The word “art” or “painting” might at first bring to mind scenes from Van Gogh, da Vinci or standard soft colors on canvas, but there is not one definition of art that applies to all creations. Art encompasses anything from the imagination that is outwardly expressed. Styles, methods and even the surfaces or mediums used are as unique as the art itself. 


A surrealist artist by the name of Sabrina Fountain creates pieces that would definitely stand out had she been born in a different era. The images she paints are bright, bold and bubbling with emotion.



“I’ve been knowingly drawn to surrealism ever since I was in high school. Seeing paintings from famous surrealist artists like Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte really made me want to dive into that type of expression. I think it stems from the vivid dreams I had as a child. Unfortunately, I don’t really have them anymore,” Fountain shares. “The dreams really didn’t make any sense, but it felt like a part of me always lived in that world. I was a quiet kid. I still struggle with talking to people to this day. I feel surrealism allows me to show the emotions I would otherwise find difficult to express to people in real life. I also like that surrealist painting looks different to everyone, and it could be up to interpretation.”


A self-proclaimed artist by the time she was a toddler, Fountain has been creating for as long as she can remember. Professionally speaking, she would say that she’s been in the field for around two years. In those two years, Fountain has been putting her art out into the world through her Etsy page and social media. Rather than doing traditional framed canvases, Fountain puts out smaller works on a surface that wouldn’t be expected.



“I liked the idea of including little slices of my brain in my shop, and I thought painting on wood slices would be a nice introduction. It’s now my absolute favorite surface to paint on because it’s so smooth and holds detail super well. Sometimes the wood grain shows through and that adds some interesting textures. Lately, I’ve been painting on some cool wood shapes,” Fountain says.


Although she’s enjoying her use of the wood slices, she would eventually like to transition back to canvases to practice painting larger images and growing more comfortable in that area. Whichever surface she puts her brush to, the foundation of her art, her mind, is whether the process begins.



“Something that has always helped me was keeping an ‘ugly’ sketchbook. It’s a safe place to harbor your mental vomit. Nobody needs to see it! It’s such a great way to experiment and flesh out ideas that keep circulating in my brain,” Fountain says. “It usually starts when I’m lying in bed trying to sleep, to be honest. Something pops into my head and I immediately type that into my phone notes. The rough sketch starts off on paper, and lately, I’ve been polishing up the sketch in Procreate on my iPad. I then use graphite paper to transfer the sketch to the surface.”


Every artist, be that a painter, sculptor, writer or musician, has a special “thing” that helps them get in the mode to be creative.


“While I’m painting, I like to listen to the podcast Lore and Ologies. I find both of these to be super inspiring. Each piece takes around 8 hours, so listening to music or podcasts helps keep me in the zone,” Fountain says.


Full of talents, Fountain also creates digital prints from her paintings to sell on her Etsy page. 


“Since my paintings are small enough, I like to scan them in at a 600 dpi resolution on my home scanner. The scanner tends to wash out the colors so I then edit the scan on Photoshop to make it look as close as possible to the original. I like to order my prints through a printing service online. Once I get them through the mail, I like to add my personal touch with metallic embellishments,” she explains.



Her expression of the surreal can overlap with the world as we know it, or more specifically, the world as Fountain knows it. As she said before, she enjoys including little slices of her mind in her art, and sometimes the slices come out bigger than others.


“I feel very connected to the painting ‘Self Sabotage.’ After a huge lifestyle change at the end of 2020, I felt like I lost a part of myself, and some of what I lost was my confidence and self-love. This piece is a representation of how I can think myself into a mental spiral of negative emotions towards myself, thinking I’m not good enough,” Fountain shares. “Art doesn’t always have to be positive or beautiful. It’s important to show raw emotion, and to recognize those terrible feelings of grief, fear, stress, etc. My paintings are physical manifestations of those feelings I don’t want to be trapped in my head. I like to think of it as emotional purging. I am a firm believer in being aware of one’s own emotions — it’s the first step to healing, even if it’s painful at first.”


Some of Fountain’s inspiration comes from where many artists are influenced: other artists. However, Fountain’s mind is always open and absorbing her surroundings.


“I really adore the Renaissance painter Hieronymous Bosch. His concepts were so bizarre and beautiful at the same time,” Fountain says. “As for more modern inspirations, I have a lot. The top one that always comes to mind would be Junji Ito. In general, horror movies always inspire me, especially ones that have a fantasy/monster-like twist to them.”



Moving forward as her business continues to grow online and gain followers and fans, Fountain has big plans to take her art to the next level. 


“I’ve always wanted to have a show at a gallery and attend craft/art fairs with my own booth. My Etsy shop is something that makes me feel very fulfilled so building that up is definitely something I’ll continue doing. I would also love to teach small classes or workshops,” she says. 


A seasoned artist with a couple of professional years under her paint palette, or more if you start in her toddler years, Fountain has felt all the emotions and experienced the roadblocks many other young artists go through. She might yet have a few more obstacles to go through, but she’s making strides and learning along the way advice to give others young creatives.


“Always keep in mind that you will never see your art the way others will see it,” she says. “What you think is mediocre might also connect heavily with someone else. So why not take the risk? I spent years not exposing a certain part of myself because I was afraid of what the public might think of me. That was holding me back a lot. If you feel slightly uncomfortable or vulnerable sharing a piece, you’re probably doing something right. And always remember that not everyone has to like it.”


Find Sabrina Fountain’s work on Etsy, or connect with her through her Instagram and Facebook accounts.


READ MORE: Made in Arkansas: Ashlee Stanley’s Art of Surrealism