Biography

Born in Coventry, in 1972, to her father who is an engineer and musician, and her mother, a spiritualist and writer; she grew up on the outskirts of a small hosiery town.

She spent her formative years playing in wild habitats, blackberry fields, cow ponds and brooks, near where she lived. Together with other local children; she had free access to the natural world.

In the early 1980’s, Sarra’s father brought home the families first computer, a ZX Spectrum. Together with her brother, Sarra spent many days producing simple motion graphics using BASIC coding language copied from the pages of Spectrum magazine, only to watch the border flash and a ball bounce across the screen.

She also became very interested in adventure games such as the Hobbit. Borrowing Tolkein’s book from the local library, she drew maps and compiled lists of simple action words so as to solve this epic adventure…but that’s another story.

Sarra’s brother went on to working with computers in the car industry and became involved with the local Demoscene while running a computer club. Sarra, in contrast went back outside to grow trees and make things with her hands. Years later she began working in a surveyors office while painting portraits in the evening.

After becoming a Mum, one of the most essential, exhausting yet rewarding roles in society, Sarra returned to Coventry to complete her undergraduate studies at Coventry University. She began at the intersection of Fine Art and Illustration only to discover Animation as her primary art form. Her early influences were artists such as William Kentridge and Len Lye, and eastern european animators such as Jan Svankmajer, Yuri Norstein and Lotte Reiniger.

In these early years, Sarra produced puppets, props and sets for stop-motion Animation projects. She also trained in CGI Animation using 3Ds Max, and became increasingly interested in the disconnection the user experiences when interacting with the tools.

It was by recalling her personal experience using CGI tools as a material, craft-based stop motion animator, that she realised she could formally investigate the tension through practice.

For the next ten years, Sarra’s practice straddled that of the independent ‘experimental’ artist-animator and various roles within the Animation Industry.

Sarra continues to produce work experimentally and appreciates the seriousness of art. However, her commercial work although sometimes serious, is most often full of joy and laughter. As Sarra says with a glint in her eye, ‘There are many things I am serious about but humour is not one of them’.

She has been fortunate to have received a number of respectable awards for her commercial work and has worked on collaborative projects that have gone on to receive a number of prestigious industry awards.

Current commercial work engages with interaction design processes and methodology in augmented, virtual and mixed reality digital applications (XR Design).

Sarra’s experimental work continues to develop and she has produced a large body of work, teaching and delivering research papers in Birmingham, London, Hangzou, China and Los Angeles, USA.

Recent work tracks connections between climate change, mass migration, war, the depletion of natural resources and interaction ethics, as she asks,

What does it mean to be human in a technologically advanced, ecologically uncertain world?’