A headshot of Sarah Louise Wilson.

Art by Sarah Louise Wilson: An Interview

Sarah Louise Wilson is an artist based in California. She writes, directs, produces, paints, and acts. Her courage puts her on an edge that cannot be fabricated; rather, it comes as a natural part of who she is and what she stands for.

In 2010, with her company Stella Bella Productions, she penned and starred in her pseudo-autobiographical romantic comedy “Jelly,” starring Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black) and Hollywood icon Ed McMahon. The script alone attracted name talent and funded the film into release. After screening in competition at several renowned film festivals, the film went on to win four Accolade awards and is represented by Cinetic Media. It has since been released on Netflix, Fancast, Hulu, PBS, and The Sundance Channel.

Throughout her career, Sarah wrote and directed short films, plays, music videos, documentaries— Anything she could get her hand on. In early 2016, when Sarah was living in Almaty, Kazakhstan, she shot her feature film No Exit entirely on location. The movie went on to win multiple awards and was written up by Esquire, Good Housekeeping, and Variety. To learn more, visit her website.

We’re also very excited to share an interview that dives deeper into Sarah Louise Wilson’s art. This interview was conducted via email by our Art Editor, Khanh Nguyen.

Khanh Nguyen: What is the difference between how you tell a story in your paintings versus in your films? 

Sarah Louise Wilson: In films, you have millions of pictures to tell a story but in painting, you only have one. 

KN: What kinds of stories do you like to tell? What is the importance of telling those stories?

SLW: I like to tell stories about hope because the world is bleak enough. 

KN: How has painting influenced your film-making and vice versa?

SLW: Painting teaches me to be visually concise in filmmaking. Filmmaking helps me to understand light. 

KN: Some of your work, like “She is Palestine,” features subjects outside of the United States. You also worked in Kazakhstan for a while and held an exhibition there in 2015. What interests you and inspires you about non-American subjects?

SLW: I’m interested in understanding the human condition as much as possible. 

KN: Much of your art focuses on honoring past and current African American icons and social justice leaders. What does this work mean to you personally, and how do you think this work affects the fight for social justice?

SLW: Some of my work, as of late, does honor past and current African American icons because I find their point of view to be exciting and enlightening. I do not think my work alone affects the fight for social justice. I believe the collective work of artists expressing like-minded issues that need a spotlight, can affect the fight for social justice. 

KN: What does your work space look like?

SLW: Messy when working. Clean when not because I like to make a mess.