Hello! Please introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Sam. I’m a self taught emerging artist from Bath, England. I’m a Pharmaceutical Science graduate but decided to change career and pursue art full time. I produce hard-edge paintings on canvas from my small studio just outside this beautiful city. My work is minimal and reductive, and I aim to bring a sense of calm and order through my artwork.
Was there a decisive factor for you to start painting?
I loved art at school, but my career and education took me in a different direction. However, after completing my degree I became very ill, and couldn’t follow through with the career I had trained for. After several years of chronic illness I decided to take up art again, painting just for myself. Rediscovering art began to slowly heal me in a way that hadn’t happened before, and I felt like I had unearthed a part of myself that I had suppressed for too long: my artistic and creative side. Wanting to embrace this part of myself more, I decided to start making art for others, share my artistic expression and continue my artistic journey.
Where do you see yourself currently in your career?
I see myself at the end of the beginning of my artistic path, with a long and interesting road ahead – a journey, that will last a lifetime and that will continue to inspire and captivate me.
What characterizes your style for you?
I would define my style as hard-edge geometric minimalism. I really enjoy the minimal non-objectiveness of my artwork. I love to explore colour, shape and movement and how these shapes make me feel when staring into them. I also like how the issue of meaning is left open-ended in this style and that the artwork is not meant to be understood, but for the viewer to simply accept and enjoy reality, allowing someone to impart their own meaning if they want to.
Let’s discuss your geometric minimalism a little bit further
I love the way minimalist hard-edge art can impact how someone feels when looking at the artwork, and how pure the artistic expression and experience is. I also tend to find figurative work uninteresting, it just doesn’t capture me in the same way. I am also captivated by the possibilities that can be created without the constraints of the figurative world.
Are you working full time on your art?
Yes, in April 2020 when the world descended into lockdown from the global pandemic, I decided it was time to take the leap of faith and go full time as an artist. Sometimes we just need a nudge in life, and the pandemic was that for me. There are many sayings that sum this up nicely, whether it be ‘seize the day’ or ‘memento mori’ etc, but I think this is the first time in my life that I have truly experienced a ‘no time like the present’ moment, and I haven’t looked back since.
Would you like to share some wisdom?
I personally have a couple of mantras that I like to remind myself of periodically – Never stop exploring your style; don’t create for likes or affirmation – create art that you like and that expresses what you have to say.
How do you get yourself in the mood to work?
Being alone for me is quite important, as sometimes I’m quite easily distracted by people and things. I really enjoy listening to calming Lo-Fi music while drawing: I find it allows me to open up and be more creative and free. However, when painting I prefer silence most of the time as I find the process almost meditative, which is really enjoyable.
Which famous artists have influenced you?
I am heavily inspired by the mid century greats such as Ellsworth Kelly, Carmen Herrera, Olle Bærtling, John McLaughlin, Mark Rothko and many others. These artists inspire me for a range of reasons from the way they individually use and see colour and shape so expertly; to their views and writings on how they view the art they create. This opens my mind and makes me think deeper about myself and my artwork.
Recently, Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Black Square’, ‘Red Square’ and ‘White on White’ paintings have been inspiring me – the purity of the expression and thought is fascinating to me. I think there’s a massive bravery to such simplicity and reduction which I try to embrace in my own work.
As a novice artist, would you do certain things differently today?
I would have followed a more traditional route to becoming an artist. I would have studied art at university instead of gaining a science degree. I would also have believed in myself as an artist earlier in life and followed my heart more than my head.
Let’s talk about motivation
Thankfully I really don’t need to motivate myself much at all for the creative process. On the days I am not painting or drawing I am always looking forward to the next day and getting back to it, which is a great feeling. I do have to reassure myself or re-calibrate sometimes when something doesn’t go my way or work out how I wanted, which can happen to us all occasionally I’m sure. For me it’s all about re-focusing on the why, the fundamentals, and taking a step back if necessary and going again. This is also the frame I use to motivate myself to do the less exciting tasks that being an artist involves.
Which of your own artworks do you like best (if any)?
At the moment I think Affinity 07 is my favourite; the composition is similar to my other work in the series but the colour in this piece is a beautiful combination of teal and turquoise. I adore these two colours and I definitely don’t use them enough. I get a lovely sense of calm looking at this painting and I find it difficult to take my eyes off of it.
As an artist, have you set yourself specific goals?
Yes absolutely, I would like to start exhibiting my work. Secondly, I would like to work with a gallery that is the right fit for me and my style. I currently have my own website and I have my work for sale with an online gallery, which suits my independent nature at the moment. However, I feel like I am now at the point where I want to explore an artist-gallery relationship.
Sam Williams ★ Artist resume
I am a self taught emerging artist, working full time from my studio in Bath, England since 2020. My artwork is hard-edge, minimalist and geometric: an exploration of colour, shape, scale and composition. I hope to soon start exhibiting my paintings and display my work to a new audience.
Sam, thank you for this interesting Q&A.