By Britni Rachal
Portrait by Weston Carls
Artwork by Sari Shryack
Artist Eye View:
An oil acrylic painter and a graduate of Drury University with a degree in Fine Arts, Sari Shryack is known for producing colorful paintings. Different subjects and techniques are featured throughout her portfolio, including landscape, still life, portraits, disco balls and memes.
We’d love to hear more about the meaning behind the name of your business.
“Not Sorry Art is a play on my first name, which many people have mispronounced over the years as ‘sorry.’ Sari rhymes with Mary, not sorry. Lol. That’s how I conceived the business name, which also conveys that I make art unapologetically — I paint with a lot of bright colors and embrace my femininity without apologizing for it.”
We’d love to hear about some of your recent collections.
“I’m kind of always balancing a series of collections since I paint a variety of subjects. This year I’ve released a collection of disco balls on round wood, my second such collection of disco balls. I started painting this series in 2019, and it’s been really fun expanding on the initial concept with brighter colors and a larger scale. I’m working on an 80” disco ball right now that’s taking up a good portion of my studio.”
In your opinion, what makes a piece of artwork most powerful?
“For me, the most powerful art I can make is art that functions on multiple levels. As artists, most of our art is seen exclusively on social media, and the ephemeral nature of that setting rewards work that is eye-catching and unique. Artwork in an algorithm setting jostles for attention in a superficial way, but if I can use that introduction to start a deeper conversation about the meaning behind my work, then I have harnessed a more powerful version of my craft.”
You specialize in acrylic and oil paintings. What sparked the passion for that type of art?
“I had a great painting professor in college whose inspired teaching style really pushed me toward the career I have now. We learned with acrylics in his classes and so that was my first medium and the one I used almost exclusively for the first several years of my practice. I’ve incorporated oils in the last several years as a way to play with different textures in my work while enjoying the slower dry time of the medium.”
You also run Not Sorry Art School. Can you tell us more about that?
“I always knew I wanted to teach, as I love sharing in the joy of painting. The jumping off point for me in creating Not Sorry Art School happened a few years ago when I posted a painting and a follower expressed that they couldn’t ever hope to paint like that. Knowing all the time and practice I had put into the craft and where my skill was then compared to when I first started, I completely disagreed; I really believe that anyone can learn to paint, but the time and financial commitment is a huge barrier for people. So I decided to create an online art school that covers all the techniques I use in my practice — from the fundamentals of painting to specific technical skills — in a format that allows everyone to go at their own pace. It’s been really rewarding seeing it grow the last couple years.”
Tell us more about your views of consumer culture and how that pertains to your work.
“I like to incorporate elements of consumer culture from the past and present in my work for multiple reasons. I grew up below the poverty line, and coming from that I’ve seen that society’s disdain for parts of consumerism leans heavily on the aspects associated with low income people. Things like fast food and dollar store toys are sneered at as mass-produced and wasteful — elements of low society that should be condemned. You learn about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ places to shop according to society from a very young age, and I experienced the effects of classism throughout my early life. When the poor are being blamed for the ills of consumer culture while the wealthy fly private and spend lavishly on things they don’t need, you know there’s something wrong with that line of thinking.
So I like to paint objects and items from my childhood that comment on this class discrepancy in a way that sheds new light on what might have previously been labeled tacky or unworthy of art. For example, when I paint a giant Ring Pop still life, it’s a nod to a popular candy from my childhood but also a commentary on the definition of beauty of things. An object isn’t any more or less aesthetically pleasing based on its price tag.”