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Meet Sam Doubek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Doubek.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started drawing in after school art classes in first grade and spent a few years drawing dragons and goblins mainly. My dad worked for Avid and we lived in the silicon valley so I always had computers in my hands, and I spent a lot of time after school on niche corners of the cyberspace before social media took its current form. One of his coworkers pirated photoshop for me when I was in 6th grade and I’ve been learning it since then, it’s kind of an extension of myself now, like a bionic arm.

I studied traditional oil painting in college which beefed up my ability to render color and light. After that, I fell deeper in love with photoshop because I knew how to paint with it. There’s nothing like spending hours on a painting and easily changing its entire spectrum of color relationships by shifting a few sliders. With oil, you have to wait five days for it dry and cry until its ready to start over on.

At some point, my relationship to technology and my interest in the nature of mind became the subject of my work. I’m obsessed with the topic of simulations, symbols, and simulacra. Our brains are so bloated with narratives and beliefs about ourselves, others, and reality. These delusions bar us from deeper connections, sustainable mental health, and structural change for the better. It’s like we’re born wearing a VR headset and don’t realize we’re still wearing one, nor the bliss that exists outside of its fiction. So I often paint uncanny digital images with vague symbolism and information just outside of your reach. They’re sort of vacuums for you to project information onto, and then for you to observe what you subconsciously chose to see. They’re objects on which to meditate the nature of your delusions.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My mom recently passed away completely unexpectedly of a heart attack and it’s brought seismic shifts under how I view myself, others, and my art. I feel I owe every piece of art I ever made to her. I feel I owe my whole personality to her. She saw my interest in art and nurtured it, put me in the after school classes, celebrated my drawings, and so on. Lately, I’m heartbreakingly aware of the lineage and chain of events present in everything I make, all leading back to her love at their origin. It’s overwhelming. I wish everyone could think about that before their loved ones pass away instead of after.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m starting to dip my toe into fashion editorials with some really exciting stuff coming up. My best friend Murrie Rosenfeld is a photographer and we’ve been collaborating on some wacky images that combine her photo production and both of our post-production. We’re lucky to think so similarly about images and ideas.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I often feel like I didn’t ever really choose art. I found it and it was suited to my brain and I work hard at it because it’s what feels good. Not much choice, just cause and effect. I often wonder if I lived in Medieval times if I could have just skipped school and grown up in a painting apprenticeship. That would be great. Minus the syphilis and homophobia.

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Image Credit:

Images with photos in collaboration with Murrie Rosenfeld

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