Reigning from Stockholm and of Persian and Swedish descent, painter and drawer Sara Nory has spent her life exploring creative expression through the lens of different cultures and across different mediums. She sees art in almost everything around her: texture, nature, people, motion. Where most people see a blank wall, Nory sees a canvas of opportunity for color and creativity.
From a young age, she could always be found drawing. But it wasn’t until starting her own business at 28 years old that she realized she wanted to dedicate her life to art. So three years later, she left her company to pursue art full-time. Now at 31, she is, if nothing else, one with her paintbrush, adorning walls around the world with murals that convey a sense of playfulness and lightness. As a person, she is the embodiment of her work — colorful, vibrant, full of movement.
Nory is also a woman who carries femininity as she moves through a space. It’s with delicate grace that she reminds us of our shared oneness, and nurtures the notion that we are all artists: “I sing, I dance, I do everything…we all do.”
Nory visited The Assemblage NoMad to adorn the stairwell with an original piece entitled ‘Synchronicity,’ which invites viewers to remember our primordial unity. When people see her work, they might feel a curiosity arise within them, a good-natured wonder spurred by a certain sense of familiarity — at least that’s what I felt as I ascended the stairs to find her, feet planted on the ladder, reaching nimbly to the ceiling for support as her arm extended to put the finishing touches on. Once complete, we sat for a brief exchange.
Emily Sause: Can you tell us about what you just created here at The Assemblage NoMad?
Sara Nory: This place is so special for me because I was here when it was just a construction site. I wanted to create a piece of art that represents the unity of The Assemblage, and also something that signifies me as an artist, which is the spirits. This mural is called ‘Synchronicity.’ It’s basically two profiles of faces that have spirits of them synchronizing together. It’s the first time I am making these type of faces.
I used the colors [red, white, gray, black] so it could have a red thread moving toward the interior stairwell to flow with the pipelines. Every time I go somewhere I think about what is around and what feeling it generates. This is a combination between something fun and something that has meaning. I usually work with messages but this piece is an open message. Whatever you’re feeling is what you’re feeling. And that’s what it is. For me, it’s synchronicity, but for you it might be something else.
ES: Tell me about your journey as an artist, and your process of finding meaning in your work.
SN: I had a vision in September of 2015 of these figures [in the mural], about different shapes and colors. I didn’t quite know what it was then, but I kept on seeing it days after that. A friend of mine has this big loft, and I went there and I tried to explain what I saw. He said “I’m tired, just paint it. I don’t understand.” And so I did. About five or six hours later, I was done. And that’s how it all started.
But as a teenager, I’d go to Berlin because I was really fascinated by the art there. I’d spray paint walls and create a lot of street art, but I never considered myself a street artist. So I moved on in my life, opened a company and worked in a corporate office. But in 2015, there was a turnover that I built up in my subconscious.
Then last year, I quit my job. I said goodbye to the company I built and I just painted. I couldn’t stop. It’s one of the categories of my art. It’s hard to say, ‘I am this, I am that.’ Right now I am a painter. This is where my spiritual practice can be met with my physical fire self. I am just painting what I see.
ES: Since your piece is open to interpretation, do you envision it impacting people differently?
SN: It’s interesting that you say that. Many people are happy I’m creating in some way. I always moved a lot, sang a lot, and now I’m painting. For some people it’s been positive, but for others the spirits are ghosts, and the word ‘spirit’ just spooks them out. I don’t really care what other people think. Of course I feel something if it’s someone I care about it, but I’ll move on. Honestly, I’ve had beautiful support. Within a year I’ve just blossomed. Now I have people asking me if they can buy pieces, which I’m not selling until I have my exhibition.
ES: How are you reflected in your work?
SN: I believe I am exactly where I’m supposed to be—anytime, even if it’s a bad situation or a good situation—because it could turn into a good situation anyway. The human connection has always been a tricky one for me. I am a people person but I am a social loner. I know a lot of people, but I move very….by myself. But I love when magic happens.
I had a crazy experience two days ago; I was in a city and a country that I’ve never been to, and I was feeling like I was really going through something. Then five friends of mine, including my two closest friends—one from London and one from Mexico—were in the same place I walked into. It made me think about this piece and about synchronicity: of how you’re actually so supported as long as you’re grateful. It’s so easy to say, but it’s another to learn how to feel it.
ES: How has your artistry evolved into paint as your medium?
SN: Now is the most important time to highlight artists and to understand that we are all artists. It’s the art of living, and we’re all doing it. When I quit my job, I was very determined—especially after Trump was elected—that I did not want to support the system. But I had to continue to be positive. To make other people feel the consciousness that is there, waiting for us when we’re ready. And also to lead by example by doing exactly what we want. I am 31 years old and I am doing exactly what I want right now. I hope that other people can somehow find that for themselves.
ES: If you took away the concept of money, what would you do?
SN: I had this time when I took out $100 in $2 bills and painted all of them. After ten of them I started to understand that there is no value there, it’s just paper. Once we understand that it’s okay to want this paper, to have an earning and to take care of ourselves, then we can have everything. We can have both. We can have the best. We can do exactly what we love, and we can earn while we do it.
That is something I want to tell people, to inspire people to do just what they want. To move in the direction that you want to go. Maybe next month that direction changes, and that’s okay! The dream dies, that’s a part of it. You move onto the next one.