In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History Month. We are excited to feature Beth Ferris Sale as the first woman for our series. If you have a suggestion for a local phenomenal woman to feature, please email us at email@example.com
Beth Ferris Sale
Raised: Manhattan, New York
Born: Crete, Greece
Resides: Berkeley Heights, NJ
Beth Ferris Sales inspires us through her art with her powerful colors and love for what surrounds her. Her view in life and her love for the people can be seen through her work. Her exhibit at the Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series will last until end of this month.
Visualizing life through a kaleidoscope has greatly contributed to my creative process. Forever-changing images, with each turn the colors and light present a unique quality, no two alike. Natural light significantly effects when and how I capture each image. The transformation of my work into digital art is one of the most gratifying aspects of my creative journey; transcending a vintage and nostalgic feel reminiscent of Kodachrome with deeply saturated colors. My images are an extension of my whimsical approach to life-bringing more color, light, and humor into the world.
My process has evolved organically; a happy accident resulting in a signature style. My work brings to life everyday scenes that oftentimes go unnoticed by those celebrating the simplicity and beauty of a moment in time. Truly one of the most rewarding aspects of creating is in the sharing and how it relates to, and resonates with the observer.
How about how long they have lived in town?
I have been in Berkeley Heights for twenty years. I moved from New York City in 1998 where I grew up and was a third generation Manhattanite. I have the best of both worlds living in a beautiful, close knit community yet it’s only a hop skip and a jump back into the city.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, the arts, music, and world cuisines. Sharing my inspirations and passions helps me to connect with so many different people of all ages, ethnicity and gender. I see photography as a way to connect with the world. As Ansel Adam’s one of my favorite photographers said “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”
If you were to provide one word about yourself, what would it be and why did you choose this word?
Creative is the word that comes to mind right away. I have always cooked, painted, drawn, sculpted and taken photos. My parents gave me my first camera as a graduation gift from middle school. I was fortunate that my talents were recognized from an early age and was able to attend the Specialized Art & Design High School and The School of Visual Arts in New York City. One of my first jobs was working in a prestigious art gallery in Manhattan on 57th street as their private cook while I attended college. I was surrounded by incredible art and in my happy place. As I have evolved as an artist I have found that my true, creative passion is expressed through my photography and digital art. It is an extension of my whimsical approach to life, bringing more color, light, and humor into the world.
What is your favorite song and why?
“Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones and written by Mick Jagger. When I was 16 years old I was reading one of my favorite books a classic Russian novel, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Ironically this was the same year I met Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during a recording session at Electric Lady Studios in the West Village in New York City. I had only come to realize many years later that “Sympathy For The Devil” was inspired by the book which Mick Jagger read in 1967 after it had been translated into English. The story is about good and evil and the fine line between the two. The blues rhythm and samba beat compliment the lyrics and is hypnotic as it tells that tale. I have come to appreciate the sentiment expressed by Rod Stewart as he sings “Every Picture Tells A Story.”
What do you do for a living? Why did you go into your profession?
I own my own business as a photographer and digital artist. I also work as a research associate for a pharmaceutical company where my elite sensory perception provides detailed feedback on the taste, texture, smell, and other properties of everyday healthcare products. I pursed these professions because they bring me great joy and hopefully my contributions in a sensory world touch others in a positive way.
What key skills do you need in order to do what you do?
I love what I do and both professions require attention to detail and tapping into all five of my senses.
What is one fun fact that you would like to share?
The first year I lived in Berkeley Heights I didn’t know how to drive and walked everywhere pushing my then five-year-old daughter Lexi in a stroller all over town. I finally learned to drive when I was pregnant with my second daughter Sammie when I was 38 years old.
Who is one woman everyone should know about?
Vivian Maier (1926 – 2009) born in New York City and worked as a professional nanny in New York and Chicago. From the 1950’s until the 1990’s she took more than 150,000 photographs worldwide stashing them away and keeping them a secret. Her massive body of work came to light in 2007 when over 10,000 slides were discovered at a local thrift auction house in Chicago. She was a very private, mysterious and socially awkward woman yet she captured some of the most incredible intimate street photography of people at their most vulnerable. I think her work is nothing short of genius and I marvel at why she never wanted to share it. She considered herself “kind of a spy.” Some of her photos from the 1950’s are very familiar to me because she took them in the area I grew up in called Stuyvesant Town which built in lower Manhattan in 1947 for World War 2 veterans and their families. There is a fascinating documentary I encourage people to watch on her life story called “Finding Vivian Maher.”
Who was your female role model growing up and why?
My role model was Mrs. Valentini my 6th grade art teacher. Her talent alone and the ability to instill confidence in her students through the individual expression of art was an inspiration to me. She always encouraged pursuing our passion and a profession in the arts. She said life was a blank canvas and we get to paint it however we want. I am still friends with many classmates who are now successful artists and were also greatly influenced by Mrs. Valentini’s encouragement and belief in the importance of the arts.
How can you set an example for young women?
I’m a single mother of two girls 22 and 16. I have worked hard to create an environment, which would allow them to thrive. I am also a caregiver to my elderly mother who is disabled and is completely dependent on me. I would hope young women would see my example of dedication to family as a virtue. In my home we are 3 generations of very strong women loving and supportive of one another. In addition I am able to pursue my passion in the arts and have turned that passion into a profession. I hope that I am seen as a woman who is able to reach out and accomplish anything I put my mind to… as any young woman can do.