Sam Emm

Artist of the Month October 2017

Our Artist of the Month for October 2017 is Sam Emm.

Sam is one of 20 artists appearing in our exhibition Alternative Visions: Undiscovered Art in the South West, which is currently at Falmouth Art Gallery.

Sam's 
psychedelic pattern making draws inspiration from his interest in visionary and outsider art. His main discplines are painting, drawing and lino-cut printing.

When and how did your interest in art develop?

My interest in art began at reception class age at primary school. I was often disruptive and teachers realised that just giving me a pencil and sheet of paper and allowing me to do what I wanted would settle me down. Through out school I focused on art even whilst in other subjects, working in the back of books, on pencil cases and desks ect. 

What influences your art?

Love, life and happiness. Memorable periods of happiness in my life have resulted in new direction/ breakthrough ideas with my artwork. 

Recreational use of psychedelic substances and the hallucinations, visions and personal reflections induced through this process has become an important part of my art. 

What process do you go through when you are creating a piece (starting with the initial idea)?

My creative output can be quite sporadic and some pieces may get started and not finished untill years later. I like this as a process as it allows for pieces to show a development with many ideas and processes changing over time, creating a type of pictorial time line. 

I work across several mediums so my print work is very much more organised due to the nature and process heavy stages involved in reduction Lino print.  

I have clear paths, rules and stages I know I must follow in order to reach the desired outcome. 

Drawing and painting work is more intuitive and usually develops out of doodles that begin with very little planning involved. Often I will start a piece with nothing in mind at all and things will jump out of doodles(characters, places, scenarios) that I will then allow more time to plan and refine into more complex finished pieces.

Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from? 

Yayoi Kusama has always deeply influenced my creative mind. I find her infinity rooms and absolute dedication to pattern, colour and repetition fascinating and have great admiration for her as an artist. 

The works of Alex and Alison Grey, Street artist Chris Dyer and other exponents of the visionary arts scene in America also greatly influence my general practise. 

Do you have a favourite piece? If so, which one and why?

I don't have a favourite piece as I generally become bored and unsatisfied with pieces after their completion, putting them under the bed and moving onto other ideas. 

I feel that my creative output is a direct communication of my mood and feelings at that particular stage in my life so often a completion of a certain piece allows me to move onto a new chapter whilst using art to process my emotions. 

I feel that due to this process I find it hard to build up deep connections with pieces as I see them as memories and developmental tools in my life as opposed to valuing them on their artistic merit. 

What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

I have always wanted to catch the viewers curiosity and satisfy their mind and eye with the most beautiful colours and patterns I'm capable of creating. 

Colour and pattern along with high levels of skill and dedication to ones personal practise has always been something I admire in other artists work so Is something iv always strived to achieve on my own level.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career?

Working in London at the Drawing Room gallery as one of ten artists assistants to Aleksandra Mir on one of her large scale sharpie pieces. 

I learnt so much and was at a really happy and creative stage in my life when I got the opportunity. 

I aim to work in a similar collective way in the future and admire and believe in Aleksandras methods, principles and high levels of dedication to creating art. 

Has being a part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?

I have found the experience of exhibiting with outside in to be greatly beneficial and really enjoyed the opening show at the museum. 

My involvement with outside in has raised several questions regarding my art and my own personal thoughts and opinions on outsider art. 

Having wrote my dissertation on whether true outsider art could exist today under the rules of art brut, I feel like I might know too much on the subject to be considered an outsider artist myself? 

My first encounter with outside in was when I went to Pallant House Gallery to view the work of Jean Debuffet. 

I have worked with learning disabled adults for nearly ten years and collaborate often with them whilst also being aware of particular links and similarities with current and historic examples of outsider art my work holds. 

I have a deep fascination with art and find the subject of outsider art to be greatly debatable and interesting to me on a personal level.  

My inclusion in alternative visions is an interesting and greatly appreciated development in my artistic career . 

What is next for you as an artist?

Having recently completed painting a baby grand piano I am looking to re focus my creative output onto my print work that I make out of Spike Island Print Studio, Bristol . 

Since developing my colour weave columns Lino reduction pattern when graduating from Cardiff met in 2013. I have had ambitions to create an installation room that utilises the tessellation of this piece that I have since developed further. 

I'm aiming to have a completed set of around 75 a1 pages by early next year that will allow my idea to become a reality. 

I also create skateboard designs and will be looking to contact skate companies with my finished products in the new year once I have more completed designs.  

View Sam Emm's Outside In online gallery