Sarah Shanks

Sarah Shanks is a painter born in Dayton, Ohio, currently living and working in Milan, Italy. Her work looks primarily at the relationship between photography and painting, and the ways that we use personal snapshots to record the present and recall the past. She frequently works in miniature, drawn to the connection between the small-scale figure and it's environment.


Sarah pursued a M.A. in Art History and a B.F.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting + Drawing from Ohio University. She has participated in exhibitions at Greenpoint Gallery in New York City, The Albuquerque Museum of Art, Peoria Arts Guild, and the Kennedy Museum of Art, among others. 

Living in Italy, I occasionally indulge in the typical tourist trap. I am entertained at the spectacle unfolding in front of some of Italy's famous landmarks, as an endless parade of tourists pose and posture for an Instagram-worthy shot. I document the practice and performance of posing for selfies, which has more depth than it first seems. As visitors keep their backs to the Colosseum or Duomo, their faces are on their phones more than on the attraction itself, and the real satisfaction comes from the proof that they were there. 

There's something honest, and also amusing, about the reality of this social practice. After hours camped out at Rome and Milan's largest attractions, I was both stunned by the number of selfies I witnessed and a little endeared by all of the excitement and awe of being a tourist.