I am a self-taught visual artist based in Brisbane. I have recently made the huge decision to pursue being an artist full time. My previous career was as a Children's Therapist where art and creativity were a key foundation to my practice. I have always needed to be in a creative role or I get bored and dissatisfied.
When did you realise you were an artist?
I guess I am a true 'creative type'. I never truly feel balanced unless I am painting. I believe creativity is a character trait so I guess I have always been an artist. I was known as that 'artistis kid' and since I was a small child I have had a vivid imagination and always loved creating in particular drawing, painting and storytelling. It was not until I seriously picked up a paintbrush again in my early thirties that I realised what a crucial element of my life it is. Painting is not what I do, it is who I am.
Please tell us about your art style, mediums and processes.
My style is eclectic and is influenced by surrealism, abstraction, impressionism, and pop art. I have an interest in ancient Japanese art, Asiatic culture, tattoo art and animation. I also have a passion for flora, fish, birds and all things mythical, dark and oriental.
I use the power of strong imagery, combined with vibrant colours to create my own unique ‘Complexly Simple’ style. This process involves the deconstruction of each image into a number of parts and then reconstructing it with layers of detail, using a variety of textures combined with rich and vibrant colours.
Working solely in acrylics and with a variety of textural mediums, my paintings are visually striking and intentionally whimsical in order to capture your eye and draw you in to explore and uncover the underlying complexity of the detail which at first is not always apparent.
What kind of music do you listen to while creating?
Music is a crucial component to my work and it is as diverse as my painting. Depending on my mood and the subject I'm tackling, I could choose to listen to anything from ELO to Metallica and everything in between... I'm not kidding. I typically listen to alternative rock/grunge such as Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana. Angst driven, dark music is a staple.
How do you keep myself inspired when uninspired?
When it comes to art, I am very methodical and ritualistic in my processes. I deliberately do this to minimise demotivation. I take time to think about my project (conceptualising, research, sketching, and painting) so typically something will pop up as what I should be working on and this holds my focus. Some days I don’t paint and will sketch, or do research and sometimes even just daydream ideas. If all that fails I take a day off. I don’t force it. But I am always thinking about creating. If I don’t paint every few days I go seriously mental so inspiration tends to comes back.
What do you do in your spare time other than art?
A couple of years ago, I made a commitment to simplifying my life. This means calming my mind and focusing on less and being totally committed to it. It's only recently I made the decision to stop my career as a Children's Therapist as it was not leaving enough 'time and space' to paint. Giving myself permission to do this has been a challenge but the right decision.
I have a family so I am endeavouring to find a good balance between my commitments as a mother and partner as well as being an artist. That's about it really at the moment. Me, Family and Painting... That's about it really at the moment. And that is cool.
What are you working on now or most recently?
This year I'm working on several series of subjects. I'm working on a series of unusual Fish, Birds and Flora. Next year I plan to do a series of mythical creatures (Minotaur, Griffin, Serpent etc.) and I'm also thinking about a' Day of the Dead' series and a homage to tattoo styles and culture.... so many ideas!!!
Since having my first solo exhibition in March 2012 I now know what is the most marketable of my work. Luckily, it is also what I love doing. Like most artists I'm trying to be careful to not compromise my art for money but in reality I need to find a balance. I am also working on developing my technical skills and style. Marketing myself is the big thing I should be working on.
What is the best artwork you’ve created? Why?
Lisa's Prince (Peacock). The reason is both technical and sentimental. It’s one of my first paintings which I did for a friend. It took 200 hours and has 16 layers! I loved the planning, painting and the entire process. I put my heart, mind and soul into it. The result was incredible and even when I look at pictures today it blows me away that I painted it. It was that turning point when I first really gave myself permission to accept that I am good at art and started to realise that it was the only thing I truly wanted to do with my life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
It would be nice to be known within the ' art world ' a little by then. My plan for 10 years is to be in a position where I am selling enough work to be self-sufficient so I can pursue a variety of projects and initiatives. I would like to have my own little gallery/ studio by then that I would be able to 'dabble' in some art programs/projects with kids that have a therapeutic/educative foundation. I would like to work with kids to write and illustrate a series of books reflecting their messages they want to convey to adults.
