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Artist Spotlight | Sarah Oliphant

Author: The Printique Team

Strolling through the busy and hectic streets of Brooklyn, we step out of the hustle and bustle into what can only be described as entering into a whimsical space. There are paint brushes, tarps, backdrops, colors exploding everywhere from the floor, to the walls to the ceiling. You feel as if you are actually inside a come-to-life painting. When in fact, you’ve just entered the creative space for Sarah Oliphant Backdrop Studios.

If you’ve never heard of Sarah Oliphant, we’d like to enlighten you.

Since 1978, Oliphant Studio has been a leading pioneer in the photography industry. Oliphant’s signature style has helped ground the images of some of the most iconic figures of our time. They offer complete services of an art studio – from initial design concepts to detailed color renderings to the final product. They work both on location and in our studio, depending on the requirements of their clients. Today, their studio in Brooklyn houses about 3,000 backdrops from Irving Penn-inspired pieces to meticulous recreations of cityscapes or nature.

Sarah greets us with a warm smile as she adorns paint splattered clothes. She is in her element. She started this powerhouse of a business more than 40 years ago. Being an artist and making a living at being an artist, is a dream for many, but few achieve such success as Sarah has accomplished.

Sarah’s work is the backbone of so many iconic images. Oliphant backdrops have been used by the infamous Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier just to name a few of the rockstars she’s worked with over the years.

She creates her backdrops on muslin, wood, burlap anda host of other media. She also understands how the color she chooses and the fabric work together to take on light, cast shadows and evoke depth.

Sarah has a B.A. in painting and went to graduate school for theater. She credits working in the theater with learning how to be collaborative. Her work became a business when an art director suggested she rent her drops and get multiple uses out of a single effort. In 1978, she began to collect an inventory of backdrops for rent. Today, they offer thousands of choices in backdrdops. If you can imagine it, Sarah can make it come to life.

We decided to bring out her from behind the backdrop to front and center of our camera lens. Her work spans decades and she deserves the spotlight and to have her story told through print.

(12 x9 Hardcover Photo Book with Deep Matte Fuji Paper)

We gave Sarah a 12×9 Hardcover Photo Book of her work. Her backgrounds and work are so colorful, we made a cover that stripped out all of the color and solely focused on her. It’s powerful in its’ simplicity.

Inside the photo book you’ll find some of the iconic fashion photo shoots where her backdrops set the stage from magazine to album covers.

(12 x9 Hardcover Photo Book with Deep Matte Fuji Paper)

Her photo book brought a smile to her face as she turned the pages and remembered each and every backdrop she made and the thought process that went into each one as well as the emotion she was trying to convey.

(8×12 Acrylic Print) Photo by Felix Kunze

Besides a coffee table photo book with her work in it, we gifted her with an 8×12 Acrylic print to hang in her studio. It’s a photograph that was taken of her by Felix Kunze that she simply adores and feels it represents where she is now, in life. A successful artist who has brought her vision to life for decades and helped others achieve their creative aspirations.

Finally, for the artist, some 12 x 12 Fine Art Prints of Sarah. They will all hang together in a small wall gallery showcasing a 1 inch white border, to bring the eye to the artist and her hands. The hands that have launched hundreds of thousands of creative portraits into the world.

(12 x 12 Fine Art Prints) Photo by Taylor Tupy

We’d like to thank Sarah for taking time out of her day to show us around her studio. If you would like to see more of her work you can visit her website HERE.

If you would like to see other artists we have spotlighted, you can find them below.

Artist Spotlight | Christine Alcalay

Artist Spotlight | Sheetal Sheth

Artist Spotlight | Lillian LaSalle