Biography

Born in Coventry in 1972 to her father, an engineer and musician; and her mother, a writer. Sarra grew up in a small hosiery town where her formative years were spent 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 a Spectrum computer on which she and her brother spent many days producing simple motion graphics using ‘basic’. She also became interested in adventure games such as The Hobbit. Borrowing Tolkien’s book from the local library she drew maps and compiled a list of action words to solve this epic adventure game… But that was another story. Sarra’s brother went on to work with computers in the car industry and became involved in the 80’s Demoscene. Sarra, in contrast, went back outside to play in the mud, make things and grow trees.

Years later, Sarra returned to Coventry to complete an undergraduate degree. She began working in 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 as well as 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. She also trained in 3D CGI Animation and became interested in the sense of ‘disconnection’ she experienced when using CGI tools.
By recalling her early experiments and explaining this to others she recognised that she could formally investigate the ‘disconnect’ she experienced in practice while also resolving the problem of communicating practice based research in the Academy (a problem not evident in the studio). For the next four years she followed her nose as she explored this user experience design enquiry concurrently with a communication design problem while working as a 3D animator working in industry and as an independent artist animator. 

The practice-based research activity has produced a large body of work that is applicable to the fields of contemporary 3D animation, Visual Communication, HCI and Interaction Design and can be further explored in the research pages.  
Sarra’s commercial work has been awarded New Blood D&AD Yellow Pencil for Film Craft Animation and NADFAS Big Draw (2009). She has worked with Chris Randall, Second Home Studios and Jim Turner, BBC on a number of projects. One of these projects went on to win multiple awards, namely the British Animation people’s choice Award, Golden Panda and an Annecy nomination.

Sarra’s experimental work has been screened in Birmingham, London, Hangzou, China and Los Angeles, USA. This personal work further explores the triangulation between art-ecology-technology. In this work, she tracks connections between climate change, mass migration and the Syrian conflict. In questioning the many aspects of human will, social cooperation and the ‘survival mind’; she hopes to further reveal what humans do when facing uncertainty in a quantum-physical, systemic, in-formational, computational and socially persuasive world. 

Sarra Hornby © 2005 – 2017 All Rights Reserved