We make patterns
for the space you covet.
Q+A with founder Sarah Weerth Pinkerton
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
My love of pattern started pretty young in my mom’s sewing room. She had stacks and stacks of fabric in literally every crevice of the room. While she sewed our clothes, I would sit on the floor and unfold each piece to look at the different designs, textures and colors. But it wasn’t until I saw the Henri Matisse retrospective in the early 90’s at the MoMA that everything clicked – I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I studied visual communications and fiber arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with dreams of designing textiles for interiors. But instead, I detoured and became a teaching artist for 20 years - an experience that continues to inform See Three Studios’ mission, values and style. Moving to Mexico was the perfect opportunity to circle back to that percolating dream.
What inspires your style?
My love of art (and design) history has shaped my illustration style. I am inspired just as much by a Saul Bass layout as I am Moorish tiles which I think is why I use collage so much. It allows me to draw from multiple sources, recontextualize them, and tell a new story that reflects my time and place. I love to juxtapose not only images, but techniques and materials as well, and then ground it all with color and pattern.
With that said I do have constants: religious/mythological iconography and the visual language of cultures around the world (particularly from places where cultures collide). I’m inspired by social observation – particularly taking note of what’s missing and who’s story isn’t being told. I pay attention to social movements, what’s happening in the art world, undiscovered travel destinations, stuff like that.
How do you jump from idea to final piece?
I use my camera like a sketchbook - recording found patterns, textures, or colors that most people don’t take the time to see. Then I create individual elements or a color palette and build from there. I’ll spend a couple days playing with materials - cutting motifs out of black paper, making inky contour drawings, printing textures, just experimenting really. I work in a digital mixed media style - with collage & printmaking my go-to analog mediums. The final composition grows from there and eventually all the elements are digitized and brought into Illustrator or Photoshop as the final step.