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Meet Samantha Shieh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Shieh.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Oddly enough, art has always seemed like “work” to me. I started drawing and painting seriously in high school when I decided that I wanted to go to art school. I had only a vague idea of what kind of career in art I was pursuing, but I knew I needed strong foundational skills in order to do it. When I got into ArtCenter College of Design I realized that I had to work even harder to catch up to my classmates. I was constantly overwhelmed with what I later realized was a touch of imposter’s syndrome, worried about what my prospects were after school, whether I would be good enough to make a career out of this. I had tied my self-esteem hand in hand with how good of an artist I saw myself as and when I was anything but the best I felt like I had failed.

I graduated ArtCenter in April of 2019 with BFA in Illustration and a concentration in Entertainment Arts. To my own eternal surprise, I signed a job offer on the day of my graduation and started a job in the video game industry several weeks later. I’ve spent years disentangling the threads of artistic accomplishment, skill level and personal self-worth, and it is still a work in progress, as all things are. I’ve learned to be kind to myself and separate my skills from my worth as a human being and I think that is my biggest artistic accomplishment.

Please tell us about your art.
I create illustrations and concept art, usually with the intent of using it as a tool for communication for other artists in a pipeline. The pieces I create take ideas that can only be described or hinted at with reference and pin them into something concrete that others can use in their own work. When I create paintings for work, the main thing I hope to get across is information, as clinical as it sounds. If my work communicates what it was meant to clearly then I have done my job well.

In my personal work, I am less objective. I paint a variety of subjects: people, landscapes, objects. I love capturing the beauty, not just traditionally beautiful things like attractive people or sunsets but also unique lighting and atmosphere.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I think the most important thing that any artist can do is research. When I first started creating art I though that research just meant looking up a couple of photos and taking inspiration from them but over time I realized it is a lot more than that. It is about first understanding all aspects of what you are trying to research, from all angles. It is too easy to take events, people and complex situations at surface level and assume the easiest conclusion. It takes time and energy to research, delves deep and really attempts to understand all sides of a situation. It is difficult and tiring and sometimes you have to pick the things you have the energy to explore.

But it costs nothing to reserve judgment and pause, swallow your knee-jerk reaction and think “do I really understand this fully or do I just very badly want a simplified version of this”

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I post regularly on my Instagram account @klexos_art and am hoping to start a YouTube channel soon with educational art content which will also be announced on my Instagram page! My full portfolio is available at samanthashieh.com.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Samantha Shieh

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