Finding the Right Painting: Talking Art with Sam Walker
Last fall, I attended the Springville Art Museum's $100 Show. It was my first time attending, and I have to say, I wasn't prepared for the madhouse rush of support that swooped down on the museum that night! Within 30 minutes, many artists had sold out. Tables were surrounded by eager buyers, and more than once, a painting was snatched up just before I could claim it.
Sam Walker was one those with a constant crowd around him. His table was unfortunately one of the last on our route through the show, and by that point, he only had a couple paintings left. I pulled him to the side and (gratefully!) convinced him to do a private show with us. He's spent quite a bit of time the last few months preparing, both for our show and for other local summertime art shows around the valley.
We are so excited to introduce you to his art. His compositions are brimming with the joy, adrenaline, and the vastness of nature and our experience in it. There's something guileless about each painting--the enthusiasm of color, the unpretentious scenes... It's hard to look at any Sam Walker painting without smiling.
We hope you'll stop by to see his art, and that you do so quickly! His paintings will fly off the walls as swiftly as his swimmer off the Mona Rope Swing.
Do you have a process for creating ideas or getting into a creative mindset?
I like to borrow from everything around me. Whether it be a picture, a painting, a photo, a memory, I take those things and try to relate them to my own experiences and turn them into a solid moment in time. I think capturing a specific moment is what helps people relate to art, because the window of time is so small and meaningful to the artist, it's easy for others to see that moment and build their own memories or beliefs around it.
What brought you to painting?
I've made art my entire life, and tried almost every medium out there, but painting always intimidated me. I discovered how amazing painting really is at BYU while studying Art Education. I have to credit a great artist and teacher, Peter Everett, for showing me that I had a voice in painting.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to become the painter you are?
I've always struggled to believe that my art is truly meaningful to anyone. I paint what I like, and try to produce work that I would put on my own walls, but I still find it incredible when somebody tells me how meaningful or special one of my pieces is to them. I am always humbled to hear that my work has enough value for them to have in their homes and put on their walls.
What do you believe the role of art is in the home?
I think for a lot of people art is purely decorative, and thats okay. If you think the piece is beautiful and you want it on your wall just for aesthetics, that's wonderful. But, once you start looking for art that you really connect with, once you learn the story behind it, or apply your own story to it, art becomes something else. It goes from being a decoration to a story, a memory, a reminder of who you are or who you once were. I know there are a lot of people who just aren't that into art and don't see why a painting could be meaningful, but I think those people just haven't found the right painting.
What paintings have been the most personally moving to you?
The first time I ever saw a Rothko I was stunned. I was never a believer in Rothko before. I didn't think two big blocks of color on a canvas was anything very special. But, when I saw one in person it completely changed me. I just sat and stared at it. The colors enveloped me, and I just tried to take in every subtle detail of it. I've been lucky to see some amazing works of art around the world, but that was the first one to make me really think about color and how it can affect your emotions.
What paintings do you remember from your family home?
I only remember one piece of art from my childhood home. It was a funny little folk art scene. Tiny little people going about their business, with little homes spread out through the town. It was kind of strange and very kitsch, and I don't even know if it belonged to my parents or if the landlord just had it in the house. Maybe I didn't care about it then, but later in my life, that folksy, kitschy style would become one of my biggest inspirations to get back into art. I love children's books and illustration and if there is anything I borrow from the most, it's the style and love that illustrators put into books for kids.
What paintings do you have currently in your home?
I'm lucky to have a few pieces of art from some of my very favorite Utah artists. Annie Blake, Katrina Berg, Mckay Lenker, Cindy Clark, J.Kirk Richards. I wish I had more, but most of the time I just fill in space with one of my own paintings until I can sell it. Maybe a little egoistic but I like my stuff--why not put it up for a while.
Come by anytime the month of July to see Sam Walker's paintings in person. All work will be available for purchase online starting July 3rd.