We work with a huge range of talented artists here at For The Love of The North, one of them being Sarah Farooqi. We’ve worked with Sarah on many occasions and she’s produced some of our most popular pieces. She has a very intricate style of work which both ourselves and our customers love.
Her love for drawing began as soon as she could hold a pencil - taking inspiration from her mum, who was always drawing and painting. She later went on to study A level art, then a foundation course in art and design at Cleveland College of Art and Design. Then BA Hons degree in graphic design/illustration at Leeds Metropolitan University, followed by a postgraduate diploma in animation at Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee (canny impressive!)
Having been born in the North East, and being where she currently lives, it was important to her that her work reflects her love of the area. She enjoys being out in the Northumberland landscape and so that's what she loves to paint. But busy towns like Alnwick and Morpeth, and Newcastle (of course) also hold a special place within her work. She grew up in Teesside and North Yorkshire, which she’s recently started painting too. Places mean a lot to her so it’s obvious why her work has this niche - it’s all about bringing happy memories to life and showing love for the places that have given those memories to us.
With that being said, location isn’t the only thing that inspires Sarah - when asked about other things that inspire her work she mentioned her favourite artists such as Alfred Wallis, a self-taught artist who spent most of his life as a fisherman and didn’t begin painting until his 70s, Arthur Rackham, an English illustrator best known for his fairytale book illustrations, and JRR Tolkien, the infamous writer of The Lord Of The Rings, whose antique maps undoubtedly inspire her own map creations.
Of course, we absolutely love working with Sarah and she’s expressed that she enjoys working with us too; “I really enjoy the working relationship with Lucy and Paul and their enthusiasm. When you are working on a commission, it's very different from doing your own thing. You are trying to express someone else's ideas and memories, and you often need to come out of your comfort zone. It's so satisfying when (hopefully!) you see the smile on their face at the end.”
It’s clear that working with smaller, indie businesses has it’s benefits for Sarah. Being a sole trader can sometimes feel a bit isolated, hence why getting the opportunity to collaborate and work with other creative people makes it all really enjoyable. Indie businesses need to be very creative and agile in order to survive, and we all have different perspectives, experiences and contacts which can be useful.
We’re already planning what’s to come next for Sarah at FTLOTN as she never fails to come up with some brilliant ideas. There’s been talk of more detailed maps/townscapes of our favourite coastal areas plus there’s even been mention of a detailed jigsaw puzzle.. let us know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!
As we include a little tourist tip in every order we send out, we asked her for her ultimate tourist tip to give to our readers, here’s what she said: “If you like peace and quiet, beautiful gardens, a huge arboretum and the best cup of tea in Northumberland, go to Howick Hall. You can also do a long walk down to the beach and back.”
Make sure to check out her designs as if you’re a lover of detailed watercolour designs and paying homage to the north, you’ll definitely find something beautiful about Sarah’s work.