You Never Regret a Swim, by Sarah Lodge
Featured artist Sarah Lodge’s 2024 Port to Pub piece, titled You Never Regret a Swim, is “a whimsical snapshot of Port to Pub” and an ode to the ocean and all its offerings.
The 1.6 metre squared canvas is embellished with realistic race details and iconic Rottnest Island and Perth imagery. Viewers will find amusing bits and recognisable characters, including racers in matching swimwear, paddlers under sun hats, observant seagulls, and dogs hitching rides on small boats. These well-considered details, along with a rescue helicopter, cargo ships heading to Fremantle Harbour, various sea life, and one gigantic inflatable flamingo, mimic the planning and dedication that go into race day.
“When I’m painting, I reference the historical. People will recognise some of the boats. There is a backstory to every person and thing. I want to reflect the race in the sense that every person involved has an important story. But it’s meant to be fun.”
Lodge is a years-long Port to Pub participant. She has twice taken part as a member of a six-person team and has also volunteered. She was honoured to be asked to serve as the 2024 Port to Pub Featured Artist, and she utilised her trademark style—which she describes as “fun, humorous, busy, exuding love and a sense of the absurd”—in her work. The result is a joyous representation of Port to Pub completed with a meticulous attention to detail.
“For [six months], even when I was not physically painting, I was thinking about it. Or planning or researching. I added something to [the artwork] every day. I printed out race photos from previous years and put them all over my studio because I wanted to reference everything. I was immersed in it; it was all I thought about creatively.”
Using bold and bright colours Lodge not only captures the vibrancy of Port to Pub day, but the essence of the ocean as a welcoming and wonderful place with flying fish and stingrays moving in harmony with swimmers.
“I always loved the ocean and segued into ocean swimming and the whole swimming community quite naturally. We should recognise that we have this amazing freedom to enjoy these sorts of events.”
You Never Regret a Swim will be auctioned at the Port to Pub VIP Evening on Wednesday, 13th March 2024 with all proceeds benefitting Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation. The auction will be available to those in person as well as through a live online auction link. Additional prints of the work will be available for sale at the Main Event Briefing on 7th March 2024 and online.
More of Lodge’s work, including work done by commission, can be found on Instagram at @sarahlodgeart.