Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Sincere, open, passionate
I am half Ghanaian half Barbadian, born and brought up in London. I live in Newcastle where I studied printmaking under the tutorship of Mick Wooton at Northumbria University. In my final year I taught myself how to engrave glass. So my main practices revolve around these two areas but I do like to mix it up and experiment a lot in my work.
When I was a child. I always had to be making something. I was always drawing, I learned to knit and sew and I enjoyed designing clothes also. I used to draw Disney characters for other kids at school. I also used to make clothes out of socks for troll dolls, I had a 'Troll catalogue' and used to take orders from the other children. hahaha. Funny times, I was about 9/10 years old.
My style I think is a mix between African tribal art and textile, arabesque, with a contemporary edge to it. I love texture, colour and pattern so most of my work revolves around those themes.
Well a variety of things, I do glass engraving and I also print onto glass with my lino cuts. I can print and have printed on almost every type of surface with a lino cut or etching inks, from wood, plastic, aluminium sheets, scrim, tissue paper anything I can get my hands on even if its just to use up left over ink. When I paint I do prefer oils but I also use acrylic as well, often as a base for oils.
Technique and Process
With my paintings they all come from some kind of idea or picture in my mind, then I will think of the means to get there. The same generally goes for and sculptural pieces that I might do. With my sketches I just pick up a pen or pencil and sketch without thinking, if I feel like changing colour I will, but the moment I start hesitating or thinking 'how is this going to look' I'll stop. So that goes for any sketch whether its on lino, paper, or glass.
Contrasting colour combinations, mixing textures with pattern and colour on a variety of surfaces.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get inspiration from my African background, Islamic art, oriental arts, Indian folk art and of course nature itself. I also love found objects and materials. My surroundings inspire me and I like a variety of things so I think that it somehow is mixed with my emotions and feelings to make art.
Why do you create art?
I create art because I am an artist in my being and I do think it helps to keep me sane, it helps me think. I believe its a healthy obsession for me, and teaches me to solve problems, to be free thinking and conscious.
How often do you create?
Almost everyday, although I do get my dry periods or artist block. I have learned to force myself to sketch at these times so I am still creating and getting ideas. That's where the idea of sketching without thinking came from, because I really didn't have any drive or inspiration to create at all, for me its like digging into my subconscious.
What is the best artwork you ever created?
The 'Greenhouse' is my best piece ever it was my degree show final piece for university. It took me three solid months to engrave 64 panels of greenhouse glass. My head was ringing with the sound of the drill the whole time but I loved every moment of it. The planning and development of the idea was great too. I had been inspired by a story in the Quran of when the Queen of Sheba went to visit King Solomon in his glass palace, I became obsessed with the idea of working in glass although I never had before. This was the beginning of my work in glass, it was exhibited in two other galleries after my degree show as part of collaborative exhibitions.
Art you supporting yourself through your art?
Not yet but I hope to soon, still doing a lot of marketing and the business side of things which does my head in a bit to be honest but if I want to eat from it or buy some new boots its got to be done. These things take time and persistence.
What is the role of the artist in society?
We inform, communicate ideas emotions and feelings, show another side of life, provoke the audience to think. So many things.
Facebook is my main source for promoting art. I’m just getting the hang of Google plus which I joined after reading Graham Matthews article on this site. I still think I prefer my Wordpress blog to the Google at the moment, I’m quite fond of that actually.
I’m a big Georgia O'Keefe fan, since I was in school and always used to do artist studies of her paintings. I even made a small series of glass engravings inspired by her paintings after my degree. I love surrealist art, I feel a strong connection with them because I do have some strange dreams, I like Dorothea Tanning, Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. I haven't created any surrealist paintings in a long time but I have about four images in my head right now I just need to find the time to get out. I love abstract artists like Kandinsky and Joan Miro.
Can you recommend a great contemporary artist?
I love the work of Gerhard Richter. I remember visiting an art gallery in Berlin in 2003 and seeing his work I bought a book and I do have a flick through every now and then. He uses photography and paint together to create distorted images. I found it really interesting and unique at that time.
Please tell us an interesting story from your life.
When I was in college during one of my art classes I was sketching something and I somehow dozed off for a few moments. In that space of time I had a dream that one of my friends who was pregnant at the time had a baby and I went to visit her in the hospital and the nurse came holding a brown paper bag with the baby inside (yeah wait for the weird bit). So then the nurse takes the baby out of the bag and hands it over to my friend and gives me the brown paper bag and when I look inside it there are biscuit crumbs because in fact my friends baby was a biscuit. OK weird I know but we don't control our dreams right? Anyways after having that dream about a year later I did a series in art college called the space babies and as part of the project I made a biscuit baby. It was chocolate shortbread with buttercream filling, completely 3D, I had made a mould out of chicken wire and tin foil to get the shape. But yeah the baby tasted delicious.
Did you ever feel like quitting creating art?
No, although there have been times it may not have been accessible to me in the way I wanted, for example not being able to afford certain materials at times. Art for the artist is a necessity so there's no giving up on it, everything in the life of the artist is art because it come from the passion of the soul of the artist. There are so many types of art not just painting and sculpting, there's cookery, gardening, hairdressing, etc, its all art.
Where do you see your art in 10 years?
Hopefully creating large scale artworks and glass installations in different parts of the world.
Advice for Artists
Don’t get put of the journey to self discovery.
Samar Asamoah - Yezarck Art