Sarrita King: Fire And What It Is To Be Human

Sarrita King - Fire

In this interview, Sarrita King talks about the Elements series and the Fire story, as well as the influences of her father William King Jungala and sister Tarisse King.

I’ll tell you a story.

It brings a smile to my face because it’s so much about my Dad.

He would always invite people in by telling a story to people. A story so true, so undeniable, it connected people and affected people in all walks of life.

People can’t help but have an emotional response to it because they can feel it too.

Dad used to say that if you were sitting around a fire now, with your family, with your friends, on a cold night, you get this amazing warmth, you can feel it even now.

What do you feel when you sit around a fire when you’re in good company?

You might feel warmth, comfort. Real life source that engages and brings people together. It’s a comfort.

Dad would say that thousands of years ago our ancestors would sit around a fire and feel that exact same emotion, that exact same comfort, that same feeling.

It’s a tiny bit of genetics that’s still left from your ancestors. It’s changed through so many years, but yet you get that exact same feeling.

That feeling is what it is to be human.

It is to feel connected. It is community. You feel something elemental, a life-giving element.

That feeling connects us all. We all know that feeling. We all cherish that feeling now, as they did then. It’s something so special. And to be able to capture it in an artwork and promote that feeling even now, connect with people even now through that story, it’s timeless, it’s beautiful.

In these artworks, what we’ve got is one of my sister’s works and one of my artworks.

They’re both called Fire and are both from the Elements series.

What I wanted to focus on is showing you different execution and techniques. Yet the story is the same.

It’s a series about fathers. Both of us paint the same story our father passed down.

In the same series, there is Water. This has more of a blue hue.

Bush, which is a beautiful green.

Sand, which is yellow.

There are two Fires. My sister Tarisse’s work is very much the same as my Dad’s artwork. He passed down his techniques to her.

Tarisse 12660

In Dad’s way, he was trying to create depth, and he used to do that in his Elements series using layers of dots. What you can see here I think is five or six different layers graduating from the deepest colour to the lightest. Tarisse uses these in a layering technique to draw you in and then but to also feel that energy of the fire running across the canvas.

Therese’s layering is at its depth a very deep magenta, an adaptation of Dads. When you look at Fire, you automatically think of Dad’s reds, but he found the magenta not only brought the eye in but it also gave this beautiful background to the whole canvas that didn’t overpower like a strong red would. Then it goes all the way out to a very, very light small speckling of the very light yellow. That’s how Dad taught Tarisse to paint the Fire series.

When Dad used to use those techniques, and what he’s passed through to Tarisse, is actually about the energy of the fire. When you look at Tarisse’s artwork alongside say a Water of the same series, they’ve got the same technique and execution using the five layers, but such a different energy created through almost the composition of those fibres almost running in and out on the canvas.

When you look at my artwork over here, I’ve tried to create that depth, but I’ve done that through the layering of dots and a layer on the top with fine line work.

Sarrita 12631

In true keeping with Dad’s style, he worked alongside me and he was always about adding layers and depth to an artwork. I’ve actually got a whole layer of orange and yellow dots and a whole layer of red dots underneath the whole canvas, that’s where I originally start. Then the technique of over the top using the line work to create that same energy that Dad would, but to create warmth and almost the ferocity of a fire through the open flame leaping up the canvas.

Much like Tarisse’s style, if you saw my other artwork from the same series of Elements, instead of using different open expanses and movement of those lines, I use my line work to dictate the difference between my elements and the colouring.

That’s the Fire series. That’s two different techniques, yet the same story.

How do these paintings make you feel?

Out of all of the Elements, I gravitate towards Fire because of how much they meant to my Dad. It was his original series and it was his drawing card and it was his introduction to invite people into the Aboriginal culture and also into his world and why he loved and was so passionate about the arts. Personally, I gravitate towards Tarisse’s, because of all of the paintings that she does that is the same as Dad’s, I find that her Fires have this amazing raw energy that my Dad instilled in every one of his artworks. She’s lost a bit of that because she’s so precise.

Hers are beautifully executed, but the rawness of the fire is still there and still rages so it still connects me to my Dad. Just viewing one of Tarisse’s paintings makes me transport to a time when he would talk about the Elements series and why it connects to everybody on this human level.

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