"Sally Can't Dance" — Sarah Goodyear Art

Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know an amazing artist, Sarah Goodyear, who I first met at Pink Moon Festival in 2010. At the time, she was living in, and selling her art out of, her van. Since then, she has graduated from an unofficial to a very official vendor — I caught her selling from a booth at Electric Forest ‘12 and a double-wide booth at Aura MusicFestival ‘13.

Sarah has been an artist her entire life. She started out drawing and made the move to painting at the age of 19. After two years of college, questioning the amount of money she was spending on a degree that she wasn’t even sure how she’d use (biology, to be specific), she “took some time off” and poured herself completely into her art. She started painting constantly and has been doing so ever since.

Seeing other artists selling prints at festivals, Sarah got the idea to make her own, and she set up shop for the first time at Pink Moon. She continued on the festival circuit, and “bootlegged” several in 2011. She managed to get booths at a few small festivals, but stayed mostly informal, setting up at campsites and in high-traffic areas.

Over time, though, the frustrations of being an unofficial vendor — being pestered by security, on the spot logistics, etc. — pushed her to take the step and become official. “It really pays off,” Sarah says. “You get a lot more attention, and you’re guaranteed a central spot where everybody is.”

Sarah currently lives in Boone, N.C., and still sells on the street to local tourists and college students. Her friends call her Sally, hence the name “Sally Can’t Dance,” which is also the name of a Lou Reed album. She says she gets inspired when people compliment her existing art; it gives her the push to keep making more. “I just pull inspiration from wherever, ‘cause I pretty much paint on a daily basis, so it just comes out of my brain.”

Painting: Fukushima by Sarah Goodyear
Sarah has this advice for anyone looking to become a career artist:
“Don’t even try to think of it as a career. At least for me, I never thought of it as a way to make money. When you really put your heart and soul in it and you really love to do it and you do it all the time, that’s just, I don’t know … I never went to art school, but I do a lot of art, so I just learn by doing it. I really think that helps keep your own direction, rather than learning what other people have done, which helps, but … it’s easier to take my own direction, without other people’s instruction. So … I don’t know if that’s advice, but that’s my piece on that.”
I find myself so inspired by Sarah’s story. To me, she is proof that hard work, dedication, and sacrifice really do pay off, and that true passion ultimately brings us the things we desire. You can find her art online at sgoodyearart.com or on Facebook.
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