What role does the artist play in society?
HUGE role! …but very undervalued and misunderstood. As a children's therapist I experienced first-hand the importance and power of creativity to heal, build character, confidence and develop a healthy psyche. Using creativity to unlock the imagination is crucial. Children (and creative types) have this incredible 'superpower' to be able to extend their mind as a creative tool. As we become adults most people lose touch with the skill to be able to tap into their imagination and the ability to 'daydream'. Art needs to be regarded as a necessary and integral part of life and society. This is why I believe creativity is the 'other intelligence' and why art needs to be given more cred in society and artists more respect.
What is your favourite way of promoting art online?
Facebook is the only method I am using actively at the moment. I have a great website and am a member of several artists networks and online galleries but I am still 'green' in this area. I'm doing as much research as I can about the best ways to market myself. I have started to observe how others are doing it. I have found the Artpromotivate tips very valuable and motivating.
Have you sold many artworks? How?
I have sold 7 pieces. Six as a result of my first exhibition and one was a commission job via an acquaintance. I am still very new to how to get out there and sell my art. It is what I am working on at the moment. Now I have several great pieces I feel more confident to promote myself. I am now strategizing a plan for the next year.
Who are you influenced by?
I guess I’m ‘old style’ and I am proud of it. I am a hugely inspired and influenced by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Andy Warhol. I also love Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, James Gleeson, Brett Whiteley and Margret Olley. As a kid I was fascinated by Pro Hart and Sydney Nolan. I love their art but what also resonates with me is their legacy, story and passion for their craft.
My deep admiration and respect for Pablo Picasso is still something I can’t quite articulate into words. I’m going to Spain and France soon and I know I be going to be a nirvanic state. Apart from going to the Louvre and any other gallery I can, I am going to see Guernica which just blows my mind.
One of my most moving sensory experiences was going to see Monet’s collection in Sydney a few years ago. I had a moment when I first laid eyes on one of his paintings and all the air left my lungs and I instantly teared up. I couldn’t stop it. The emotional power of art has no bounds.
Can you recommend a contemporary artist and tell us a little about their art?
I have recently discovered Amanda Krantz - www.amandakrantz.com I love her style. It is so beautiful. It evokes a feeling in me I can’t quite explain. I think it is the combination of the complexity and the simplicity. As with all artists (and because of the Therapist in me) I wonder what she thinks about as she creates.
Please tell us something interesting in your life (a funny story)
22 years ago (at 18), I was hiking in the Northern Territory. In the middle of nowhere and I came across a ‘mature aged man’ sitting on the edge of an escarpment sketching the landscape in front of him. I felt compelled to engage with him to tell him he was ‘incredibly good at drawing and that it was so beautiful’ he chuckled looking up at me amused and said “You don’t know who I am then?” “Shit, you’re famous, I’m so sorry” I meekly apologised. He gave me the sweetest forgiving smile and said “You could say that”. Too embarrassed to ask him his name and after a brief chat, I bid him farewell and continued on with my hike never to see him again. A week later an envelope came to my work. When I opened it, it was the drawing he had been working on with a note “For you Sam, the sketch you admired so much. Thank you for the compliment” with no name only a scribbly signature, to this day still do not know who he was!!!!
Do you have any parting advice you can give to inspiring and emerging artists?
I can only say what feels right for me. If it helps others to find what’s right for them that’s great but I have a feeling how it works for others may be as unique as the artist. Being an emerging artist myself I guess I would say work towards understanding who you are as an artist. Understand why and how you create. Being able to personally reflect as well as articulate this to others keeps me confident and centred. Finally, keep with it, ask for feedback and search for advice when and where ever you can and get to that headspace where you have faith in your gift.
Website: Sam Randall Art
Facebook: Sam Randall Art