Sarah Lapp

Virginia, USA

abstract expressionist and contemporary pop artist
I connect to and process my world by creating my art. My work consists of two overlapping bodies, one strictly abstract, and one in which I introduce imagery and abstract it and the landscape that it exists in.

Sarah Lapp – abstract expressionist!

As an intuitive painter, I bring forth completely non representational pieces when I can reach into the deep corners of myself and find what is there. I use imagery as departure points for work when my world has piled up and blocked the conversations from those recesses where my intuition takes full control and I can’t readily reach what is stored there. Both forms lead me to resolution of what I am making sense of. Both connect bits and pieces of experience and life and allow me to reflect. I nurture both processes as they serve as tools to tenaciously create and make sense of life as it unfolds.

At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I have always been drawn to art and mesmerized by how it can create an emotion or a sense of connection, but I didn’t understand the nuts and bolts of this if you will until I was older. I grew up in rural Wyoming where the only art I was exposed to was very realistic, and you couldn’t imagine how it was constructed because it lacked an signs of the hand. The two outliers to this were the illustrations that existed in books, and the train cars that traversed the Wyoming landscape. They were both evidence of people passionate about and making work somewhere in a world that felt completely removed from my own. It wasn’t until I actually attended school to get my undergrad in Studio Art that I was exposed to the parameters of the visual language and multiple mediums that I was able to make work that I felt was emotive, and my early inspirations of illustration and the gritty, playful and saturated colors of graffiti art have carried through into my work now as an MFA student.

What is the earliest artwork you did that you can remember?

I made many successful pieces before this, but many years ago I made a piece called “Bold Stories” that was about my grandfathers and their relationships to the American railway system. One of my grandfathers would read The Little Engine That Could both to me and to my mother. The other, whom I never was able to meet, worked coupling and uncoupling rail cars in the first half of the twentieth century. This piece tied the iconography of the rail system together with the characters of two men in my family that were full of hard work and grit and whose life stories I hold very dear.

Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?

I have always loved Robert Rauschenberg, and much of the work I did before entering grad school makes that very apparent. I remember the first time I saw his 1959 piece “Dam” at the Hirshhorn. I could have just stood there for hours. It is amazing how you can see a piece on a screen a hundred times and then when you actually view it in person it is an incredibly more involved experience. There are so many artists I am looking at now as I pursue my MFA, mostly pop artists and German expressionists as well as a heavy interest on installation.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Some of my work is very abstract expressionist, some leans away from this and is more focused on contemporary pop art.

When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?

I sold my first piece completely by accident. Someone had seen an image I put online of an abstract work called “Lights From Yard Six” and contacted me to purchase it. It’s always a neat feeling when you know that something you created and are passionate about has connected to another person enough that they want to bring it into their space.

What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?

I usually have two or three going at a time. Part of this is just the logistics of being mostly an oil painter and the necessity to allow for dry time if a piece is going to have multiple layers. Another reason is that sometimes I will have a piece I need to work through immediately when the concept occurs to me, and lots of times a resolution in one piece will carryover into another because of this.

How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?

Oh man, it sounds like a cop out to say everywhere, but this is the truth. I do lots of human development and communication research and am really interested in how one part of life fits into or influences another without us really thinking about it on a conscious level.  I keep a rolling tab of life experiences, and cultural iconography in my head and in numerous sketchbooks and search tabs. Each piece I make brings a conversation about several others to my mind so there’s a lot of editing as to which project takes precedence next.

Tell us a bit about your personal life ...

I have an ambitious and rewarding life. I work as a full time artist, I am currently pursuing my MFA in visual arts, and I have three great kids.

“I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.” ~ Frida Kahlo

A few pieces from Sarah Lapp’s gallery

Fields in Blue


More about Sarah Lapp

Shows & Exhibitions

Selected Exhibitions:

2017: Bilocular: VanDernoot Gallery, Cambridge MA

2017: Sarah Lapp at The Sunken Well, Fredericksburg, VA

2016: Sarah Lapp at Morin Gallery Satellite, Orange, VA

2015: In The Light National Exhibit: Juried by BJ Kocen and Jennifer Glave, Fredericksburg Center For The Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA

2015: June 2015 Regional Exhibit: Juried by Joseph DiBella, Fredericksburg Center For The Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA

2015: Uniquely Fredericksburg: Juried by JeanAnn Dabb, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Fredericksburg, VA

2015: Celebrate Color and Form National Exhibit: Juried by Margery E. Goldberg, Fredericksburg Center For The Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA

2013: Slice of Life, Linus Galleries, Pasadena, CA

2013: Summer Juried Show, Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA

2013: June 2013 Regional Exhibit: Juried by Jon McMillan, Fredericksburg Center For the Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA

2011: Summer Juried Show, Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA

2011: Outlandish: Contemporary Depictions of Nature, Stremmel Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA

2010: Annual University of Mary Washington Juried Show: duPont Gallery, Fredericksburg, VA


Residencies: Artist in Residence, Arts Habitat, Seaside, CA

Positions: Board of Directors, Arts Equity, Monterey, CA

Awards: In The Light National Exhibit: Juried by BJ Kocen and Jennifer Glave, Fredericksburg Center For The Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA, Second place

  • June 2015 Regional Exhibit: Juried by Joseph DiBella, Fredericksburg Center For The Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA, Second place

Uniquely Fredericksburg: Juried by JeanAnn Dabb, Central