Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
From the Inside Out
Creating art is the best way to explore what it is to be human, says Sara Claire Chambless. She approaches a blank canvas with a question fueled by an emotion. Her muse often speaks through song. She takes brush in hand, puts a particular song on repeat on her iPod, and approaches the canvas. “How many times do you listen to it? A dozen?” “How about 400?!,” she replies.
Long History, Early Acclaim
A painter since childhood, she creates abstract, sumptuous blends of color and texture, already included in group exhibitions in her hometown of Atlanta. An agent now handles her business, which leaves her free for schoolwork and painting. “One of my greatest influences is the 20th-century abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, who said ‘Today painters do not have to go to a subject matter outside of themselves. Most painters work from a different source. They work from within.’”
Davidson Trusted Her
She was flattered to receive Davidson’s James G. Pepper Visual Arts Scholarship, but that wasn’t the only reason she declares, “I didn’t want to go to college if I couldn’t go to Davidson.”
Serious Art, Serious Academics
Davidson takes art seriously. It’s an academic major, and it’s hard. Ask Sara Claire or any art major about “the list.” You better know your artists—all of them! She also loves the fact that the visual arts faculty all create art themselves. “That’s a good sign of how much they love it.” She also believes other scholarly influences are necessary to nurture her creative process. “So much of my art comes out of classes like philosophy, history and English. I was afraid that if I attended a conservatory rather than a liberal arts college, I’d be concentrating more on what a painting looks like than what it’s about.”
She hasn’t been disappointed in her choice. “Every kid here has a niche and is doing something special or incredible. When we come together, it’s real synergy. We all feed off each other. Everyone is driven, but kind, and has high moral standards—the kind of people I want to be around.”