Axios interviews: Austin photographer Sarah Wilson
Striking, 19-foot murals of essential women workers can be spotted around Austin nowadays, the work of photographer Sarah Wilson.
What's happening: We caught up with Wilson, who was raised in Austin, ahead of Thursday night's Pecha Kucha, a free event in which she and other artists, comedians, chefs and community activists each give 10-minute long presentations. Here's a glimpse of our condensed interview with her:
What prompted the "Essentials" mural project?
"Something about the word essential sang to me. I was thinking about the essential workers out there, especially women, a lot of moms, who need to take care of their own families and are out there risking their lives."
How did it become a mural project?
"I was photographing essential women workers outside their place of business and then trying to show the work in public so no one had to go into a gallery. I thought, 'How do we make them public and not expensive and big and impactful?' My heroes are JR and Swoon — who work on a large scale with wheat paste."
Why did you want to make the murals larger than life?
"It represents how I feel about the work these women are doing and the bravery and dedication they show on a daily basis."
Can you talk about practical challenges to keeping these murals up?
"Unfortunately, the weather — wind and rain. Sometimes the glue and the paper just didn’t want to stick to certain surfaces. Sometimes I’d go and repair it. Sometimes it would peel off."
- There are currently about a half-dozen murals still up, down from a dozen earlier this year.
What has been the response from the subjects?
"They’re really, really excited. A high-risk [obstetrics] flight nurse, who works with women with COVID who are having a hard time breathing, told me that she shared the portrait with her staff. Some of them went and visited it, and it became something to celebrate in a challenging time."
Pecha Kucha Austin, free and open to the public, runs from 8:20-10:20pm Thursday at Distribution Hall, 1500 E. 4th Street.
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