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Meet Trailblazer Gwen Samuels

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwen Samuels.

Gwen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Looking back, my process “of seeing” developed from extensive travel and the desire to record places and objects with my camera. With my background in textile design, I was drawn to settings where line, pattern and shape stood out not realizing I was creating a context for the work to come.

Now, with years of practice, my process is more automatic for me. My eye and camera are tuned to certain patterns and shapes knowing which angles create other forms when re-arranged on the computer in repetition. I print these compositions on transparent sheets that interact with light creating shadows that add another over-all dimension. Each one-of-a kind artwork hung slightly off the wall with straight pins is hand-stitched together combining different images to create the whole object.

This work has helped me develop a visual language for myself, using the digital camera (or I-phone) as a tool to record the imagery for later exploration with the computer. From a distance, the works function as abstract compositions. Upon closer inspection, recognizable shapes take form adding an element of craft, time and intimacy.

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?
There is definitely a learning curve when navigating the art world. When I first started showing my work there were different accepted ways to get your work shown. Nowadays there are fewer rules and every artist has their own way of doing things.

I think my best advice is network and just get out there. Since my work fits several categories: photography, fiber, fine art, and collage – I show in all those areas. Try to find where your work fits in. Being visible is first in the beginning and I donated my work in venues I wanted to support. Instagram is great for that now. And lastly- along with making your art visible – Go to Openings! Go to places where art is being shown and network- gradually you start to be known and make lasting connections.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Gwen Samuels Art – what should we know?
I use the digital camera as a tool to record my visual compositions.

I print them on transparent sheets that I cut up and arrange and finally hand-stitch together to create the art piece

This work has helped me develop a visual language for myself and the viewer by integrating my background in Craft and textile design with technology. My way of seeing is unique because of my integrated background.

The piece I’m most proud of is usually the one I last finished. I still have an intimate relationship with it and how it came to be… but, I would say what I’m am the best known for is my: Dresses. I love fashion and I love how it defines the body. Clothing is a loaded topic that seems to be a real connector for everyone.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
I started doing my art full time when I move to LA from NY. I realized, I needed to meet artists to make connections – I got a studio. That was the beginning for me.

Then, I joined an art organization – The first one I joined was: Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art. As my needs changed, I applied to be a member of: Los Angeles Art Association and did that for a few years. But, I maintained a studio thru out that time and still have one today. All these things as well as going to Art Openings and Museum Openings added to my networking.

The last thing that has been SO helpful to me: I have an art buddy. My art buddy: Karen Sikie and I support each other. We talk art.

We help each other navigating and I recommend it. It has been so helpful to have someone that can help me strategize and I learn from her experiences as well.

Pricing:

  • My prices are based on size- Small works: range from: $700-1800 larger works: range from $2000- $4000

Contact Info:

  • Address: Santa Monica Art Studios
    3026 Airport Ave (studio#18)
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
  • Website: www.gwensamuels.com
  • Phone: 310-948-4850
  • Email: gwensamuels@mac.com


Image Credit:
Gwen Samuels, Hope Kahn Hoffman

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