We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Beth Baca and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
My work has helped to raise awareness and drive conversation around the way women are viewed in the Church as well as society. The stories of women from the Bible have often been passed up, overlooked, or misunderstood. When we are able to reexamine some stories that are vaguely familiar, we see new things and gain insight. Recognizing the invaluable role that women played in the growth of Christianity, the Church, and our society should inspire us to open more doors and pathways for women to have a seat at the table.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out my art career as an acrylic painter, dabbling in oils here and there. Over the years, my work evolved into mixed media, collage, and currently, watercolor and ink. What makes me unique is the message and conversation that goes along with each piece of art. Most of my work comes out of a thought process or idea that I’d like to address in our culture, myself, or in the Church. Some of my themes have been resurrection, combining symbols of life and death: a house built on a tree stump, a tree growing out of a bone, flowers coming out of a volcano. I also created a series of 12 mixed media wood panels called You are Here: A Story of Presence. Each piece contained a cloud suspended in a different physical space, representing God’s spirit with us in all places of life. Most recently, I’ve created a series of 33 women from the Bible, titled Full Image. These are not your ordinary portraits, but each one is half of a woman’s face, with a halo filled with elements from that particular woman’s life. They are packed with symbolism and story. I am most proud of this series because I created it during one of the busiest and hardest seasons of my life. I’m also proud because of the conversation and following it has gained through sharing these portraits and stories on social media. Every week I have pastors or ministry leaders reach out to me, asking permission to use one or more of the portraits as part of a sermon, conference, or blog. For example, Marg Mowczko, is an Australian blogger and theologian that has used my work with much of her writing. This has given me great exposure and helped me connect with a wider international audience. Some of the Full Image series has also been published in Mutuality Magazine, a publication of Christians for Biblical Equality, as well as A Place at the Table, a leadership journal from Fuller Seminary’s De Pree Center. Currently I’m publishing a book of the Full Image | Women of the Bible series. This will be a full color coffee table book, filled with images, close ups, stories, and descriptions of each portrait. I’m so excited to share this beautiful compilation with the world! How did I get to the place I am today professionally? It has required endless hours of dedication to my craft, consistency, and inviting others into the process. One of the biggest keys to my success is asking for help. As an artist, I can’t be good at everything creative. Design, logos, writing, website, editing, and social media are all things I’ve gotten support with. If I get stuck on a piece of art, I call one of my best friend or my kids to look at a piece of art and tell me what’s missing. Drawing as often as possible keeps me growing as an artist. I keep a sketchbook and pen in my purse, and I draw and doodle often, experimenting with new designs, shapes, and ideas. It helps me think. When I’m running out of ideas of what to paint, I refer back to my sketchbooks for inspiration. Talking to artist friends, following other artists on social media, and learning about their process energizes me and gives me new perspective. The journey has not been easy, but it has been rewarding. How did I overcome the challenges? Lots of patience with myself, prayer, and receiving the encouragement those around me give. I’m my own worst critic, and I have high expectations of myself. But if I look back on all that I’ve accomplished, it’s amazing and so worth celebrating. Lessons I’ve learned along the way…. I enjoy a nice neat space to make art in, but my life is never going to be perfectly in order. I have to create in the midst of a cluttered studio, chaotic schedules, and interruptions, and sometimes that makes my art better. My art is not just for me. It is worth sharing, even if it’s not my favorite. Often I will share a piece of art that I think is mediocre, and a friend will connect with that piece in a meaningful way. If an idea pops into my head, it’s worth exploring. By nature, I tend to play it safe, but I have to take risks in order to stretch myself as an artist. What I want the world to know about me… My faith has been a driving force behind my art. My story and art are intertwined; each piece is a reflection of me. The goal of my work is to capture the viewer’s attention, provoke thought and conversation, and empower people to boldly step out on their own journey.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Day 1: At the top of my list is the Menil Collection. It’s a beautiful collection of FREE museums, including Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Fresco Chapel, the Dan Flavin Installation, Cy Twombly Gallery, and and it’s a serene and inspiring place to visit. I would spend most of a day there, and enjoying the beautiful park areas outside. After that we would grab lunch nearby at the Hobbit Cafe, a fun little cozy place inspired by the novel. Their wraps are super fresh and yummy.
Day 2: I would go for a walk or bike ride on the Buffalo Bayou Trail, then eat a hearty dinner at the Black Labrador Pub. Their Beer Cheese Soup and Fish and Chips is unbelievable.
Day 3: A visit to the Contemporary Arts Museum (also free!) with it’s ever changing and thought provoking exhibits. A walk around the neighborhood is beautiful, including the MFAH and museum gardens. Walking down North Boulevard is amazing too. I would eat some 100% Taquito and then go to a movie at Edward’s Theater.
Day 4: Visit the Houston Zoo, have a picnic, ride the train, and enjoy a performance on the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Day 5: Start the day with coffee and a croissant at Blockhouse Coffee. Walk the Sugar Land trails along the Brazos River and head over to the Sugar Land town square for Jupiter Pizza and Waffles, Japaniero’s, or Guru Burgers and Crepes. (Hard to pick just one!)
Day 6: Katy Chinatown. Walk around H-Mart and pick up some supplies to make bubble tea. Grab dinner at Phat Eatery or Mala, and a bubble waffle at Bubble Egg.
Day 7: Head down to Galveston for a day at the beach. Go to the Strand to walk around and enjoy some ice cream at La King’s. don’t forget to stop at Bucee’s for Beaver Nuggets and and an Icee. Some more of my favorite eating spots in Houston are Backstreet Cafe, Tiny’s Milk and Cookies, Pappasito’s, Empire Cafe. Texas Biergarten, Brandani’s, Pablo’s, Ninja Sushi, Local Table, and Dish Society.
Food is definitely a highlight of our city!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to the women who were paving the way before I even knew it. Aminah Al-Attas Bradford is a woman who inspired me to reexamine my faith and view of myself as a woman in the faith community. My husband Brandon Baca has been hugely supportive of my creative process and believed in me even when I didn’t. I also want to recognize Rachel Held Evans, who passed away in 2019, and Caroline Custis James, whose books were highly instrumental in my journey. CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) has been a tremendous resource and network for me along the way. My friends and family have encouraged me and cheered me on every step of the way. Mom, Dad, Jonathan, Maridyth, Sam, Cody, Melanie, Paul, Nick, Carissa, Marg, Jennifer, Shawn, Jenny, Elise, Ashley, Nathan, Mary Charles, Ann, Michelle, Mimi, and so many more.
2 images are taken by Casey Baudoin