Sam Still – New York, New York

2013.201, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 25 " x 19 "

2013.201, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 25 ” x 19 “

Briefly describe the work you do.

I make, burnished ink drawings on paper, minimal graphic images that in some cases seem to hover between foreground and background. These austere black and white shapes vibrate with tension; oscillating between dark/light, figure/ground, and negative/positive space. Others are emphatically flat rectangle and squares, divided and solid. This optical illusion invites viewers to linger, a place of rest for the body and contemplation for the mind.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

My Father was a tool and die maker and I worked for him summers as a teenager, working with metal returning, cutting, welding metal gave me an appreciation of a beautiful edge.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I live, with my wife, in an 800 square foot room, a bed and dining table at one end, my work table at the other end and a sofa in the middle facing a wall with work in different stages. It’s a studio/home/escape from the world situation all rolled into one. I like it like that.

2013.043, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 19 " x 25 "

2013.043, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 19 ” x 25 “

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never envisioned any particular role for myself in the art world, except as an artist. The action taken has always been to make art and then, in varying degrees, make money to exist.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I’m pretty much always in art land in my head, there is no specific time. I rise at 5 and hit the sack at 9:30, in that time period is when I am pondering, making, pondering, making, pondering, making…

2013.042, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 19 " x 25 "

2013.042, burnished ink on Bark White paper ground, 19 ” x 25 “

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

In my mind’s eye, it is always the same, it’s me, but it’s the current me, not the 2006 me. The truth is the 2006 me is not so different from the 2015 me, or the 1978 me. Though I know a tiny bit more about my practice, my love for a beautiful edge is the same and continues to be my obsession.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My mother’s father was an artist, not so much an influence, but gave me the knowledge first hand that artists existed and there was this place called the Art World. Also, it was not an endeavor that would support oneself and one might be a fool if one seriously considered the profession. My childhood was a turbulent ride and drawing offered a resting place of my own design that calmed.

sam_still_headshotHave you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Art making has always been the ring leader in all of my decisions, on every level.

Click here to read his CV.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.  


About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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