to see the new shop!

PipingHotPapers and RunAliceRun said...

I wear something everyday that I probably shouldn't have (ask my daughter), but I don't care. Will you still be my friend??

glassetc said...

It's fun to get a glimpse of online friends that you have been communicating with for the past few months! Thanks for sharing with us Sarah!

JenSan Candles said...

Great interview Sarah. Loved learning about your creative process and your friends of the feline variety. So jealous of your wonderful work station. I'm really looking forward to your new Etsy store showcasing your beautiful ornaments.

Nancy said...

I love these interviews. It is great to 'meet' you Sarah! You're artwork is beautiful and I love the ornaments you'll be listing in your new shop. :)

Jewelbabe said...

Wonderful interview! Nice to get to know some of my team mates. I can only imagine your house sitting on top of the hill....sounds dreamy!

Jewelbabe said...

PS - jewelbabe is cyndiesmithdesigns, cleverly disguised!

Botanical Bird said...

I adore Sarah, she is a brilliant painter and I continue to keep an eye out for her latest work! I so enjoyed reading this interview and getting to know more about this amazing girl.
Your home and the view it affords sounds absolutely dreamy!
Bravo Sarah and keep on painting girlfriend!

Sarah John Afana said...

I have such fun friends here on my team-I am just so proud.
Thanks everyone, XOXO

adornyourself said...

Great feature, wonderful art.

michelle said...

i want to pick up all those kitties, all at once and squeeze them and kiss their little nose bridges!

heh.. says the crazy cat lady.

nice to meet you sarah!!

michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.