Blurred lines between nature and society

My name is Sarah Keenan, and I am an oil painter based in Galway, Ireland. I have been studying and practicing painting for eight years. Often I work under the artist name of Sick Kitty.

Painting has always transported me to another realm. It’s a strange dream like place where I go to heal and express myself. I often find myself transforming into a deep emotive state and entering a trance, much like a shaman on a journey to speak to spirits.

In my work I am interested in both the natural world and the social and built environment as primary subject matter. My work is surreal, spiritual, intertwines fantasy and reality and considers how nature relates to society. Often, there is a battle between nature and society as they fight for territory. In my mind these opposing worlds are more connected than they seem.

I began to blur the lines between nature and humanity by mixing human and animal forms creating hybrid creatures and surrealist anthropomorphic beings. We sometimes forget the primal force behind each of us as we go about our everyday lives. Society expects us to act and behave a certain way and to abide by certain rules. The control strips us of our natural wild selves and oppresses these qualities. I question every day if this way of living is right for us. How we treat the earth has become a reflection of how we treat ourselves as humans. What about being human has been lost for us? I explore these ideas through my anthropomorphic beings and placing them in different scenarios. Sometimes they are shown as restricted and tied and other times free.


More recently I have been working with models and painting directly from photographs. This has helped me to bring even more realism into my paintings. I want them to appear as real to the viewer as possible. I feel empowered by the creatures I paint. I love to paint large scale paintings and I always want my creatures and characters to be life sized if not bigger. I also enjoy working very small and creating more intimate pieces.


Sarah Keenan


Instagram: @sickkittycat

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