Samuel Wilson

Born in: 1986, United States
Lives in: San Antonio, United States
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: subtle, simple, focused

Tuned In - 24 x 24 in.

"My art is a reflection of how I perceive the world and attempt to show a different perspective on the ordinary. Art is my way of depicting ideas through visual metaphors and creating emotion. I want to take what I love and appreciate about traditional art and put my own perspective on it. I strive to find a new angle to the old ways to give it a different feel and impact. Painting is exploration."

What themes does your work involve?
My work hits on a variety of themes. It is hard to place my work as a whole into a theme. As work progresses and moves the ideas can change rapidly. I do tend to try and work in series, but I might be working on multiple series at a time along with random pieces that have no grouping or theme. The series this piece is part of centers around pop culture, consumerism, modern and American norms and just the reality of life as it is not how it advertised.
Describe your creative process.
My starting point for creating a work can stem from just about anything. It can be something I see while driving or music or television. As I have said I like to try and work in series. The current series I am working on comes a lot from magazines and paper and surface textures. My studio looks like a serial killer's room. I have all sorts of cutouts from magazines hung up, from faces with eyes cut out to vintage advertisements. In this series many of my ideas I get by finding images I like and hanging them up until I find the right narrative for the image. I ask, how will this image work for a statement or idea. I sometimes first find what I like and then find the story for it, and sometimes I know the story I want to tell and search for the right images.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Painting itself inspires me to paint. I am my own audience when I am painting. Some days it can be a pretty stale show, but I continue to paint for the days that I become part of the painting. I am in flow with it. I have had days I get lost in painting cardboard. As far as outside influences, I am inspired by several other artists both modern and historical. What I want people to see in my art is what I see in it. For me, painting is like the difference of walking to a destination compared to flying on an airplane to it. Walking takes a lot longer but you see the whole journey in all its subtle beauty. The journey becomes more important than the final product. I've always thought if my studio burnt down with all my work, it would be okay as long as I had all my abilities to create again.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I think great art needs to have several layers. Idealistically I think great art needs a clean flow in all those layers. And as far as layers I mean from the meaning of the piece flows with the style of the piece flows with the colors and composition. Every part of the piece supports the overall meaning. And on the other hand, great art is all up to the viewer. What you like about art makes art great, just like music.
What is the role of the artist today?
I am an artist first because I love to paint. It's purely selfish. If I was going to say what the role of artists overall was today it would be to make people feel and think. Make your art, push your opinion, tell somebody something.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist