City Lit Blog

Q&A with Sarah Lang - Fine Art 2018

Story added 11th Jun 2018

Anouk, Sarah Lang, City Lit Fine Art 2018


With the City Lit Fine Art (CLFA) Show opening in July we caught up with exhibiting student Sarah Lang about her work, experience of the course and plans for the future.


What inspired you to sign up to the Fine Art course at City Lit?

I am a self-taught artist and had been working on my own in my studio. It was quite solitary and I felt I was beginning to plateau in terms of progress and that I would benefit from being part of a group as well as being able to access feedback from more experienced artists. The CLFA course had a varied first year and the tutors were highly recommended and I thought that working on a supported project in the second year would also really help me develop my practice.

What was your background prior to signing up to your course at City Lit?

I did an MA in French and business, worked abroad, went into advertising, then started my own children’s company before giving everything up, taking my children out of school and travelling the world for a year with them and my husband. When I got back I took the artistic plunge.

Have you always had a passion for art and design, or is it something that has developed more recently?

I loved art at school and wanted to do it for A Level but I also wanted to go to university and back then the two were not compatible so I had to give up art. I’ve always wanted toget back to it and about five years ago when the family and I returned from our years travels I did a course at my local adult education college and then applied to art school. I hadn’t realised quite how expensive a second degree would be so I decided to get a studio and start working on my own.

Ahead of the forthcoming exhibition, can you tell us a little more about your final project and the influences behind it?

My project is focused on the the girls football club that I started five years ago in Tower Hamlets and in particular the original group of girls that started the club with me. I grew up abroad and thought it was normal for girls to play sport and I’ve been fascinated by how little provision there is for girls sport in the UK, particularly girls who do not show innate talent. In football not only are there limited opportunities for girls there are few ordinary female role models (most grass roots female football is run and coached by men) and there is still this victorian hangover that there is something unfeminine about girls being involved in sport and in particular football. (Female football was banned by the FA in 1921, three years after women were first given the vote, and this ban wasn’t lifted until 1971). The project examines external factors that affect the girls involvement with the game as well as looking at them as players and people.

How has the course transformed your approach to your work? Has it helped you with mapping out your future goals in any way?

I love painting and that is what I mostly do but being involved in this course has given me the confidence to allow the project to develop and find it’s own medium. This project can’t be a pure painting or drawing project but I think previously I would have tried to force it into that mould. Now I’m quite happy to allow it freedom to be expressed in the most appropriate way and that has meant the bulk of work has been digital; photography, photoshop and film.

The course has made me even more determined to pursue my dream of building a career as a fine artist and has made me more confident. I no longer doubt the value of my pursuit of my artistic vision.

What’s the dynamic like on the course?

One of the best things about this course has been the amazing group of people on it. All of us work in different ways and are inspired by different things but it has been an incredibly supportive and nurturing atmosphere where we have encouraged each other to try new things, make mistakes and widen our experience. We have really gelled as a group and I feel that moving forward I will have a group of peers that I can work with to critique and develop my work as well as collaborate with to show work.

What’s the best thing about studying at City Lit?

Apart from the other students I’ve enjoyed the variety of tutors that we have had over the last two years. In particular I have enjoyed exploring the more formal aspects of painting and drawing with Chris Hough and Tony Hull. Learning about film and digital art as well as exploring ideas of feminist art and studio practice with Monica has also been a highlight. Chris Hough has also worked a lot with us on how to prepare for a show which has given us an insight on curation and how to mount and display our work as well as how to use websites, press releases and catalogues to promote it.

Finally, have you got any exciting plans going forward?

Thanks to the support and encouragement of the group I submitted work to the Bow Arts Trust Open exhibition and am really excited that one of my paintings has been chosen for the 'Invitation to a Rave' show curated by Mark Titchner which is at The Nunnery Gallery from July 5th to August 26th 2018. And of course I am really looking forward to the CLFA final year show.

For more images of Sarah's work see her website  or follow her on Instagram.


City Lit Fine Art Show
Tuesday 17- Sunday 22 July 2018 (Tue-Sat 12:00-19:00 Sun 12:00-17:00)
Private View: Thursday 19 July 18:00-21:00
Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 7DG