Sarah Beetson is a British Illustrator & Artist based in Australia

Sarah Beetson

b. 1981, Manchester UK

Sarah Beetson is a British Artist and Illustrator based in Australia. She graduated  with a 1st class honours in Illustration from Falmouth University, Cornwall, UK in 2002 and won the Pentland Prize for Fine Art the same year, creating large scale tennis and ski themed paintings for the brand Ellesse for the Pentland HQ. She then spent 4 years in London working in fashion, styling, lllustration and design in-house at Yellowdoor (Mary Portas), Pop and The Face magazines, and completed a 7 month print design internship at Stella McCartney, in the early days of the label. A commission followed to decorate the walls of the shoe room of Stella’s Bruton Street shop. Sarah was then offered an embroidery placement at Dior in Paris under her hero John Galliano, but was unable to take it due to insurance issues, so instead began selling hand painted and printed t-shirts and clothing with her designs in Camden Market. She is pretty sure she sold Amy Winehouse her first pair of ballet slippers (but can’t be certain!)

Since then, Sarah has built a career as a freelance Artist and Illustrator, exhibiting work in London, Paris, Portland, New York, Ottawa, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong, Brisbane and The Gold Coast, and has been documented in a wealth of books on the subject of illustration, published from Taiwan to Argentina to Germany and the USA, including 3 titles by TASCHEN. Her extensive illustration clientele includes The Telegraph and The Times (UK), Smithsonian Mag, MAC Cosmetics, Netflix, Havaianas AU, Big Issue AU, Penguin Books (USA), New York Magazine / The Cut, Scholastic, Walker Books, The British Fashion Council, The Miami Herald, The Globe and Mail (Canada), Philadelphia Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Dove/Ogilvy Toronto, Garnier Paris, Comic Relief, Compendium Inc, EMI Records, Amanda Palmer / Dresden Dolls, Die Roten Punkte, Trader Joe’s, Delta Airlines, US Airways, Ford Germany, Monoprix, Ernst & Julio Gallo wines, Ellesse, La Perla, Diesel Jeans, St George Bank, Dreamworld, Gold Coast City Council and Perth Fashion Week.

Sarah’s second solo exhibition; “50 Bucks: Bring On The Sluts” featured an Art Vending machine, donated by Pepsi and painted by the artist, with artworks being sold from the machine inside a cola bottle for $50 a pop. Her 3rd show: “YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU EAT” provided a commentary on eating disorders, the fashion industry and the media. It was shortlisted for the Erin Svigos award at The 2010 Adelaide Fringe and was part of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Sarah’s 4th Solo Exhibition “I Dream In Celluloid” explored the content of dreams and the movies she watched via a dream sketchbook, giant quilt and stop motion animation. It won Creative Review UK’s Best in Book and was nominated for the Stan & Maureen Duke Prize in Australia. In March 2012, Sarah exhibited her work as part of Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Fair at Somerset House, London; creating Live Portraits of visitors throughout. She exhibited at several of the Supergraph graphic arts fairs in Melbourne.

She was shortlisted for the $50,000 Metro Award in 2012, and won Creative Review’s Best in Book for Illustration in 2011. Her 5th solo show “All Of The Places That I have Lived” was shown at 19 Karen, Gold Coast, Australia in 2013, and featured 30+ self portraits contained within the framework of each dwelling she has inhabited, having moved house more than 17 times across 2 continents. In summer 2013, Sarah was invited to exhibit her first solo show in Paris, at Galerie Claude-Samuel, Viaduc Des Arts, entitled: “Rainbowspective”. She was invited to exhibit at the UK industry group show ‘Illustrated London’ 2017, at Truman Brewery, and was awarded Best in Show. She has exhibited at several editions of The Other Art Fair in both Sydney and Melbourne on numerous occasions.

In summer 2014, Sarah completed a 3-month artist residency in Coney Island, NY, USA, a place in which she finds much inspiration from this decaying paradise of amusements in terms of colour and hand made lettering and signage. The project was paid for entirely by crowdfunding. She returned in summer 2015, again in 2016 upon invitation to show her Polaroids short film at Coney Island Film festival, and in 2018 having created the poster for the 36th annual Mermaid Parade, featuring Queen Mermaid and King Neptune Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. In 2019 Sarah completed her final Coney Island Summer Residency and followed up with a short artist residency in Blackpool, UK – Coney’s Atlantic sibling and the site of many of Sarah’s childhood memories of the British fairground.

During the Covid lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, Sarah created a large number of face masks made to order and sold from her online shop. In 2021 her son Beetson arrived and she spent her pregnancy and maternity leave creating a triptych of large scale paintings of Australian native flowers entitled “In Bloom”, reflecting the experience of pregnancy and matrescence, and much of the painting itself was done one leaf/petal at a time with a newborn nestled in a pouch between Sarah and her work. The 3 paintings sold before her gallery, 19 Karen, could even hang them in an show.

In 2022 and 2023, Sarah partnered with Korean company Arkpia to create her first range of NFTs, to be released soon. She is currently working on a series of painted polaroids entitled “Post Pandemic.”

Sarah’s work is Preoccupied with the Politics and Perversities of Popular Culture. She lives with her family on a picturesque farm in sunny Queensland, Australia, where her studio is a stones throw from her front door and her toddler frequently visits to bring her gum nuts he has collected, or to steal her Copic markers for his own little art desk.

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