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No City Limits

Inspiration can be found anywhere! From growing up in the Granite City to old art masters, PAINTER Sarah Black shares her everyday influences for colour creativity


Sarah Black

“Aberdeen is (for now) my home – I grew up here! It’s nicknamed the Granite City as everything is built in granite, and with the weather you would expect in North East Scotland – it makes for a pretty grey city! We have been known for oil and little else over the years… until recently that is.

The economy took a hit as oil prices dropped, but this has seen the city experiencing a creative surge. The grey granite has become the perfect backdrop for colour pops. Nuart, which is in its third year, is firmly putting Aberdeen on the world art scene. The year the festival launched just happened to be the year that I won the L’Oreal Colour Trophy crown – and the streets coming alive with art was the spark of inspiration I needed for my successful L’Oreal ID Artist audition.

I didn’t think that I could be successful in a city like Aberdeen. I thought I would have to leave the city in order to gain recognition on the national hair scene. Instead of the location working against me, it has in fact worked in my favour. Yes there is a lot of travelling involved in my life but coming home to family and to a city in which five minutes you are on the beach, another five minutes you are in the rolling countryside, or on my regular walk to work, I’m passing incredibly creative expressions of art – on a backdrop of grand gothic architecture. I’m actually a pretty lucky It Girl!

“Growing up in a grey granite city subconsciously made me yearn to express myself through explosive colour – I’m a true rebel at heart!”  Sarah Black

I’m pretty sure it’s what keeps my ideas fresh, exciting and not too heavily influenced by what is the latest ‘must-have’ colour or trend. I feel that an over-saturation of ‘trend alert’ influence is a killer of genuine creative inspiration. All too often we can allow ourselves to be influenced by what we think will look good on our ‘gram or what we think will shock or cause controversial attention.

I prefer to stay true to what I genuinely feel is an authentic creative representation of me as a colourist, channelled through my use of colour and techniques in styling. I find inspiration from many different sources – old art masters, music or a text I like. I do think that the place you are from, the streets you walk every day and the people you meet are the daily influences which shape your creative flow. Maybe growing up in a grey granite city subconsciously made me yearn to express myself through explosive colour – I’m a true rebel at heart!” 

See more from our PAINTER Sarah >