I met Sam Parker several years ago at a Printmaking conference. We have stayed in touch over the years and I have watched her work change and grow. She recently had her BFA show at Bradley University and I was absolutely blown away. Take a look while you read her interview.
1. Hey Sam! First of all, congratulations on having your own solo BFA show! It's such gorgeous, ambitious show. What is the title of the show and what is it about? Can you describe it in five sentences?
Sam: The title of the show is The Fabric of Li. It is the realization of a pseudo-garden that I often explore while in deep thought. Li is a neo-confucian word that embodies the flow and patterns found in nature. The title is a play on words because it is saying "these things make up the 'fabric' of li", as in the totality of it, but also referencing the material that the pseudo-garden is mostly comprised of, which is patterned fabric, mimicking the patterns found in Li. These patterns can include (but aren't limited to) muscle tissue, the grain in stone or wood, the flow of water, or the spiral pattern on the inside of a flower. By walking through my installation, the viewer should be able to catch a glimpse into my personal mental space, and see the image of Li defined in organic shapes, a flow of wild colors, hundreds of paint chips, and puffy patterned pillows consuming the walls, ceiling, and floor. All of these things, together, make up the flow of nature I experience while sitting in quiet contemplation.
2. What different types of media are you working with?
S: For The Fabric of Li, I was able to paint, chip away, glue, spray, and combine together numerous non-conventional materials in an effort to destroy their utilitarian use and allow them to enter the realm of Fine Art. A few of the items I used were: a closet shelf, a storage bin, paint chips, fabric, pieces of wood, pipes used for plumbing, pvc pipe, tubes, 3-foot pipe cleaners, sequins, spray paint, wire, buttons, air fresheners, pieces of fence, and then your typical oil on canvas.
3. What attracts you to working with installation?
S: Installation attracts my attention because it, much like music and film, has the ability to get the viewer involved within the space rather than outside of it.
4. What other artists inspire you?
S: I am inspired by Judy Pfaff, Sarah Sze, Shinique Smith, Kandinsky, Gauguin, and many others. The list of artists I look at grows larger at almost a daily rate.
5. What's next? Any grad school plans?
S: Next, my partner and I will be moving down to Austin, Texas. I just recently was accepted into the MFA program in printmaking at UTA. It's going to be great. The faculty there are really talented and I think they have a lot to offer. It will definitely be a time of growth both artistically and personally.Check out Sam's website to see more images from her show as well as her paintings and work on paper here. This show is so wonderful. When I was having my BFA show I didn't have the confidence to do an installation. I was too overwhelmed by the idea. Sam is to be admired for jumping in head first and making such an ambitious piece. You will continue to do great, Sam!! Good luck at grad school!