We’re excited to share a special Morning Rituals feature on our friends Sara Marlowe-Hall and Matthew Zuk. We have known Sara and Zuk for years — prior to starting Canyon, and have enjoyed watching their relationship and artistic careers grow together. Both artists, they recently embarked on their first mutual creative collaboration, the results of which they are sharing in a gallery here in LA. A painter and musician, respectively, the show is a combination of visual and recorded art.
Our mutual friend, Anais Wade , photographed Sara and Zuk in the studio space where they created their work. Continue on to see more photos and learn more about this creative duo, their stories, and how they came to create this show together.
We met at a music festival 9 years ago through friends. Sara was visiting from London on holiday and we hit it off. It was one of those things that we didn't know how it would evolve as she lived in another country, but she kept changing her flights and ended up moving here.
When we are at home together it's really important to be able to enjoy the mornings and start our day together. Sara is a late riser and usually starts work at 11 so we usually have time in the morning to start our day together and be just the two of us.
Zuk is in charge of making the coffee every morning. We joke because we have a hand Japanese coffee grinder and it's a very slow process, so there is no rush in our morning ritual. We usually start the day with a record, Sara usually cooks breakfast and we chat about what we're going to do creatively and head out into the world and then come home and talk about it. It's nice to have our mornings together as our evenings are very social, going to shows and seeing friends.
Since I was kid I was always creative and dreamed of being an Artist. I went to Art School in London and Leipzig where I studied and had a lot of freedom to create, but it was only till I moved back to Los Angeles and started exhibiting work, that I felt like I took it more seriously. I'm not a full time Artist ,I also co own a company with my mum called MERCHANT. We have 2 stores located in East and West L.A. which are a combination of vintage furniture, ceramics and local Artists. It’s nice to work creatively in both ways, sharing and supporting other Artists and being part of the community.
I’ve been playing guitar since around 11 years old, it very quickly became a huge part of my life. I tried pursuing music in an academic setting and got lost in the pitfalls of that sort of environment. I tried doing other things with my life but had trouble making anything stick. Years later after going to DIY and small shows in Los Angeles I found a way to start playing again. Over the last decade I've been traveling around the world playing guitar for different bands on and off. I’ve been privileged enough to play in some incredible venues, festivals, television and radio but always in the sense of fulfilling a role.
Lovers Talk is my first self release, which feels really good to be able to do, it's taken a long time for me to put an album out and i'm really proud of it.
Our travels are so on and off really, when we first started dating I felt like we were traveling a lot separately and always sending messages from across seas. But I wouldn't call it a long distance, as we have always lived together and had our base in Los Angeles. During the pandemic was probably the longest we were home together, which led us to collaborating and sharing ideas creatively which started Sounds In Image. Sara would make short videos and Zuk would do short scores all under 2 minutes, it was super fun and just a nice way of putting something playful and collaborative together out in the world. I think there is a reason why Artists date other creatives as there's a respect for each other to do our own thing and travel, and give each other the freedom to create and express ourselves. We think the best thing that has helped us as a couple is to find time to meet one another after a tour or trip and spend some time reconnecting for at least a week before we come back to reality.
Thank you! Yes, Lovers Talk is a collaboration of 9 paintings and 9 songs that coincidentally comes out the month that we celebrate 9 years together.
It honestly wasn't planned like that. When we started making Volume 1 we thought about numbers in the sense of how many paintings would feel right as a collection and the amount of number of songs for an album, and then it turned out the show was exhibiting the month of 9 years together.
It feels amazing to be sharing our work creatively and collaborating as it's taken us this long to work together, but feels right. I think the main surprise is not knowing what each other's work was going to sound or look like. We wanted to make sure that we didn't interfere with each other's creative process and had to trust and respect each other on our mediums. It was so interesting to see the outcome of what each person did and how we imagined it would be. Sara would make a painting with Zuk in mind that he was scoring it, but she wouldn't know how it would sound till after.
Some paintings are bright and colorful, so the songs are funky and dancelike, and others have more space and depth and sound more ambient. For instance Deep Blue, which is the first single released under ‘Zuk Zuk’, shows the painting with the song when you see it on music platforms. We both separately struggled to make this work, Sara painted over it like 20 times and Zuk spent over a month trying to capture its essence. It's funny how some of the songs and paintings came easily and then some were a struggle but we got there in the end.
The hardest part of making Lovers Talk Volume 1 was then titling and configuring it together. Once all the paintings were finished and the songs were recorded and mastered we then spent 2 days at Merchant House High Desert where we listened to each song and looked at each painting and titled and arranged the work together. That was a beautiful part of completing the process because we came together and finished the work as a unit and got to reflect on it. After writing it out, we then realized it came out as a poem. It's the small surprises like that, which are so lovely.
Dreaming in Circles
I’ll come running to you
Along the Riverpath
So Near, So Far
Yes! We are already talking about Volume 2. We want to do the next volume of Lovers Talk the reverse concept. So Zuk is to write the music first and Sara is to react to the songs. The idea is that the collaboration can continue in many volumes as we grow as partners together. Lovers Talk Volume 1 is to be released as a cassette tape April 8th, 2023 at Sade Gallery, with a newspaper to coincide with the exhibition.
In the future, our plan is to do Volume 2 and release it as a double vinyl with Volume 1 to coincide with another exhibition.
We would love to start traveling together again, we've been recently talking about going to Italy or Spain. The cool thing about this project is that we can take it anywhere and it will always feel different due to the environment that we are in.
Savoring life’s details through the coffee we drink daily.