by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Chad Spinks

Art & Activism

Sarah Spinks was born and raised in Vista. She, her husband Chad, and son Mack feel lucky to have been able to purchase a home only five houses from the downtown area. She explained, “We enjoy being able to live a walkable lifestyle and being part of the changes happening in Vista through community activism and art.” Sarah practices her art through tattooing, and her ability to observe and create is also played out through an involvement in several local organizations, including The Backfence Society, Only Losers Litter (OLL), and as the City of Vista Public Arts Commissioner.

For one year of her CSUSM education, in 2001 Sarah lived abroad in Tuebingen, Germany, and was struck by the societal views of waste and how it was handled. Nearly all trash receptacles had recycling separation and there was virtually no litter anywhere she went. Here in Vista, as an artist and walkabout, Sarah has been sad to observe trash on the ground every day. “It says a lot about our society, how we treat the earth and one another.” This inspired her to found OLL, with the goal of getting people to think more about the simple, everyday act of putting trash in its place. OLL is hosting a community trash clean-up day, wearing capes and blasting their message as they walk around picking up litter on Feb. 19.

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MEET SARAH

Name: Sarah Spinks
Profession: Tattoo artist, Public Arts Commissioner for the City of Vista
Family: Husband – Chad; Son – Mack
Hobbies & Interests: Art, politics, gardening
Favorite Spots in Vista: Flying Pig, walking around the downtown


A small group of artist friends got together with Sarah to throw their first Pop-up Art Show back in 2011, bringing people together for interaction with art and with each other. The Backfence Society has put together at least one annual show ever since, and Sarah is excited to announce the society is soon to become an official, autonomous nonprofit organization to continue connecting Vista residents through art. “Connection equals community,” Sarah said. “Art connects people.”

Along with her supportive husband (“I am so grateful for him,” Sarah said, “He puts up with my insanity and intensity.”) and bright, hilarious son (“I can’t wait to see what he does!”), Sarah has similar advice for aspiring artists and community members alike: “Observe everything, and pay attention. Have a message you think is worth it.” Also: “Pick up litter, join an organization, speak your mind…do something besides watching TV and letting others tell you what the truth is,” she affirmed. “You do you.”