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Meet Samuel Padilla of Sam Padilla Sci-fi Artistic Creations in Riverside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samuel Padilla.

Samuel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by the inner workings of machinery and what makes our everyday mechanical items tick. As a child, I would even disassemble lawn mowers and radios just to see and touch their inner workings, really seeing the intricate art in our everyday items.

It was also as a child that I found another passion- vintage science fiction art and film. This genre catapulted my imagination into a world of space, wildly imaginative mechanisms, and a distinctively vintage style that continues to inspire me today. I believe it was ultimately the combination of these two interests, machinery and science fiction, that caused me to stumble into the world of found art; the creation of unique sculptures from found items such as discarded motors, vintage cameras and radios, antiquated drills, and all kinds of other items that I find at estate sales, thrift shops, and in the course of my day job as an industrial refrigeration technician.

I can’t recall the exact day or moment, but I just realized one day that the items that I was often throwing away in the course of my job could be assembled in imaginative ways to create whole characters and items from a science fiction world……. so I just did it. I sat down and started assembling mechanical “junk” into robots, ray guns, and whatever else came to my mind when I picked up found items.

This all really started out as just an odd little hobby for me. But because I enjoyed the process and that final moment when a piece comes together so much, it didn’t take long before I had a whole arsenal of robots and ray guns just lying around my house. My wife would often post pictures of my creations on social media and people would overwhelmingly react positively, but that was initially the extent of it.

That all changed when I visited the Riverside Art Walk in late 2016. While checking out some art at the GOPA Gallery, someone who had seen my work on Facebook recognized me and introduced me to the gallery owner, who was gracious enough to offer me my own first gallery show in December, during the Mission Inn Festival of Lights. From there, a whole new world opened up for me and it’s been a crazy ride ever since.

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 main obstacle has always been time. In the chaos that is most people’s lives these days, it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves to just sit and create. When you add the pressures of deadlines for gallery showings, events, or customer requests it can sometimes be overwhelming. But I’ve found it’s all about balance. The balance between, work, family, art, and downtime and that is something I am constantly striving for.

My other challenge is assigning a monetary value to a creation. My pieces are one of a kind and I spend considerable amounts of time and energy on them, but to assign them a cost or value still feels foreign to me.

Please tell us about Sam Padilla Sci-fi Artistic Creations.
When it comes to art, I think it’s difficult to put into words what sets one artist apart from another. Every creation is the unique fruition of that particular artist’s imagination. But I am always learning, attempting new mediums, and creating so that my pieces never become too similar or predictable. I never want to rely on a “formula” to make something. They all come together in their own unique way with their own distinct look.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memories consist of the weekends I would spend with my Grandpa in Mexico. I would visit my Grandpa most weekends and would spend time helping him around his business and garden. He had such a great work ethic and always had something to do. I enjoyed the projects around the house we would tackle together and I think of him often when I’m creating my pieces.

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