Sally Binard Key West Artist
Binard’s portraits combine painting with ceramic and mixed media to comment on the tension between one’s identity in the eyes of others, and the one we choose ourselves. Intensely personal, the pieces touch on Binard’s racial and cultural history.
This body of work is an exploration of the decisions others have made and continue to make regarding my identity. Being mixed-race and being non-identifiable as either of the cultures or races that I am comprised of, so often I am questioned or even brazenly told what I am. It is only recently that this personal phenomenon has begun to unsettle and agitate me. In my youth, I outwardly accepted what others labeled me, never questioning those who had the power to define me, even though, at the core, I felt something just wasn’t right. When certain age and life-related seismic shifts occurred and I chose to look inward a little deeper, I noticed myself getting offended and frustrated and questioning much of what I had accepted. This series of portraits is a means for me to voice what I am uncovering about my complicated racial and cultural past and share my private dialog about the effects of allowing others to decide for you what and who you are. It is also my way of making my identity just that – mine.
I’ve always been fiddling with art, from a very early age. I don’t remember not drawing pictures or trying to make 3D pillows out of paper and cotton balls or designing airplane tickets to play travel agent. I was always making something with my hands. I was the only child at home so I learned to entertain myself.
I took one day of art class in high school where the teacher said I did the assignment wrong and I dropped the class. I continued to doodle and draw a bit but for the most part, art disappeared from my life until late in college when I went to a friend’s art show at a coffee shop of these gorgeous color pencil drawings of Caribbean life. I was so amazed yet convinced “I could do that! Why aren’t I doing that?” And that’s how art came back into my life. I bugged my friend for all and any info on color pencil drawing which I did for several years. After college I got a job as a biologist in the Keys. I got into scientific illustration and then into pottery, drawing again, and finally painting. I settled into oil paint 7 years ago and I’m very happy with this medium.