While some artists are inspired by the landscape or the physical world around them, Sahara Novotna finds its motivation in the spirit of the times. “One of the beauties of being an artist is having the ability to create social commentary in ways that are both appealing and subversive,” she said. Home business. “I want to create objects that allow people to think more critically, while giving them aesthetic pleasure.”
Growing up in Sydney, Novotna was introduced to classical art at a young age. “I was raised by extremely creative parents from the Middle East and Europe,” she says. “As a teenager, I was a working artist – a children’s book illustrator – and then went on to study art, law and psychology at university, where I learned techniques ranging from from painting to glassblowing to mold making.”
After graduating from the Australian National University, she embarked on a career as a lawyer before returning to her creative roots alongside a move to Los Angeles. In 2013, she opened her fine art studio in Hollywood, focusing on sculpture and multi-media works, and now has a large fan base of hip celebrities such as A$AP Rocky. “My work includes a multitude of materials, but some of my favorites include cast resin, historical paper objects, neon lights, metals and paint,” she says.
Courtesy of Sahara Novotna
Novotna describes his works as “thematic” – referencing everything from the state of the global community to economics and popular culture. “I am inspired at the time by a flash of idea, a joke; something I see or think that triggers an original idea,” she says. “Then I find the appropriate materials to best create the idea. I am not tied to any singular process, but rather to the best process to manifest my current idea.
As well as a range of multimedia works, Novotna also designs sculptural objects – including large-scale resin gummy bears filled with money, pills and crypto coins – that make moonlight decorative accents. Character. “The gummy bear series started as a social commentary on the prescription drug epidemic and has since grown into a way to address all sorts of controversial or socially relevant issues in a cute and relatable form,” she says. “Their familiarity and connection to childhood nostalgia has led them to become a collector’s item – they have been featured in a volume of TV shows [including The Consultant on Amazon Prime] and movies as tableware.
Courtesy of Nathan Anthony
In April, Novotna was tapped by Nathan Anthony Furniture to create a cryptocurrency-inspired capsule collection called ÆTHR. Designed in collaboration with the creative director of the brand, Tina Nicole, the range includes handmade dining chairs coated in 24k gold bitcoin, shredded $100 bills, gold lead and graffiti paint, with the purchase of every physical piece connected to an NFT sold on the OpenSea market. “We wanted to incorporate original handmade artwork into high-end furniture and play with themes that already existed in my aesthetic, such as resin casting and cryptography. [concepts], and come up with something really unique,” she says. “My artistic style translated much more easily into furniture design than I ever imagined.”
Looking to the future, Novotna hopes to open a community art center to provide budding young artists with a creative outlet. “I started to follow this path informally in my studio in Hollywood, where we welcomed teenagers who wanted to try painting, photography, graffiti, etc.,” she says. “My mission is to bring beauty to our often too dark world, while having fun and leading an eventful life.”
If you want to know more about Sahara Novotna, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.
Homepage photo: Sahara Novotna with the ÆTHR Crypto Graffiti chair she designed in collaboration with Tina Nicole for Nathan Anthony | Devin Stinson