Sarah Jane Szikora

Taking The Waters by Sarah Jane Szikora
Rude Food by Sarah Jane Szikora
Home Sweet  Home - Canvas by Sarah Jane Szikora
Home Sweet  Home by Sarah Jane Szikora
Pet Grooming by Sarah Jane Szikora
Land Of Hope And Glory (Canvas) by Sarah Jane Szikora
Land Of Hope And Glory by Sarah Jane Szikora
Sweet Music (Canvas) by Sarah Jane Szikora
Sweet Music by Sarah Jane Szikora
The Merry Widow (Canvas) by Sarah Jane Szikora
The Merry Widow by Sarah Jane Szikora
Mischief Of Mice (Canvas) by Sarah Jane Szikora
We Are Not Amused - Canvas by Sarah Jane Szikora
Bed Springs by Sarah Jane Szikora
She of plump ladies with miniscule, perspective-skewed heads and the continued adventures of almost animated gingerbread folk and various other gloriously addictive foodstuffs, contemporary figurative artist, greetings card designer, sculptures and Royal Worcester ceramic art-creator, Sarah Jane Szikora, has a welcome habit of almost imagining/comparing her celebrated confectionary treats as akin to food pornography; courtesy of course of gratifying visual wit and graphic warmth. Born in County Durham in 1971, Szikora is now synonymous with the humourous (and sometimes ever so slightly contentious) portrayal of the human condition and the somewhat ordinary situations in which we find ourselves. Instantly identifiable by her gregarious and occasionally controversy-courting gingerbread peeps alongside of her shockingly exaggerated fat ladies, Szikora is adamant and single-minded in her aim of promoting a more body confident, image liberated womankind who essentially appreciate the figure they have. Ultimately Szikora wants us all to smile and be grateful for what we were born with. Not a lot to ask for is it?

Szikora knows only too well of where an unhealthy obsession with weight and public perceptions can land you, having struggled with eating disorders from her teens to her early thirties, so doesn’t approach this illustrative subject matter glibly or without education, yet it was another illness which began when Szikora was a youngster that first took her mind off in an artistic direction. At the tender age of just 4, and lying in a hospital bed with bandaged eyes, post optical surgery, Szikora found herself with a crayon in her bored little hand and started drawing pictures then and there.

With 11 siblings jostling for her Anglo-Hungarian parent’s attentions at any one time , Szikora instead chose to content herself with sketching the likeness of whatever took her fancy in her immediate surrounds as a youngster and let the others fight it out amongst themselves. In terms of early inspirations, family trips to her father’s native Hungary brought with it exposure to what Szikora referred to as ‘larger than life men and women’, in perhaps more ways than one, who provided a constant source of figurative muses for her canvas paintings.

Secondary school wasn’t really for Szikora, with the obvious exceptions of art and music classes, and she elected to drop out early than expected to pursue a foundation art and design course at Harrogate College instead. It was there that Szikora first became interested in sculpture and photography, alongside of various other creative disciplines which opened up her eyes to a whole new world. A contemporary art world that she very much wanted to be a part of at some point. Having said this, the life drawing classes were where Szikora’s main focus of attention lay, as well as illustration studies which formed part of her curriculum at the Cleveland College of Art which she attended thereafter.

On leaving higher education, Szikora didn’t make the immediate transition into professional art as she’d hoped, and instead her painting took something of a back seat for a period as she set up a business hand-crafting papier-mâché models. This turned out to be relatively successful, and for the following couple of years Szikora made her living from this alternative channel of creativity, until she started to showcase some of the paintings that she’d originated back at art school at the same time. An instant hit, Szikora’s canvases – predominantly depicting big boned women - shifted like the proverbial hot cakes, and subsequently instigated something of a cathartic moment in Szikora’s artistic life and times.

Szikora’s game-plan as such took on a whole different perspective then, as her partner grasped the nettle and attempted to gain exposure for the budding figurative artist’s portfolio, initially in the commercial context greetings card designs. Shortly after, Szikora enlisted the help of an art agent, who in tandem with team Szikora started opening up potentially lucrative doors; especially those to the Halcyon Gallery. Which in turn orchestrated an introduction to Washington Green in 1995; arguably one of the UK’s foremost fine art publishers, who collaborate with a host of galleries and venues throughout the land. Since then, Szikora’s work has been showcased in Harrods and Selfridges, as well as countless prime-time exhibitions in various high profile venues populated by the industry’s movers and shakers. In addition to this, Szikora creations have been subjected to replication as limited edition prints, stationery, jigsaws, books, sculptures and even Royal Worcester ceramic ware.

Addressing Szikora’s trademark artistic style in more detail, it’s clear to see that her large ladies and assortments of confectionary temptations have developed and evolved, with both the elaborateness and quirkiness being ramped up in the visual process, as the serial fusing of the fuller figures with the more considered, albeit animated edible items on the illustrative menu take on even greater graphic prominence. And although there’s no denying that Szikora’s well documented experiences with bulimia have been the influence behind her compositions, there’s equally no getting away from the underlying fact that she’s strived to reverse the negative feelings and emotions encountered by women in direct relation to their perceived body image. On the other hand, and looking at artistic inspiration, and Szikora name checks risqué figurative artist with a wickedly funny human touch, Thomas Rowlanson as the real deal, whilst being a lover of humour in all of its shapes and sizes comes a close second, gaining insight from books, TV, films, fashion, interior design and perpetual human behavioural patterns witnessed in everyday situations, per se.

View All Art Works By Sarah Jane Szikora