Friday, May 10, 2013

Get To Know: Sam Bryer

We Facebook stalked local artist, Sam Bryer, for awhile.   Nothing Single White Female moments...but we drooled over her art, fawned over her beautiful website (SamBryerPaints), and saved up until we could own an amazing SB original (see "The Patriot's Wife" below).  Now, she has graced Clutter with three (THREE!) original works and we are happy to have her in store and to highlight her here.  Please, get to know a little bit about the ultra talented Sam Bryer:

Sam Bryer
Artist, Creator, Poultry Enthusiast

CLUTTER FURNISHINGS AND INTERIORS: When did you first start painting?  What inspired you to make art?
SAM BRYER: I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t make some kind of art. I was lucky to have a mom who indulged my creative impulses no matter how messy or involved they got. She kept a whole cupboard filled with cheap art and craft supplies and let me go to town whenever I felt inclined. We didn’t have a TV, so I spent most of my free time reading and exploring the neighborhood, and then turning the things I read and experienced into art projects. I didn’t do much painting until college –  the huge variety of mediums and techniques was kind of overwhelming before I took a class that showed me what you could do with them.

CF&I: What draws you to the world of elegantly painted chicken portraits?
SB: People have a lot more in common with chickens than you’d think. I discovered this when I moved into a house here in Savannah that came with its own batch of hens. They are proud, curious critters with unique personalities and complex social structures. They are also hilarious and sweet. Since much of my work right now uses humor to comment on how people perceive themselves and each other, it wasn’t much of a leap to use chickens as stand-ins. Using animals to depict the characters I observe around me allows for both a broader audience and broader interpretation of the images and symbolism layered into the portraits. There is also something really fun about juxtaposing classical techniques with absurd and unexpected subjects.
CF&I: What is your favorite medium to work with?
SB: It varies depending on the type of art or image that I am making, and if I am completely honest, my mood swings as well. I regularly fall in and out of love with entire aisles at the art store that are specific to one medium or another. At the moment, I really dig the immediacy and versatility of acrylic, as well as the challenge of using it in a way normally relegated to oil painting. 
CF&I: Who are your artistic influences?
SB: I think the narrative component to my work has been highly influenced by the old-school illustrators and painters that I was exposed to as a young artist. Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, Thomas Hart Benton - I spent many many hours immersed in the worlds they were able to create with a couple of well placed lines and brushstrokes. More recently I have found Claes Oldenburg to be inspiring on many levels. He’s never been afraid to make art that is both smart and fun.
CF&I: What artist, past or present, would be your dream professor?
SB: I would have loved to have Georgia O’Keefe as a mentor. One of the very first documentaries I ever saw was about her life and art, and it made a huge impression on me. Not only did she know her way around a paintbrush, she was incredibly intelligent, articulate and ambitious, and she managed to stay true to herself throughout her career. Plus, I suspect her classes would include a lot of spontaneous field trips into the desert.

CF&I: What is the best thing about going to school at SCAD?
SB: That would definitely have to be the folks I have met. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and work with some pretty amazing artists.

CF&I: What is your guilty pleasure?
SB: Watching dance competitions ­­­– especially anything involving hip-hop or break dancing. As far as I’m concerned, people who can dance well are magical beings sent to make the planet more interesting.

CF&I: Describe your work in five words.
SB: More than meets the eye.

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