I met with Sam about 6 months ago in Kansas City for coffee. I was in the city for the morning, meeting with another client, and we found 15 minutes for coffee. These were some of the questions I wanted to ask him at the time, and we got around to it this month!
Much of your work is rooted in Americana and representing the Great Outdoors. Where are some of the most underrated or unknown travel destinations you enjoy?+
Oh man, so many. While I share a lot of spots on social media, I try to keep some of the special places a secret. Based on my work, people probably think I'm always in the mountains, but the desert has and will always have a big piece of my heart. Southern Utah, Arizona and the California desert are some places I don't post a lot of, that are some of my favorites.
You’ve lived in various regions of the US. What drew you to Kansas City?+
I had a lot of freelance art friends here. I wanted to be close to them so we could collaborate on a regular basis. Creative community is so important to me and my art. I lost that in my move from Portland to Salt Lake City and needed it back in my life.
What kind of methodology, routine, or habits do you follow that keep you feeling fulfilled?+
I'm a huge coffee fan. Almost every day starts at one of my favorite shops where I take an hour or two to do some drawing and ease into the day. That time brings seems to bring a lot of peace to the rest of my day.
Have you ever experienced a creative drought? What choices or moves did you make to overcome it?+
Not sure about a drought, but I get stuck on a piece from time to time. I think the best thing to do is get away from it. Don't force it. Go for a walk. Come back refreshed with new eyes.
What interesting projects have you kicked off in 2020 or have planned for this year that are outside your usual scope of work?+
Planning on some art shows with larger pieces that I'm really excited about. It's been quite some time since my last solo art show. I have a bunch of pieces already created and I am currently working on a bear painting that is 6 feet by 5 feet.
Any sage advice for artists who are struggling with making ends meet, whether that be getting exposure, finding new projects, or paying the bills?+
You're not going to start out with your dream projects and clients on day 1. You have to do a lot of stuff you don't want to in order to get where you ultimately want to be. It's hard work. Yes, art is work. Put the time in and good things will happen.
Let’s flip over to the business side for a moment. Many of the artists we’ve spoken with have had success promoting their work on platforms like Behance, Dribble, Society6, Fiverr, and Instagram. What are your favorite platforms to show off your work or get jobs?+
I currently only use Instagram. There came a time when I didn't have time to be active on every new site popping up and I decided to just use one, Instagram.
You’ve gained a large following on Instagram. Was there a strategy you deployed early on to attract people or is it really about creating great content?+
I was being me and creating on a regular basis. I used to post a piece of new art every day after my day job designing which was a ton of work. Collaborating with other people/accounts helped spread my art to new eyes. Being consistent in the early days of Instagram was key. I always try to put out the best work I can.
For those of us unfamiliar, tell us about Procreate-- what makes it unique and how do you use it. How has it allowed you to change the way you transform a composition? Also, tell us about the brush pack you’ve created in the application.+
Procreate is a drawing app I use on my iPad with the Apple Pencil. It has changed my work flow dramatically. I create almost all my client art on there now. It allows me to work in layers which you can't really do on traditional paper without a total mess. There's a wide range of features that are helpful but I think the best is the ability to create custom digital brushes. Most of the brushes I use on a daily basis, I created in the app with Retro Supply. I wanted a Procreate brush pack that looked like traditional media and not digital so that's what we made.
Part of our mission is to introduce “mindful maintenance” into our customers lives. This can be through natural remedies such as hemp extracts or art. How can art help people in their daily lives?+
Art is a great way to express/communicate/connect a feeling/thought/emotion in a beautiful way. Everyone takes in a piece differently. It can be super simple or complex. It can be fun or serious. Sometimes it's just "that looks cool". I think it's a great outlet of human expression.