Sarah Holub Schrom – Life in the Space Between Gateways
Written by Liam Sweeny on September 26, 2019
Art is the currency of meaning. The great thing about such a currency is that you don’t need to hoard it, because just one work can grow in meaning, or change meaning over time, and all you have to do is listen, or take a look in that special frame of mind. It is dug up at the crossroads of our thinking mind and our feeling mind, and we pull it up as a unique, indivisible form.
Sarah Holub Schrom is an ethereal pianist and a painter, among other things. Her work taps into the primordial, to a time when old languages still lived and we fashioned our gods from the stories we told. Her struggles have sent her to that crossroads enough that she keeps a bag packed.
I sit down with Sarah, and we talk ancient megalithic resorts and casinos.
RRX: You are multi-talented. Your art and your music are pretty transcendent, which is more the best word for it than any compliment. You have pictures of your house, which looks like an ongoing work. Surrounding yourself in that, again, transcendent visual imagery, is it more a help to escape or a travelogue of past escapes?
SHS: I think it is really both. My art is both my catharsis and my creative expression, my voice and my pain, my journey and my escape. It takes me into the depths of my mind and soul and also away from them as well. It’s really a paradox, as most things in life are.
RRX: On to music; I saw your piano playing categorized as New Age/Neoclassical. And maybe? I don’t think they have enough categories to fit everyone exactly. So let’s play a game. Let’s say you can create a category for your music, and the name of the category can be as long as a Tweet. What’s the category name, and tell us a little about it.
SHS: My music definitely doesn’t fit neatly into the box of New Age/Neoclassical music, but I’m not really sure how to define it. Many of my fans use it to help soothe their soul and comfort their physical and mental pain. There is something very spiritual about it; I’m a very spiritual person. I think that is reflected in my music…but my music also has deep emotion in it as well…such a tough question, to categorize my music in just a few words. I guess I can only say that it is the sounds of my soul. #SpiritualSoulSounds
RRX: We have tons of guitar players on here, and I’m a guitar player, so I can launch into a War and Peace describing strings and pickups. But, while we have had pianists in these pages, the actual, physical sensation of playing piano is not given much attention. How would you describe the physical act of playing?
SHS: Playing piano is like making love to your soul. When you are in the moment, really one with the music, it’s a whole body experience, really electrifying, almost orgasmic. It’s truly intense.
RRX: You have been what you call a “Bipolar 1 Warrior,” by which the fight is against the stigma as much as it is against the illness. Now, from Jimi Hendrix, we know two things: manic depression is a frustrating mess, and, manic depression (bipolar) can count among its ranks Jimi freakin’ Hendrix. How do you feel the illness affects your work?
SHS: My bipolar disorder has given me a unique perspective on the world. It has given me an intensity of emotions that most people will never experience. It has taken me from the highest mountain top to the darkest abyss, from heaven to hell. This has played an integral part in the creation of my art and music. As they say, it is both a blessing and curse to feel things so very deeply.
RRX: One of the cool things about being multi-talented is that you can not only push the bounds of the medium of a chosen ‘art,’ but you can push the more different bounds that exist between completely different mediums. Do you ever find yourself integrating the art forms you take part in?
SHS: All my visual art is mixed media. I am always searching for new mediums to integrate into my art. Literally anything is fair game, electrical tape, broken light bulbs, nail polish, you name it, I’ll use it! I’m always pushing the boundaries to see what new and exciting combinations I can create art with. I haven’t had the opportunity to combine my art and my music yet, but that will definitely happen one of these days.
RRX: Artists and musicians have to eat, and if their lucky, their work might buy them dinner (or a kid’s fries, whatever.) How do you handle the business end of your work? Do you find it as exhausting as a lot of artists do? Are there any opportunities you’ve had to be creative in the selling end?
SHS: I have to confess that I am the stereotypical starving artist. I don’t sell much art, although that is largely due to the fact that I don’t like selling it. I love sharing it with others through shows and love donating art to good causes, but once I sell a piece I feel like it is gone forever. I’m not a big fan of money and would rather be able to continue to share my art than receive financial compensation for it. I’m hoping my music will support me and my art one of these days.
RRX: This is where you get to answer the question I did not ask. Does the Mars Rover feel lonely on its birthday? Does the grass grow greener on the other side, or is the sun just screwing with us? Enlighten, educate, emote – the floor is yours.
SHS: Hmmm….well, the Mars Rover is quite technologically advanced, but probably not enough to be lonely on its birthday. The grass is only greener if you are unhappy with your own lawn. You have to be grateful for what you have and always count your blessings.
As for educating, we need to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental health is just as important as physical health, but so many people are afraid to get help because of how society views mental illnesses. Some of the most amazing people I have met are also bipolar. It’s time we starting embracing the strengths and gifts that mental illnesses can give someone instead of focusing on the broken parts. If you get up every day to fight a battle in your mind, you are a warrior.
Much love and light to you all and may your lives be filled with art and music.
Sarah’s work and music can be found on www.facebook.com/SarahHolubSchromArtMusic/