As much as the corporate world turns me off, the Disney Princesses and rom-coms of my childhood have left a lasting impression and my brain is wired to find men in suits extremely attractive. Artist Sam Shuter has created a vibrant series of larger than life paintings showcasing the strength of a suit in our society. While women’s fashions change as often as the weather, the shape of a well-tailored suit is timeless, but Sam’s color choices bring the suits to life in a fun way. She says, “[The suit] has represented something for decades; power, productivity, strength, economic prosperity, and hard work.” As an artist, Sam embodies everything that she believes the suit represents.[see_also]
Based in Toronto, Sam is influenced by street art, stenciling and graffiti, and graphic design. She began painting as a hobby to escape from the unhappiness associated with her previous jobs, discovered that it was her true passion, and decided to work independently so that she could do it full time. She has an amazing energy and zest for life and I’m so glad that she has found the success and happiness she deserves. Be sure to scroll down to read our inspirational interview with Sam Shuter and watch her vimeo video for a glimpse of what a day in her life is like. Then head over to her website for more awesome paintings and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
VN: What is your art background? When did you start painting? Were you a constant doodler growing up? Did you go to school for art?
SS: I wasn’t what they called an “academic” growing up. Haha. I used to doodle constantly, and the littlest details would grab my attention. I was in my own dreamworld a lot of the time. I still am.
I don’t have a formal education in fine-art, but I have always been involved in the arts.
I first went to school for Theater Production, and later dropped out due to the amount of technical work. I wasn’t as interested in knowing about circuit breakers for stage lighting as I had originally thought and soon found myself in the world of film. I took a few art classes as a child, but found that I was passionate about film. I always had my dad’s video camera in hand, so it seemed natural to me to get into that industry. I fooled myself again and took on the work of parallel interest vs. the creative end of things. I worked long days in the film business, and I found myself coming home to my paints to wind-down. I soon realized I wasn’t happy with what I was doing and left my last position in production with the idea of starting my own business.
I worked long and hard on a web-concept that failed after years of “trying”. My heart wasn’t in it either. I wasn’t 100% sure what my “vehicle” would be until a series of small events lead me to realize that people were taking a liking to my artwork, and that I might be able to sell my paintings, which was only a hobby back then.
VN: Many artists end up working for ad agencies or taking corporate design jobs, but you seem to have made it on your own. Was this a struggle or did it seem to fall into place?
SS: It’s still a struggle. I realized that I didn’t want to work under anyone’s thumb years ago. It was one of the main themes of my unhappiness throughout all of my past jobs. I felt like I could take care of my own affairs and that I work a lot faster with no one else to answer to. On top of that, I found myself helping a lot of other people realize their dreams. It was time for me to put some of my own into action. There are obviously so many pros and cons. I’m not just painting pictures, I’m running a business. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly difficult, and stressful a lot of the time. My brain never shuts off and I am constantly learning new things and trying to refine what I’m doing everyday. You have to be creative when it comes to making money, not just making art. Good business is an art. I had no idea what the cost factors would be, both financially and on a personal level. Right now, the more money I spend, the more potential I have to make it. You see a number, and it doesn’t make sense to you until you factor in every detail of your existence in this stage.
I love what I do. I like the hustle because it can be exciting, and that pretty much sums up the motivation behind the theme of my work (with the exception of a few other details).
Making art I feel proud about takes time and attention, like raising a child I assume. Owning your own business is the same, and beyond that, what I offer is a luxury, not a necessity- so of course I have days where I wish I was just selling toilet paper.
VN: What or who inspires you?
SS: I am inspired by music, people, color, architecture, fashion… kindness!
I am truly inspired by people who have ideas, any idea at all and then take the necessary steps to see it come to life. When I meet someone who has taken a concept and developed it into a real-time experience, I am so impressed. When I do this for myself, it fuels me to go bigger or better. I’m really into creating my own reality. It always starts off as a daydream- and then voila! The most beautiful and delicious pizza you’ve ever had.
VN: If you could teleport anywhere right now for an entire day, where would it be and what would you do there?
SS: I would be in Tom Ford’s office with Kaws and Conor Harrington, discussing a project we’re working on with Dan Pallotta.
VN: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
SS: “Have less, be more”, and thank you for your time
I hope that you find Sam Shuter’s attitude and story as positively inspiring as we do. It was such a pleasure interviewing her. On behalf of the team at Visual News, we would like to give a big thanks to Sam Shuter for her time. If even one other artist is inspired to follow in Sam’s entrepreneurial footsteps and follow his/her passions, the world will be a brighter place!