Sara Baker is a Creswell artist whose work has been featured in art shows, online and in big-box stores like Walmart and Kirkland Home Stores.
Creswell artist Sara Baker never saw herself as someone who would be creating artwork for a gallery that only a small sect of the population could afford. She said that artists don’t have to fall into the “starving artist stereotype.”
“That’s the biggest reward of this journey,” she said. “The discovery that there’s so many opportunities for artists. There’s not just one way has to live as an artist and that’s something I’m trying to share with young people.”
Baker, who owns Pink Pinecone Studios, sells her artwork at local shops, online and in big box stores like: Walmart, Kirkland Home Stores and Hobby Lobby.
Drawn to art her whole life, Baker was able to pursue her passion for art with an anonymous scholarship to the University of Oregon, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts and business. When she graduated, however, she didn’t know what to do with her degree and decided to work in a dental office.
It was seven years later, after hardly creating anything, that she realized she needed a change.
“During that time if I went to an art gallery or saw someone creating art, I could feel part of me dying,” she said. “It was so painful. I just knew that a huge part of me was missing. I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do.”
After her second child, Baker decided she needed to get back to art. She “took a huge leap of faith” and left her job to start her studio.
Baker sold her work online first, but then she started to look into more ways to get involved in the arts and crafts industry. She entered an Art Deco contest and was runner-up, which put her in contact with a freelance artist program. She went on to license her work and employ a publishing house to help get larger clients.
Last year she had three of her pieces in Walmart; a theme that has continued this year as well. Baker also works with a company that sets up artists to design textiles, which are also available online.
“It wasn’t like this 10 to 20 years ago,” she said, explaining that publishers are now finding artists through social media and signing them. “Pretty much all the artwork you see in any big store is done by someone like me who works with an agent and a publisher.”
Baker describes her work as “playful and full of color” and commonly features nature or fauna.
She wrote on her website that she believes that everything in nature has a story to tell and she loves the challenge of capturing a moment and retelling it in her work.
“My hope is that when people view my art they will be able to feel the life behind it, and that it helps them connect with nature even if in a small way,” she wrote.
Baker said there’s a place for all different kinds of art and it’s OK to paint pretty things for the sake of it being pretty. She also enjoys being able to share her art with “anyone and everyone.”
“The fact they can go to Walmart and buy something for $8 and that makes them happy, to have a piece of that in their home,” she said. “It means just as much as someone who wants to commission something unique from me. That’s the most rewarding.”