Sarah René Kraft is a fantasy-surrealist illustrator from Sacramento, CA, where she spends much of her time drinking tea, giving unsolicited mythology lessons, and talking at cats.
The masks, birds, keys, arrows, tree roots, flowers, white gowns, and layered mythological references in her work harken back to a lonely childhood spent absorbed in fairytales, reading mythology, avoiding the sounds of adults, and exploring antiques in the empty rooms of large houses. There she nurtured a hobby in banditry, borrowing keys to locked bookcases before stealing away with any found books of art or poetry.
As the years passed, Sarah's childhood awkwardness grew into a fully realized case of acute anxiety. Rambling without saying hardly anything at all, she found it harder and harder to remain present and mindful, her thoughts taking flight and ever soaring toward darker horizons paved with darker possibilities. Those were dark days indeed.
Years later, it was through art that Sarah finally found a voice. Sketching became a meditative therapy in which a vocabulary of symbols emerged, repeating themselves and begging for acknowledgment. Masks, ribbons, birds, arrows, flowers, trees, a girl, a satyr, a lock, a key… A story emerged. It was from this collection of visual metaphors that the “Lemniscus” project was born: the story of a red ribbon and its ability to both restrict and make ties.
In Chinese folklore, it was believed that fate was a red string that connected and ran through everything. Though Sarah does not identify as a champion for the idea of pre-destiny, she does believe that choices made today bind and limit the choices available tomorrow. Lemniscus (Latin for "a ribbon") explores these false limitations, the ties that bind, and the restrictions we place on ourselves--fragile things which are easily broken or cut, if only they weren't so lovely and integral.
Drawn using only red and blue double-ended pencil, these "ribbon pieces" exist as a visual vocabulary, a wordless story of loss, isolation, and triumph on the path to recovery and personal betterment.
Following a high-functioning bipolar diagnosis, blending the red and the blue was a very purposeful way for Sarah to discover balance within the self. It was clumsy at first, switching between the colors with careful intention. But over time, Sarah became so adept at drawing with both sides of the pencil she no longer notices herself flipping the pencil in her hand. "Both the red and blue are a part of me, ever present in the fabric of my work."
Now through projects like ''Lemniscus: The Ribbon Book'' and ''Lemniscus: The Ribbon Tarot," Sarah aims to create a sense of connection in a world too often unnerved by openness and feeling. Here, she invites you to peek beneath the masks of her stark, marble-like figures to a world filled with whimsy and heartbreak, with growth and deep reflection, where intimacy and isolation often occupy the same space and where both bonds and stigmas are painted as illusory and as fragile as ribbon.
Sarah René Kraft—
Freelance illustrator, comic colorist, writer, mythology buff, & cat enthusiast